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in2023, I will…

A list of things that Saurabh Garg plans to work on #in2023. This is my annual post where I list my goals and ambitions and dreams and all that.

Hi! 2023 is upon us. And this is my annual review of what I did #in2022 and what I want to do #in2023. This will be a long post and for the ease of writing and your reading (if someone is reading), I will divide this into sections. Here…

  • Why this post? What does this post mean to me?
  • How do I do the review and do a yearly plan?
  • What did I plan to do in 2022 and how I fared?
  • Plans for 2023 – Grand ones, small ones and the ones that I would not pursue.

With some disclaimers, let’s dive in!

A. Why this post?

Simple answer. I like the idea of having a sense of control over where I am in life and where I am going. You know, I want me to happen to life (rather than life happening to me) and this review helps me stay the course. All this planning gives me an illusion of control. Of course, it’s a mere illusion. Life has a mind and a plan of its own and there is nothing I can plan or do that will allow me to control it. But I still do this nonetheless.

Apart from this, at a spiritual level, I feel more connected to myself after I have taken time to sit down and do a review and imagine where all I want to go. With all the million dreams and ideas and thoughts, I do get overwhelmed and get scared about the amount of work I need to put in. I do get sad that one life will probably not be enough. And I get to know my limitations as a human and I become a tad more accepting. In fact, recently in a conversation, I told one of my closest friends that I have accepted that I am past. I told her that I have accepted that I will never be the big deal that I have always wanted to be. I admitted that I will die unfulfilled and I would not know what it takes to move the world. So, I need some tethering, some sort of a compass that allows me to not lose my shit.

Plus, I like the idea of living in public. And this public documentation and disclosure help me with a sense of accountability. Of course, the goals I chart for myself are very lofty and I often dont reach the finish line. But that’s ok. I like to shoot for the moon.

With that as the background, let’s get into the how I go about writing this post.

B. How do I do this?

Pretty simple.

I start with my vision board. Then I look at this excel sheet where I have mapped all that I want to do in life. And this document that has my life themes / ethos mapped. I follow it up with a scan of tags like LifeGoals, in2022, in2023, in2026, et al on my notes app (Roam, Apple Notes, Notepads). While I do this, I make notes (mostly on a mindmap). I use Year Compass to help me think better. #in2023 I plan to make a planner of my own. And then I try to make sense of things by putting them in categories of health, wealth, relationships, career, contribution and others. I use the following chart…

Once I have gathered all the information, I go over all those one last time, finalise the mindmap, copy-paste from previous editions and start writing this post.

PS: In case you are interested in knowing how others do it, you may want to check posts from Sahil Bloom, Dick Bush, Shane P and others.

PPS: I need to write a longer post on how I do this. Maybe sometime later. #parkedIdeas

C. What did I plan and do in2022

the top three goals for #in2022 were…

  1. Write and publish book2
  2. Lose weight, get fit (and learn dance, run a marathon etc)
  3. Make money (revenue, debt etc)

The longish post on all that I wanted to do in2022, is here.

Funny thing is that I have chased these exact goals since I can remember and I did not get even close to even one of these.

For book2, I made a few starts (LFWc2, 80K words for AK in the month of Oct) but I was unable to close it.

For fitness, I didn’t even move an inch. I did order a yoga mat in the last week of December!

For money, while I had a few good months, I was back to the same spot where I started the year with (taking on more debt to service expenses). I know what I do and how I operate is not sustainable but I remain hopeful that what I do will someday make sense.

#note2self: The surprising thing is that none of my goals were related to the work I do (brand consulting / events / marketing consulting etc). I mean the money goal is an outcome of work but I did not specifically plan what work I would do to make money.

This year as well, I will keep the three large ones the same as the previous years (book2, health and money). I however will add a few smaller goals (some new ones, some old ones that I haven’t been able to work on at all). I will come to those in a bit, but #in2023, I will put a larger focus on health than on anything else.

And before I get to other things, lemme do a month-on-month review of how I spent 2022. Wait. More than a review, this is a list of highlights and lowlights from the year gone by.

C.1. Month-on-month highlights from 2022

  • Jan – Signed a couple of new clients. One of them would eventually make me spend 3-4 months in Bangalore. More on this in a bit.
  • Feb – FT crossed 100 episodes. Thanks to the effort by AD and the team. While it’s helping us create the noise that we have a popular podcast, it is offering no tangible value. Not sure what to do about it. And no, not shutting it for sure.
  • Feb – Lost a client. This is one of those rare clients where I (and C4E) was let go because I did not perform.
  • Feb – Met Ankesh Kothari. I’ve met him just twice but he’s left an indelible impression on me. I wish I could be friends with him!
  • Apr – Did an event at Indore. Loved it. Wish I could do larger, grander events. I think it will never happen and I will die with this as an unfulfilled wish. And no, I am not ok with it. May be if I get to make a film, that would replace the trill of putting an event together? Let’s see.
  • Jul – Exchanged tweets and got an opportunity to work with a billionaire. While I had the opportunity, I couldn’t convert. This has to be amongst the biggest fails of the year for me. The other thing to note here is that Twitter helps me create grander opportunities than any other social network.
  • Aug – Along with Shikha, produced my first ad-film as a producer. I plan to expand this further in 2023.
  • Sep – DD went live – thanks to the hard work of Chandni, Pooja, Anshika, Vaishnavi and their team. This is one of my most ambitious projects. I hope we can take it to its destiny.
  • Oct – Started to keep a weekly track of what did I achieve at C4E. I should’ve done this sooner. Inspired by the tweet from Elon Musk where he asked Twitter CEO about what he did this week.
  • Nov – Thanks to VG, moved into a house far fancier than my aukaat. My worry is, now that I have lived here, how would I adjust to living anywhere else?
  • Dec – Stumbled upon Zakir Khan’s work. And I am enamoured. Like all his fans, he speaks to me at such a deep level that it feels as if he’s baring my soul on camera! See this for example. And this.

So that was my 2022 in a nutshell. Lemme catalogue big losses and wins.

C.2. Big Losses #in2022

Here is a list. In no order…

1/ I lost three big clients during the year. One I lost because we couldn’t perform. I have learnt my lessons from the loss and I am committed to not repeating. The other two we let go by ourselves. And that’s ok. I am realising that I am not ice cream and I can’t please everyone. I am ok to let go of revenue opportunities if I dont see myself or my team getting respect, learning new things or expanding our luck surface area. Oh, we did get QUITE a few new clients.

2/ I spent good 5 months in Banglaore and I couldn’t capitalise on my time there. By capitalising, I mean I should’ve been able to build a network there. But I. was unable to. As I retrospect, I realise, I made three mistakes.

  • I lived FAR away from the startup hotspots and that meant I couldn’t travel from where I lived to where those events were.
  • I did not carve out time to meet more people. I was lazy and I waited for the magic to happen. No, it doesn’t happen if you dont move your ass.
  • I did not have a personal brand. If I had one, people would have travelled to meet where I was. And would have taken time out at a time when I was available.

While the first two are fixable easily (I will now ensure that I live in the middle of the hotspot and I will invest a LOT of time in meeting people), I need to think hard about the third one #in2023.

3/ Got an opportunity to work with a billionaire and I couldn’t capitalise on it. Truth be told, I did EVERYthing in my power to make it happen. Including wearing a white shirt and shoes to go and meet him IRL but for some reason, I could not capitalise on it.

So this. Now onto the wins…

C.3. Big Wins #in2022

Here is a list. Again, in no order…

1/ Strengthened Team C4E. Against all odds. And I had to take on debt to be able to meet the payroll (I still need to make enough to fund the team on a month-on-month basis). But I did manage to strengthen the team.

This means that people that work with me at C4E are engaged and they like it here. We are building a company that is safe, kind, humane and inspiring. Each day is exciting for people (well, most days, not each day). They enjoy and look forward to interactions with each other.

Of course, I am merely hoping all this is true. The team at C4E may or may not agree with this. If this pic is to be believed, they are happy 🙂

Team C4E and friends. Oct 2022.

2/ Operated from a sense of scarcity. A prime example is point 1 above.

3/ Interacted with two dollar-billionaires. Even if those meetings were of no use and even if they would not remember my name. Just to be standing next to them was inspiring. I hope I can meet more such people. And become one of those 🙂

4/ TRS and PPP started to make money! I have been funding these for years and we finally have cash flow coming in. Whatever they make is still not enough to run their operations but it’s a start nonetheless. Podium anyway makes some cash flow. #in2023, I hope these three (and DD as well) makes enough to break even.

That’s about it. I am sure there are more but these are the ones that I want to highlight as big achievements from the year.

#note2self: All my wins and losses are from work. Maybe I need to think harder about this.

C.4. Lessons from 2022?

So here are some lessons from 2022 (most of these have come from this post where I listed 22 lessons I learnt in 2022; some are new).

  1. You can’t control the outcomes. You need to keep at it. Take steps. One at a time.
  2. You need a marriage of ethos before you can do anything together with others.
  3. People are inspired by things that give them the opportunity to do things larger than themselves. You know, showing them the vastness of the sea?
  4. Community trumps an individual.
  5. Young people are fascinating. We all need to spend more time with young people.
  6. Ready, Fire, Aim is the best damn strategy.
  7. Timing is everything and one must ALWAYS err on the side of action. If you dont act fast, you lose opportunities. And while opportunities are not scarce, that particular opportunity would disappear faster than you know it.

As I work towards my goals #in2023, I hope I can keep these at the top of my mind and act!

D. The plans and goals and dreams for #in2023

I will divide this into large goals, small goals, things I will say no to and other random words.

D.1. Three Large Goals for #in2023

The three large goals for 2023 remain the same as they were in 2022 and in 2021. And maybe in 2020 and earlier.

The point is, there is nothing else that I want more. The other things I already have. I mean I have a family that is as supportive as one would want. I have friends that back me up when I need them to. I have a team that loves each other. I have clients that talk to me with respect. I am slowly building a community of people that have the same ethos as me.

I can’t ask for anything in the relationship department (except for love – I am giving up on that). So, the three goals are…

  1. Write and publish book2
  2. Lose weight (get to 30″ waist), get fit (and learn Bhangra, run a sub-5 marathon, do Killer Boogie etc). Within this, I will focus on health / fitness and add things like yoga, massages, steams, multivitamins, protein shakes, cold showers et al to the routine. In fact, I have promised that this year the only reading I would do would be health-related books. And I will take notes and I will implement those in my life.
  3. Make money (pay back the debt I have on my head and then make enough revenue to pay Team C4E more than what the market would pay them and live to that maxim about enabling others)

If I could add a 4th to this list of three, I would say I want to amplify my personal brand. But let it be in the “other goals”. Here they are.

D.2. Here are “other goals” and plans

Here’s how I will reach these goals. In no order…

1/ Build Brand SG
The goal, the Northstar metric of this is that when I walk into a room, people must know who I am and they must want to get into a business transaction with me.

To be able to achieve this, I need to be known as resourceful, reliable, intelligent, trustworthy, effective and all that. And I need to be known as an expert. On things that those rooms are discussing. I still need to work on what those things are but a broad selection would be Marketing, Startups, Storytelling, Coolness, Writing, Productivity, Creativity, People, Mentoring, Problem Solving, Web 3 and more. I know this is a LOT and I need to reduce this list to a handful.

The tangible goal is to have 100K followers each on Twitter, Linkedin and Instagram. I also want to be more visible on the Internet and in the media. Again, I dont know how to do that but I shall try. I recently created a team to help me with it. Let’s see where we reach.

2/ Preserve my mornings.
I dont think I have issues in waking up early. I will continue to do that.

The change I would make is that no one would be able to reach me before 9 AM. Maybe 10. I would in general take up meetings early (to reach early and avoid traffic). Now, I will try and refuse those. Nothing before 11 if it includes travel. Of course, I know that I may not be able to maintain this but I will do this as much as I can.

3/ Save my energy.
This means I will let go of people and things that take my energy away. Even if I have had years and years of vested interest and investment in those. You know, sunk costs.

While this energy concept is new to me, but as I grow older, I realise that this is an important one. More on this some other day. But I will sort of fade away in the bushes. You know, how Homer does it?

That!

Homer is DA bomb!

4/ Become a People Magnet
While I try and preserve my energy, I also want to become a people magnet. This means I want to attract talented, bright and interesting people to meet me and shower me with whatever they can offer!

I dont have a tangible for this. In vague terms, I need to be the person that people want to meet even if they have to travel miles and miles to meet me.

5/ Eat home-cooked food.
Till the April of 2023, I have a house that comes with domestic help. I will try to eat as much home-cooked food as I can.

Post-April I need to find a place to live and will see if I can afford domestic help at that point. We shall see when that happens.

6/ Get frugal.
I anyway dont spend a lot of money needlessly. But I will become even more frugal with it. I have spent 4528 since morning today (morning of Jan 1, 2023). Lol! And each month, I will save at least 40% of what I make. At least till April when I have to pay just a tiny rent. Post that, we shall see.

7/ Chase 100 rejections
I’ve been wanting to do this for a while now. I think this year I will try and chase these rejections.

8/ Become a shoulder for others.
SoG will become my life’s purpose, goal, Ikigai, whatever. I need to do more of it. There are multiple things within this – SoG book, SoG grant, Team SoG and more. Each has to become big!

Oh, I will roll out the SoG Grant (I first thought about it in 2021) this year.

9/ Help others reach their goals.
See this tweet and this one. I will try and remind people of these goals each month.

10/ Establish C4E Base
I wrote the following in my 2021 plan…

Adopt an old bungalow and convert it into a cultural hub of sorts that creative people can call home. Maybe replicate it across the world. Like Soho House but far more affordable and far more meaningful. Got inspired by this person. Part of Personal / Curiosity.

Saurabh Garg, 2021 Plan (link)

I want to make this happen this year. This is also in line with my thought on being a people magnet, having more handshakes (compared to Zoom meetings), becoming a shoulder for others and do more!

11/ Do a Startup
What I do at C4E is fantastic but I am still a services company and I need to find a way to not rent my time.

12/ C4E International
In case I am unable to do #11, I will try and take C4E beyond India. The long-term goal is to be out of India and I need to take steps in that direction already.

#note2self: Need to do a similar review / plan for C4E. Apart from international operations, I am thinking about evolving into a collective (getting more people to be a part of the loose network), establishing niche agencies (women, youth, web 3 etc), creating a line of products and more.

13/ A Film Script
I really want to have my name in a film. And I want to do whatever it takes to make it happen. But then I am on the edge on this. The priority would be book2. If I get that out of the way and I am left with time, I may pick this up.

So these are minor goals for #in2023.

I know this is a long list but these are all secondary goals. Ambition is to get the primary ones going!

Other things that I want to do but I am saying no to in2023…

In no order…

  1. Poker. I will get back to it once I have achieved financial freedom.
  2. Pool. I thought about getting back to it. But I realised I am not good at it to be world-class and thus no point putting time and energy into it.
  3. LHV (unless I am compelled to do it for elevating my brand).
  4. Needless travel. While I love to travel and I like the idea of exploring newer places, with a heavy heart, I will say no to it this year. Unless it’s for work or with my family. So, no friendly trips, no needless holidays, no relaxation ones.
  5. Minimalism. I have always liked the idea of having no material possessions and living an untethered life. I will change this. I will acquire things that make my life more comfortable, more convenient and more productive. So for example, I will buy massage rollers, shakers (for protein shakes), hardware for computers etc.

PS: These are the 5 that I can think of right now. Over the year, I will keep adding to this. Maybe I will bring some from the 13 above into this!

Let’s see.

So, in the end…

I’d like to end this post and the year plan with two things.

1/ I plan to live a lot more in public this year. This means that I will share what I am up to on a public forum. This sheet specifically. This is WIP and I will evolve this over the next few weeks.

2/ This is a vision board that my friends made for me on my 40th birthday. I am reproducing it here (have redacted a few things). Before this year, I have never had a team of my own. The only people I have been responsible for (and there too I did not do a good job) were my family. But now I have people to take care of and be accountable to. And thus I will have to work hard to live up to their expectations.

I will use this board as a reminder to self!

This is what the team at C4E made for me. I was surprised that they could capture my ambitions and plans so well, and that too in one document!

The mantra for 2023?

As I end this, I would say that the mantra for 2023 would be…

Me. Enabled by we.
We. Enabled by me.

Here’s a post that I wrote on the last day of 2022 that captures this well…

This is how I would summarise the year that went by.
And how I hope 2023 would be. Posted here first.

That’s about it for the time being.
My review of 2022.
And ambition for 2023.
Apart from this post, I have captured these on a mindmap as well. In case you want a copy, please do let me know.

Oh, and here are posts from previous years.
2022 – Annual Goals
2021 – Annual GoalsJan-Feb-MarApr-May-JunJul-Aug-Sep-Oct-Nov
2020 – Annual GoalsJanFeb-MarApr-MayJun-Jul-Aug
2019 – AugSepOctNovDec
Older posts – 20182017201520142013, and 2012.

Here’s wishing you a glorious, fascinating, fulfilling 2023. May it is the best year of your life.

Thank you for reading!
Thank you for your support and patronage!

Saurabh Garg
1 Jan 2023, Mumbai

PS: Here are a few disclaimers…
  1. I tend to operate on extremes. While planning, I assume that I am God and I can do everything and anything. So I am VERY VERY optimistic about my plans. So if I know that I want to write 100K words in the year, I will plan to write 200K. And while doing a review, I am harsher on myself than I am optimistic. So if I end up writing the 100K words I had planned, I assume that I’ve written just 50K.
  2. Each year, thus, I list down a million lofty things that I want to achieve in the course of the year. And beyond. I always aim far beyond what I know I am capable of. I mean unless I aim for the moon, how do I get to be in the middle of stars?

in2022, I will…

A list of things that I plan to work on #in2022. This is my annual post where I list my goals and ambitions and dreams and all that.

Hello! So a new year is here upon us. And more than anything else, to me, it means that I have a new list of things to do, new impossibles to chase down, new shiny objects to get enamoured by, new dreams to be converted into reality and in general, take new shot at a fresh start.

Thing is, I love the idea of new. New people, new places, new opportunities, new years. The new year specifically to me is an opportunity to reset. To restart. To be a buffoon again. For what’s it worth, I find the notion of a restart or a reset very very cool. Even though I am older by a year and ought to be a tad wiser, most probably I am not. And I am ok with that. For one, I refuse to believe that I am older. At least in my head, I remain a young, fool that continues to believe that I will live forever. And second, I continue to believe that life is malleable per whims.

PS: I must say that even though I believe I would live forever, I am very very aware of my mortality. I know the time is limited. And to make matters worse, none of us knows when our time would be up. So, I am an ageist. I like the idea of doing things here and now. Yeah, I am full of dichotomies and made up of contradictions.

Each year, thus, I list down a million lofty things that I want to achieve in the course of the year. And beyond. I always aim far beyond what I know I am capable of. I mean unless I aim for the moon, how do I get to be in the middle of stars?

PS: This moon and stars analogy is wrong it should be the other way around cos the closest star is the Sun, but you get the drift.

So, in this post, I will try and list down things I want to do #in2022.

But before that, a quick recap of the year gone by.

If I were to summarise 2021, I would say it was a mixed bag. I did manage a few things, some that I have never imagined. Like the trek to Everest Base Camp. And I messed up on more things than I would’ve liked. And I made more mistakes than I thought I was capable of. I would list those on my echochamber. The worst is that I am hurt and guilty that I left a few people in the lurch. I mean my hurt is a thing but they must be angry, livid at me! Thing is, one of the maxims I live by is that I want to do onto others as I would them to do onto me. Thus, if I dont fulfil a promise or honour a commitment, I feel really bad. In 2021, there were quite a few of those. This year, I will try to reduce these mistakes.

PS: Here’s contradiction # 2. While I dont want to make mistakes, I know that unless I throw a million darts, the odds of hitting the bullseye are abysmal. So, I need to keep throwing darts. And that would mean I would make mistakes. And that would mean I would end up leaving people in the lurch. I would probably not be able to honour my commitments. A solution could be that I can tell people up front about the “risks” and potential fault lines of working with me. At least they would know what they are getting into? May be.

So, coming to the #in2022 plan,

There are just way too many things that I do and as a result, the energy and attention are scattered all over the place. To a point that I can’t even seem to make a list of things that I want to work on in the coming year. But then if I look at those things closely, there is this pattern that seems to emerge. There are a few broad themes that I chase in life. No, none of these are unique, neither is the combination unique. Just that somehow I am gravitated towards these, even if I want to move away. So, rather than going against the force of nature, I thought, this year, lemme embrace this!

So this year, I will do something different. I will not make a list of goals public. Rather, I will identify a few broad themes that I want to stand for in life. And thus, rather than chasing a list of goals this year, I will create systems that allow me to be consistent and insync with these themes. And if along the way, my goals are met, I’d talk about those and celebrate those.

Without further ado, here are the themes for 2022…

1/ Network.
The importance of being insanely connected was always known to me but in 2021, I saw it in action. I totally understand, at a deep level, when people say that your network is your net worth. #in2022, I want to work hard on amping my network. If this means I need to send out 1000 cold emails this year to random people, I would (this is an example of a goal that I would typically set for myself). If this means I need to find a system to manage all the people I talk to and conversations I have with them, I would. If this means I need to leave a lot of money on the table, I would. If this means I need to dress well and put myself out of my comfort zone by going to parties and getting into inane discussions about films, politics, food, wine and all that, I would. You get the drift.

2/ Open doors. For self. And for others.
This is a mini-theme in continuation to the one above. I would work to open as many doors as I can for myself and for others around me. Especially for the ones that have put their trust and faith in me. #in2022, I will become a super-connector. I would become like Red, “a regular Sears and Roebuck”?

Brings me to the next thing.

3/ People first.
I am not a creator per se that can work in isolation and create magic. And then hope that those wonders would allow me to earn a livelihood while I sit in a cave. Neither am I a maverick that is so good that I create one piece of work that allows me to earn passively. And I am definitely not the one to create schemes that promise “lessons” to others and profits of that.

Plus, most of the work I get is from connections I’ve made over the years. The key clients that I work for right now, I first made their acquaintance in 2006, 2013, 2014 and 2017 respectively. The most recent client was “acquired” in 2017. 4 years ago. Clear example of the value and utility of long-term thinking / relationships. So, #in2022, I will do whatever it takes to become a people magnet. Attract people. Add value to their lives. Expect nothing. Invest. And let the seed of the relationships germinate and compound. And wait for the fruit.

PS: This is similar to 1 and 2 but there is a tiny difference. While 1 and 2 and more action-oriented, this one is little more open-ended. I mean I dont know what it takes to be a magnet. I have a tough time holding attention of people when we are not talking work and here I am. Trying to a magnet!

Also, this year, I am making a commitment to help a friend reach his life goals.

4/ Do difficult things.
All my life, I’ve had it easy. From parents to family to friends. Actually no. Things haven’t been easy at all. It’s probably my attitude that makes them look easy. Digressing. The point is, I believe I can do even more difficult things than what I do right now. Or have ever done. So, #in2022, I will do things that take me out of my comfort zone. For example, talking to strangers, dressing well, asking for help, calling a spade a spade, leaving behind dead weight when I want to move on, not being afraid of ridicule, chasing rejections, getting into more debates (even if they are public), putting myself out there, etc etc.

In one line, take more shots at things that I know for sure are out of my reach.

5/ Cash flow.
Since I took my first shot at entrepreneurship (no, not the time when as a kid I rented comics), each thing I worked on, with each idea, I would chase everything but cash flow. #in2022, unless I see clear cash flow with things I am working on, I will not work on those.

Except when I get to learn with those ideas. Or when the idea allows me to build on top of what I’ve already built. Or when an idea expands the cohorts of people I know.

So, any new “community” play is out. And yes, more “new” things are probably in.

PS: This is a bit hazy, to be honest. But I hope to crystalise this in a few weeks.

6/ Ship.
This is linked to the one above. Most times, with most ideas, I would merely imagine the start point and the end state and then I would forget about those. This is probably why there was no cash flows with ideas. #in2022, I would ensure that I ship. Enough of talking.

My method to ship remains the same – find partners to work together. I know I cant do things by myself. Just that, this year, I would be more prudent and judicious with how I partner up. All this while, I would look for ambition and passion as the filter. I assumed that I could manipulate get them to see world from my lens. I was mistaken.

Going further, I would look for just the ethos. Once that’s in sync, other things are easier to work on. I for one am very clear in how I operate and what ethos I have and thus I should be able to filter people on the basis of that.

And of course, vice versa. The ones I choose to work with may not like me or my ethos. So, I need to fit in their ethos-system as well. Unless this marriage of ethos happen, I dont think I would partner up.

7/ Finish.
Again, linked to 5 and 6, I am guilty of starting a million things and not taking even one to a logical conclusion. As a mentor (AS) pointed out (way back in 2019), I think I know the path that I need to walk to get to the end line and thus I dont actually do it.

So, #in2o22, when I start a project, I will know the “end state” of that project before hand and I will ensure that I take it to the end state. If a project’s end state is planned for after 10 years, I will know the milestone for each of those 10 years. And aim for each of those. Of course, each idea is like a human being. You imagine it to have some sort of life and in a few months, you realise that it is on a very different trajectory altogether. Which is fine. But when I give birth to an idea, I will ensure that I know the milestones for that. And work towards shipping and finishing those. So that!

8/ Self First
While a lot of what I want to do is for others and by others, I will make myself the centre of my universe. If I wasn’t already. I would also work towards making my word have more gravitas. And I would want to be known for my ability to get things done and open doors.

This was on my list last year also to be honest but I couldn’t work on this.

9/ Grow
This is a simple one.

Will happen automatically if I stick to the themes. I want to grow as a person, as a thinker, as a doer, as a getting things done guy, as a speaker, as a business person etc.

So these are the themes for the year.

Coming to the goals, of course I have a long list of goals that I want to chase this year. Here they are…

The tangible and measurable goals for the year.

For example, I want to be 32″ when I end this year. I have made a bet to get my photo plasterd on a hoarding if I am not. I also want to buy a luxury car this year. That means I need to be in a debt-free state. Then, I want to be Japan for a bit. I want to have more followers on twitter. Publish my book. Run a marathon. Climb a 6K meter mountain. Start playing poker again.

I am not listing any of those here. The top three goals remain the same. These are…

  1. Write and publish book2
  2. Lose weight, get fit (and learn dance, run a marathon etc)
  3. Make money (revenue, debt etc)

Yes, there are other sub-goals within these goals. And there are other philosophical goals. I have a sheet I’ve been using since 2017 or so to list my goals. Should people ask for it, I am happy to open it up and add to this post here. But that would be meaningless as I am sure that I want to chase themes and not just the goals.

So yeah! That’s about it for #in2022. Let’s make this the best year of lives so far!

Over and out!


PS: Like each year, at some point I will write a list of the highlights of the year gone by. And the lessons I learnt. Need a few more days for this. Let’s see when I post that.

PPS: I need to talk about the moonshot and lifegoals and how this years fits into that grand scheme. I need another post for this. For the time being, this is dense enough for me to lose whatever hair I’ve left on me.

PPPS: To be able to write this, I relied on Year Compass, my vision board and my notes that I’ve been taking over the years. The North Star has remained the three large goals that I want to achieve in life – climb the Mt. Everest, have a billion dollars in cash and impact a billion lives.

PPPPS: Here are previous updates from me…

2022 – Annual Goals (this post)
2021 – Annual GoalsJan-Feb-MarApr-May-Jun, Jul-Aug-Sep-Oct-Nov
2020 – Annual GoalsJanFeb-MarApr-MayJun-Jul-Aug
2019 – AugSepOctNovDec

And here are yearly posts from previous years – 2021, 2020, 2019, 2018, 2017, 2015, 2014, 2013, and 2012. I may have some data / notes from the years prior to 2012. I can try and pull those out but I dont see the merit and thus they shall remain buried in some drive somewhere.

Finally, to be honest, as I read the updates for 2021 and 2020, I realised those were written so much better. And not a lot has changed. I am still talking about the things that I talked about years ago. I am in stasis 🙁

130121 – Morning Pages

Conversations with friends and strangers. About Ikigai, writing, life purpose, success, failure, and more. Oh, and scarcity of time!

7:22. This one should be ok (unlike the last one). I have no pressing agendas today. Just the way I like it!

I think these morning pages have found a rhythm. I talk about what I did the previous day. Pick on a thing from what I spoke about. And then try to think more about it, while I write. And then I write a para for book2. The entire thing takes me about an hour and it is enough to put me in a good mood, to be honest, even if I wake up with a shitty one. In fact, as I type this, I have a smile on my face.

So, lately, I have found comfort in music from Suits. People have made a playlist of tracks from Suits and even though I don’t understand half of those, I love em. In fact, I have been discovering new music here in Goa. Like the other day at a hotel, I heard this track called Jerusalema. Since it was playing on a shitty speaker, I thought it was in Hindi (really) and even when I put my head to it, I could not make it out. And when I Shazam-ed, I realized that it’s in one of African languages!

The other thing was that I got to meet Karl yesterday. He’s been one of those that I look up to in life. He had a couple of interesting things to say about things that I thought i had a deep understanding of.

A, Ikigai. You know, the Japanese concept that helps you find purpose? I thought I knew where I want to (which is to enable and inspire others with what I do and create opportunities for them) but when I was talking to him, I realized that I need to sharpen this. My notions are idealistic (something Rashi also tells me all the time) and are not practical at all. He said (and I agree) that no one would pay me to inspire them unless I become a motivational speaker or something. My personality is anything but that! So, need to think more about that.

B, On account planning and strategy. He said that as a planner you have to get into execution as often you get sucked into Blue Ocean thinking and you don’t know shit about how your strategy is translating into actual work. This is very similar to being a management consultant where you don’t have any skin in the game. Now, I want to be anything but that. So, next time I get a gig, I will try and be a part of actual execution and implementation as well. This is a very very important lesson for me. #sgP1.

The other unintended consequence of my chat with him was that I read that Gaurav Jani passed away last year. I did not know him at all and to be honest, his passing was more news to me than a personal setback. But he has been one of those people that I have been incredibly inspired by since I can remember. When I was young, he did something that I would have, well, killed for. He rode to Ladakh on a bike and made a film about that. All solo. I mean imagine taking shots of your bike, all by yourself. How’d you even do it? And he did all this way back in 2006 when all this was not even known, let alone be cool. Plus there was no ubiquitous Internet, phones, mounts, cameras. I cant even imagine how’d he charge batteries and all that. The dude must have been another level shit.

Lesson? Time is a bitch. You gotta do things now. Err on the side of action. #lifeTheme!

Moving on. On another work call, where I was giving my opinion on how things ought to happen, I was asked to shut cos what I said was in direct contrast to what apparently Kunal Shah, the grand-daddy of all start-ups folks in India, had said. A, if he has said what he apparently said, he needs to be taught. B, even if he said what he said, it may have worked for him but in the specific case, it would never work. You can’t use one-size-fits-all with startups. Of course, this is not about him. This is about me. The conversation hit me like a tight slap on my face that you could be the most educated, well-read, opinionated, caring person in the room but unless you have tangible success to show for, no one gives a fuck about what you have to say. Your opinions are not important. They are invalid. You are asked questions that, well, question your credibility.

No this is not the first time something like this has happened to me. But thank God it happened. I am inspired. Need these bouts often. In fact, I am so so so much inspired to create a fucking massive success that when someone asks me such questions, I can tell them that I’ve built massive shit and they are fuck off.

I know revenge and being sore is not a good emotion (#note2self – Pale Blue Dot, This Too Shall Pass, Seneca’s lessons) but I am human. And I hate when people I care for do this to me.

Anyhow. I think I am ok now. Last evening I was seething in anger. To a point that I could not operate. The world thinks that I am a loser and that’s ok. I have no complaints. But when the ones that I am close to think like that and operate from that place, I hate it. Really.

Lemme talk of something good. Spotlight is finally taking shape. We are gunning for the first edition of the event on the 30th. More here. In case you want to pitch your startup to Dr. Malpani, here.

So, today on, thanks to the kick in the butt by Karl and this nameless-faceless person that told me that am useless, I will try to be a lesser loser. I’ll try harder.

The other thing that I want to talk about this party with some strangers that I was in. The host introduced me to some people as a famous author. For some reason, I felt like an imposter. I mean, all I have is one book. That too has failed to make any dent in anyone’s life. The kinder reviews say that it’s average at best. I don’t even want to read honest or negative ones. The second book is nowhere. Been on it for like 10 years and have nothing to show for that. I hated it when I was introduced like that. Yes, please do introduce me as a creative consultant, creative producer, writer (not just of books), marketer, podcaster et al. I am ok with that. But I don’t want to be just a “famous writer”. I want to be the person that tried. Not the person that rests on laurels. That too, not well-defined.

So that’s that for the morning pages.

As I edit, I realise this has become dark and harsh and ranty. But that’s that. The smile on the face of having typed all this is still around. So that’s some comfort.

So, on to #freewriting for book2. So, for this one, I have talked Prak into giving me a prompt every day to get me started with my thinking.

Today’s prompt is…

Red. The color of love and hate. Of life and death. Blood and rivers, hellfire, and heaven song.

– Prakruti Maniar, Jan 2021

Here we go…

Red was a funny choice for the color of the gown that she wore. Even though the host had clearly mentioned that the theme for the evening is white and blue, she wore red. Red stood out. What was supposed to be a party where dreams were to be talked about, futures were to be looked at, she chose Red. The color of love and hate. Of life and death. Blood and rivers, hellfire, and heaven song. She did not choose red on purpose. She did not have a choice. This was the only gown she had that could pass off as a decent dress into the party where the invite cost her a night with that old bastard, Paul. The party has been the talk of the town for a while now and who’s who was expected to be there. Together they were going to plan the future of the sleepy state of Goa. There were talks of taking the casinos on land, thereby greatly reducing the costs for the owners. One of the proposals was to allow for new high-rise construction near the beaches. They wanted to make coal mining a priority for the state. The coast was going to get opened for large scale music festivals that would get the who’s who of the world down to Goa.

The gates were being opened for the world to make its home in Goa. And at the same time, those very gates were being shut on the faces to keep out the ones that rightfully could call Goa home. The promoters blamed the locals for their lackadaisicalness. The locals wanted to be left alone. The two sides were never going to find a common ground. And this party was an attempt in the direction. In attendance were going to be socialites

Ankit Paul had put all he had and pulled all the strings he could to make this happen. His entire fortune and the reputation that his family had earned since forever was at stake. More so, after his father passed away, his personal credibility and integrity was being questioned. No, he did care for what people thought of him. He had more skeletons in his closet than the ruler of African countries had. But he did care about his bank balance. The power he wielded. The political ambitions that he couldn’t seem to find a route to.

This party was going to change all of that. Hopefully for good. And give Paul the respect that he’s craved for since he was a child. Respect that his father never accorded him. Respect that he had to fight hard to get. Respect that made him do all the things he did. Respect that mattered to him more than life or death.

***

Damn tough! But I like how it has come out!

What do you think?

And over and out. Hope it’s a great day!

Rendezvous with Random Strangers

I talk about why I like the idea of meeting and networking with random strangers. And the tangible impact these meetings have had on me. Read on!

23:01.Today, I did not have anything to write. The head’s been blank for some reason, even though I have a lot on my mind. I think I am falling sick. It may be the change in the weather or the lack of sleep induced by all the coffee I’ve been having. I dont know what it is. May be Delhi does not suit me?

I dont know. Irrespective. I had to write. And since I did not have any ideas per se to write about, I asked AaSi and ArAg (I use initials for people and I know a million people, so am now using the first two characters to be able to make sense) about what I could write about. I got a bevy of suggestions and I like all of those. I have safely cataloged those for the next rainy day when the ideas dry up. For the time being, I am going to talk about “the experience of talking with random strangers“.

So, it’s not even funny how many strangers do I talk to. To a point that I can’t recall names or identities or the context in which I spoke to them. And yet, rather than “consolidating” the relationships with people I know, I seek out more connections. I dont know to what end. But I do. And in today’s post, I will talk about why I do that.


So, I dont know when this happened, but among other things, there are three “ideas” that have shaped me like nothing else has. Let me talk about those and try to answer this question about why do I want to meet with random people all the time.

Here we go.

A. Luck = Opportunity + Preparation.

This essentially translates into creating as many opportunities for yourself as you can and being ready when the opportunities present themselves.

And this creating opportunities means knocking on doors that you know would not open. This also means talking to people that you know dont want to talk to you. Heck, this also means shooting out of your league.

As a result, you are often left with disappointment – who wants failures after failure? If you are always aiming too high, you would miss the shots! But you know what makes it worth all the effort?

That one connection. That one door that opens just a wee bit to let you whiff the opportunity peeking. Creating that one opportunity for someone you care for.

I mean all my life, each thing that I am proud of, even though they are insignificant – my book, the content websites that I support (TRS, PPP, ImmerseGo, GP, Podium, and more), this blog, all the people that I work with – all these may have been lucky breaks but they wouldn’t happen if I weren’t taking shots at opportunities.

In some cases, I was prepared and they worked out and vice versa. Heck, some worked out when I was not prepared at all. I faked my way through those. And some did not happen when I knew those opportunities were tailor-made for me! But in toto, my life is far far better than what it could’ve been if I did not take all those shots.

And, so, why do I love meeting random strangers? Because each person I meet is an opportunity. To do something new. To add a dimension to what I know. To add a perspective to my knowledge. And no, I am not objectifying people here.

B. The Cocoon.

Each of us is born in a certain lifestyle. If you are reading this, you are already privileged – you know English, you have Internet and you are safe in your respective cocoons. What else do you want?

This cocoon is a good thing and a bad thing. Because you are in your cocoon, while you are safe and hopefully comfortable, you hardly see the world on the outside. You can if you want to. But most don’t want. If you are trapped in a high-rise, you do not understand what is it to live in a slum. If you make 10,000 bucks a month kinda salary, you dont know what is it to have a million dollars at your disposal. You know, why bother?

It is similar to the prehistoric cavemen. If they were content with being in their caves and continued to be afraid of all the lighting rumbling outside, we would not know life as it is. They stepped out of the cocoon. And experienced more things. And did more.

And, so, why do I love meeting random strangers? Because each person I meet gives me two things. One, a warp zone that teleports me to a different life altogether and allows me a peek into the life beyond my cocoon. And two, if that person’s life is richer than mine (not just in terms of money but in terms of access, reach, opportunities et al), I am inspired to do more with mine. To be able to expand my cocoon till it engulfs theirs. And if their lives is poorer than mine, I am inspired all the more to not fall to where they are. And most importantly, try and elevate them to at least a level similar to mine!

So far I have been unable to expand my cocoon a lot but I do know of the lives that exist beyond mine (both on the higher side and on the lower) and that makes me more human, for whatever it’s worth. And to what end this knowledge serves? I dont know. What do you think?

C. Thick and limited. Loose and infinite.

The third thing that has left an indelible impression on me is these two distinct styles of living life.

In one, you can create really thick, strong, tight connections with a handful of people. You know, the kinds that you would die for? Often the ones you grew up with. And the other is where you have no strong connections per se but a really large number of loose connections. You are the guy that knows a guy that knows a guy that could get things done.

When I started to create my world view, I was always enamoured by the idea of ‘thick friends’ and how they went on these trips together and clicked pictures in their underwear and were always hanging out as one soul, multiple bodies. And truth be told, all my life, till recently, I’ve chased this. And since I’ve not been the cooler one, I havent got it and I’ve beat myself hard about it. And I, of course, have been jealous of the ones that have such friends.

However, over time, I realised that most friendships and relationships are guided by convenience, by comfort, by rationality, by opportunity. We merely rationalise these relationships. We are rationalising animals after-all. I mean think about it.

Thought experiment. Think about all your best friends. Didnt you all goto the same college? Or grew up in the same locality? Or work together?

Now, what if your life was marginally different? Instead of growing up in building A, you grew up in the building very next door, say building B. Would you be friends with the same people? In fact, out of the top 10 people that you spend time with, if you were in a different cocoon, how many of those friendships could you recreate? Get the drift?

So, thick ones are convenient.

The loose ones, you weren’t thrown at them by a random chance. You went out and sought them. Even if you grew up in a different city, you would have still found a way to make their acquaintance. And added enough value to them to want to add value to yours.

Thus, the loose ones are planned by you. Planted by you.

And unlike with the thick ones, the social obligation to spend time with them to make the relationships thicker is absent. So your conversations can actually push things forward. You know how sports teams, armies, business project teams, film crews, seamen, come together without any thick friendships and chase and achieve greatness? And how each person is often replaceable and the entire army doesn’t just crumble because one person is a group of 5 friends slapped another!

And, so, why do I love meeting random strangers? Well, to expand on these loose connections I have. In hopes that at some point in time in life, these would come in handy (you know, I would get lucky) and I would reach closer to my lifegoal. It’s that simple.

PS: Keyword is most. Keyword is often. I am sure true love exists. I am sure friends lay down lives for each other. But I am yet to have any of these happen to me. I’ve walked alone for a large part and while people have come and gone and helped me at various junctures in life, it’s always been the loose ones and not the seemingly thick ones. Most of my thick connections have been useless to me. The ones that were loose, the ones that I did not expect to be of any help, the ones I never thought I would reach out to, those are the ones that have been the most help.

And no, I dont mean to sound like I am cribbing or ranting. I do have a couple of people that I can goto any lengths for. I am sure there are some people that would feel the same about me. Lemme know if you do :D. I am merely stating an opinion and I am probably offending a lot of friends here.

The keyword in this part is most. Not all.


So yeah. That’s it.

I really love to meet random strangers. If you’d like to meet me, hit me up on twitter – that’s the best way to reach me!

Do let me know what you think of this.

Over and out.

The time right now is 0045 AM. Phew!

This is part of 30 minutes of writing everyday challenge. Others in the series are at 3010, 3110, 0111, 0211, 0311, 0411, 0511, 0611, 0911, 1011, 1211, 1311, 1411, 1511, 1611, 1711, 1811.