060721 – Morning Pages

Personal note about someone that passed away yesterday.

8:15. Starbucks.

Yesterday I lost someone who I considered a mentor, friend, bouncing board, and a father figure.

No, I was not related to him by blood. In fact, for most of my life, I did not know him. I started knowing him only around 2007 (or thereabouts – not sure of the timelines) when I started getting active on Twitter. He was one of the first people that I met IRL and from the first interaction itself, I knew I was going to cling to him for life. And I did. In the sense that every time I needed help, every time I needed inputs, every time I hit the wall, he would be one of those people that I would reach out to. And he would be around. To give counsel. To give consolation. And to most importantly, push me.

He is one of those rare people that believed in my potential. Each time I met him, he would tell me to try and do more in life than what I am. He was the never settle kind. And he knew that I could do more. He was very honest, upfront, and candid with his inputs to me. It was often harsh. I would complain but I would always walk out of the room inspired. Most times I’ve wanted to slack, I would try and imagine how would he react to my underachievements. And that would make me push myself harder. And to do more.

My first book wouldn’t have happened without my interactions with him! Here’s a page from the book.

Acknowledgments page from my first and only book, tnks

Now that I think about it, I think I put his name there to get his validation.

That’s the thing about the relationship between him and me. He was that strict father that would not say a good thing if you do average shit. But he would blast you if you slacked. He wanted you to only do the best. He wanted you to succeed. Be that massive success. I have to confess that since I’ve known him, I have wanted his validation. All the time. Off-topic, the two other people that I seek validation from are SC and sgMS (even though both these are now part of my past). More about these two in another post.

And I failed. All the time. Failed him. Failed myself.

No, we did not talk often.
No, we did not work together.
No, we did not share personal, deeper things.
I know he did not consider me a part of his close circle.

And yet somehow when I heard about him, I felt this massive, inexplicable loss.

Thing is, even though we’ve had the worst two years and have lost countless loved ones, I still don’t know how to process when someone passes away. I don’t know how to explain how I feel in such situations. If I can choose frivolous words, I’d say, it plain sucks.

Of course, I want to believe that I am an HFS and I can move on fast. I now know, I may not be. I am probably pretending. And fooling myself.

Yesterday, right after I heard the news, the first thing I did was to check with his partner. And once I realized it was not a rumor per se, I was dumbfounded. At loss. Of thoughts, words, actions.

No, I did not stop living. After I confirmed, I attended two meetings where I cracked those polite jokes and made small talk that you expect on such calls. I then went for a longish meeting for a film where I thought deeply about things, made jokes, got into an argument, and all that.

Once I was back, once the busyness of the day was over, it hit harder. I tossed and turned in the bed. Sleep was far. Even though no coffee during the day. I wanted to distract myself. I craved for that close someone that I could talk to. But then, what do you talk to them about? Maybe it’s not the conversation but the feeling of togetherness that matters? I don’t know. But I did something stupid. I randomly messaged some women on Instagram. Fucking conduct unbecoming. Need to be stronger than that.

I know he was not family or anything. For a bystander, he and I were just two guys that knew about each other via Twitter. But the bystander doesn’t know that he rooted for me and invested his time and connections in me and my life. He put his reputation at stake for me. He chose me at times when I did not choose myself. He inspired me. He was there for me.

And he’s gone. Poof!

I know this too shall pass.
I know time would heal.
I will be ok soon.

Heart goes out to his family and all the thousands of others who’s lived he had touched. The best thing I can do, in his memory, is to live to the values that he lived by.

The values of hard work, of honesty, of friendship, of being enterprising. Most importantly, of being that kind and selfless person that gives, gives, and gives without expecting anything in return.

I must do more, push harder, realize my potential and make him proud. From wherever he’s seeing me, if he sees me (I am one among thousands of beneficiaries of his kindness), he has to be fucking proud of me. And as Fobu told me a few minutes ago, be that nice stranger that roots for others.

That’s it for the day.

There’s no other reminder of the shortness of life than such moments.
Memento Mori.
Time is short.
Must do things. Now.
Must be nicer to others.
And push myself harder.
And, this too shall pass.

Regular rants tomorrow. Here’s streaks…

  • OMAD – 1
  • #book2 – 0
  • #noCoke – 117
  • #noCoffee – 6
  • #aPicADay – 0
  • Killer Boogie – 0
  • 10K steps a day – 0
  • Surya Namaskar – 0
  • 10 mins of meditation – 0
  • Morning Pages / Meditations – 207

050721 – Morning Pages

Made a tiny change in how I write my morning pages. I am not sure if the output is better but I think I am more at peace. Read on.

8:15 AM. There’s been a change in programming. I woke up at 7. Got ready. Read for a few minutes. I am reading the book on sleep. Thanks, VK. And then I came to a Starbucks and chit-chatted with the staff here. And then got me a Green Tea (see pic here on my alt Insta account). And then I fired up the editor to write the morning pages. And here we are!

So, last evening I had this epiphany, this revelation that I just can not work from a non-office, non-coffee shop place. I mean I knew this for a while now but it got reinforced yesterday as I was struggling to find a good place to work. I even shuttled between houses of friends but to no avail. So here I am. With a big decision. That I will restrict all my work activities to the hours that these establishments open. Which as of today is between 8 AM and 4 PM. Outside of these hours is when I would do all my calls and all that. Let’s see if I can c convince my clients. Oh, and should there be another lockdown, will see what to do about it.

Apart from that for some reason, I am very very calm about all the general fuckery I have experienced in life lately. I mean life’s good. As good as it could be. I am still unhappy, discontent, aching for action and all that. I don’t know how I will find a solution or an answer but I know that as of right now, at 8:38 AM at a Starbucks, I am at peace. The kinds I’ve not felt in a long time. I don’t know what has caused this but must do more of this.

Wait. Maybe it’s the ice cream I ate last night?
Yeah, I did. I was stressed when I was fussing about my inability to work and get things done on time. I even snacked on chips and all that. If I had eaten these things in the eating window, I would’ve been ok. But I ate all these things outside of that. And thus I broke the 4-day OMAD streak. And I did not go for a walk. Or did yoga. The balls still hurt. Two days after I tried to jog 🙁

Wait. I am ok. Let me not cry about it.
Right now, I am in the God Mode and nothing can touch me!

Fuck! God Mode!
Damn, I miss the Q3A days with kAgE where each time I fragged him in a Q3DM6, I would get ecstatic and jump around in joy! In a typical 15-min tourney, I was like an easy bot for him. He could kill me at a whim. He could remember the clock like a robot and knew exactly when Mega Health or the Red Armour would come in. And no, he did not use scripts. He was good. It’s a pity he couldn’t make a career out of competitive gaming.

I miss those simpler days when all we had to worry about was a ping of less than 200. On lucky days we would get a ping of less than 100. We even got the same Internet service provider so that we could be on an extended LAN and play the game more often. Damn those days!

Ok, enough of reminiscencing. Time to move on and get some work done. I only have till about 4 PM today. Actually, not even 4 to be honest. I would be bored of sitting at this place by 1. Or 2. And then I would want to go back, eat something and probably while the time away and crib about how I can’t work from a house. Lol! damn this vicious cycle.

Chalo, time to start working. Here’s the streaks…

  • OMAD – 0. Was stressed about work and thus ate a lot. Even sugar-laden ice-cream.
  • #book2 – 0
  • #noCoke – 116
  • #noCoffee – 5
  • #aPicADay – 0
  • Killer Boogie – 0
  • 10K steps a day – 0
  • Surya Namaskar – 0
  • 10 mins of meditation – 0
  • Morning Pages / Meditations – 206

040721 – Morning Pages

A short rant on how I feel after I went for a walk yesterday.

7:45 AM. I slept at 10. Woke up a few minutes ago. More than 8 hours. I dont think I woke up in the night except to have some water. I have recollections of an epic dream where some battles are being fought and all that. No, I dont remember the specifics. Chalo this is a good thing.

So, yesterday. Lemme do a quick recap. Did some work in the morning. Then ate. In one window of 2 hours. So OMAD! Yay!. Then slept in the afternoon for a couple of hours. That’s what I do if I am at the place where I live. When I can’t go to Starbucks or a friend’s house to work. I see the bed and I am magnetically attracted to it! Sigh! And once I woke up from the siesta, I just couldn’t work. I kept wasting time. Towards the evening I tried to go for a run. Lol. I went out and all I could run jog was for 60 odd seconds! Kaise hoga EBC?

Those 60 seconds were straight from hell. The phone flapped around so much that I felt like a circus artist trying to balance all the weight and the movement of the phone. My balls hurt (damn Hernia). My breath didn’t come back to normal for like, forever. I was literally sucking on the mask and I almost swallowed it! The heat in my toes was unbearable. I eventually had to take the shoes off and walk barefoot. I even had to lie down on the beach and had sand all over me.

Damn!

The saving grace of this 2-minute health experiment is that I found a one-rupee coin on the beach while walking.

I plan to go today as well. Let’s see how it goes. I am thinking I will buy an Apple Watch to track movements and sleep. Just that I am unsure if I would like to have another device. I mean I am ok with an Oura or something similar. But a watch or a band is not my jam 🙁

Anyhow.

So, after the excruciating walk, for some reason, I did not want to come back to an empty house. I put some emo tweets as well. Guess am growing old and in absence of any tangible achievements or things to look up to, I am forced to look at things like relationships and people?

We’d never know the complexity of the human mind 🙁

Moving on.

On the work front, I have a lot to do. To a point that I am so overwhelmed that I don’t even know where to start from. Thing is, most weekdays, I am stuck in meetings that take away energy and motivation. And on the weekends when I want to work, there’s no place to go work from. Damn this lockdown. One way is to lock two days in a week for no meetings, no calls, and just work. You know, Maker-Manager?

Apart from these two, to be honest, I have nothing else on my mind. And it’s not cool. I must have more to life than work. I mean I have always hated the concept of people that define themselves with the work they do! And here I am. Defining myself with the lack of work and options to work out from! Not cool.

Will try and change this over the next few days.
Wish me luck.
This is it for the time being.

Here’s the streaks. Changed the order to make it a little more visually appealing.

  • OMAD – 4
  • #book2 – 0
  • #noCoke – 115
  • #noCoffee – 4
  • #aPicADay – 0
  • Killer Boogie – 0
  • 10K steps a day – 0
  • Surya Namaskar – 0
  • 10 mins of meditation – 0
  • Morning Pages / Meditations – 205

Quarterly Update – AMJ 2021

My quarterly letter to friends, mentors, seniors, co-workers and others about how and what I did in the three months gone by.

This is a letter that I send to some of my mentors, friends, clients, and others that have shown a disproportionate interest in my life. Since I am embracing living in public, here is the unedited letter for everyone to see, read, consume, comment on, etc.

Hello! Hello! I hope this letter finds you well. The second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic was very devastating. I hope you and your loved ones came out safe.

For me, it wasn’t as good as I would’ve wanted it to be. But we shall prevail and continue to move. Ahead.

So, here we go…

Summary

If JFM was a turnaround compared to how 2020 was, AMJ has been about consolidation. Thanks to the work I got in JFM, I have some cash flow happening. And thanks to that, I hired some people across all projects that I support. I even started investing in newer projects. And most importantly, I started saving.

On other things apart from w0rk, during the past three months, I did a month-long cycle of Keto. While I could test my willpower to eat only what the service provider sent, I am not sure if it helped me – I am as fat, as unhealthy as I have always been. This quarter, I plan to add yoga and running. Of course, these things take time to materialize. Maybe the next quarterly update will have some good news!

So without further ago, here is the update.

A. Losses / Shortcomings / Failures

As against the planned goals for 2021 (listed here), here is what I have missed…

  1. No action on #book2. 🙁
    I dont know what to do to help push this. I have done literally everything and I am unable to push. Even the inspiration that I derive from others (in terms of validation from others) doesnt seem to inspire me 🙁
    So that.
  2. I had planned to do a project a month.
    I havent been able to do any. I guess I overestimate myself?
  3. On fitness, I tried Keto but I did not see any benefit. May be I’ll try OMAD all of this quarter? From what I know, OMAD would require a far larger discipline that I have ever mustered. Let’s see.

Apart from these, here are the things that I could’ve done better.

  1. We started doing events and masterclasses with The Podium. That experiement did not do well. However, inspired by that, along with a couple of other people, I have taken a step in the direction of becoming a VC. More on this in a bit.
  2. I am still unable to close windows. Read more about it here.
    There are so many projects that I started that are withering away in various stages of ignoring. Shumbur, WorkInGoa and many more.

B. Wins / Achievements

  1. As we speak, I am on a 200+ days streak of writing every day.
    Yay! Some posts are here.
  2. I continue to ‘live in public’. It translates into my intention of getting my thoughts, actions, and reality in sync. See some posts here. This was one of my goals for the year. I am embracing it and I count that as a win.
  3. On the work front, I continue my work as a brand planner for a digital agency and for cloud-computing tool. Still looking for more work. Till I can evolve into a . Help me find this additional project?
  4. I wanted to start the Marketing Connect Podcast Season 2 but I haven’t been able to. I had to prioritize and focus on work that gives me revenue and a stronger shot at connections.

C. New projects that I am excited about? What do I plan to do in the next 3 months?

As always, I am that kid in the candy store and I keep looking for things to work on. Here are some old / new toys that I am incredibly excited about. Maybe these could be the things that I will ship in AMJ!

  1. The SoG Book. I want to bind some of my best letters into a book that I share with people. For some reason, a finished product delivers a better impact than an ongoing one.
  2. The Investor Thesis podcast. Along with the marketing podcast, I am now working on the investor’s one. I want to learn more about how to make investment decisions as I move beyond what I already know. If you know any VCs, do connect me, please.
  3. The Killer Boogie routine. See this. I am told you can master this in 20 days. I am giving myself a quarter.

Apart from these three large things, I also will also work on the following…

  1. The SoG Grant. The idea is to support creators with a no-strings-attached, microgrant for a project of their choice. More here.
  2. Get active on doing video. All this while I did not want to be on the Internet But I realize that with time, I cannot avoid that. So, why not embrace it? And thus, I will get active on video. Just that the world has had enough and more gyaan on youtube. Who needs yet another person paddling common sense on Youtube? Plus, the production quality is already through the roof – better cameras, tight scripts, slick editing, gaming of algorithms, and all those hidden tricks of the Internet! I don’t think I stand a chance. But that’s the fun. No? Let’s see though how it pans out.
  3. I wanted to raise capital to become a micro VC. The structure in India doesnot allow you that. So I am doing this with the help of LHV. Oh, I may also raise about 5 crores from friends and family to create a micro VC fund to support aspiring entrepreneurs with angel rounds. I am doing this with a couple of friends. In case you have money that you are ok to lose in order to support other entrepreneurs, please do let me know.

D. What help do I need on?

So, apart from the things that I talked about above, there are indeed a few things that I need help on. Here’s a list.

  1. Connect me with the biggest hustler you know of. You know, someone who’s out there seeking work, delivering work, making connections, doing things that are out of their league.
  2. Help me get “meaningful” work and keep me away from a Naukri! In the past, I have worked on events, brand strategy, digital marketing, product, and more. I know this sounds scattered but I do have the requisite expertise and demonstrable experience. Do help me find gigs (freelance please) with businesses that are doing interesting and impactful things. I want to stay away from the run-of-the-mill stuff, please. 

E. Finally, what can I help you with?

If there is anything that I can help you with, please do let me know. I am very handy with marketing, content, the Internet, and more. Plus, I am told I am very resourceful ;). Please DO ASK!

***

So, this is about from the update. Thank you so much for reading this. And your patronage and attention. Means a lot! 

Thank You!
Saurabh Garg
Andheri, Mumbai
4 Jul 2021

PS: Should you want to give me anonymous feedback on this email (or anything else under the sun), please use https://forms.gle/28bVP8DYz2WGdHdp8. And yes, I LOVE not-so-kind, brutal, and honest feedback.

Here are previous updates.
2021 – Annual Goals, Jan-Feb-Mar, Apr-May-Jun
2020 – Annual GoalsJanFeb-MarApr-MayJun-Jul-Aug
2019 – AugSepOctNovDec

030721 – Morning Pages

Rant on how I look, courtesy a glance in the mirror at a friend’s place. And a promise to myself. To do something about it. And fix it.

8:49. Just woke up. Slept at 3 or something. I dont know why I couldn’t sleep even though I haven’t had coffee in three days. I had a lot of green tea (or as Ankita calls it, ghaas ka paani) but I am not sure if that affects the sleep. If it does, I will be forced to stop going to a Starbucks altogether and my productivity will drop to like zero 🙁

Anyhow. Moving with the morning pages. I was at a friend’s place last evening and I saw myself in a full-length mirror. And I was shocked at what I see. Shocked at two things.

A. I realized that I hadn’t seen myself in a mirror in a while. The place where I live doesn’t have a mirror. I mean I have a tiny one in the bathroom but that’s so tiny that all you can see is your face. See this tweet. I also have one in the lift of the building . It is fairly large. I think from waist up. However most times I stand facing away from it. And when I do face it, I am wearing a mask and I am in a hurry.

B. I saw my reflection and found a fat, aged, wrinkled man staring back at me. And no, the guy wasn’t hardened or something. He was just aging faster than what mother nature had planned for him.

To be honest, I was shocked when I saw myself. In my head, I looked better, was better dressed, I “felt” better. But the mirror showed me I had such high perceptions about myself. I am surprised that people allow me to stand next to them in a queue. No wonder at a Starbucks most people avoid sitting next to me. No one makes small talk to me. Damn damn damn.

It’s insane how this world uses shortcuts like physical “beauty” to make perceptual decisions about you. I mean, I understand why they do. We are still hunter-gatherers that are trying to find our way around.

So, I need to get fit. This is like a slap in the face that I needed. The best is that it’s come from no one else but me. You know, like this…

Even he’s got a good mirror to look into while he slaps ;P Damn I love him! Can’t wait to see Toofaan!

Coming back. I need to get fit. I know it has to be tiny gains over a long time if I want to be like Jason Statham. Lol!

I’ve been trying for the last few months (controlling what I eat, trying to sleep better et al). I know I can’t work out. I can’t continue with Yoga unless I have a teacher to go to. Online sessions don’t work for me. I can walk but then I am perpetually short of time with all the work I am on. May be I can start with an extreme calorie deficit? You know, consume only about 1000 calories a day? That can’t be healthy over the long run.

I dont know the answer. I will find one. But I will ensure that I look better. No, I refuse to wear better clothes. I need comfort more than anything else. But I will ensure that I am fitter. At least I can ensure that I am on OMAD. It’s been 3 days now. Last night I was so so so tempted to order in dinner but thankfully I could avoid it. Took immense willpower to do so!

Anyhow. Moving on.

So I decided that I will go to the EBC. In Sep-Oct. At least make an attempt. Come hell or high water (COVID-19 withstanding). Apparently, the success rate is 90%. I could be in that 10% for all you know. Will make the bookings as soon as I get paid for the next gig. Mumbai-Kathmandu-Lukla-EBC and back would be about a lakh and 20 days. I have 2 months to prepare and I start today. Not tomorrow. Not day after. Today. Starting with food and walks (at least).

So, in other news, I have a new play-on-loop track. It’s this. Lovey-dovey mushy piece but I love the beats and rhythm and all that. Give it a listen!

Guess this is for the day. Need to get going. Long day. And even longer tomorrow. Here’s streaks…

  • Morning Pages / Meditations – 204
  • #aPicADay – 0
  • 10K steps a day – 0
  • OMAD – 3
  • #noCoffee – 3
  • #noCoke – 114
  • 10 mins of meditation – 0
  • #book2 – 0
  • Killer Boogie – 0
  • Surya Namaskar – 0