210321 – Morning Pages

A longish rant on things that are fucking with my head. You may want to skip. You’ve been warned.

8:21. Starbucks, Versova.

This will be a rant. I guess a long one at that. Let’s see when I get around to writing it. The next engagement is at 1030 so I have plenty of time. Please bear. Skip if you have to. Shit’s happening around me and I need to talk to someone and there’s no one but this blog. Of course no specifics here. Will talk in as broad strokes as I can. I am listening to this on loop as I write this.

Lemme start with a simple metaphor that someone once told me (I think it was Hemant). He said think of a giant, spacious room bang in the middle of the city, next to a busy road. The room has floor-to-ceiling windows that give you an expansive view of the world outside. You can open those windows in the mornings to let the sunlight and the fresh morning air come in and make the place a pleasant one. But, if you forget to close those windows during the day, the freshness and the morning cheer will get replaced by the incessant honking of the traffic, dust, and grime from the world out there and may be some stench, some stink from the world beyond your house. Would you as a logical person, not close these windows when it starts getting noisy?

That!

I need to start closing the windows to my life and brain. Lemme elaborate. Thing is, I think of so many ideas, things, businesses, impact areas, and whatnot that are so forward-looking that it takes forever for those to reach a conclusion. Like it would happen with almost anything, with time, some most of those fall along the way (plenty of reasons – I am unable to keep up, the people I work with realizing that I am not the best partner, the timing is not right, I lose steam, I find a shinier object, shit happens, etc etc.). As a result, I often fail to close those loops. And thus, the metaphorical windows to my brain are left often. And instead of helping my brain get fresh air, I am left with the noise and dust. The windows need closing!

You know, I have often thought about myself being that person that had immense potential to do things that could change the world but I feel that I am not living upto that with what I do. I merely hop from one thing to another and along the way I leave behind unfinished projects, half-baked ideas and unfulfilled promises to the world, friends, connections and myself. When I die (which I hope is not before I am 120), I would probably look like that sculptor that has a million unfinished pieces in his repertoire, each with a potential of becoming a David. It would be such a crime that I would waste all the potential. Assuming I have the potential.

I mean I can focus on one thing, one statue that goes onto outshine David and others of the ilk but my magic, my method, the madness comes from trying new things, new experiences, talking to new people, seeding new ideas, seeing new possibilities, and well, chasing the new shiny toy. Lol, the number of times I used “new” in that sentence has to be a world record of sorts.

So, I dont want to stop creating new things, opening new doors. After all, each thing I have in life is a result of all the million shots that I take without any purpose or anything. So that’s not stopping.

What I will do is try and close each loop window that I open in a predictable amount of time. Or once I reach some sort of conclusion. Or when I know the time has come to move on (which is tough to know to be honest). But I will close for sure. I think I have written about this earlier as well on one of the SoGs (I think). Let’s see if I find a link when I come around to editing this. Can’t find.

Also, while I will close all the new loops, new projects, new ideas and all that going forward, I know I cant roll back time to undo all that I should’ve done. I’ll see which ones I can. Even if they aren’t that many.

This is also a good time to tell myself to revisit Dr. Peterson’s 12 Rules for Life, a book that has been like a ‘bible of life’ of sorts for me. The funny thing is that a lot of intelligent, aware, educated people don’t agree with him. But to me, he makes immense sense and everytime I read it, I take away a life lesson from it.

The antidote to the shit in head, I think the rule that is most pertinent is about setting my own house in order before I try and change the world.

I mean I do want to change the world and each thing I do is from that lens but since I am unable to close the ideas, the loops and other things, I am unable to make even an iota of dent.

I think this is about it. No, I am not any lighter since I started writing this. But I do know that I have vented out and I can move onto the next things. Like Dr. Peterson says in Rule 6, I need to take responsibility for the misery that has been inflicted upon me by my actions / inactions. Here on, I shall take responsibility and put the house in order. I have to play a role in helping the world become better.

Ok enough. Time to get on with the day. Here’s streaks.

  • Morning Pages – 99
  • #aPicADay – 80
  • 10K steps a day – 1. The monthly average is 9K steps. I’ll see if I can take this up to 10K by the time month ends.
  • OMAD – 0 (stress ate ice-cream late night). Trying to fast today. Though I am tempted to stuff myself with food.
  • #noCoffee – 11
  • #noCoke – 11
  • 10 mins of meditation – 0
  • #book2 – 0

Over and out.

300121 – Morning Pages

I talk about some large decision I am hoping to make with life and all in the next few days. Long rant. Read at peril.

7:02

I’ve been up for a bit. Have a lot on my mind. Have a lot to do as well. Lemme start writing and see where we go.

So, yesterday was big. I took another debt. To make ends meet. To pay a handful of young people that work with me. To keep the lights on at those projects that I hope someday would become large beacons of great work. And on the other side, one of those projects is putting three startups in front of an investor, for a shot at investments. Ironical? Nah. By design? Nah. Poetic? Yes, I guess.

I mean here I am. Taking a loan to run those pieces and using those as vehicles to make others rich, famous, and better known. All in hopes that someday they would be big enough that they would start paying me back. You know, delayed gratification. The Marshmallow Experiment. Hoping to let go of the fun and comfort and joy of today. To hopefully enjoy it tomorrow. What if there’s no tomorrow? Damn!

Anyhow. So the large decision is that if I am forced to take another loan at the end of Feb, I would give up on this staying independent thingy and warp up everything that I am personally working on and take the first Naukri that comes my way, even if it pays me shit. As a vocal advocate of self-employment and not letting someone else command your time, I will bite the dist and stop advocating independence. I will stop virtue signaling. I will relook at the way I live life and the pseudo-krantikaari thoughts that I have. I poker parlance, I’d fold.

Talking of kranti, I am a tad more well-read about the farmer’s protest now. I spend a large part of yesterday reading about it. Of course, I read opinion pieces and perspectives of people from both sides – farmers and government. And I am now leaning towards the farmers. No, I am not saying that the new farm laws need to be repelled (I am still reading about those laws) but I have come to a conclusion that the way the government is handling the issue? That is not right.

I saw this video where Yogendra Yadav is literally in tears as he talks about how the movement was derailed. And I sympathize with him. He and other farmer leaders have called for a one-day fast and I support them. In solidarity, I will keep a fast as well.

Of course, this is a symbolic gesture and amounts to nothing. Armchair activism. Tokenism. But that’s the least I can do. And since I had this huge-ass Vegetarian Thali at 11:30 last night, I will fast both today and tomorrow. Penance. For my unawareness of the issue. Let’s see if I hold up.

I also saw this video yesterday, thanks to Parijat. The comedian, Punit Punia talks about how the middle-class is anything but that. There’s a part of about 30 seconds that leaves you dumb-founded and sucks the air out of your gut. Do see it. It’s just sickening the way we are.

Here it is. Do NOT miss it. Please. Lemme know how you feel after you’ve seen it.

I also had this longish chat with SG2 yesterday about life and all that. She asked me if I’ve seen my confidence go down in the last 2 or so years. I had to think hard and I don’t know the answer. I feel as if my confidence levels have remained the same but my self-image has probably taken a dent. Lemme explain (this is exactly how I explained to her :D).

So even though I am staring down a barrel, I am fairly confident that I will get acche din at some point in time in life. You know, this too shall pass. This means I will have all that I seek – impact, wealth, access, etc. At some point. SG2 dismissed this as optimism. I think this is confidence in my abilities to get things done and open doors and create opportunities etc. She doesn’t agree.

However, I know that I am no longer confident about myself. You know, self-image. That I think has taken a hit. A large one. Like this…

BOOM!

What do I mean by this? Simple.

I feel know that I have spent 40 years here and I have yet to do anything that will make people take a note. Fuck people. I’d not take a note of what I’ve done. If I walked upto myself and talked about all that I’ve done, I’d shoo myself away. Like you ignore those unwanted creatures that sort of hold you from doing things that you want to be doing.

I need validation. From myself. From sgMS (am surprised that I thought of her, more on this later). From the world. In terms that they understand (thanks SG2 for helping me articulate). Here are the terms for the three cohorts that I spoke about…

  • The world believes that you are great if you have a fancy house, luxury car, 2 kids, and a 7-figure salary. If you have some awards and accolades, the world gives you more credit, more validation, more respect.
  • sgMS evaluated the worth of a person from some internal metric that I have not been able to figure to date.
  • For me, I’d be happy if I see the impact of my work (it’s zilch right now) and the doors that my work, my brand, my reputation opens for me. Right now, them doors shut on my face!

I have none of these three right now. The most important is validation from self (the kinds that helps you with your self-image). And I lack that. In its absence, I could rely on signals that I could project at others about me having arrived. Even that is missing. I know so many people that are crappy, average Joes (and Janes) that are able to get by purely because they have fat salaries, lofty designations, and all those things that the world uses to validate your existence.

Lemme get back to sgMS. So she and I were sort of together long long ago. We’ve since then drifted and are great friends. She is still the keeper of my moral compass. If I need to make a decision that would border on ethics and all that, I would go to either Vanita, Hemant, or her. She continues to be that important.

I think my self-images issues go back to sgMS. Really. I have never admitted this ever in my life. But she was one of those hyper-critical people with super-strong perspectives and opinions and misguided views on people, things, heroes, and all that. At the time, I was blind in love and did not realize but now that I can think a tad better, I know that being with her sort of dented the way I thought about things. Of course, all the ambition I have was probably fuelled by spending time with her. If not for her, I would be more content. I got the push to do more because she saw that I was capable and she was like Terence Fletcher (of Whiplash fame) and she would not settle for anything ordinary.

I can trackback even more and go to a time when I was growing up in a lower-middle-class part of Delhi. Because the ‘nurture’ I was getting was sort of ‘limiting’, I think I was programmed to believe that the good things are not for me. See the Punit Pania clip above. When I had to go to a 5-star hotel for the first time by myself (I think in 2007 and I was 25) for an interview, I had to prepare myself mentally and I had to check if people like me were even allowed in there! May be this dented my self-image issues.

Ok, I digressed a lot. Good thing is that no one is reading. The point anyhow was that I think my self-image has taken a hit. And I need to find a way out.

The last thing I was to put on paper, in continuation with this topic is the thing about being eccentric and a fool. For some reason, in my head, I attribute this to SRK, though I can’t find the source.

So, he says if you have perspectives, ideas, thoughts, and actions that are counter-intuitive to people, are opposite to commonly held beliefs, people would take note.

And if you are poor, you are insignificant, you haven’t “achieved” anything, they would call you a fool for your ideas. Even, a mad man. An outcast. An anomaly. However, if you are “successful”, rich et al, they would call you eccentric!

The road from a fool to an eccentric needs you to have a fancy Rolls Tesla to drive on top of. Till you get one, stay shut. #note2self, Mr. Garg. If you want to tweet like Elon and impact the BTC price just by changing your bio, you need to be Elon in the first place. Or you can keep changing bio for the rest of your life and probably get banned from twitter.

Chalo. Over and out.

Oh, no time for freewriting today. Missed it the second time in recent days. Must not do it tomorrow. Or may be I will only write #book2 on the morning pages? Let’s see.