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 πŸ™‚

310821 – Morning Pages

I talk about events as engaging work, wanting to write for a living, minimalism and how India is where the future is and yet me wanting to move out!

7:12. Woke up a few minutes ago. I am a little groggy. Guess it’s the sleeping on the floor ka side effect. Two more nights. And then one night on a train and then a hotel bed. Damn, I miss hotels and their beds. Damn, I miss life as an event manager! I think of all the things I’ve worked on, I was the most engaged when I was doing events. And I have a feeling, if I dive head-on into films, I would be far more engaged than I am when I am on any other project. I enjoy the time I spend while I am writing but then writing doesn’t pay. Damn this world where I need to find money to engage in things I love.

Anyhow. Let’s not get into a rant.

So yesterday was ok. Did some work. Did some time pass. Met a client f2f about 4 months after we started working. It was good fun. Got rogered as well (I am failing as a marketer there). Need to pull socks. But that’s the part and parcel of life. I can’t have all things work smoothly all the time. There would be ups and downs and that’s ok.

Today is a long long day. I need to wear shoes and go to another client’s office. I dont know how that would pan out. I hope I dont get rogered there :D. Then I need to visit the set of the next short film that I am working on. Not that I add any value but it’s the closest that I can get to doing an event. Just that I am the guy who controls things at the event. And at the set, it’s the director.

So that.

Oh, I must log that this trek to EBC is not turning out into a good idea. I have bought way too many things (shoes, clothes, accessories). And while it’s money, it’s also the mental load of owning all those things. I mean I have mentally decided that I will give away the new shoes to the porter that will help me carry my things. And other accessories to travel shops in Nepal. Just that, this effort of buying expensive things and then thinking about them is not cool. I need to become stronger with this resolve of staying a minimalist. And I need to have more money to be able to not worry about spending large sums on one-time purchases and then discarding what I bought. I mean this pair of shoes is probably the most expensive I’ve ever bought (at 8K) and I will just give it away after I wear it for like 5 days! So that.

No, I can’t complain that this is a side effect of minimalism. It’s just that I find it wasteful. And no, there’s no solution.

Ok. What else?

So the other day I was talking to MK about how I want to live and work out of India. And how I am supportive of everyone moving out of here. You know, the political and economic environment. And he told me that maybe I need to rethink this. In the sense that as an entrepreneur and a capitalist, he is of the opinion that the future is in India. I can’t disagree. We are the second-largest domestic market, of people that have more and more discretionary money to spend and on top, aspirations to second to none. So there would be a few years of consumerism. And that means there would be more and more opportunities for people like us. You know, while in the gold rush, make axes? So that. No, I haven’t changed the resolve per se. But when MK talks, I listen carefully. So I need to think more about it. Maybe I would think about it over the next few days.

So I guess this is about it for the day. Short post but this is all that I am thinking about right now. Here’s streaks…

  • OMAD – 0
  • #book2 – 0
  • #noCoke – 173
  • #noCoffee – 16
  • #aPicADay – 0
  • Money spent – 5396
  • Killer Boogie – 0
  • 10K steps a day – 0
  • Surya Namaskar – 0
  • 10 mins of meditation – 0
  • Minimaslism Counter – -2
  • Morning Pages / Meditations – 263

280221 – Morning Pages

A longish post about thoughts on a car, events, friends, relationships and alcohol. Read on.

8:04 AM.

Hello, World! I have a lot to say. I hope I get the words. Though I am tired (physically) and exhausted (mentally), I want to try and pour things that are clouding my head. Most of these would be recurring themes and ideas – this text would be an exercise in finding arguments for and against that narrative. I have often done these brain dumps in the past to let the load off my head and they’ve been helpful. What comes out is more of a blog than anything else, but it is immensely helpful!

Here we go. As always, in no order.

A. I couldn’t publish morning pages yesterday. I knew I wouldn’t be able to. I had a lot happening. But I knew that I could easily write a couple of paras and upload those. But then I couldn’t even do that. I mean I wrote a para and I thought I had published but I realized late last night that I did not hit the publish button. The streak of I don’t know how many days (well over 60 easily) was broken πŸ™ Damn!

B. At Spotlight, the monthly start-up pitch event at The Podium, for the Feb edition, we hosted Roshan Abbas to give feedback to some start-ups. This was the second in the series of such events and the interactions have been so so good. Listening to a brain like Roshan Sir give inputs on startups from relationships, ed-tech was such a learning experience. He said a lot of things that I intuitively knew were right. And he said a lot of things that I think I don’t agree with. Irrespective, I think it was time spent well. Need to somehow scale it and take it to bigger scale.

More than just advice, he was VERY very candid and offered these startups introductions to other angels, HNIs and even people who could work with these startups! This in itself is worth the time spent!

I also must mention that at some level, Roshan Sir is the next step in evolution for me. I mean he is from a communication, events, and marketing background. He has set up multiple companies and has run those parallelly. He has had an exit. He is an angel investor and enabling people to do more with access to capital and connections. He continues to work harder than most of his peers and continues to push himself. Sounds EXACTLY like how I want to live my life! Reminds me of that Kabir couplet…

Sai itna dijiye, jaame kutumb samaay,

main bhookha naa rahoon, sadhu na bhookha jaaye

By Kabir

So that.

C. Event. Last two days, I helped a friend manage a wedding event in Goa. While weddings is new to me and I have only done a handful of these, I realized, I love being on the ground lot more than making presentations. I mean given an option, I would be on the ground, in shorts and tees rather than being in a boardroom with a jacket on.

Since this was one of those events where I was detached from, a few things struck me as an epiphany. Lemme try and talk about those.

1/ This was an intimate wedding with just a handful of guests in the audience, each a friend or family. I loved the joy on their faces and general happiness all around. For once I felt human and I thought maybe a wedding is worth an ordeal only to make your family happy. The other thing is the realization that I’ve never had and will probably never have a group of close-knit friends that I saw yesterday. I’ve always been an outcast, dark-horse, odd-one out. The one that is ignored conveniently and forgotten easily. Even in the romantic relationships I’ve had, I’ve not been the person that got attention. Which is ok. Just that when I see such gangs, I pine for my own. And I don’t know how to fix this. I have done almost everything it takes to be able to make friends but I dont seem to have any left.

Of course I do have people that I can lean on. And have leaned on when the going was tough. It still is. And I continue to lean. But I feel most of my friendship and interactions are transaction-based. More on this some other time.

This tweet by Ajeet Sir caught my eye and I realised that maybe lockdown has made me a tad more detached from people!

No, I dont know how to fix it.

Do I want to fix it? Yes! I would love to have people that care for me as an individual and not as a designation. I need people to empathize with what I am going thru and not just label me as someone that doesn’t return calls. I need to feel loved and not left out of conversations and not taken for granted.

And yes, these expectations are not unfounded. I believe in long-term thinking and reciprocity. I do all these for my people. And in exchange, I don’t expect them to go out of their way to accommodate me. Just a simple, respectful, non-judgemental conversation would do. But I hardly get even that.

And yet…

I think I should title this post ‘rant about unrequited love and friendship of a lonely 38-year old man’.

2/ The entire events industry runs on a very simple sub-contracting model. The end-user of service hires a professional. The professional contracts things to multiple partners, each a specialist into certain trade. The partners further sub-contract it to the service providers. These service providers then use temp staff to get things done. More often than not, the dreams of the client are fulfilled by people that they don’t even know exist. Imagine a mason making a five-star hotel and that very mason being denied entry into the hotel. Imagine a carpenter making the grandest facade for your wedding and he is stopped from even taking a picture of what he created.

From a dream that the client has conjured in their head to the execution that happens on the ground, there’s this well-defined food-chain. And at each step, the respect that that person gets and the money that person makes goes down. To give you perspective, if you are spending 10,000 bucks on an event, the guy who actually puts the flower on the wedding mandap gets paid 10 paisas. Paisa. Not Rupees. From a kitty of 10000 bucks. Of course, there are multiple layers, and the value added at each layer is immense but the guy at the bottom gets paid shit. And worse, gets treated like shit. That level of people are so degraded that they themselves stop believing that they deserve more. If not more, then respect.

The sad part is that the entire industry operates like that. Lower you are on the value chain, worse you are treated. Even by the ones that are just a notch above you.

When you do events and meet people who come from as far as Bihar and Assam and more to work on events in Goa and are paid minimum wages and are treated like shit, your heart goes out and you question things. Of course, you can question all you want to, the answers are non-existent.

3/ Oh, this was one of those rare events where I did not have Diet Coke or Red Bull or even Coffee. What am I becoming?

D. Now that I am talking of vices, lemme talk of alcohol. Yesterday, I saw yet again how alcohol fucks your capability to think. It, of course, makes you lose your inhibitions and makes you do things that un-do-s all that you have worked for. I mean imagine a full-grown man making a fool of himself, in the middle of a party, just because he is drunk!

What’s the point of such “losing inhibition” and “letting your hair down”? I have always struggled to find an answer to this question. To a point that I have sort of given up. I just know that making a fool out of myself, because I am drunk is not for me. I am happy to be a fool in the way I think, the way I operate, the way I work etc. Those foolhardy things allow me to go beyond what I am doing right now. They help me grow as a person. They polish me, you know.

But being unable to walk, puking all over yourself and then “blaming” it on alcohol is not my thing.

I know, I know. I am being super judgemental here. I mean it’s their life and they can do whatever they want to. I get that. I also get that some people may want to feel free. I know that most people do not operate in their natural state on a day-to-day basis and this casual alcoholism helps them find an escape. But then the escape has to be a thing that makes you better. You know, how about you hit a gym if you want to feel the change? Write something? If you want a communal experience, how about you go dance? Join a volunteering organization? I hope you get the drift.

Anyhow. So after the incident last night, I promise that I will not have alcohol ever again. Even if its a very very special occasion. I am trying to stay away from coffee and coke. I shall stick to lime water and coconut water and other such things. Just need to figure out what I would have at a Starbucks ;P

E. For the last couple of days, I rented a car to get around Goa. I had to. You cant manage an event and not have a car that doubles up as your shelter when you are tired, your dumping ground when you have to lug things, your companion where you pile your anguish out. And since this was one of the most unorganized events that I’ve been a part of, I was running around a lot. I would have spent a large part of the day in the car yesterday.

But then, that’s not the point.

The point is a car. I realized my love for cars and roads and navigating and driving and seeing new places. I have to have to have to get one. I have had this dream that the first car I buy would be a Merc. I know I am very far from that with what’s happening at work. But I will make things happen and get to a car this year. #note2self #lifeGoal.

F. Fitness. Lol. I start smiling every time I use this F word. I mean really. Fitness. Lol. I have this note that I wrote to myself in 2012 (almost 10 years ago) where I promised that I will be 30″ by end of that year. I am nowhere close. I want to climb Mt. Everest. And I have a hard time walking 12 steps.

Sigh.

Ok, by mistake I linked to this video from Men of Honor. I am going down that Rabbit Hole where I want to make movies and inspire others. Wait. One thing is clear. Each action I take has to leave others inspired. The realization that Silver lining πŸ˜€

Ok, that’s it for the day, I think. Good to have poured out.

Nothing on #book2. Will start soon.