Fear & Greed

A friend recently made me aware that a lot of our small and big life decisions are driven by fear and/or greed. Here is my attempt to capture how this plays out in real life, moment by moment. I write this post at 2AM on a terrace as another friend (let’s call him Mr X) sitting next to me watches.

I never write a blog post when someone is watching. Fear.

I don’t plan to sleep on the terrace today, because – Mosquitoes? Rain? Fear.

I want to listen to Mr X telling me about yesterday’s revenues. Greed & Fear.

I want to listen to what my colleagues are talking about near the gate. Because – Fear of missing out.

I don’t want to answer questions from Mr X. Because – Fear. Fear of revealing things before time.

Mr X wants to know if I am “high”. Because – Fear. (Because curiosity too ;))

  • PS: He just admitted it

Mr X wants to know if I own this piece of writing. Because? Reminds me if I will fear losing the copyright to it (or It will be revealed to the world before time) if he clicks a photo of it as I am typing this. Fear.

  • PS: He did click a photo.

Mr X wants to play a board game at 2AM in the morning and I am not okay for the same on terrace. Because wind. Because fear of losing the cards. Fear.

Now can you separate all these fears into two parts? Authentic and inauthentic? Mosquito may be a real danger or losing cards to the wind. But large part of what we are driven by is inauthentic. Get Present To It. Acknowledge It. And don’t be driven by it. 

PS: More on greed some other day. 

Jugaad & Growing Up With Constraints

Silicon Valley

One of the observations that I made during my stay in Silicon Valley was the absence of Jugaad. Jugaad is a relative term, fellow entrepreneurs in US work hard and do well with bootstrapping just like we do. But the reason I say absence of Jugaad is because the magnitude of Jugaad I have grown up with in India is far higher.

From what I saw people in US follow the protocol (be it business, a line at the bus stand or crossing the railway tracks), they pour a lot of effort in small things. This shows when they are designing a product, launching their ventures or even when setting up their homes. We like to push out things in a hurry, not listen to any wisdom that increases the workload and look for safety hooks. It seems as if we are hard wired differently.

The more I think about it, it is so much cultural. Me and a few more of my entrepreneur roommates (during incubation in Silicon Valley) grew up back in India with little or no luxury. Almost all of us started working In our teens and while today we choose to do a startup and talk of passion, let’s be honest – all of us started working for we needed to either support our families, education or at least not be a liability on them.

I remember a couple of us talking about how Friday evening brings such cheer on the streets of Mountain View. People out in big numbers, long lines outside Ice-cream shop on Castro Street (oh and you can’t imagine the clubs) and hardly anyone works over the weekend (even the startup junta). My roomie was mildly upset that he doesn’t think of his existence in India in the same way. Neither of us would really think of going to a club back in India and can hardly think of life from an angle which would say ‘how can this be more fun?’. That’s when it occurred to me that so many of us back in India have only worried about survival. Survival = Luxury here.

Even after being educated basic existence here is tough. Read More

Barometer of Love

The only thing I have learned about love is that saying it means little on its own. The ones I love should feel they are loved and that’s what counts. So I rarely use the word love, but if the ones I really care for feel loved, my words are worth it.

 

Brilliant Read: Siddhartha

Siddhartha Annkur

You may or may not have got a copy of Siddhartha (by Hermann Hesse) from me, but you should definitely go and get one right now. A quick but very powerful read. Sharing two of my favourite paragraphs:

“I have not doubted for a single moment that you are Buddha, that you have reached the goal, the highest goal towards which so many thousands of Brahmans and sons of Brahmans are heading. You have found salvation from death. It has come to you in the course of your own search, on your own path, through thoughts, through meditation, through realisations, through enlightenment. It has not come to you by means of teachings! You will not be able to convey to anybody, O venerable one, in words and through teachings, what has happened to you in the hour of enlightenment!”

—–

“Perhaps that you are searching far too much? That in all the searching, you don’t find the time for finding? … When someone is searching then it might easily happen that the only thing his eyes still see is that what he searches for, that he is unable to find anything, to let anything enter his mind, because he always thinks of nothing but the object of his search, because he has a goal, because he is obsessed by the goal. Searching means: having a goal. But finding means: being free, being open, having no goal. You, O venerable one, are perhaps indeed a searcher, because, striving for your goal, there are many things you don’t see, which are directly in front of you.”

– Siddhartha by Hermann Hesse

ps: if you haven’t subscribed to email alerts from me, do it now 🙂

 

Miss Universe

I spoke to her in my dreams last night. Calm and curious as always she asked me about life in California, food and people I met. I told her everything I could, even the imaginary cricket match on the beach at half moon bay. Looking for the smile on her face, I wondered if I needed to really ask her anything.

The faint smile on her face hinted something, as if she has completed a race and I am still finding my way. She challenged me with my own philosophies, as if she remembered everything I ever told her. Unusual, yet so polite and honest that I need not feel threatened. I answered nevertheless. Clarified myself for once.

She smiled.

Obamaland, again!

// random personal blog post starts

After the first and rather lonely visit to Ameericaaa in 2010, I didn’t think I would make it back to Obamaland so soon. By some accident I got pulled into a business accelerator in California and ended up spending close to four months there. This time around, I was largely on my own, with no family house to live in and no wonderful cooks to serve me Indian food. Survival was tough.

My age old wish to live on my own could have been a little less challenging though. Finding my way to cheap vegetarian food, looking up accommodation, making breakfast (if time permitted), washing the dishes, laundry and walking down a few kms daily to reach work did take up a good amount of time and energy. Having to spend in USD wasn’t all that easy either. But it wasn’t too bad, weekend getaways to cousins and some very friendly locals made moi life very easy at times.

There are lessons from this travel that I would remember for a lifetime. Some personal, some about the world we live in. Read More

Balance – Quadrant Of Life

I have been guilty of ignoring several important things in life. Starting work at 15 had its downsides that I realise only now. Talking to one of my business partners today, I acknowledged that I have been reckless. And surprisingly I came across this Quadrant of life at 500 Startups office today. My doctor once drew this for me and explained me how I should prioritize things in life. This is extremely powerful. I call it the Balance. Much needed balance. I strive for it more than ever before.

quadrant of life

Remember the ZONE is silent. It never demands from you and it is so easy to miss it.

The Victims Curse

I have been thinking about this for several years now and finally attempting to capture a tricky thought.

We are often a victim in our own story. Several times in life we get cornered into a situation where we feel helpless and we consider ourselves as the victim. It has happened with me at school, college, work, with friends, family … basically everywhere. At the same time I have seen so many of my friends being bogged down by this feeling of being a victim. And knowing how real that feeling is, I always fall short of telling them – GIVE IT UP.

It is easy and a very weak choice to think of a situation from a point of view that ‘I am a victim <insert your sorrow tale here>’.

Holding on to that pain and considering yourself a Victim has a payback. A sympathy value that you give yourself, a reason to not take responsibility for what happened. That’s the Victims Curse. It is only an excuse for living life in a certain way. A seemingly easier way. Over time our memories fade, we reconstruct what happened and only consolidate our position as a Victim.

Do you really want to carry that baggage?

I would also make my first public recommendation for Landmark Education. If you are serious about your life and its impact on this world, you should consider Landmark. Feel free to contact me if you wish to explore Landmark Education. 

PS: Thanks to @arpiit for introducing me and also once pointing out this Curse.

Figuring Trust

The genius that I think I am, I once defined Attitude problem. Several years later, it still reads so well to me. Been there so many times since. Here is what I had written:

A while back I sat down to analyze what really is this Attitude problem. And I have an answer to it today: When you Trust someone, you expect a lot of it in return as well. If you don’t see that coming your way … you develop this wall of unanswered questions, concealing your depression, complaints and sorrows. That’s attitude problem.

 Another bit I had come across was this:

well basically if any one’s ever called you a ***** than you need to check yourself, i believe that when someone has an attitude problem usually the person who has it also has a problem with trusting others and actually paying close attention to what they’re trying to say, people get offended if they think you dont care and are not paying close attention to them it’s a big nice metaphorical slap in the face.

However today I feel like revisiting the Trust Matrix. A much simpler way to look at it would be with Integrity. If your words and actions match, trust exists. If your words and actions don’t match, trust fades. 

Of course, the more technical formula exists. I don’t care about it as much anymore. 

Intuition

Intuition – The ability to understand something immediately, without the need for conscious reasoning

I have for long talked about relying heavily on the first opinion formed about a person. Intuition plays a large role for me in choosing whom I am friends (or friendly) with. It is hard to think of a case where my Intuition failed me in warning about a bad deal. But that’s not what I am talking about today.

A sudden realization yesterday was the flip side of this intuition. While I may decide for myself on whom I want to be friends with, do business with or anything else for that matter; the other side of the equation is something I cannot control. I can be certain about not being friends with someone or do business with a given entity. However, when I choose otherwise, I can’t guarantee if the other person would reciprocate.

It is a no brainer, yet it took years to realise this. My Intuition doesn’t necessarily mean that something will work, there are factors that go beyond my control and I would accept when it doesn’t go my way. Regardless, I won’t stop believing in my Intuition.

This can be considered an update to ‘I Made A Choice’