250621 – Morning Pages

I talk about sleep, luck, writing and electric toothbrush πŸ˜€

5:56 AM. Woke up a few minutes ago.
I am surprised that I even get these 4 hours of sleep. I am having too much coffee. I even had a Red Bull while I was recording a podcast!

Sleep = rekt!

So this sleep thing has been on my mind a lot lately! And it’s uncanny that someone I know via Twitter gifted me this book, without me asking for it.

If this is not a sign, I don’t know what is!

Actually lemme decode it.
How the gift happened.
And decode how we “spot” signs when they don’t really exist.

So I know that I’ve not been sleeping well. To a point that my work is getting affected. It’s a loop – get work done -> goto Starbucks -> compelled to order something -> unable to finish work -> stay up late -> get coffee -> can’t focus -> delay. Plus it’s too hot and the AC that I have makes so much noise that it could very well drown out the sound made by a drilling machine trying to poke through a rock!

In one word, my sleep is rekt!

Sleep thus is on my mind. A lot.

This is when VK put up a display picture on his WA about a piece that he’s read from the book. It talks about how caffeine is the second most traded thing in the world (after water or oil, I am not sure now). I was sipping onto coffee at that point and being the know-it-all jerk I am, I said, it’s not caffeine per se, but it’s tea. I was ready to go to war with that “knowledge”.

VK remained patient and told me to not get into semantics and get the drift of the argument. Which I did. But had to be told by him. After that, we got talking about the book. I asked for the name and while he did tell me, he said that he wants to send me a copy. He even said it’s probably the best book he’s ever read!

I, of course, said no.
He insisted.
And here we are.
The book in my mailbox.

Now, I have to read it and make changes.
And hopefully sleep better.

So that. It’s not a sign per se. I created circumstances that made me create these signs! I think we can do the same with life. Whatever you wish to get, acquire, own et al, you can create opportunities and signs for those to come true. You can, in one line, create luck!

Luck = Real

Ok.
Moving on.
And yet, staying on the course, the podcast that I recorded was with a VC and apart from other things we talked about, we spoke at length about luck. And how to create it. If I were to summarise what he said, he said that movement creates luck. Do things. Never pause. Act. And over time, get better at spotting how to create movement. You must listen to the podcast (it’s at least a month away from release). Sign up here and I would send you an email when it comes out.

This is such common wisdom and yet people miss it. This is similar to my theory of movement. And of throwing darts. In fact, one of the things that I would teach people, if I could, would be to be more open, take more chances and do more things. While the focus is great, the times we live in demand we are generalists and more rounded!

Focus -> Writing

Ok. The next thing I want to talk write think about out loud is, writing. Again, something that’s super close to my heart.

So, over the last few days, I have had multiple conversations with multiple groups of people about writing. There are many lessons and ideas and thoughts. But one thing is clear.

I need to take my writing more seriously.

I mean I was always serious about my writing. I’ve been writing this series of posts for almost 200 days now! I probably write publish more than 1000 words each day. In the last six months, I would have published 200,000 words on just this blog.

The problem (not really a problem per se, but a limiting factor) is that I write for myself. I don’t care if people read what I write. Writing makes me think better, center myself, get my thoughts in place, and all that. And thus I write.

I just need to make the pivot to writing for others.
And build an audience.
And let that audience work to create opportunities for me.
You know, get lucky!

Thing is, the life I’ve chosen for myself and where I am headed, I will have to connect with people at scale. And that means the ability to write well will come in handy. No, not just handy. It would become imperative. And will be the most important thing I’d do.

So, I need to now start thinking about what others like and how do I tweak what I write to ensure that others read. For starters, I dont think anyone is interested in these daily rants. I may not stop these posts but I need to find an avenue to write things that others would like to consume.

The biggest problem with that is that not everyone reads everything. So I will have to choose some niches that are wide enough to attract interest. For example, can I write about marketing for non-marketers? I am sure there is an audience for that. Can I write about insights from India? I am sure there is an audience for that. Can I write about how to get an unfair advantage in life? I am sure there is an audience for that!

You get the drift. I need to find a niche. SoG was a series to write for others. But then it saw very limited success. I could not grow an audience beyond friends and family. Even those people did not read what I wrote. Maybe I will restart those? And this time, write with a perspective of getting more people to read? And build a community?

Let’s see.

I think this is about it for the day.
Regular things from life continue to haunt me – too many things open at work, slacking at work, not eating well, etc.

The electric toothbrush experiment is going nice. I am getting used to it. Not sure if it cleans my mouth as well as manual scrubbing does. But it’s a new thing and thus keeps me interested. Time to go do that.

Meanwhile, here’s streaks…

  • Morning Pages / Meditations – 194
  • #aPicADay – 0
  • 10K steps a day – 0
  • OMAD – 0
  • #noCoffee – 0
  • #noCoke – 106
  • 10 mins of meditation – 0
  • #book2 – 0
  • Killer Boogie – 0
  • Surya Namaskar – 0

240621 – Morning Pages

Short post about lessons from a writing cohort that I am a part of. And a tiny announcement on the Aram Nagar docu.

8:09. Starbucks.

There is nothing special to report to be honest. I mean there is some updates in terms of work I am doing and projects I am involved with and all that. But they are more “work” than anything else and I try to stay away from work as much as I can. So I don’t know what to write.

Long-Form Writing Cohort

The highlight of the day has to be (thanks to my Roam for helping me review the day), the meetup of the LFW Cohort that I am a part of. Five of us made it to the session and each person had super insane updates on what they were up to. One of us has been able to monetize his writing by getting sponsors. Another’s writing is being read by a US Govt agency. There’s one who’s finished a couple of film scripts and is now ready to pitch. Then there’s me who’s wading into mediocrity with a million things and thousand projects.

However a couple of things became clear.

A. There is immense value in building a certain following on social networks. While you may engage with them a lot and it may suck time, the access you get once you have a following is insane. I have to do what it takes to build this.

I mean if it means getting fit and posting my transformation videos, I will do it! I have the discipline once I decide on something (these morning pages for example), just that I cant seem to get started (for multiple reasons – the time it takes to work out, my Hernia, my aversion to public places, inability to hire a trainer, lack of interest in an online Yoga teacher).

If not this, then hiring a cool kid to write a 1000 tweets from my handle and get known for that.

Basically, come hell of high water, I have to build a following!

B. Great things happen when you ship. Even if you ship less often. You have to work at a certain frequency and cadence but you ought to ship. And ship things others want. The world has moved from “do whatever consistently and a following would get built.”

It is now about building things, doing things that the world wants. You know, as Vivek calls it, need to find your founder-product-market fit! In simple language, what is it that you can work on that you are great at and why is it important?

I clearly need to work on this.

I mean I’ve been aware of this but never got around to work on it. And if I did, the attempts were more or less tactical. You know, to be done when I do not have other things to work on. Maybe this needs to become strategic. In the sense, put this higher up in the priority?

Let’s see.

Anyhow. So, before I move on, here’s the track for the day. The one I will play on loop as I write this. It’s Singh is King. Here…

The Aram Nagar Documentary

So, the documentary that Mudit and I are on, we’ve started to make progress with it.

Yesterday we put a call out for actors and others that know Aram Nagar to contact us. So far we haven’t got any interest per se, but let’s see where it goes. Here’s the post that we put out.

The audition call for the Aram Nagar Documentary with Mudit

In case you know someone that may fit the bill, please do reach out.

I guess this is about for the day. Apart from these two projects, there’s isnt much that I have to talk about.

Here’s the streaks…

  • Morning Pages / Meditations – 193
  • #aPicADay – 0
  • 10K steps a day – 0
  • OMAD – 0
  • #noCoffee – 0
  • #noCoke – 105
  • 10 mins of meditation – 0
  • #book2 – 0
  • Killer Boogie – 0
  • Surya Namaskar – 0

PS: These posts have started to get boring. Need to find a way to bring spark back to these. Let’s see how. #note2self

230621 – Morning Pages

A ranty post before I start the day. From outside a Starbucks that shut for the day.

7:38. Outside my regular Starbucks.

I came in early. Thinking, it’s a long day and I will get a head start on what I do. I was thinking of crafty ways to allow the Starbucks baristas to let me in early. After all, I am a regular patron. And I can talk my way through most situations.

But no. It’s been booked by a bank for one of its promotions. The entire place. For the entire day. Damn!

What this means is that acche din are back (in the sense banks are spending on BTL promotions). This also means that I need to do more to get things done on this long day. Sigh!Β 

Now that I have started the day on the wrong foot, lemme talk of all the negatives that have been happening with me lately.

A. I spottedΒ a cockroach at my house. The sole reason for not having a kitchen at my place is to avoid these pests. I hate them. I loathe them. I abhor them. I know I know that these pests are needed for evolutionary change and all that. But not in my house!

Must make a rule to only move into newly constructed houses. Irrespective of the place I go to – Goa, Dubai, Mumbai, etc.

B. Since Friday, I’ve been eating like a man just out of famine. In yesterday alone, I had four full meals – each with a pot of rice. I had 2 Venti Americanos. I even had a Red Bull. And then I whiled the time away on Instagram! Binging on Fauda at 1.5x speed! I mean WTF! Need to get my act together!!

C. I am hating the way I am right now. In the sense, eating like a mad man. Not getting enough sleep. So many incomplete tasks. So many todos! So listless. So lacking in direction.

I don’t know a way out.

One of the friends I spoke to (rr) told me that I need to see a doctor or something. At 38, this is not cool. I am strongly thinking I will go see one. Let’s see when. Will keep everyone posted.

Ok, enough.
Lemme talk of positives.

A. In the morning, I saw this tweet and it made me think. Since I was half-asleep, I sent out the first thing that came to my head.

His question was, “What’s your personal elevator pitch?”

My responses were…

When working for others – “Whatever you hire me to work on, I am resourceful enough to get it done. Come hell or high water.”

When working for self – “Aim for the moon and throw million darts. Few of those will hit the stars.”

Must spend more time thinking about these kinds of things!

To be honest, I think what I wrote is exactly how I feel and think and behave and do. So that.

B. I also got the iPhone fixed. For 5K. In case any of you wants to get broken iPhones (broken screens, software crashes, memory glitches, etc), please do let me know. Can connect to the guy who does it for me. He sends his technician to wherever you are and ensures that it works before he asks for money. Love his service!

I have to say, LOVE the damn phone. I felt so much better, so much at peace as I got back on the iPhone. I felt as if someone has given me my powers back. I could type fast. I could switch apps fast. There was no lag. Things just, well, worked!

C. Attended a session where one of the A-list celebs gave some founders from the Founder Thesis podcast gyaan about how to manage celebrity endorsements. Must create more such opportunities and get people to talk to each other.

And then be bang in the middle of it!

This is exactly what am hoping to achieve with each piece of work I do – from writing to creating networks to enabling people to speaking and even with Long Haul!

Let’s see if I can scale this as I go along. This, to be honest, sounds like a good way to live life!

D. Took a stranger through my notes. Actual notes. Screenshare of my Roam graphs. I realized that I don’t really care much what people think of me or my private thoughts. I guess I am at a point where I am truly living in public.

I think this is about it for the time being. Let’s see how the day goes.

And as I end this, here’s the streaks…

  • Morning Pages / Meditations – 192
  • #aPicADay – 1. I posted one yesterday. Now that the iPhone is back, let’s see if I can post one today as well.
  • 10K steps a day – 0
  • OMAD – 0
  • #noCoffee – 0
  • #noCoke – 104
  • 10 mins of meditation – 0
  • #book2 – 0
  • Killer Boogie – 0
  • Surya Namaskar – 0

220621 – Morning Pages

Quick post on how I spent yesterday and some highlights. And some lessons. And some thoughts.

6:42. I woke up a few minutes ago. I dint sleep well. I really think it’s all the coffee that I am having. I can choose not to have it. But the challenge is I can’t get things done from where I live. So that. Lol, I should, by now, either stop ranting about it or fix it. Each day I have the same old rant.

Anyhow. Good things about yesterday?

  1. I was tempted to have Diet Coke. And I did not. Thanks to Harshit and a couple of more people on Twitter.
  2. Oh, I am back on Twitter. Please do follow me on @saurabh.
  3. I found a cheaper supplier to get my iPhone’s screen fixed. All this while I was paying about 8K to get some screen. I’ve been able to negotiate it down to 5.5K. Let’s see if I can get it down a bit more. My sweet spot is 4K. I know I will get a crappy screen but the phone I use is like 3 years old and is broken and all that. I just need to get it to work for a few more months till I have saved enough to get a new one!
  4. Roam now has a desktop app for Mac! This means I will be able to take more notes! Yay!

Apart from these minor ones, here are a few things that I want to catalog for posterity.

A. I got myself an electric toothbrush yesterday. This one. I tried it and it was unlike other experiences I’ve had with brushing. It was a funny feeling to have something shaking the interiors of my mouth. It reminded me of all those dental treatments I’ve got done for myself. You know how they move that drill in your mouth? That. Let’s see how the experiment goes.

B. I was talking to someone to see if I can do some business writing for them. I sent them a link to this website where I write morning pages and all that. They looked at it and said that this is more like a personal blog and thus does not showcase my acumen as a business writer.

I agree. So, I need to work on the website to clearly highlight the kind of work I do. Make sections about my thought, about what I do (work), about projects (like SoG Book, SoG Grant, NFG), ideas, writing (for businesses, fiction, and films) and I don’t know all those things that I do.

So that’s an action item for me. #note2self

C. The next few days would be crazy mad. One of the book projects I am working on (where I have been commissioned to work on a book) has revived and there a million changes needed in it. It’s one of those projects that’s really challenging me at almost all levels – intellectual, creative, patience and more. Plus the story I am working on is very very inspiring. To a point that if I can build a life like the man I am helping write the story of, I would die a happy man.

D. Staying with writing, on a whim I decided that I want to help people write better. Actually, it was not a whim, per se. It was an outcome of the NFG session I recently took. I realized that the world would be far better if people could write better. At least in business communication. So I put this post out on Linkedin.

The thing is, all this work from home has made us Zoom monkeys and we are sending a million emails back and forth and often a lot is lost in transition. I want to offer some practical tips and inputs on what seems to work.

Of course, with things like writing, there is no universal shortcut or method. I can only help define a set of rules that could be useful. I am in the process of crafting content. Help me find out what all needs to be taught. As a business professional, what do you think you need help with when it comes to writing?

And no. Like other things, I will not charge individuals for this. I would rather have businesses run this. Let’s see where it goes.

E. I had some 2 KGs of rice yesterday. I mean I had rice for lunch. And I had rice for dinner. I love the damn grain so much that if I had my way, I would eat just that. But then, I know that it’s unhealthy as fuck and I need to stay away from it. But then dil to bachcha hai ji and all that. So I shall have more rice today. And for the next few days. Till I figure out what my next diet regimen is going to be. Or may till I decide if I want to spend the month of July in Delhi.

Let’s see.

I guess this is about it.
I know this is a short post but this is all I have on the top of my head for the time being.

Here’s the streaks…

  • Morning Pages / Meditations – 191
  • #aPicADay – 0
  • 10K steps a day – 0
  • OMAD – 0
  • #noCoffee – 0
  • #noCoke – 103
  • 10 mins of meditation – 0
  • #book2 – 0
  • Killer Boogie – 0
  • Surya Namaskar – 0

210621 – Morning Pages

A ranty post on how it sucks to be a failure. And my inability to do anything about it.

8:23. I am at a Starbucks. After the break of almost 3 days, I wanted to get a head start. And I did not want to be locked in my house for that. So as soon as I woke up, I shat, showered, powdered, put on a nice shirt (really! ask me for pics ;P), and reached the Starbucks.

The coffee has been ordered. The large wooden table has been staked claimed for. The calendar has been fired up. The music has been put on Youtube (I need to find new music that gets me in the zone). And here we are. Typing away to glory. #note2self. Must have clipped the nails before I came here. They’re way too long to type easily.

So the break did me good. I think. I mean for a change, I don’t know remember a single thing that I am working on. I will have to check my Asana and get my colleagues to help me with this. This is a good thing and a bad thing. Good – it allows me to sort of recharge my batteries. Bad – for someone that is so famously obsessed with work all the time, how can I even forget things that I am working on?

Ok, I dont know what else to write about. There are way too many (and too few) thoughts in my head – both work and personal. I feel I am swirling around with the same things for last so many days. May be I need to start a new project? But then I have a million projects in the pipeline that need working. All of those are stuck at various stages (of un-completion — some are yet to be started, some need some action, some are in limbo).

In fact, this is something that I kept thinking about all through the trip over the weekend. Everyone agrees that I have all the raw material that you need to become a runaway success (as defined by societal, social, and economic metrics) and yet I am struggling to even make the ends meet (I do have enough and more work these days but I mean in general. Most times I am worried where would I get the next project from).

I dont know where I lack. I am mostly not lazy. I am very resourceful. I support people without expecting anything in return.

I dont know what I need to change to become better.

Funny thing is, I know EXACTLY what someone else could do to become better at their work. In the sense that I can give them gyaan and point out the flaws in their work, life, approach etc. And I know mostly the inputs I give to people tend to work. They appreciate me for that. But when it comes to helping myself, I am unable to.

I am almost 40 and I still dont know the answer. I am beyond the best years and it’s all downhill from here on. And like I said, I still dont know the answer. I was not born to, you know, do the ordinary (make ends meet, acquire assets, raise a family, etc.). Rather, do more with my time (inspire others, help others make meaning, etc.). May be, I am a mere fool, a dreamer that refuses to believe that his time is gone and all he can do is make peace with whatever shreds are left for him to work with.

Talking of dreams, I remember a real dream from yesterday. Lol, real dream!

I dont recall all the details but here it goes. I was walking around somewhere when I saw a coin on the road. I love when I find money like that. I bend down to pick it up. I see another coin. And another. I pick them up. And then I realize that there are so many coins. I of course pick all those up. I distinctly remember a couple of coins were those tiny 10p coins. See the pic below.

A 10 paisa coin

While I was picking those up, someone comes around and says that all those coins strewed around are his. I tell him that it’s a free world and its finders keepers. And then I tell him that since he claims the coins are his, I will give them back. But I want to keep one of the 10p coins for myself.

Of course other coins are of higher value and leaving a 10p coin on the table probably seems like a bargain to the other person (who I don’t know).

The guy politely allows me to keep that coin. And that’s the end of the dream that I recall.

There are two distinct things about this.

A, I remembered a dream after ages!
B, I typically do not remember these vivid details. You know, a 10 paisa coin and all that. Yesterday I did. So that.

I hope that this dream is a harbinger of greatness that I chase. And if not greatness, then of wealth!

With that, I think, its time to end the post. The day beckons. Here’s streaks…

  • Morning Pages / Meditations – 190
  • #aPicADay – 0
  • 10K steps a day – 0
  • OMAD – 0
  • #noCoffee – 0
  • #noCoke – 102
  • 10 mins of meditation – 0
  • #book2 – 0
  • Killer Boogie – 0
  • Surya Namaskar – 0

PS: One of the solutions to my failures could be to stop wasting time that does not contribute to revenue. In the sense that, I could stop with these morning pages. I could stop helping others. I could stop chasing all those dreams (and focus). But then the things I do right now (morning pages, throwing 100s of darts, etc) are the ones that keep me sane. If I did not have these morning pages, I probably would have gone insane (and I don’t say this lightly). If I did not throw all those darts and focussed on just one thing, I would have been out of work!