180721 – Morning Pages

A braindump of a thousand things that’ve been on the top of my head. Little ranty. Read with caution.

8:15. Woke up a few minutes ago. Have a lot on the top of my head. Let’s see how much of that gets translated onto the post. I am speculating that this would have 1200 odd words. Let’s see how many words I need to dump things here. Since most things are unrelated, I will use sections.

A. Health
If you know me, you will know that I’ve always kept my health the last in the list of priorities. To date, the order of priority has been work > family (including SG2, M, Team SG) > money > friends > writing > hedonism. And then if I was left with time, I’d think about health.

Starting tomorrow, I will change this. I will put health even above work. This means that I will not start my day till I have done some sort of workout – walk, run, yoga, push-ups, etc. I know it’s important for me to start the day early. At a Starbucks. With this brain dump. My best ideas come to me early in the morning. But I will let go of those for the next 2 months. I think I can survive that.

I will also have to sleep well. So that means, no late nights. Nothing after 9:30. Again, thoda tough. But let’s see how it goes.

Oh, related.
I’ve been noticing that the last few days the right eye is losing its sight. When I close my left eye, the right one is unable to focus on things in front of me. Plus I need to squint my eyes to look at things. Especially on the phone.

Brings to another related thing…

B. Social Media.
I am torn between growing my audience and reach on various SM platforms (you know, Twitter, Linkedin, Instagram, blog, etc.) and spending limited time with these distracting things.

Building a following, credibility, and reach takes a lot of effort, energy, thought, and time. Especially if you are like me. You know, with limited talent and a very limited understanding of human nature.

As I try hard to find things that I am interested in and are things that people may resonate with, I end up investing wasting a lot of time on these apps. Like any other sucker for a dopamine hit, I keep scrolling the infinite feed. And before I know it, I have wasted some 2 hours on these apps.

So I don’t know what to do about that.

In the long run, SM is important. Very important to build a personal brand and attract opportunities. Especially for people like me. But then I don’t know how to use it in moderation. On a whim, a couple of days back, I uninstalled Instagram. But then installed it back last night. And I just deleted it again. As I write this.

Lol, hate this love-hate relationship.

Ok. I have an idea. What if I install all these distracting apps on a different phone and use those once in a while?

Wait.

I am trying to reduce things that I have. This will add one more phone and one more charger.

Hmmm.

No, I don’t want to. I will keep things on the primary phone. I will test my self-control and see how long do I take before I install Instagram again and waste time on it. I plan to not use it till October. Let’s see.

Next.

C. Coffee.
I had coffee yesterday. After 17 days. No, I was not craving it. No, I was not sleepy. No, I was not bored. I just had it on a whim. You know, for no reason.

May I liked the aroma of coffee and Hazelnut flavor that Pooja had when I met her.

And no, after I had it, I did not feel any great or moved or energized. Even the tinge of Hazelnut on Americano wasn’t as tasty as I thought it would be!

D. Starbucks
The aforementioned coffee? I had it at a Starbucks. That was open on a Saturday. And will be open on a Sunday as well. Yay! In case you are curious, it’s the one at the arrival area at T2. It’s open from 7 AM till about 10 PM. And they have a private loo. So, for the weekends, I am sorted. Just that there’s no internet. So in case you choose to work from there, please ensure that you carry a charger and have a mobile connection that works. And they only have 2-3 charging points, so you need to go there early enough.

So, life is sort. Weekends are made. I plan to go there again today in a while. In case you want to meet me, you’re welcome πŸ™‚

The best part? It’s at the airport. While I am not transiting anywhere but the feel of an airport is what I crave for!

E. The iPhone troubles
The iPhone charging cable went kaput. And that means I will have to buy another one. I think I would have spent more money on iPhone cables and changing screens than I would’ve spent on the damn phones.

F. The Bombay Bhai
This is what I was waiting to write. Last night, on my way back from the airport, I stopped at a chemist to buy snacks and all. And while I was in there, a gentleman, not more than 30 walked in. Following him was a secretary kind of person. And a beefy bodyguard. The dude was dressed in white and gold. You know, gold bracelets, rings, chains, earrings, etc. Even the chappal he wore had golden straps. The secretary carried two phones. The bodyguard has a gun holstered. Really. No masks though.

And I regret to say this, I was intimidated. The guy was drunk and was making misogynist jokes. To give him credit, he was joking around within the group and not disturbing anyone else. But he was very loud. And very drunk. And very scary. No, I don’t get scared easily. But yesterday was something else.

After I bought my things, as I stepped out, I saw a Mercedes parked in a way that had blocked half the road. Clearly, the guy was used to such pitstops at night. I’d pit him as the son of a local politician. Or a builder. Or he could be a self-made man as well. You know, he could have had a startup that he sold to investors for billions? Or got IPOd?

Anyhow. So I was intimidated at that time. But as I write this, I think I was more jealous than afraid. I mean the guy had everything that I want in life. Money. People that he trusted. A good life. I on the other hand have just this blog and rants. The worse part is that I don’t even know if I ever will make it to be able to afford a good life. I mean I am almost 40. I am way past an age where you are useful. I don’t even have a thing that could potentially become big tomorrow. By the time you are 40, you’ve either made it. Or accepted that you will never make it. I am neither. I am a mere dreamer that can only rant.

In fact, I read this thread last night. I have been thinking about it since. I fucking want to be that elite. Not because I care for signals or trophies. But each duel, each attempt at bettering others can shape me. And allow me to deliver more impact. See this tweet as well. I want to do this at scale!

Ok, deep breath.

Back to the blog. Last thing that I want to write.

G. Rap Music.
I don’t know how but I stumbled onto music from Gully Boy. I heard Ranveer Singh, the actor rap. Is there a thing he can’t do?

I then moved to Divine.
And then to Ikka Singh.
And more.
And I am hooked.

I know these artists may be very commercial and may not be the best or whatever. But I think I am initiated in the rap music scene. I will explore more over the next few days. Let’s see where I end.

Oh, I have to mention that Ikka’s slur around Jamna Paar? It resonated so hard! So so hard! I don’t think it’s as ghettoized as Dharavi is but it was a slur nonetheless and growing up, it did feel strange when people from other parts of Delhi frowned at Jamna Paar.

So that.

Guess this is about it for the day.

Here’s streaks…

  • OMAD – 0
  • #book2 – 0
  • #noCoke – 129
  • #noCoffee – 0. Had an Americano yesterday
  • #aPicADay – 0
  • Killer Boogie – 0
  • 10K steps a day – 0
  • Surya Namaskar – 0
  • 10 mins of meditation – 0
  • Minimaslism Counter – -1
  • Morning Pages / Meditations – 219

Oh, and I had speculated, this would be a 1200 word piece. This is 1460 something. Not bad, Mr. G!

160721 – Morning Pages

A quick post about work, food, minimalism and more. Loved writing it, even if it didnt come out too good.

6:34. Been up for about 20 minutes. Played a game of chess as I was coming back to life. So this one is going to be a short one. I have a long day at work and I don’t have even the 45 minutes that I typically take for writing these morning pages. More than the long day, I am running behind on the deliverables. Like crazy. I have calls throughout the day and I need to present on those calls and I haven’t been able to figure what to say on those. I am gonna wing it. Let’s see how I do.

The lesson that I am taking away is that I tend to overestimate what I can do in a day. I think I read this somewhere that people routinely do that. Underestimate what they can do over long periods and overestimate what they can over shorter durations. I am no different. However, in my case, I think the goals that I have for the long-term are definitely not small ones. It’s the short-term that I need to find a way to fix.

Ok, am digressing towards the rant.

So the highlight of yesterday has to be that I managed 12 rounds of Surya Namaskar. I couldn’t walk as much as I would’ve wanted to. But 12 rounds literally killed me. I decided to eat disciplined. Which I did till about 8 PM last night. But then I ordered the love of my life – rice. Sigh.

Fuck epiphany happened! I was lurking on Twitter last night when I saw Shaan Puri talk about an in-home chef. I think that is what I need. VG has had one for a while and I can see the difference that it has made to his family’s food. I think I need to think about getting one. Just that I don’t want to maintain a kitchen, you know minimalism. Maybe I need to get into an arrangement with some friend? I mean most of my friends have a cook coming over a couple of times a day and make their food. I can use that facility and get my food made? The challenge however is that in-home chef can use ingredients that you want at a time when you want.

Wait. I have an idea. I will keep a running score of arguments in favor of and against minimalism. By the time I come back to Mumbai (after Diwali), depending on where the score is, I will move in that direction. So, the in-home chef is against minimalism. I am at -1 on that.

Also, lemme define minimalism. It is not really not having a lot of things. It’s really an abstraction for having no attachment to things. You know, how people have a favorite tee-shirt, a favorite postcard that they’ve got from someplace? a favorite memory that they continue to cling on to? I don’t want to get attached to anything. I want to live in the present. I thus consciously try to forget about things that are in the past. Lol. Not consciously. I just can’t seem to remember. So, I don’t want to cling to things. I don’t want to be a hoarder. I don’t want things to become obstacles to how I live and operate. An easy way to practice it is by reducing the number of things you have, you own, you like. And thus the chase of minimalism. And the way to do so is by having as few things as possible.

So yeah. That.

Right now, Shaan’s comments and VG’s experience are making me reconsider. Let’s see what I end up doing. By Diwali. And why Diwali? Well, like I’ve been saying, I need to be in Delhi for Diwali, and once I come back, I will find a house all over again. And this time, I will get a fancy and a big one with as few things in it as possible. Wishful thinking πŸ˜€

Guess this is it for the day. Not sure what else to write. Plus, like I said in the beginning, have a lot to work on. So, with this, over and out. See you guys on the other side.

Oh, the game I played as I woke up? I lost!

And here’s streaks…

  • OMAD – 0
  • #book2 – 0
  • #noCoke – 127
  • #noCoffee – 16
  • #aPicADay – 0
  • Minimaslism – -1. Started this today.
  • Killer Boogie – 0
  • 10K steps a day – 0
  • Surya Namaskar – 1. Let’s see if I can manage today.
  • 10 mins of meditation – 0
  • Morning Pages / Meditations – 217

PS: I realize that I have been talking a lot about work the last few days. I need to get over it. Once this week is over, I will streamline it to a point that I am no longer ranting or cribbing about it.

190621 – Morning Pages

Quick short note on what’s at the top of my mind while I am trying to stay away from work.

7:26. So, I woke up 5 minutes ago. Off a new bed. In a new place (Panchgani).

I am on a break of sorts for the next two days. The idea is to not use the computer or the phone as much as I would typically do on a regular day. I had thought I will think about things that are important to me and I can’t think of thinking while I am busy with regular humdrum.

But then I dont think that will happen here. For a simple reason that I am not prepared. I was to, yesterday. But work. So, these two days are “wasted” from that perspective. But then a break is gonna happen nonetheless. So that’s a great outcome.

Anyhow, yesterday, I did an NFG session for an audience that had paid to listen to me talk. For me, this was my first such session. Where I was paid to be a speaker on a specific subject.

However, thing is, all my life I have stayed away from charging for sharing my knowledge. I’ve never written about it. But let me try and talk about it today.

A. I have had this fear that if I charge people money and they dont enjoy what I had to say, would they not feel cheated? I mean I feel cheated when I pay for something and then I dont derive desired value from it. I dont want people that pay on the other side like that.

This is the same reason why I wrote this page on tnks. I did not want people to feel sad about buying my book and then not enjoying it.

B. I am very wary of coming across as one of those slick salesmen that are merely interested in selling things. The genuineness is fake. The conversations are to drive you toward a purchase. The agenda is to sell something. There is so much manipulation in each conversation that you know that your best interest is far away from their heads.

And I am by design not a person that wants to manipulate others. I like the idea of free will. I love the idea of people taking rational decisions (and not merely rationalising the ones they’ve taken). While I love brands and business and money, I am also an anti-consumerism-ist. I like the idea of less being more. I know that most selling is probably not needed. This is also a reason why I probably suck at sales as a discipline.

I know, I know. I need to believe that what I am selling is of value. And the decision getting taken on the other side (by the one you’re selling to) is being made without any coercion per se. I know that if I don’t sell, I will die hungry. It’s the same story as an antelope trying to outrun the slowest of the pack to survive that day.

So that.

Oh, this also reminds me of what one of my ex-bosses once told me. That I dont like the idea of having money. Every time I get some money, I start wailing in the misery of having money. I start pining for the days when I did not have the money. I get restless with the idea of money in my bank and I start spending it like a mad man. While I want to be rich and all that, this is probably the reason that I am still not wealthy. You know, the handicap with the art of selling and the discomfort with money in the bank.

Ok, now that I know what’s wrong, maybe I’ll work on it over?
Let’s see when. Adding to #sgToDo.

Chalo, enough.
Time to pack the laptop back in the bag. Will get back to it tomorrow morning. Meanwhile, I am back to Ankur Tewari’s Dil Haare.

And here’s the streaks.

  • Morning Pages / Meditations – 188
  • #aPicADay – 0
  • 10K steps a day – 0
  • OMAD – 0
  • #noCoffee – 0
  • #noCoke – 100. Yay!
  • 10 mins of meditation – 0
  • #book2 – 0
  • Killer Boogie – 0
  • Surya Namaskar – 0

250521. Meditations.

An inconsequential update on the music I am listening to and some pop-psycholgy pieces that make me feel good.

8:06
Been up since 7 I think. Slept around 11. So about 8 hours of sleep. I think I slept well apart from the AC making those chuckling noises all night long. So yesterday was a long long day. To a point that I had so much work that I literally slept on top of my laptop! And I will have to keep today’s piece short to be able to deliver a presentation by 10. So that means I have less than 30 minutes to do this.

Let’s go!

The music am tripping on these days is by Indian Ocean. I picked them up after I heard Rahul Ram belt out an ode to Modiji. While that itself is a fabulous piece of music, I am more enamored by Bandeh. Here.

Lemme start with this image that I got on WA yesterday. Lemme spill some ink bits and bytes on this.

This 2×2 is brilliant if you ask me.

It encapsulates everything that I was internally judging people on. And I want to be judged. It’s the intersection of ability and intent (if I try and loosely translate those words). And depending on how you fare, you could be, from bottom left to top right, waste, fuck all, dreamer that doesn’t deliver or cool.

While I know deep inside where I am and who I am (ask me if you are curious), I wanted to know what the world thinks of me. I even made a Twitter poll to see whats the world thinks of me.

Here…

I don’t have any comments on what they are telling me but I will keep this framework handy to evaluate life on. In fact, you can actually track your progress and movements between the quadrants over time.

That reminds me, I often evaluate myself on a spider chart about how I am doing in life. While writing this post, I took a 2-minute detour from the post to see where I was and did a self-evaluation.

Here…

May 2021

I dont know when or how I got introduced to this chart but I thought it was a great dashboard to have. Especially if you want a single view of where your life is and how you are faring in areas that you often dont even know or track.

In fact, I have been maintaining this spider since Nov 2018. I go back to it every quarter / six months and fill it in. For context, this is how I was when I started.

Nov 2018

I have to admit that the Nov 2018 chart has been the best so far in life. But if I could compare where I was in Jan of this year and where I am in May, there’s a marked improvement.

And the biggest factor, the biggest cause of the change is that I have some work that gives me some money. And that money has allowed me to do a lot more in life in other spheres as well.

So that.

Money, kids. Money.

Ok. In other news, a few days ago, I started volunteering with a friend’s charity. The first few days I could manage the time and energy and effort. But for the last few days, I haven’t been able to contribute at all. To a point that I am feeling guilty for other people’s loss that my inability has been causing. So that. I know I need to fix it. I know I need to start delivering. I plan to. From sometime later in this week. Let’s see when.

So yeah that.

Guess this is about it for the day. Here’s the streaks…

  • Morning Pages / Meditations – 163
  • #aPicADay – 0
  • 10K steps a day – 1. Plus I walked up 8 floors.
  • OMAD – 0
  • #noCoffee – 0. Had an Americano Venti with 1 tablespoonful of butter.
  • #noCoke – 75
  • 10 mins of meditation – 1
  • #book2 – 0
  • Killer Boogie – 0
  • Surya Namaskar – 1. 12 rounds. Followed this lady.

So all in all, for the streaks, it was a good day. I dont have time for the Surya Namaskar right now but I will try to get in the meditation bit in for sure. And then maybe towards the evening, I will try to gun for 10K.

Over and out.

170221 – Morning Pages

A longish post where I have dumped all that is clouding my head. I talk about Mumbai, Goa, Money, Work, Shah Rukh Khan and more!

7:43 AM.

Am at a Starbucks. The Powai one. This is where I wrote most of #tnks from way back in 2013. Or was it 2014? Whatever it was. I used to love the early morning grinds (this one opens at 7 AM) and flurry of words that would come out. Truth be told, I miss it. I mean I still live a tiny hop away from Starbucks (4 of them!) but for some reason, the one at Powai feels like home. Things have changed – your know, ambiance, people, staff partners, what I do in life but for some reason, the Powai Starbucks feels like home!

So, the morning pages. I have quite a few things to dump on paper. I am not sure if I would have the time. I have a LOOOOOOOOoooot of things to work on. Actually, lemme start with that.

Work. So thanks to COVID and the general fuckery with which I live my life, I am struggling to make ends meet (no wonder! Mr. Garg, you are wasting 500 bucks on average coffee, you dumb-wit!) and as a result, I took on everything that came my way. Most of these things are where I need to create make. And that means I am left with very little time or energy to do things. And that means I am unable to make things move. Remember what I spoke about movement the other day? And what Sheba told me as well? That!

So, I need to find more work where I am paid well for being a mere manager. You know, not invest a lot of time and get paid for experience and expertise. Right now, I am slugging it out like a modern slave. I am paid for my time. I exchange money for time. I am not getting rich while I sleep. The hourly rate that I charge can continue to go up but at the end of the day, I am paid for the hours that I put in! And that has to change. Naval has talked about this so many times that it’s impossible to miss it. I just need to find a way to get to a point where I no longer need to charge for my time. So, that.

This is also related to what PG has been saying for years – Maker and Manager. PS: PG is probably the best essayist that we have on the Interner right now. Do read his stuff. Gold.

So that’s first thing I need to work on. Someone, help me please!

Moving on. So this trip to Mumbai (wow, did I say this trip to Mumbai?), I have been indulging – you know, watching TV, spending money and all that. And you know what I realized? I like love to spend money. The only pair of shorts I have, it was housing dirt and muck and I don’t know what else from at least 3 months. And since I don’t have a washing machine or help or even the time to let it dry after I wash it, I had to buy another one. I bought the exact same one and I loved the feeling of swiping my card on a machine at an almost fancy store (Marks and Spencer). And I am wearing it today. And I feel good about it. In fact, I was out with a friend last night (well, thug life) and while talking both she and I agreed on the following relationship between money and happiness. I call these ‘SG’s Rules of Scarcity or Abundance of Money‘. These are not really my original thoughts but a mere articulation of what I’ve read and what I understand about it.

Here we go…

  1. While money may not buy you happiness, it definitely makes your life comfortable. If you are indeed sad, you’re better off being sad in the comfort of your plush home (or the backseat of a Merc) than being sad at a place that doesn’t offer you any privacy. You know, in shared accommodations, large families, Internet (lol!), etc.
  2. While money may or may not make you happy, not having money will definitely make you sad. I am the biggest living, breathing, moving, thinking testimony of this. I operate at my best when I am comfortable.
  3. Money gives you the freedom to do what you want to do. And this ability (or inability) to do things that you want to is often is the root cause of happiness (or sadness).
  4. Money allows you to control your time. You become the master of your time and this mastery is what drives happiness or sadness in large parts.

Am sure, there are more. I will write them in a separate post and publish em here. But one thing’s for sure. I love money. I love earning And I love to spend. I can’t wait for the achche din to be back. Come on, Universe!

So that’s that. The next thing? Happy Accidents. At the Starbucks, I bumped into an old acquaintance. This is what I love about places like Mumbai and Starbucks. These places allow for serendipity to happen. Plus, there is something about a hug that a Zoom can never make happen. We are social animals and while we adapt fast (and we will), at least for me, the handshakes are as important as breathing. I just hope that I am not obsoleted to a minority that still wants to meet IRL. Sigh. That’d be sad.

Once I understood the power of living at hubs, I have tried hard to find those and move there. The move to Andheri helped me like mad. If only I had some passive source of income, I would have done a lot more. Wait…

Wait.

Epiphany just happened.

I just dawned onto me that I love Mumbai WAY too much to not live here (#facepalm). Even though I don’t have anyone here that I can call my own. Even though I hate the dirt and the filth and mess and all that. Even though the place is expensive af. But I love the convenience of living in a big city. I love that I can dream here. Unlike in other cities. I like the idea that people are open. For ideas, conversations, business, work, and all that.

But then I like the idea of being a rootless bird as well. I loved the time I spent in Goa (for all the fuckery around the Internet) and I am getting serious about a cafe in Goa. I’ve made a few phone calls, have connected with a few folks, have started to do the maths! Again, I am not sure about it. I will let it simmer in my head and see where it goes.

The point is, while I was in Goa, I loved it. Now that I am in Mumbai, I love this. I am easily swayed I guess! Let’s see where I go life takes me and what I choose and what’s in store for me. To be honest, I am very very ok with the ambiguity and randomness and all that. Just that I need to be comfortable πŸ˜€

There’s one thing though that I’d like to know. How would the world change with WFH and all that? I tend to believe that places and things that thrive on IRL human connection will continue to remain in vogue. You know places like Mumbai and businesses like films. And things that do not need you to be in the same room as others, may change radically. Places like Silicon Valley and things like technology and software.

So that. Any ideas?

Before I move to the next thing, am at 9:47. Been writing for two hours now! And I still have a lot to write about! Lemme use bullets to take notes and I will probably pick these up tomorrow. And in case I don’t, at least I would send these to my Roam.

  1. SRK (who else but Shah Rukh Khan). I dont know where to start talking about him. Or where to end. He is, well, one of his kind.
  2. Met Sid Saahil from TID Podcast yesterday and shared notes. Learned that despite him coming from an affluent background, he hustles 10X harder than what AD and I engage in at Podium. We have to pull our socks. Such rude shocks are required once in a while to keep us on course. Will write a Twitter thread about the lessons from the meeting.
  3. A documentary on Aram Nagar. I was at Aram Nagar yesterday. Realized that someone needs to make a documentary about it. I mean it is as iconic a place as any and the contributions of Aram Nagar to Bollywood has been immense! I wonder why it’s not been captured so far? May be it has been, just that I haven’t seen it yet.
  4. Writing Tips. A few days ago, I started a series of writing tips. Primarily to friends that are nonwriters. Here’s the first one. You can join the no-spam, admin-posts-only WA group here.
  5. Someone asked me what was I doing when I was 31. I had no answer. When I asked her to tell me the year (I was 31 in 2013), I could remember with great clarity where I was! I always thought people operated in terms of ages but I realized I operated in years. Dunno what to make of it. I just found it interesting and amusing. Here’s a question for you. What do you remember better? Age? Years? And what were you doing when you were 11? 21? 31? 41? 51? Do tell me!
  6. Another conversation yesterday made me realise that you need to find underserved markets that could be immensely boring! Cases in point? Recruitment for young startups, digital marketing for mom and pop shops, content farms etc etc. These are really boring and non-sexy businesses and yet they deliver exceptional opportunity!

So yeah. That.

I know it’s a lot for a day. Guess this was a long time coming. Am glad that I could finally pour things out. I just need to continue with the flow and get going on #book2. And no, I am clearly not working on #book2 today either πŸ™