170621 – Morning Pages

Quick note on things that are on the top of my head.

8:25. While I’ve been up since 7, I’ve been a zombie. I’ve now shat-showered-powdered and waiting for my breakfast to arrive. And while the plan was to write this from the Starbucks, I thought, lemme grab a bite before I am stuck in a Starbucks for next few hours.

So, I did not sleep well last night. Guess too much coffee. Too much food. Too many distractions. Too much on my mind. And too much Fauda. And that too at 1.25X speed. I mean I am not enjoying the show or seeing it from the critical eye that I typically see things from. I am merely seeing the rushes. The joy of watching a story unfold in front of my eyes has been sucked away. I am merely going thru the motions.

Lemme try and clear things that are sort of clouding my mind. Including work and non-work. And in no order.

  • Today marks the end of my one-month Keto subscription. I dont think I’ve lost weight. No, I don’t feel energetic. In fact, I am the same as I was a month ago. I probably chose the wrong supplier to save on money. Need to think of what to do with my meals from Monday onward. Weekend any way I am out.
  • The side effect of this vegetarian keto attempt is that I have started to hate paneer from the bottom of my heart. I’ve had enough paneer for the rest of my life. I have to either turn into a non-vegetarian or find a way to lose weight. I can’t work out, can’t lift weights πŸ™
  • On the other hand, I can’t stop having the Egg Soup. I ordered it twice yesterday!
  • Need to stop with the coffee. No, I don’t enjoy coffee as much I love other beverages (like Coke). But the thing is, I dont like the idea of being a freeloader at a Starbucks. While I can shift to Green Tea or even Water to pay for the time I spend there, I feel criminal about paying so much for water. So I dont know the way out.
  • So yesterday, a friend sent me this video of a woman with She (by Elvis Costello) playing in the background. That video took my heart away! She took my heart away. I instantly knew I had to write about it. And, I am struggling to write my ode to it. I mean I started writing it yesterday and I am yet to find the right words. Breakthrough isn’t in sight. It was triggered by an Instagram post that a friend sent me.
  • Went for a walk. Met Ken. Talked about films and all. Spotted the sea.
  • Workwise, this week has been easy. One of the clients is literally silent. The other is chugging along. So more or less, things are ok there.
  • I got a new intern on board. Not sure if she will stay for long. But she’s on. It’s amazing how one client that pays you fairly allows you to expand where you are and what you do. I just need to be more prudent with my money and start saving more so that I can
  • On Friday, I am conducting the first paid session for NFG on Notetaking 101. I am not getting paid a lot but I am getting paid to speak and share what I know. Yay!
  • Life has come to a point where I have some money coming in. Enough for me to not think about where the next meal will come from. Enough to even pay back all the debt that I had loaded myself with. No, it’s still not smooth. It is at the tenterhooks. I lose one client and I am back to square one. But after at least 18 months or so, I am at that point where I am now thinking a lot more about the things I can do that take me closer to my goal of inspiring a billion people! I had thought Long Haul will be that. But it’s been really hard on that front. No one wants to trust me with their money. I a
  • Oh, while typing this, I decided that I will not buy a new iPhone. I will get this one fixed. I will spend another 8K but I will get this fixed. I want to save and get over the debt. The only money I will spend is on people and projects.
  • The most important. I had thought I will start with this. Lemme get this out of the bullets.

I have started to give away things that I’ve owned. Yesterday, I gave away the TV. I have also parted with the guitar that VG gifted me I don’t know how many years ago.

Now, I am left with a writing table, a bookshelf that has I don’t know how many books (and paper and notes and all that), a yoga mat, knick-knacks that I have gathered over the years, and some clothes. No, I don’t have a functioning kitchen. And computers (laptop – this and old, hard disk drives, pen drives, etc).

The idea is to dispose of everything and have just enough that can be carried in a laptop bag and a big hard-top lug. I don’t like duffels. I am ok to live with very few things and in this post-pandemic world, that should be the norm. I am just worried about all the notes that I’ve taken. I will probably digitize those? I don’t know yet. After I lost my phone data, I have stopped worrying about losing important things. The ephemerality of life is a lot more apparent and visible. Thank you, COVID-19 for that.

So yeah, the idea is that by end of this month (or may be the next), I would have disposed of all the things that I hate. The ones that I need to store (I’ll try that these are as few as possible), I will send those to Delhi, to my parent’s place. The rest, I will carry on me. Let’s see how it goes.

So yeah. All this.

Here’s streaks…

  • Morning Pages / Meditations – 186
  • #aPicADay – 0
  • 10K steps a day – 0
  • OMAD – 0
  • #noCoffee – 0
  • #noCoke – 98
  • 10 mins of meditation – 0
  • #book2 – 0
  • Killer Boogie – 0
  • Surya Namaskar – 0. I did not do it yesterday. Neither I did it today πŸ™

100621 – Morning Pages

Quick post on a lazy day about things at the top of my head. Lot of transactional stuff. You may skip reading this.

8:58. Woke up a few minutes ago. Slept at I think 1 or so but I did have an Americano at around 8 last night. Guess that’s why I had a fitful night. So on with today’s post. Like yesterday, I will try to not context switch. The music is set. I made a list of what I want to write about. I don’t have a lot of time – I know I am late today and I need to start the day and all that but I don’t have any pressing engagements today so I can take it easy. I may even go to a Starbucks. I did not enjoy, to be honest, that I worked from the home house last night.

Here we go. Will use bullets…

A. So, I restarted on an old project yesterday where I am helping a senior from the IT industry with his biography. It is very very interesting and exciting and I really enjoy the grind when I work on it. In fact, in life, if I can get more projects like that, I would be really happy. Of course, this means that the next few days weeks would be crazy but that’s ok. It’s the kind of craziness that I like πŸ™‚

B. Saw this video yesterday where someone has summarised James Clear’s Atomic Habits. One of the things that stayed with me is Warren Buffett’s advice on the 5/25 rule. In one line, it says that you must make a list of 25 of your long-term goals and focus on the top 5 and put the other 20 in the do NOT do / focus list. I think I must make such a list soon! I also have a fairly limited number of years left and I am craving for some success and all that. Must think about this over the next few days. So that.

C. I plan to get back to life and the world from today on. I am of course out there and working and all that but I have kept a low profile. As low as someone like me possibly can. I mean I am off Twitter, Insta, and all that. I know that I need to be out there and working and all that and it’s important for both personal and professional growth. Most of my opportunities have come to me just because I was on these platforms constantly. And I know that the doors I open today get me opportunities after literally decades!

D. I am also recording a podcast after a few weeks today. Let’s see how it goes. I can’t say I am fully prepared but I enjoy talking to people and podcasts are an important step towards that.

E. LHV is finding it tough. More on this some other day.

F. Thanks to the rain and all that yesterday, the second meal of the day did not arrive at all. I could’ve not had food after that but all the coffee I had made me jittery and I had to order something to get over. Ordered myself a Peanut Butter Mousse. Dying with guilt. There’s no way I’ll lose weight or climb Mt. Everest. I clearly can’t work out. The arm is still shaky after the vaccine last Saturday, so no Yoga. I can’t control what I eat. Grrrr…

Ok, I plan to try and fast today. At least not order anything for as long as I can control. Let’s see how it goes.

G. I am lagging on Write Your First Novel. I plan to take it up today. I am late on Mare’s review. I started the post but I couldn’t find the inspiration, even though I really want to do it. I think I must clearly slot these into weekends or after work hours. As life gets busier, I need to find a way to get more strict with time. I mean I am as strict as they come but I need to go another step now. I must not not do a single thing that is not on my calendar and if I miss something, I miss it. I will not try to fit it in during the day.

So that’s about it for day. Kaafi transactional details but that’s what is on the top of my head.

Wait. While writing this, an epiphany happened. None of these talk about my work as a marketer. And that means a good thing and a bad thing. Good in the sense that work to me is a problem to be solved, a thing to be done, a transaction that I dont care about. Bad in the sense that if I dont write about it, people I work with dont know about it and thus I remain away from opportunities. I mean I know that what I do is not really a long-term thing that I want to do. I’d rather build something that scales and impacts the world but the path to that seems to be missing. I think I am not even sure if I will ever be on that path – I am way too old and the world is way too complex now. Ok, I am getting in the rant zone. Lemme stay away from that.

Here’s the streaks.

  • Morning Pages / Meditations – 179
  • #aPicADay – 0
  • 10K steps a day – 0
  • OMAD – 0
  • #noCoffee – 0
  • #noCoke – 91
  • 10 mins of meditation – 0
  • #book2 – 0
  • Killer Boogie – 0
  • Surya Namaskar – 0

090621 – Morning Pages

A longish post about how I spent the day yesterday, things I did and how I felt as I went about them.

8:29. Was up a few minutes ago. Made my bed, opened the windows, got some water, and switched on the computer. And here I am. I will try to write this one without switching context. Let’s see how I fare. I will keep a tab of interruptions and what triggered that.

Yesterday was interesting for a lot of reasons. Lemme recap and then I will write more. So for starters, I went to Starbucks and spent almost half a day there. More on this in a bit. Then I came back and ate (once in the day! yay!). Remember the keyboard I wrote about? I found it! Wedged next to the bookshelf! Then I worked and worked and worked and worked till about 10. And then I slept. While sleeping, I felt like a machine that started in the morning, worked till the day ended, and then shut down. The joy felt missing. I mean the joy is in work itself, to be honest, and I enjoy most things I do. But as I was trying to get sleep (around 11), I wished there was more. May be this is the loneliness that they talk about that people my age suffer from? You know, the ones that don’t have a significant other? I won’t know.

Moving to specifics.

Starbucks. So I went to the Starbucks I go to often. I got myself a Venti Americano and settled into the spot that I used to sit at. In the first 10 minutes while I was there, I realized it was going to be a good good day. In the sense that I will get a lot done. I will be in the zone. I will do better things.

And I did. I felt the spring in my step. I made difficult calls. I was on a literal roll!

Now that I know this and it has dawned onto me this well, I think wherever I go, I will have to find a place like Starbucks to work from. I will invest in a place (as in pay a fee or something). May be a WeWork. It would become a large variable when I choose the place where I want to be. When in Goa, even Clay was not plush enough for my taste. Felix probably was. Just that phone / Internet wouldn’t work there. Plus those places are not built for virtual calls.

Oh, and I will start calling this the ‘Starbucks Effect on Work’. Related is Coffee Effect on Sleep. Like I couldn’t fall asleep easily last night when I tried. And then I woke during the night. Guess that’s all the coffee in me playing a spoilsport.

Next up. Now that I am fully vaccinated and all that, I plan to be in Delhi for a few days towards the end of Jun. I know my work would get affected while I am there – I won’t have the space to work from and I would have to live in a small house with my parents. But I think my parents deserve a break and work can wait. No, they’ve not told me that they want me to live with them. It’s just that I want to. Most times, I make more than 6 trips to Delhi a year. This time around, it’s been tough. I remember I was in Delhi in March of last year. And then around Diwali. It’s been more than 7 months and I think I owe them one. So that.

In other news, I saw that Vikramaditya Motwane Sir is doing a session where he would listen to pitches from aspiring authors. I think I will participate in that and try my luck. In case you are a filmmaker and reading this by mistake, do see this. In fact, thanks to TRS sessions, I have come to love what he’s as a person. I am lucky that I get some behind-the-scenes time with him and thus I know that he’s probably one of the best-meaning filmmakers that I know of. I must must make friends with him. If only wishes had wings!

Finally, the thing that I want to write about is WWDC21. Apple’s flagship event for developers. While I did not catch the event per se but the buzz made me stop and see what all they presented. And it’s amazing how they do it. They make seemingly simple things sound so grand that you are left in awe. I think there are a lot of lessons in there for me as a person, for brands, and for businesses. I mean see the below two videos and tell me you are not impressed!

Day 1 recap
Day 2 recap

Damn Steve! What a brilliant organization you created! I am in perpetual awe of you.

Ok, the other person that I want to talk about who I am in awe of? Jeff Bezos! He announced that he’s going to space. In a rocket that one of his companies designed. Along with his brother. I mean WTF! The most epic example of eating your own shit! A part of me is amazed at his dareness. Another part is scared. What if something happens? I mean the odds are pretty high! We lost Steve randomly. Dont think I want to lose Jeff. Or Bill. Or Warren for that.

I know I know I am trying to abstain from Hero Worship but these are the men that actually show others (and more importantly me) that there’s more to life than Ram Mandir! I sincerely wish I end up like that – where my conduct and my life and my work inspires others.

But wait. What about the epic laziness that I am ingrained with? Lemme give an example. Last night, once I was done with all the work and wailing in my loneliness (that I wrote about above), I realized that I don’t have water. And I drink a lot of water. Like a lot. Some 10 liters a day. I am not exaggerating. So I needed water. And I did have a 20-liter jar that I just had to open and pour into a dispenser. And what did I do? Ordered 4 1-liter bottles of water. Such a waste of money and plastic. Only to save me the discomfort of pouring water into a dispenser. Lol!

Ok. After this 10,000 kilometers of a rant, coming to the real thing that I am thinking a lot about. My angel investing syndicate that I am doing with Akash and Anubhab. We call it Long Haul Ventures (LHV).

The thesis there is simple. We want to be long-term partners for young founders that often find themselves alone. You know the ones that aren’t from an IIT-IIM etc. The ones that dont really have a pedigree to gather interest for the bets they are making. The ones that often find themselves alone and in a corner. I don’t want to call them underdogs. Idea is to give them a shoulder to stand on!

It’s been my life’s mission to enable others to do more. LHV is yet another step in that direction. This time, in a little more structured manner. With people who are smarter than me (both share initials – AG and AG). And of course, for the super long-term. Most of the work I will do on LHV will reap fruits after 5-10 years. But I am committed. With my time, money, energy, and even reputation.

So, while there are a few long-term goals we are chasing, I do have a short-term objective to meet as well. I am helping close the first deal by helping a startup raise capital.

And I am learning that it’s tough as fuck! Tougher than raising money for your own startup. For your startup, the friends and family that invest in? They are backing you and your passion and your dreams. Here, they are backing a stranger’s dream and all they have is your word!

Each person you ask for money (and support the startup) has a million questions about you and your thesis and all that. The questions are deep and pointed (as they must be) and they make you feel naked. You have to bare your heart and soul. Some of these questions are so tough that you don’t know what to say. But you need to do it. Right? Yeah!

So that. It’s a new thing and I know it’s a long, hard road I am on. Let’s see how long can I tread on it.

Guess that’s about it. It’s 9:24. A little less than an hour.
And 1400 words! Wow!
Maybe I had a lot to write.
Or may be I did not switch context a lot.
Oh, I kept a list. Here…

  1. Music (needed something to play in the background)
  2. Whatsapp (had to ask a few friends about a trip before I goto Delhi)
  3. Someone at the door

Well done, Mr. Garg.
You deserve a break! Go call your Pavlovian response mechanism to go berserk.

You, dear reader, deserve a break as well.
Go, live your best life.

PS: Here’s streaks…

  • Morning Pages / Meditations – 178
  • #aPicADay – 0
  • 10K steps a day – 0
  • OMAD – 1. Did not plan to. It just happened.
  • #noCoffee – 0
  • #noCoke – 90
  • 10 mins of meditation – 0
  • #book2 – 0
  • Killer Boogie – 0
  • Surya Namaskar – 0

PPS: And here’s what Hemingway has to say about this piece…

Not bad!