260421 – Morning Meditations

A longish rant on tough love and hard work and the kinds of people you encounter in life! Reader discretion advised.

6:40 AM
I woke up at around 5. I saw the time and the darkness inside and the blackness inside and I slept again. Woke at with an alarm at 6:10 interrupting a dream about a game of chess that I seem to be playing. Lol. In my dream.

So the weekend came and went in a jiffy. To a point that I did not realize where the time went. I did not do yoga. Neither did I write a lot. The to-do list is staring at me with all its fury. I hope this week is easy. I am implementing maker-manager strictly from today on. Today is a manager day – way too many meetings on a Monday.

I also realize that this always-on work that I am engaged in is not sustainable. I need to find a way out and create alternative revenue streams. Or do some startups.

In other news, I spoke to a friend last night (NG) and he said something that surprised me. He said, “tu action me nahi aata“. And I thought I was the one that jumps to actions like no one’s business. But when it comes from NG, I take it seriously. He is someone that I respect at multiple levels. So need to think on this.

In other news, SK sent me this video by this motivational speaker called Dan Pena. The 75ish-year-old man talks screams and hurls abuses about how “tough love” is what moves things. He says that in the day and age we live in, hard work is out of fashion. He says show me your friends and I will show you your future. Etc etc. You get the drift.

Now, I am the kinds to stay away from such motivational gurus and shamans. Especially the ones that are rude and obnoxious. But… but I seem to agree that hard work is out of fashion. The world wants to be kind and under the garb, hard work is indeed going out of fashion. People want to take breaks and recharge and sleep and handle their cats and whatnot. While all these are what makes us human but I sincerely believe that we need more people to work hard. Of course, the antidote is working smart. Inheriting great education. Scheming your way around. And all that. But these are things that a tiny percentage of people are capable of. At least I am not. I can only work hard, throw darts and then hope like hell that one of them hits.

Wait. I am not sure if I am articulating this well – I probably need to mull over it. May be talk to PS about it. He is on the other spectrum of where I am. Intelligent. Works hard. Discharges his duties as a family man. Contributes to society. Cares for pets. And yet believes in kindness.

The point is, there are people (let’s call these Cat A) that are comfortable with what they have – you know, a stable job, a fixed salary that goes up every year, enough and more time to chase hobbies and all that. Most of their lives are spent on auto-pilot and waiting for the next weekend. Weekends are full of social obligations like dinners and parties and getaways and drinking fests where most of the conversations tend to be about showering their employees and the world at large with abuse and talking about how they are miserable in a job and working from weekend to weekend. Of course, they are!

No, nothing wrong with it. It’s their choice. Who are we am I to question it. Oh, there are people (Cat B) who genuinely like the idea of working for the weekends. These people are the happiest! I have nothing to say to these people except wishing them luck! I am jealous of these people. Really am.

Then there are people (Cat C) that have little less than what Cat A people have. These people have some sort of stability, some sort of safety, some clarity where life is headed, some fun on the weekends et al. No, not to the degree that Cat A people have. But enough to be content, if they wanted to be. Most of these in Cat C will actually be content. They will accept their realities and succumb to them. Or may be live they would happily ever after. But if I were to take an educated guess, they will nudge towards becoming Cat A (not B) and would probably decline on the happiness chart. Probably is the operative word here.

Within C, there are people like me. Lemme call these Cat D. The ones that have tasted some blood and they want more. These people at different degrees of comfort (and if I may, discomfort) and yet not content. Still wanting more. These people probably will never be content. At least I wouldn’t be. Even when I am on the top of Everest, I would be like, “Ok, this is done. What next?” You know, people with super-high ambitions and expectations from themselves. Our life will not be spent chasing that mythical point where life is comfortable but delivering impact and in the process creating wealth and happiness and contentment for self and others. Lol. Do you see the paradox there?

Then there are people (Cat E) that are nobodies right now. You know, youngsters, aspiring talent, people without opportunities in the subsets I mentioned above, people just starting their careers and other such, etc.

Then there are people that grew up in cocoons (Cat F; kids of movie stars, spouses of famous people, people that grew up in business dynasties, the ones that have a sheltered upbringing, and all that). The only time these people troubled themselves was probably to switch on the AC and that too only when their “domestic help” and not “maid” was not around. They grew up with the proverbial silver spoon up their ass. Of course, these people have fancy lives which include getting the best of the education that makes them aware enough about moral issues that we are facing, especially around American culture. sadly they are bereft of any ideas about more immediate issues closer home. Which is ok. Cocoon. Of, these people mostly love virtue signaling. They have teams of “content creators” to help throw a signal out in the world. And of course, these are famous and are thus lusted upon by almost all other categories of people I spoke about.

And no, nothing wrong with it. You won the ovarian lottery and you better cash that cheque. Good luck. Again, I am envious of you guys :D. Wait, I don’t think any Cat F people are ever reading this people. Reading is a lot of work, you know. Maybe one of the “team members” (and not “employees”) could make a summary and deliver the Red Pill.

Cat G is the ones that have made it. You know, the role models. The ones that did not have a fancy upbringing and yet made that dent in the world. These are entrepreneurs, artists, doers, trouble makers, and more that have reached a point where they and their work is respected and creates impact at scale. Love you guys! The only request is that I hope you don’t let your kids drift into Cat F.

The rant from here on is about people like me and younger ones just starting their lives. Cat D and Cat E. For Cats A, B, C, F, and G, I have no advice to give. Good for them. Can only wish them luck. I may have a rant or two though, as you may have noticed already.

So, coming to Cat D junta. People like me. Who want to do more. Reach the famed Cat G. Excel. The question I have is, how can your vision of your success not inspire you enough to work so hard so much that you leave everyone behind? I am not saying that you become that hare in a mad rush. Be a tortoise. But keep at it. Work hard. Smart, if you can. But there’s no substitute for that. You can not become what you want to if you think it’s ok to work 7 hours a day for 4 days a week. And go on two foreign holidays twice a year and get out on each weekend. And attend each birthday party even if it’s the 4th cake of the pet of some other kid from the pilates class that your kid went to once about six months ago.

I don’t understand how Cat D people sleep at night knowing that they could have used the time they were taking a break at Lonavala to create more opportunities for themselves.

However, with the Cat E cohort, before I write more, lemme acknowledge that there are people that want to take different paths in life. I hope that most of these land up in Cat B, live comfortable lives for the rest of their lives. Not Cat A – these are probably the most unhappy of the lot – apart from cribfests, armchair activism, and socialite conversations with people that don’t really matter, they have nothing to show for.

So, if you are in Cat E and want to move to Cats A or D or even G, this is for you. Please know that this is NOT for everyone. Read at peril. If you are soft-hearted, quit. There’s more in life that you can do without this unsolicited advice of a have-been, old armchair activist. Who am I to talk about things? I have shown no signs of any success anywhere. Even when my friends introduce me, they use confusing and vague terms like, “he dons multiple hats”. I mean WTF!

So with that disclaimer out of the way, here’s what I have to say to you guys. I will use bullet points to avoid rambling.

  1. There is no substitute for hard work. Do not let anyone fool you that you need to work smart. If you were the kind to know how to work smart, you would be in Cat C at least by now. Harsh. But that’s how it is.
  2. Acknowledge that life is random and luck is real. You are the most talented person you know ever but unless you are lucky to find a giant that you can climb on the shoulder of, you are no one.
  3. You may not be lucky but you can definitely increase your odds at being lucky. How? By working hard. See point 1. And throwing as many darts as you can. See what sticks. And then double down on it. There is a lot of text on this. Look up.
  4. STOP idolizing people in Cat F. You are NOT one of those. If you were, you wouldn’t need to read such things or struggle through life.
  5. In fact, stop idolizing altogether. Learn from each person – good or bad. Stop hero worship. In this day and age, heroes will more or less fail you.
  6. Try and see what went behind the success of people in Cat G and look at the outward facade they put in. You see them partying but you need to see that they worked hard for 20 years non-stop to reach a point where they have people in Cat A and B manage their work. And thus, they can party.
  7. Life values action more than it values potential. I learned this fairly late. I was one of those perfectionists. And I realized I wasted the best years of my life (my 20s) chasing perfection with things. This is one of the biggest mistakes I have made ever. To a point that I regret it. Do NOT make this mistake. Please ACT. please ship. Even if what you post is crap, it’s cool. Feedback from people would help you get better. The best comedians apparently work on their 10-second punchline for years before it is perfect enough to land the audience in thunderous applause. They practice their lines each day with audiences in smaller clubs, unknown places before they climb that large stage. Practise. Think. Be aware of your reputation. But PLEASE SHIP.
  8. It’s ok to be wrong. Unless you are wrong enough times, you would not get right. So try things. Do things. Get told that you were wrong. Lift your chin up. And try again. Till you are right.
  9. Friends are fleeting. This is probably the most counter-intuitive thing that I am putting on paper. Maybe because I did not have deep friendships in life. Maybe because I have turned a cynic – most of my friends refused to help me when I needed help. Maybe I have not seen friendship in action at work. Ok rant. Dont want to remove this even if I am tagged a sore loser by readers. The lesson is, stop living for your friends. Live for yourselves. You owe a moral responsibility to yourself, your success, your output. Friends will come and go. The business transactions that you make would stick. At least, in my case.
  10. Act. This is important enough to repeat. See point 7. PLEASE.
  11. Stay close to the ones that nudge you to act. You would meet people that will ask you to take a break. You would find people that would tell you that it’s ok to recharge batteries. Nah. Life is too short if you want to be in Cat G. They did not take breaks when they were growing up. They worked. Acted. So, find people that inspire you to act and not take breaks. Act till you are there.

That’s it for the time being.

If there’s one thing that you want to take away from this, please take home Point No. 10 and the one-word message. Act. Everything else will happen if you act.

Ok enough. It’s almost two hours (it’s 8:30) that I’ve been writing ranting. Need to get on with the day. I did not know I would have had so much to say about this. This is a 2500-word tome already and I am not even half done! May be I will pick this up tomorrow. For the time being, here’s streaks. Also logged here.

  • Morning Pages / Meditations – 134
  • #aPicADay – 115
  • 10K steps a day – 2
  • OMAD – 0
  • #noCoffee – 47
  • #noCoke – 47
  • 10 mins of meditation – 0
  • #book2 – 0
  • Killer Boogie – 0
  • Original Work (limited time only) – 0
  • Surya Namaskar – 0

And no, nothing on Roshan today either. Second day on the trot. I have a sinking feeling I will miss this :(. For all the rant I made above, I should’ve worked on the story. I can justify this by saying that I did work hard over the weekend and thus was left with no time. But that’s all that is – a justification. Damn!