A Benevolent Dictator

At C4E, I am going to adopt the leadership style of a benevolent dictator and this is my attempt at the rationale.

A few days ago I met this classmate from MDI that I hadn’t met since we passed out of there.

In these 18 years, he’s lost at least 18 KGs and I am guessing made more than 180 million dollars (in USD) as personal wealth. The first two numbers are real. The last number is my best guesstimate.

And thanks to his work, he’s got visibility with some of the most celebrated entrepreneurs from around the world. To the point that he knows many billionaires on a first-name basis. Which is great. But that’s not the point of this post. While talking, he used the term Benevolent Dictator.

And that is what the post is about.

Benevolent Dictator.

Of course, the term sounds fancy.

And it means fancy things as well.

And it looks fancy when looked at from the eyes of Chat GPT.

Back to my friend.

He explained what this term meant to him. And whatever he said made a lot of sense. I came back home and read more about it and I am so inspired by what I read that I am willing to change my leadership style!

If I were to define a benevolent dictator, I would lean on this definition I found online (I missed capturing the source)…

A ‘benevolent dictator’ does what he deems necessary ‘for the greater good’ of the state he rules over, or the nation he specifically belongs to. An ordinary ‘malevolent dictator’ has no such concerns and is only interested on keeping power on his hands for the kicks of it.

Source missing.

How would this awareness change me? What am I so inspired by?

Lemme try and explain and catalogue the changes that I would make in my life.

For starters, I am willing to admit that I am a leader (of at least C4E).

This is a far cry from what I’ve maintained all my life (that I am no leader per se and if at all I am one, I am at best a “servant leader” – a position of responsibility where my job is to support people in doing theirs well). I have never set directions, dictated targets, pushed for deadlines, asked to deliver or did anything that you would expect a typical “leader” to. I’ve worked to build consensus in each decision. I’ve operated from empathy, at the cost of topline and profits. I’ve had people make decisions and I’ve always used Bezos’ disagree and commit. If there’ve been times when I hated the decisions taken by our folks, I’ve remained stoic and told myself that this too shall pass. And it often passes. Now, I probably will get into nuance (in the video, Jeff mentions that he often commits because he’s able to trust others and they’ve been together for years and he’s seen their judgements turn out better etc etc) before I disagree and commit. I am getting too much into details but I hope the thought is clear.

Then, as I read more about benevolent dictators, I realised that almost all progress (good, bad or in between)- human, technological, philosophical, societal, or otherwise – was seeded by dictators.

Lemme lean on history here.

The ones who were not kind pushed and left their people in a mess, a ruin. There are quite a few examples. Hiter is often called a mad dictator. There’s a long list of tyrants. I am not as well-read to have a direct opinion.

The ones who were benevolent took their people to a place of prosperity, peace and progress. Most people agree that Singapore’s Lee Kuan Yew was a benevolent dictator who made Singapore what it is today – a developed, prosperous state. I read on Quora that Marcus Aurelius is also often regarded as a benevolent dictator. Of course, I am a fan of Aurelius and anything and everything he does is worth copying.

The absolute power that these dictators commanded allowed them to make decisions that they would otherwise not be able to make in a democracy where different powers move things in different directions. And in decision is where the progress is. In indecision, there’s only potential. And I believe that any progress, even if it’s in the negative zone, is better than potential. Another example – Steve was a dictator (he might or might now have been benevolent) and he made decisions that made Apple what Apple is.

Now with power and the ability to make decisions, you can either go mad or you can see Pale Blue Dot often and become a benevolent dictator.

So, if I want to create progress in my village, I need to be able to make bold decisions, at the cost of displeasing my people and living with the knowledge of those tough decisions.

This is also important to me at a personal level. Especially if I want C4E and myself to go from a mild success to a wild success.

So, what does ‘SG as a Benevolent Dictator’ mean for C4E?

Benevolent Dictator is made of two words – benevolent and dictator. Each is important. Allow me to write about those and find an answer.

Benevolence is top-down kindness that “rulers” often shower their people on. I dont agree with this idea of benevolence. I am no one to give kindness from top-down. I am one of the people who run the business. And at no point I want to “give” to anyone. My definition of benevolence means shared kindness, equity, freedom, independence, personal liberty and more.

Dictator is someone who has complete control, authority and autonomy to work in the way they deem fit. I like this definition. I want to be responsible for actions at C4E and the output of C4E. All this while, I wasn’t. I was at best one of the folks who would own a part of the output. Now, I will change this.

The dictator has some resources (people and otherwise) and they need to apply their brains, will, persuasion, connections, ideas and all that to get the best possible return. In most cases, the resources are scarce. At least in my case, they are. I need to put them to optimal use!

So, as the Benevolent Dictator at C4E, I need to marshall my resources and take all of us to prosperity. And while I do that I need to keep reminding myself that I am at the service of C4E.

So that.

What would change in how I run C4E?

Lemme start with a lesson that I learnt from Gokul. He envisions CynLr as a platform for opportunity exchange. I would like C4E to be the same. Further, in the words of Rajesh Sir, I want to be like a hose through which prosperity and opportunity flows. I want to give shoulders to people. And no, I do none of these with an altruistic intent. I know that kindness and getting people together is the best strategy for long-term, sustainable profitability and I want to do that.

I believe that at C4E, of all the people on the team, I am best equipped to take on this role and maximise outcomes. Hello, delulu 😀

And the change at C4E? Truth be told, I dont know this yet. These are some broad areas that I am thinking about.

A/ I would start asking for more accountability.
This doesn’t mean people at C4E are not accountable – they are FAR more accountable than an average professional. Just that we tend to slack and take it easy at times. I need to fix that. And that fixing starts with me. I am the one that takes it easy the most.

B/ I would become more assertive.
It may sound stupid but at this time, I am NOT assertive at all. Like I said earlier, I believe in disagree and commit. I from now on will probably disagree, overrule and act. This would be tough, to be honest, but let’s see how this works. I also run the risk of wasting time on managing egos and all that. But let’s see how it pans out.

C/ I will say no to more things
My default state has been hell yes to each thing that I come across. And I want that to remain the case. However, I will ask my people to say no more often. And I will ask them to channelise their energies. I can the be the one that wanders all the time but I will need people to stick to things and take them to conclusion.

What would NOT change?

I know that the one thing that will NOT change at C4E is the freedom that people enjoy to work however they want to, where they want to, with who they want to will not change. This value of freedom is at the very core of what C4E is and I would not change that for anything.

Other things may change. I dont have a thought. I will think more over the next few days and add those here.

Finally, what do I need to be careful about as a benevolent dictator?

Since I’ve read some about benevolent dictators. I have a ready list of things that I need to skirt from. Here in bullets…

  • The lust for power. And the corruption by power. After a point, you tend to enjoy power and you want to enjoy power for power’s sake. I need to keep this at the back of my head that I am merely a servant for C4E who is working as a benevolent dictator to make things happen.
  • The sense of invincibility that comes with power (and control). I need to know that I am human and fallible. I do not want to ever get swayed by the inflated ego that the power would give me.
  • The loss of benevolence. The loss of humility that has made me what I am. If I had to choose between benevolence or dictatorship, I would choose the former.
  • The plundering of gains that I get out of running C4E as a dictator. This would be the most unfortunate outcome. C4E is a village and each thing that at least I earn needs to go to help C4E thrive.

So, that.

Guess this is it. Let’s see how I go from there in my new experiment. More later!

Further reads on Benevolent Dictators…

  1. https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/20130219135706-3807-the-benevolent-dictator-as-ceo/

When I travel…

A reflective piece on how I travel, what is home and what is the meaning of life for Saurabh Garg

I wrote a part of this from an airport (DXB) when I was waiting to take my 27th flight of the year. And this has been a bad year in terms of travel.

Oh, and this one will take me home. Delhi. Where my parents are.

I had always imagined that at heart I would always be a Delhi person but now that I am fairly comfortable in my Andheri West and Ghatkopar West life, I dont know what is home. It’s no longer Delhi. And it’s not Mumbai yet. Apart from my parents, the only family I’ve known is VG’s and even he doesn’t have a base per se – so I dont know what or where is home.

Wait. That’s not the point at this time. Moving on.

The other part of this is being written from a flight. Indigo’s 1908. To Del. And since I have nothing special to do on the flight, I’ve had the time to reflect on how I spent the last 7-10 days in one of the top tourist destinations – Dubai. And an epiphany happened. The way I’ve spent the last few days in Dubai is exactly how I’ve spent my entire life as a tourist (or a traveller).

Read on.

So, I was in Dubai for a week or so. And despite it being a haven for tourists and infinite offers for food, attractions, experiences and whatnot, I did exactly what I would do if I were in Mumbai. I was in the infinite loop of “home to a coffee shop to a client’s facility (office, warehouse, meeting room) to another coffee shop and then to the bed for the night”. I have lived in this loop since 2010 now and I think this is for the first time I am thinking and writing about it.

Lemme elaborate.

So this must be my 10th trip to Dubai since the beginning of time. And I have not gone dune-bashing except for a trip back in 2010. I have not been to the top of Burj. I dont know how Dubai Frame looks from the inside. I can’t remember when was the last time I went for a Desert Safari and saw a Belly Dance or a Tanura Dance. The Museum of Future looks gorgeous from the outside but I dont know what it is like inside. The old Dubai may be like, well, the old Dubai but I have no way of knowing – never been there. I am hoping the Dhow River cruise would be nice on most days. The Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi must be a spectacle. The made-for-tourist things like Yas Island, Ferrari World, F1 tracks and all that must heighten your senses. I have never experienced those.

Similarly, on my maiden trip to Manila earlier this year, I would walk every day from home to a coffee shop, park myself there and do whatever on the laptop. The only time I left the 3 square kilometre area of BGC was to go to the airport and once to a weekend getaway that I was not keen on but VG was. And at that getaway, I sat under a canopy while I saw people frolicking in the water.

For each trip that I have made in the last few years, this would repeat. Hotel. Coffee Shop or the same restaurant. Hotel. Repeat.

The point is, I do NOT do touristy things. I do NOT go to must-visit places. I do NOT indulge in experiences that people travel to the end of the world for. I can’t understand all those people who travelled to Ahmedabad for the India-Pakistan cricket match. Some of my friends have booked a visit to an Ed Sheeran concert for the next year. People I know plan for Diwali parties like we used to schedule classes in school and college – each hour of the day is preallocated and optimised. Reminds me of the fervour participation of people around me at MAMI – people made Excel sheets and all that! For watching some films! I mean really!

Brings me to the point – why do I live? I mean if I am unable to…

  • a, enjoy these experiences,
  • or b, crave for finer things (lately I have decided that I will only buy things when I ABSOLUTELY need them and I would stop wanting all the luxury brands that I’ve wanted (things like Prada sunglasses, Birkenstock chappals, Apple Watches et al))
  • or c, have the wants to attend social dos
  • or d, have any wants that most of us have (gold, sex, legacy)
  • or e, mindlessly consume content on Netflixes of the world
  • or f, have any large personal ambitions for self,
  • or g, have any familial or social attachments

…why am I even alive?

One line of thinking is that I live to be able to become the conductor of opportunity for people that I know – you know, create opportunities for people that I work with – even at my cost. Remember that quote that I often use? Sai itna deejiye?

However, I am unable to answer what drives me. I mean, there’s no end to the opportunity that I can create for people. Today I enable a few people to make ends meet in a respectful, kind manner. Tomorrow, these few could become many. And then those many could become a lot. But it remains a goal without a tangible finish line!

The other line is that I am lost. In the chase of grandiose ambitions and God-like plans, I am lost. And so lost that I am ignoring the very fabric of what makes us human – interactions with others, participation in society, celebrating social constructs and engaging in primal things!

I may be. I may not be. But this is how I am and on a day-to-day basis, I think I am ok. If someone were to ask me about what keeps me up at night, my answer is, nothing! Most days I sleep ok. Some days I want crave for someone special next to me but with time I think I have trained myself to ignore that instinct as well. I couldn’t understand how a lot of Bengali men remained single even when they were old – today I think I can relate to it even though I am unable to put that in words.

Things that people worry about – future, retirement, money, work, health, relationships, I think I am very blessed to found a way to not let those things affect me. I mean I know I dont have any savings, I know that my health is not the best, I know that my parents need my attention, I know that at work, we at C4E could do better, I know I sometimes crave for another human. But overall. I think I am ok.

So, either, I am lost. As lost as a child in the topless bar. Or I have attained Nirvana. And this brings me to the third line of thinking.

The third is that I have somehow attained Nirvana!

I have no needs or wants (except the AC, iPhone, shorts (not pants) and personal space) and I live in the present. I dont think about the past at all and I dont care about the future at all. All I have is this moment and I live in this. Right now, I am in a cramped seat (7D – I always take aisle seats) and writing about the trip to Dubai. I love the idea that I can express myself in a lucid manner and I have some people that listen to me when I talk.

I bring the best of my ability and intention in each interaction. I try and create abundance for everyone. Making movement is an important driver for me. I can not sit idle. I am that man with an axe who’d not breathe till he’s chopped the entire forest down.

While working, at a point in time, I had these rules that I made about the kind of people that I wanted to work with and live with. I was very very very selective about who got access to my inner circle and I was ruthless about who I slowly ejected from it. But I think over time, it’s come to a point where I dont even care about those anymore. Whoever I interact with slots me in a stereotype as per their understanding. I do the same. And as long as a relationship is kind, polite, rational, and win-win, I am okay. The ones that dont play long-term games get filtered out and are best allowed to slip through the crevices of time.

So, that’s that.

Brings me to the next important point.

Why do I travel and what do I do when I do that?

Well, I don’t seek any experiences that tickle any senses (apart from massages, and hitting a runner-runner nuts on a poker table) and that means I could travel each day of the year or I could be cloistered in a city and I would be ok. Wait. This is important. If I am held captive and I am unable to step out of a room, I’ll die. I need to be able to breathe fresh air (hopefully cold), walk around, see other humans going about their lives and augment the dataset on which I’ve built my life. But I am okay to do so in a tiny block or in the world at large. Preferably in the world at large because it will offer me a larger data set and thus more experiences and more lessons.

Also, I like the idea of living like a local. I love to look at people and from a distance, see how they operate, learn, live and all that. I like to experience routine but in new places. I fondly remember the Baristas at the Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf at BGC. I almost became friends with the Barista at the Starbucks at the Marina Promenade. I think about people at the Kabra Starbucks store even though I haven’t been there in more than 10 days and I won’t go back for another 10.

I can call this way of life “living local in a global village” and I think I would love to roam around communities across the world and immerse myself as a local there. In fact, I started this piece with a quip on home. May be I am one of those people that aren’t meant to have a home. May be the nature of my nature to have homes in all the communities that I get to live in?

Of course, I know the flaw in this – my life has largely been spent in privileged communities (MDI Campus, Nahar, Address, DN Nagar etc) and I may not enjoy this local living in a global village If I were to live in harsh places.

So, with the awareness of this privilege, I am grateful that I get to have many homes in many places in the world. I hope I can create more such homes for more such people like me that dont have homes. Maybe this is the purpose that I chase. Maybe this is why I am alive. Maybe.

I guess this is it. If you reached till the end of this piece, please do let me know what you think. Am I ok? Or do I need help :D?

PS: If this has been established that I would live on the road, out of a suitcase, I think I need to be more present in EACH thing I do. While I enjoy doing many things and multi-tasking, I think I will want to live each moment as fully as I can. So, henceforth, I will bring my 100% attention and intention to each task that I do. While I will want to optimise things (say listen to podcasts while I am in transit), for each human interaction, I will give my 100%. If you see me giving any less, do point it out. If you see me checking my phone while talking to someone, please point it out. If you see me replying to emails while running an online meeting, please point it out. If you see me eating and watching TV, please point out.

That’s it! More later!

Consistency vs Intensity

I write about my struggles with consistency. And I write about my ability to work with intensity.

Here’s a razor (I know what a razor is, thanks to a brilliant ebook by S – she has made it available for pay-what-you-like here) – As you know more, you know more about more things that you dont know anything about, let alone more.

Like a few nights ago, I was standing outside a hotel lobby waiting for an event setup to happen (ISTG I love this business of events and I wish I could do large format, large scale setups that need hundreds of people) and I realised (epiphany happened!) that I dont like to do things. And I have never liked it, ever since I was a child. More on this in subnote 1.

But then, I realised, I like to manage things. And managing things essentially means I need to manage the egos and fears and desires of the people whom I work with. And thankfully I am at a place in life where I dont have to “do” things no more. I can get by merely managing! And I think I am good when it comes to understanding people and all that. Let’s park this as A. We would come back to it.

The other thing that I’ve known for a while is that I am unable to do things that need a day-to-day grind and consistency. Things like writing every day (even though I wrote and published for 100-odd days straight while in lockdown), working out every day, running social media pages, staying on top of accounts and numbers (my father at the age of 68 can tell me outstanding balances of scores of suppliers that we work with at C4E and I have a hard time remembering how many people do I work with!) and other things that require consistent, daily grind.

I have really tried hard to maintain streaks and do things on a regular day-to-day basis, and yet, I have failed. I can blame it on my formative years at an events agency where most work was strictly on a project basis and once you were on a project, you could forget everything – you know marathons and sprints? And thus you didn’t have to work on things that needed daily rhythm / cadence. And after a project was over, you had so much downtime that I could write a damn book! Let’s call this B.

Now, if I club A and B (my inability to do things and my inability to do things on a day-to-day basis), I am staring at a very bleak future! I mean, the world nature rewards consistent work over long periods. Intensity gets you only so far. It’s consistent small efforts that compound into an avalanche of magnanimous results!

The funny thing is, I am aware of this. And yet I have not been able to stay consistent. I know I am getting old and health-wise it’s only downhill from here on and yet I don’t work out. I know that to grow my business and reach my ambition, I need to work on my personal brand and yet I refuse to create content every day. I know that I need to see my team do well and yet I am not consistent with my training.

In fact, I’ve gathered an entire folder of images that extol the virtues of consistency over intensity. And yet I am unable to move my ass on it. Here –

So yea. Despite the awareness that I need to over-index on consistency, I am unable to be consistent. Of course, I continue to be very good when it comes to being intensive about work and life and all that!

On consistency, I have tried everything – keeping trackers (that look like minefields with gaping holes in those), making large bets (that I’ve been losing since I was a child), taking help from accountability buddies (that have grown frustrated with me and have abandoned me), calendaring things (that I plainly skip) and what not.

And yet I haven’t been able to do this!

And there are some people that I know that are so good at showing up EVERYday that they are on 1000s of days of streaks of performing tasks. In this TED talk by Duolingo founder, I found that there are 3 million people that have a streak of more than 365 days!

3. MILLION.
365. Days.

Let that sink in.

EACH DAY of the year, some rain, shine, hail, storm, they have done their bit on Duolingo. An app.

WOW! And how!

So yeah that. My struggles with consistency.

Over and out.

PS: Subnote 1
While editing this piece, another epiphany happened.
That on my personal brand, I was doing it all wrong – I was talking about marketing, writing, startups and all that. However, that is not who I am! I am a tinkerer, a mover of things, an experimenter, a trier and all that. I like to do things – often without agendas and thus I need to create / share content about these trials and all that (rather than marketing). More on this in a few days. Meanwhile, over and out 🙂

071121 – Morning Pages

A quick note from how I spent yesterday. It was not the best days per se but I am inspired to make today a better one.

Morning! Straight to the point.

Here’s the journal!

  1. Emoticon: :). Even though I did not get a lot of things done, I was engaged and I was happy. I guess this is cos I met people and talked about work and life.
  2. Mindful Index (on a scale of 10): 1. I am better than zero. And less than 2 of yesterday. I focussed largely on things but I was unable to not context swtich.
  3. Things that I am grateful for
    1. I am able to find things that allow me to create opportunties for myself. This is something that has held be in good stead.
    2. I have access to people that allow me to engage in deep conversations about life and all. I love those. These conversations help me evolve into a better human. I am hoping. And this betterness allows me to help the ones around me do better.
  4. Things that would make my today great
    1. Work. Mr. Garg, you need to buck up, please! There’s a lot open on your plate.
    2. Work. I mean it.
    3. Work. Really.
  5. A daily affirmation.
    I am a superhero and I will save Mr. Garg from drowning into the pile of misery that could potentially fall on his head if he does not work.
  6. Amazing things that happened yesterday? 
    1. I met a client and talked to her about how her podcast can go further. I hope they action it.
    2. Decoding Draupadi took birth. Thanks, PS and CM.
    3. Had these amazing momos at Ladaki at Galleria. You must try em when you are there.
  7. What could have made yesterday better?
    1. I had carbs, late night coffee, wine and I dont know what all. Need to avoid these strictly. I wont be able to control today either – I have a lot to do and I need simulants. Sigh.
    2. While I was checking in the hotel, I lost my shit with the front desk staff. I was tired and all that. I shouldn’t have. #note2self.
  8. Quote for the day
    “Not giving up is the only way to get to where you want to be.” – Harshit

What do I want to add beyond the journal? Quick commentary.

In a broad sense, yesterday was a bad day. I had carbs, coffee, and wine. As a friend quipped, Gurgaon is making me into an alcoholic. So, I am glad this trip is ending soon.

The highlight has to be the epiphany that I am at a place in life where I cant do things by myself. I can only give gyaan and hope others would do things. Along with a few colleagues, I am trying to build up a new idea. On that, the only thing am doing is giving gyaan and I am loving it. The team may hate it but I am on a literal trip. I put in less than 5 minutes a day on it and I can see the ball rolling already. That’s the kind of thing I want to be doing. Guess it’s the age!

The other thing that I want to catalog is that I am no longer taking those copious notes that I was taking till before I left for the Base Camp. Guess I’ve been busy? And no, I dont like this. I dont like not taking notes. I dont want to miss out on things. I want my notes to help me remember things. I want to grab each opportunity. This being busy is great (I am thinking less and executing a lot) but I am not building my repertoire. I need to get back to spending time with my notes / dreams / ideas etc.

Finally, the highlight was that I had a fascinating conversation yesterday with someone about life, age, death, and meaning. I wish I could reproduce it here. In one line, the other person thought I was afraid of dying (I was telling her about my will and my wanting to die the richest man in the world and my Memento Mori wallpaper) and I told her that I am afraid of the uncertainty of the afterlife (if there is one) but I know it is an inevitable end that all of us will have to reach at some point in time. And I told her that death inspires me and tells me that my time is limited and I need to act. Actually must write more on this. Let’s see when I get to do this. Adding to #toWrite list.

Ok enough for the day. Need to get going. Need to crunch a week-long worth of things into one day. Let’s see how I do this. May the force be with me. 

As I end this, here’s the streaks…

  • OMAD – 0. Lol!
  • #book2 – 0
  • NOFAP – 0
  • #noCoke – 4. Yay!
  • #noCoffee – 0
  • #aPicADay – o
  • Daily Journal – 31
  • Money spent – 2999
  • Killer Boogie – 0
  • 10K steps a day – 0
  • Surya Namaskar – 0
  • Daily Mail to #teamSG – 31
  • 10 mins of meditation – 0.
  • Minimaslism Counter – -3 +1.
  • Morning Pages / Meditations – 31

031121 – Morning Pages

I talk about festivals and unreasonable people moving the world and making us humans!

7:49. So, the Diwali cheer is in the air. There is lights all around and it’s a fabulous scene! I am in Gurgaon and the lights are brilliant. To a point that I would have loved to just drive around looking at the gorgeousness that us humans are capable of creating. Of course, one may argue that anything we create would never be as gorgeous as what Mother Nature planned so effortlessly. But still. It was gorgeous to walk around. 

Anyhow. I like when the world outside is decked up like that. I wish the decking up was a year-long affair. Well, not really. Cos if it was decked up all year long, people wouldn’t feel special about the festivals. You know, how you respect and love things and are attracted to the ones that are rare? That! 

Thing is, to me, the meaning of festivals has changed over the years. It was mostly religious when I was young. And then it became an opportunity to meet friends and family and spend time together. Then it became a ritual – you know, a thing in a year that I would do with my family. Something that I know my parents would look up to. I mean I am assuming they looked forward to it. Not sure if they did 😀 Anyhow, Now it has become a time when everyone is on a break and I can use that downtime to think more and do more. I am sure in another few years it would become an occasion to take breaks!

The point is, festivals are lit! And here’s a film that I love AF. Love Actually. It’s a film about love and belonging and seperation and togetherness. Around Christmas, New Year etc. Here’s a song from the film. See it. You know, I often see this and pine to have a love thingy like one of these people. Lol. 

Moving on. 

The highlight of yesterday was that I had this epiphany about being an unreasonable person. So the people I am working on an event with, the owner of that agency is the most polite, humble, good, kind, AND the most unreasonable man ever. 

Let me about his unreasonableness. He is the kinds that will go promise the world to the world. And then deliver. Despite all odds. Anjum Sir said in a class once, “with you, without you or in spite of you”. Anna is like that. If a client wants it, Anna delivers. Inspite of all odds. What’s amazing is not just his ability to deliver things but the fact that he’s got a team of people that can move the mountains to ensure that whatever Anna has committed is done. Come what may. 

That is the thing. Unreasonable man. A team that is dying to deliver what the unreasonable man wants. Each of you needs to become unreasonable in your expectations. Each of you needs to find people that you will give an arm and a leg to deliver what you want. And not in an authoritative, abusive, bossy way. But in a way that everyone is aligned to deliver on that. Everyone understands that the magician, the unreasonable is being that not because he is like that but the unreasonableness helps me create opportunities, reputation, and a virtuous circle that elevates everyone! 

So that. Here’s a question. Who is the most unreasonable person that you know of? Tell me more about him / her. 

And here’s the journal!

  1. Emoticon: :). Was an ok day. I juggled multiple things at work. I managed them quite ok, I guess. I went out for a dinner with some colleagues I am on a project with. Met a friend for wine and all. In all, a nice day. Could do with more such days.
  2. Mindful Index (on a scale of 10): 0. I did a 10-minute session of Headspace but I am still not being in the zone.
  3. Things that I am grateful for
    1. People generally tend to like me, trust me. I am grateful that I give out such vibes.
  4. Things that would make my today great
    1. Work :D. I have a few things open at work and today most clients will not be working. So I will have some peace with it.
  5. A daily affirmation.
    I am an unreasonbale man and I take shots that are out of my league. And once in a while, I hit those. And it’s pretty amazing when that happens.
  6. Amazing things that happened yesterday? 
    Can’t think of anything specific. It was in general a good day!
  7. What could have made yesterday better?
    1. I got late when I had to meet a friend. I should have been on time. I hate it when I am late.
  8. Quote for the day
    “It is the unreasonable man that is responsible for all the progress we’ve made as humans.”

Here’s the streaks…

  • OMAD – 0
  • #book2 – 0
  • NOFAP – 0
  • #noCoke – 0
  • #noCoffee – 0
  • #aPicADay – o
  • Daily Journal – 27
  • Money spent – 4148
  • Killer Boogie – 0
  • 10K steps a day – 0
  • Surya Namaskar – 0
  • Daily Mail to #teamSG – 27
  • 10 mins of meditation – 0
  • Minimaslism Counter – -3 +1.
  • Morning Pages / Meditations – 27

311021 – Morning Pages

Finally a 1000+ word post on morning pages. Dumped all that was on my head. And loved it!

7:14. Up a few minutes ago. Did not sleep well at all. Was up till 2 browsing random timelines. Right now I am groggy but I am ok. I mean I will have some water and I would be back to being awesome. So that.

While writing the title of the post, I realized that October is over. And 2021 is almost over. This brings about a few thoughts in my head. Lemme write about those.

A. Time flies! Fast as fuck. And you cant control it. Must not waste a single minute. Need to get back the mojo where I would make myself accountable for each minute. The last few months have been, well, interesting (good and bad). Need to become a master of time.

B. Need to start planning for #in2022. I would be 40 in 2022 and I had hoped I would be financially independent by then. I am far from it. I had hoped I would have 6-packs by then. I have one large one that can compete with a sack of potatoes. I had imagined I would have a personal brand. Right now, I have none.

Plus I need to admit that of all the lofty goals I write for myself on paper each year, I hardly get any of those. I mean I do take actions and steps but I am unable to close on those. Maybe this year I will change that?

C. Need to plan where would I go and live after November. I have a Goa trip planned towards the end of the year with VG. So maybe somewhere in / around that. To save on commute and travel and all that. Any ideas? I dont want to be in Mumbai, to be honest. I mean I can be but I would rather be in a new city. Pune? Alibaug? Panchgani? Vashi for that matter? Thane? Ahmedabad? Let’s see. All I need is fast internet and a private room. Rest I can manage. And to be honest, I am liking this rootlessness, nomadness.

Oh, after this rant, I must admit that yesterday and the day before were pretty awesome. In terms of money. Got paid by a client that had held back my money. Got paid by a client that I did not expect to get paid by. Got paid a day earlier by another client. Plus yesterday I paid back one of the people that I owed money to. All in all, it was a great day for money. I need to have many more days like that. Come on, universe!

Chalo, enough. Loved that I could write at peace. And could dump a lot that was on my head.

Here’s the journal.

  1. Emoticon: :|.
  2. Mindful Index (on a scale of 10): 0. I continue to remain VERY distracted. I will do a 10-minute meditation session for sure.
  3. Things that I am grateful for
    1. I love the taste of water and I can sip onto it for hours.
    2. I have enough resources to be able to feed my fancies. Lol, fancies. I meant whims and quirks. And here’s the thing. #epiphany just happened. This time that I spend writing morning pages? I can see a visible change in my mood. I am a lot more cheerful than what I was when I woke up. There IS merit in dumping thoughts in your head on paper. Or a blog.
    3. I can tolerate cold more than an average human being. And this allows me to enjoy winters than others. And I love it. Of course the flip side is that I am the most troubled when its summers (like 11.5 months in a year). But the 15 days, OMG! Love em!
  4. Things that would make my today great
    1. If I can ship out the letter to bade log, it would be awesome.
    2. I have 2 social engagements planned today. One each for lunch and dinner. If I can eat low-card while I am there and can avoid coke / coffee, it would be awesome!
  5. A daily affirmation.
    The universe rewards for all the movement I create, even if the reward comes to me later than expected. Like it happened yesterday.
  6. Amazing things that happened yesterday? 
    1. I could avoid Diet Coke. I did eat a lot and I did have coffee. But I could avoid the temptation to have Coke. I think it is because I removed the option to have coke. I did not get it stocked. And I replaced it with other things.
    2. I could speak to AS and CM about how I want to engage with them. Let’s see how that pans out. I will get to know by end of November. This is important from both work and non-work perspective. I care for these people and I want to see them do well. Plus I am attaching my success to theirs. So, if we win, everyone wins!
    3. I got a lot of money to come me in the last few days. This was of course for work that I have done over the last few months. But when it hit the account in one go, it was pretty amazing.
  7. What could have made yesterday better?
    1. Food. I could’ve ate less! Thing is, if I can stop eating like a mad man, I can fucking conquer the world!
    2. Work. I wish I could do more. I did do a few things that I was supposed to work on but I know I could have used my time better. I could have optimised it and not get distracted.
  8. Quote for the day
    “You are your biggest responsibility. Do not shy away from it. Take control. Get out of the slumber.”

Here’s the streaks…

  • OMAD – 0
  • #book2 – 0
  • NOFAP – 0
  • #noCoke – 2
  • #noCoffee – 0. Had quite a few. To a point that I could not sleep.
  • #aPicADay – o. I did post a pic however. Here.
  • Daily Journal – 24
  • Money spent – 2632
  • Killer Boogie – 0
  • 10K steps a day – 0
  • Surya Namaskar – 0
  • Daily Mail to #teamSG – 24
  • 10 mins of meditation – 0
  • Minimaslism Counter – -3 +1.
  • Morning Pages / Meditations – 24

291021 – Morning Pages

A lazy morning page post. Despite spending an hour or so on this, I dont have a lot to write. Sigh!

7:08. Home. Finally here after a week or so.

The highlight of yesterday would be that I was on a set. And the epiphany, the realization that I love love love being on a set. It is where I feel alive. It is where I am the most engaged. I may be good with content, writing, etc, but I really really love being on a live set – an event, a film, a play. Something where people get together to deliver something that would make the world lose a sense of time and misery that they are typically engulfed in! I have to find a way to be on more sets more often!

Lemme dive into the journal. I dont know what to write the journal allows me to think in a structured manner. Here’s the journal.

  1. Emoticon: :|.
  2. Mindful Index (on a scale of 10): 0. Again, I am unable to focus on anything for more than a few seconds. That too has become a task. I think once this madness is over, I would work on this. If it requires me to take drastic steps, will do so.
  3. Things that I am grateful for
    1. I have a home to come back to where I can be myself. A place where I can sprawl on the bed, make a mess and sleep wherever I want to and there is no one who’d bug me. This concept of personal space is very very important. It’s been a few years since I have had a good one. I need to work towards getting to it again. At least right now, I am grateful that my parents worked hard to get this place.
    2. Music. Not mine. But in general. I find great solace in music. When I am mindfucked, music is one of those things that I can escape to. Like right now, I am listening to this one. The other thing that I lean on when I am mindfucked is driving. Need to be able to get a car.
  4. Things that would make my today great
    1. If I can finish some of the open tasks, especially for the clients that pay me, it would be great.
    2. If I can avoid food till 4 PM, it would be great. I am home and it would be tough to do so. Let’s see. The good part is that I will definitely be able to avoid Coke and Coffee. So that should be great.
  5. A daily affirmation.
    I have enough money in the bank to take care of myself and my people. It is enough to nudge all of us closer to our respective dreams and wishes.
  6. Amazing things that happened yesterday? 
    1. I was a set. I realised that it’s the best damn experience. To the extent that I feel alive, engaged and in the moment. Time flies and I dont even know where it went. I think I must do whatever it takes to get closer and closer to being on a set. Help me, universe!
  7. What could have made yesterday better?
    1. I had decided that I would not eat till 4. I did not eat till 2. And then I gave up. If I did not give up for 2 more hours, it would be awesome. It was a start nonetheless. Today, I will try it again. The last meal was I think around 11 last night. Today, let’s see if I can eat at around 4.
    2. I had way too much coke and coffee. I need to avoid these two things.
    3. If I did not leave my shoes behind in the cab I took to come home, it would have been nice. I hate when I am careless and leave things behind. I will try to get those shoes back. Let’s see.
  8. Quote for the day
    “Hope is a good thing, may be the best of the things. And good thing never dies.” – Andy, Shawshank Redemption.

Here’s the streaks…

  • OMAD – 0
  • #book2 – 0
  • NOFAP – 0
  • #noCoke – 0.
  • #noCoffee – 0.
  • #aPicADay – 0. Missed posting one yesterday. Will restart from today on.
  • Daily Journal – 22
  • Money spent – 4288
  • Killer Boogie – 0
  • 10K steps a day – 0
  • Surya Namaskar – 0
  • Daily Mail to #teamSG – 22
  • 10 mins of meditation – 0
  • Minimaslism Counter – -3 +1.
  • Morning Pages / Meditations – 22

161021 – Morning Pages

A rambling post talking about things I am thinking about this Saturday morning. A lot of it is work. Need to get it out of the way.

7:17. Home.

The screen time across devices has reached a pandemic level. I am spending more than 18 hours on the phone and the laptop. I need to control it. I am literally addicted to social networking websites and I am scrolling those feeds without thinking. I am not even registering what I am seeing. I am merely moving. I am constantly checking even when I am engaged in other things. Need to get away from that.

Yesterday was good. I met one of the people I care for. I spoke to two more that I care for. And I met the friend that I literally grew up with. Drove around the town (realized how much I love driving) with him and talked about what he could do (realized how much I love thinking about work). Or what we could do together. We went to Theo’s and ate. Realised how much I love good cafes and getting out of the house even though I dont like the food. The concept of someone serving you and you being able to sit and all that is nice. I love them. If you are in Noida and want to eat good continental food or baked things, you have to go eat at Theo’s. At Theo’s I even had Diet Coke but that’s ok. It’s from the next week that I plan to get into action. So that’s cool.

#epiphany just happened. Maybe I dont like spending time at home because I dont have things that bind me at home. You know, relationships. People. Etc. Or may be I dont have the kind of space that I want – physical or personal. Maybe this is why I love the idea of moving from one place to another. Maybe this is why I hate indoors? Need to think.

In other things, saw this tweet where Visa (love this guy’s work and thoughts) says that Morgan wrote 3000+ articles before he became the phenomenal writer of Psychology of Money. This has reaffirmed my view on quantity vs quality debate. I need to double down on the output and continue writing. I mean I want to make a life as a content creator. I have merely written like 3 pieces and I am hoping to be famous. How dare I? Need to write a 100 pieces to start with. And then a 1000. And then ask the question to God, the Universe or whatever about success and failure.

So that!

I guess this is it. Oh, must log that I couldn’t get sleep last night for some reason. I was up till 3ish. Need to fix this.

Here’s the journal.

  1. Emoticon: 🙂
    Right now I am ok. I have just woken up and I am little tired and groggy (was up till 3 AM). Need to get back to better sleep and a better state of mind. I think if I stop being on so many devices all the time, it would be better.
  2. Mindful Index (on a scale of 10): 0.
    Literally 0. Distracted all the time. Need to find a solution.
  3. Things that I am grateful for
    1. So many people put their faith in me. I am grateful that I have them around. It gives meaning to my life.
  4. Things that would make my today great
    1. Work. I have been stalling it this entire week. And this is the week after the trek. I should’ve done a lot to be honest. But I did not. I need to ship a lot of things. Must work hard today.
    2. Better food. I need to be mindful of what I eat. Today on, I will get onto OMAD. Haven’t done it in a while. Will be tough. Let’s see if I can manage.
  5. A daily affirmation
    I am a super hero and I can get things done at a snap of my fingers. I will show how cool I am and will get things done.
  6. Amazing things that happened yesterday? 
    1. Met Monu. Spoke to people from #teamSG.
    2. I drove a car after a while. I realised that I love it so so much that it’s not funny.
  7. What could have made yesterday better?
    1. If I could’ve avoided Diet Coke, I wouldn’t have broken the streak.
    2. I wish I found the time to get some work done. It’s just playing too much on my mind. And if it’s wrecking such havoc on how I think and I am living, I need to find a way out. It is not worth taking all this stress. #note2self.
    3. If I could have slept on time, it would have been nice.
  8. Quote for the day
    “In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice. In practice, there is.” – Yogi Berra

PS: I could only write one thing that I am grateful for. I need to ensure that each day I force myself to think of three things.

PPS: I also need to avoid repetition. I wrote about a thing and then I am repeating it in the journal. I need to find a way to not waste words.

And here’s the streaks…

  • OMAD – 0
  • #book2 – 0
  • NOFAP – 0
  • #noCoke – 0. Had one Diet Coke yesterday.
  • #noCoffee – 2
  • #aPicADay – 8. I am yet to post today’s. I plan to take a new one. So if I post today, I will make the streak 9. If I dont, I am back to 0.
  • Daily Journal – 9
  • Money spent – 6361. I am back to tracking it rigourously. Ergo.
  • Killer Boogie – 0
  • 10K steps a day – 0
  • Surya Namaskar – 0
  • Daily Mail to #teamSG – 9
  • 10 mins of meditation – 0
  • Minimaslism Counter – -3 +1.
  • Morning Pages / Meditations – 9

240721 – Morning Pages

Thoda sad post. Maybe very sad. Read with caution. Please dismiss this as a rant of a sad man.

6:18. All the good work that I did in the first 4 days (3 actually, if I ignore the break) went to the gutter yesterday. I had a day where I was so buried in work that I did not get to make health the priority. I was working till late and then I ate carbs after 10 PM. I did not go for a walk. I did not do pushups. I did walk up to my house. I did nothing that would make me proud. I even wasted time on Chess and twitter (I stay away but did browse the website) and other such websites. Even though I spoke to V, I still am as spaced. I have absolutely no clue what to do about this instability in the head and this randomness that I am afflicted with!

Anyhow. I will try and pick up from where I left. Let’s see.

I have a lot to do on the work front. I plan to spend the day at the airport Starbucks, you know the one that’s open on the weekends. I plan to carry my shoes when I go and then on the way back, I plan to walk back. Let’s see if I can.

Even on the projects front, there are quite a few things open. Need to work on those. Hope I get those done.

Here’s a thought that just dawned on me while I was writing this. I think I am burying myself with work and random things to escape from things that are clouding my head and heart. I am sort of running away. From the house I live in. From the relationships I have. From the current life I live.

Thing is, I’ve always ran. Away. Metaphorically. And always to an unknown place. Of course, I can’t get away from a lot of things, some people are now part of me forever. Some things now have come to define me. Some relationships are as important to me as breathing is. In fact, this burying into non-stop work is probably my way to cope with whatever is happening with me on the inside.

I think I need to get stronger in my head. I also think I need to get away once again. Probably go live in a place where I don’t know anyone and there are no chances of any encounters with anyone I know. I tried that with Goa last year. No, it did not help. May be a move to another country? Lol. Or maybe I should just quit everything I am working on and go become a taxi driver or something. And read with whatever little time I get on the side.

I actually don’t know. Thoda muddled hai. I think I will let the thought stay in my head and maybe the answer will pop up. I just need to ensure that I, as Joseph Campbell said, follow my bliss. Maybe this struggle to stay sane and stay focussed and stay on the path is the reward in itself? Maybe this life where I continue to strive to look at larger things is the very reward that my life will get? And now that I already have, why bother seeking affirmations and validation from others?

Kind of dark.

Ok, an epiphany happened. While showering. Funny how many good ideas come in when I am in the shower. Funnier how little time I spend in the shower. Must take longer baths. Anyhow. So epiphany. I was thinking about the email that I want to send to Anjum Sir about Toofan. While I was thinking about it, I wanted to be polite when I ask him questions. I realized that may be, just may be, I know more than him? Of course, I am being a mere critic. And I am assuming that he had control over the script even after the production started. So this is when I realized that may be my destiny, my bliss is not in actually doing things but enabling others to do. You know, like Anjum sir. Like Drona. Like Mickey. Like other such illustrious teachers.

May be I was sent here to enable others.

And not that I haven’t tried to be that coach to others. I have in the past work with countless people as a friend, coach, mentor, etc. And with a few more with deeper engagement with projects like TRS, PPP, GP, and more.

Clearly, I have been ineffective with those. I mean none of those is a roaring success. They do ok but none of those has gone on to become an Arjuna or anything. They remain far from self-sustenance. I am glad they don’t need my intervention on a day-to-day basis but if I stop the funding, they will probably die.

I know that in a few years, they would be really big in terms of their impact and reach and money and all that. I hope I am there when that happens. They are literally my life’s work. The people that work on these are like my children. My babies, my creations. Instead of bearing kids with my DNA, I have given these all that I have. And more. More than I’d probably give to any other offspring in the future. Even M. Guess I am done with it. For the time being. Till something shakes me.

And no, I am not taking credit for their success. If they fail, I am indeed responsible but if they succeed, it would be an outcome of their hard work. aNd I know each of them will become large roaring successes. I hope soon. If not soon, then I know, in a few years. These things take time.

Ok, I digressed.

The point was, maybe my bliss, my raison d’etre is not making it big. But helping others make big. Maybe I need to accept that I will live in anonymity and poverty and I will help others make money. Maybe with this awareness, I need to change how I think, how I imagine, how I plan, how I evaluate myself, and how I work?

May be.

Let this mince around in my head for a few days.

Here’s the streaks though.

  • OMAD – 0. Ate like a pig yesterday 🙁
  • #book2 – 0
  • #noCoke – 135
  • #noCoffee – 4
  • #aPicADay – 0
  • Killer Boogie – 0
  • 10K steps a day – 0. Walked literally 0 steps yesterday.
  • Surya Namaskar – 0
  • 10 mins of meditation – 0
  • Minimaslism Counter – -1
  • Morning Pages / Meditations – 225

120721 – Morning Pages

While talking to a friend last night, epiphany happened. And here’s a record of that.

6:20. Woke up a few minutes ago. I feel ok. Not as full of energy as I would want to be. But then, not drowsy either. It’s fascinating to see bodily functions come to life. On today’s agenda, before anything else (and after these morning pages) is Surya Namaskars. And if all goes well, 10K steps, at least. And unless I am running late, I am not taking lifts for up to 10 stories.

Today’s gonna be a busy day. A lot needs to be done. And most things were to be done as of yesterday. So, a busy day indeed!

Yesterday, they released information about a film based on Navrasa. The film is an anthology of stories, being made by Maniratnam. And that means it will be a great piece of cinema to watch. And that means people would be more aware of the concept from here on. And that means that my book2 will always be considered inspired by this. While I am ok with the comparison and all that, the lesson for me is that I need to do things fast. Soon. Even if I am not prepared.

In fact, I was having another conversation with someone about something similar. I was talking about how as an artist it is important to ship your work — books, paintings, poems, etc. And to be able to ship, you MUST seek whatever help you can get access to. I mean if you write, get an editor. If you paint, you must get apprentices to help you visualize. I believe that the lone genius needs an army of believers to enable the creation to come out. I can give many anecdotal pieces of evidence to support this. The point is, I needed to get the second book out in 2015. The first half of 2021 is over and even after 6 and half years, I am far from any sort of shipping. So that.

Anyhow. Let’s see when the book happens.

So, while chatting with SNR about work and life, I said something interesting. This is the first time I’ve said that out loud. In fact, it’s the first time I even thought about it – consciously or subconsciously. I actually said two things.

A, I like the idea of project business. You know, where you have a lot of work for some time. And then you have long periods of no-work time. I then said the second and more important thing.

B, Which is that I would thus love to be in the films business. When I am working on a film, I will have nothing else to work on and will be so busy that it’s not funny. And when I am not on a film, I will have such a large amount of idle time that I can while it away by reading, learning, reflecting, and all that.

And then I said something that was even a revelation to me. I said that over the next two years, I want to make enough and save money to be able to pay off the debt. And then save some more to last me two years. And in those two years, I will jump head-first into filmmaking. I will use the savings to pick up whatever work I can get and learn like an apprentice and then see where things lead me. So that!

I did not know that I wanted to make films this bad. That I am willing to let go of all that I have to be able to be part of the films business. May be it’s not the films per se but the lust to control how I spend my time!

So that. I dont know if I’d be able to do this in the next two years. Only time will tell. Let’s see where it goes.

So yeah. That. There are more things I can write about but that was the major epiphany that happened over the weekend. Guess it could happen because I didn’t do anything important or substantial over the last two to three days.

Other insignificant things that are worth noting are…

  1. Eating like a pig. Out of famine. Not cool. Today, I will try to fast. And if not that, OMAD for sure. And even with OMAD, will pick food that has less carbs.
  2. Slacking with work. To a point that I will probably get fired. So need to change that.
  3. Not using my time better. While there is a calendar that I use per se, I need to get attached to it so much that I don’t do anything that is not on my calendar.

Guess that’s about it. Can’t think of the 4th 😀

Need to get on with the day. And some Surya Namaskars to start with the day. Let’s see if I can do 12 😀 Update. I did 12. With this as a companion video!

And, as I start my day, here’s streaks.

  • OMAD – 0
  • #book2 – 0
  • #noCoke – 123
  • #noCoffee – 12
  • #aPicADay – 0
  • Killer Boogie – 0
  • 10K steps a day – 0
  • Surya Namaskar – 0. Even though I did today, will add to streak from tomorrow.
  • 10 mins of meditation – 0
  • Morning Pages / Meditations – 213