The tweet is a quote by NN Taleb and it says, “Mild success can be explainable by skills and labor. Wild success is attributable to variance.”
Side Note. NN Taleb is one of the most influential thinkers of contemporary times. His concepts on Black Swan, Antifragile and Skin in the Game have shaped my thinking and my approach to work. Oh, and I have the rare distinction of being blocked by him!
B. A conversation with AS that made me think hard about the kind of things I want to do in life. He asked me what was my grand plan for life. And while I have thought often and thought hard about this, I was for the first time that I could put it in words. Thank You, AS for asking that question.
So, while thinking of the answer, I knew that I wanted to be a Wildly Successful person (and not just a mildly successful one).
And what is this Wildly Successful person?
Lemme start by defining the two.
Mild success is a few millions, some cars, luxurious life, respect from your peers, considerable impact within your community and so on and so forth.
Example? CEOs like Indira Nooyi. These people rest on the laurels of an organisation where they “work” and paddle carbonated water.
Wild success is billions, irreverence for cars or luxury, actions that impact the whole of humanity and like Steve said, the ability to push the human race forward!
Example? CEOs like Steve Jobs. These people actually created products that have enabled almost all creative people to do more.
Thing is, Indira Nooyi could do so well because she was and is smarter than your average business executive and she worked really hard and stayed on the course. Most of my classmates from MDI would chart the same path to being mildly successful. They are smart, work hard and are on their way to the top of their corporate ladders. By itself, it’s not a wrong thing, to be honest. Who doesn’t like 2 cars, 2 houses, 2 kids, 2 house helps, 2 club memberships et al?
But then, this life is not for me.
I’d rather be Steve. Steve Jobs could get wildly successful because of what he worked on, how he worked, the kind of things he did, the decisions he made and all that gave him that shot at sending the ball out of orbit (and not just the park). And while he did all that, he had his quirks, he lived life on her terms, and he chase things that he believed were right. And along the way, inspired others.
Of course, he got lucky. Numerous times. Luck had to play a part in his wild success but the path he was on was not going to ever make him just mildly successful. It was either going to be wild. Or it was going to take him to ruin. Something Elon stands for. Even Warren for that matter.
Wait. Is there a lesson? Is there a point to this post?
So, the lesson thus ladies and gents is twofold.
A. Understand what kind of success you chase. Wild. Mild. I know I do. You?
B. Once you know what you are chasing (mild or wild), if you are chasing, look at what others in the same league (mild or wild) did and then tread the same path.
It is that simple! Rest is a function of effort, consistency, time, luck and variance. Over and out!
Lemme know what you think.
PS: When I thought about I'd like to become wildly successful and when I thought about the kind of people I think I want to become (I will not get into details but some people that I want to be like are Chris Sacca, Tim Ferriss, Naval Ravikant, Jason Calacanis, Chamath Palihapitiya and others), I realised that there is a clear pattern. These people have a LOT in common. Here's a small list...
- Great deal-making ability
- Envious network. Especially, a large set of loose connections that are willing to look past the biases that close friends may have
- Ability to communicate well
- The knack of spotting trends
- A very big bias towards action
I am sure there are more things that I can't spot right now. Just that to be able to create this variance that takes from your mild to wild, you ought to at least have what these guys have. Get the drift?
Quick update that I am not even sure that counts as morning pages. I am supposed to start my day with these but I did not.
This is probably the most late I’ve been on morning pages. Multiple things are at play. Woke up late. Client calls that I couldn’t avoid. Work calls that I could not avoid. And then general fuckery in life and all. But der aaye, durust aaye.
So, yesterday was quite ok. The day was ok. Did some yoga. Did some work. Slacked a bit. Walked a bit. Met Prak. Gave away things that she owned. Packed another bag. Couldn’t go to the beach. Which is ok. If I could only eat less, it would’ve been perfect!
Today looks like a busy day. Not too many calls but quite a few things need to be done. Let’s see when I get those done. Once I am done with those, I need to finish whatever is left to pack. I plan to move this weekend. Let’s see.
In things at the top of my head, I am thinking about something that’s been gnawing at me for long. My inability to create a roaring success. Lemme spend a min on this. There are two kinds of successes – mild and wild. Mild – comfortable house, pension, a loving family, and all that. Wild – change the world kinds. I crave wild success more than anything else in the world. And I am yet to even see even a glimpse of mild success. I can’t even put myself and wild success in one sentence. I want it so bad that I am willing to give an arm and leg for that. Really. I can. I will, if someone shows me the way!
I do know that there’s some variance needed for wild success. And that may happen today, tomorrow. Or never. But I am surprised that even mild hasn’t happened to me. Plus, saw this yesterday and was triggered…
I do think I am smart. I do think that I am resourceful. Ok, I may be a dreamer but I do think I have the chops needed to make it rich and see mild success, if not wild.
And yet I dont have. Ankit Pandey tells me that “Dhan yog aur rajyog ki dasha nahi aai hai. Simple.”
But then, the question remains, kab aaegi ye dasha?
So let’s see. If you believe in God, or Universe or whatever, please pray that I get to it soon. A lot needs to be done in life 😀
The other thing that I need to capture for posterity is that I reached out to Team MML and shared with them what I am going thru. These boys are like the last resort that I can confide in. I mean who else will I go to? Anyhow. So, even though most of us don’t talk anymore as much as we should, it was really comforting to have a set of people that trust me, that will not judge me for all my failures and shortcomings. I wish I had was better at making and retaining friends.
That’s about it for the time being. I hope I am not this late next time on.
OMAD – 0. Ate 10 times. 10 things 🙁
#book2 – 0
#noCoke – 162
#noCoffee – 5. Wow! Let’s see if I can make it without coffee till Nov.
#aPicADay – 0
Money spent – 659 (and bought three flight tickets)
Killer Boogie – 0
10K steps a day – 0
Surya Namaskar – 0. Havent done as yet.
10 mins of meditation – 0
Minimaslism Counter – -2
Morning Pages / Meditations – 252
P.S.: Technically morning pages had to be the first thing I do in the morning. Today I did not. So technically my streak is gone :(. But then, I did publish this in the first half. So, cutting myself slack 😀
A longish post on the darkness in my head and the light shown by the story of Richard Williams.
5:41. Woke up a few minutes ago. Saw Whatsapp first thing in the morning. Saw a video by Vijay Yadav. This one.
Then I saw Nobody’s trailer on AnSr’s recommendation. Here…
Almost cummed in my shorts. I mean the team from John Wick + Saul (aka Bob) + Music + Visual Delight. Wow.
Also, this is the second film since yesterday that I have been tripping over. The first one is King Richard sent by VG.
This film is based on the life of Richard Williams (better known as Venus and Serena’s father). King Richard touched me like no other film has, in the recent past. I mean it talks about an ambitious man that wants to see success through the success of his daughters. Will come back to this film in a bit. Lemme park it here. Point A.
So, I feel human after two days.
Human as in, physically, there are no lingering pains anywhere in the body. I feel refreshed, energized, and all that. It was probably aided by the fact that I have been resting last two days. I had slept at 10:30. So good 7 hours of sleep. Or maybe because I did not eat crap yesterday. Whatever worked yesterday, I hope it works today as well.
In contrast to this feeling of greatness in the morning, yesterday was bad. So bad that it was probably the darkest of the last few days. It may sound like hyperbole but I could only survive because of two things – 1, Naval. 2, my ambition. Will come back to this in a bit. Parked point B.
So, for some reason (money situation primarily), I spent all of yesterday questioning my life choices. I mean where I am is an outcome of the choices I’ve made and the way I’ve acted on those choices. Clearly, I did not do a good job at either (choices and actions). If things were bad just at work / career front, I would still be ok. But things have been pathetic at other ends also. Lemme share a chart that I maintain on my vision board. I don’t think I’ve ever made this public. But here it is. As of today morning.
I don’t know where I found this chart from but I think it’s a great way to evaluate and measure where life is. And you can then reflect on what needs fixing. On my chart, I can see that I am failing at all 8 important things in life. The only saving grace is my family (and even on that, I choose to live away from my parents).
Of course, like any other thinking, feeling, evaluating individual, I want to fix these. And these dark days are occurring frequently and like Steve would say, if things arent good for a few days on the trot, maybe it’s the time to change those. Let’s see what I change. And how. And when.
Lemme talk about King Richard.
Coming to Parked Thing A, King Richard.
I could relate so much to King Richard. I had tears flowing when I saw the trailer. I bet the film will win all the awards there are! I wager that it would get at least 10 Oscars.
It is after all a story of one man’s fight against odds, the chase of impossible, trust, faith, patience, hard work, grit and more. Oh, and of ambition.
For all the use of the word ambition in my head, thoughts, and actions, I am as big a failure as they come. To a point that it hurts. And it’s suffocating.
The days when I am not busy with the general humdrum of life, you know, the days when you can take a pause and think? Those days I spiral so bad into the literal abyss that I take literally a week to get out of. I must admit that the days I go AWOL on friends and family, I am not physically unwell. Rather I am suffering from dark thoughts about where I want to in life and how far away from that I am. In terms of money wealth, impact, reach, work, fame, notoriety, even fitness. And the worse is that from where I stand, I don’t see things improving at all.
As I age, these bouts of dark days are happening with more frequency (I know I’ve said this already) and it takes longer to get out of those. The escape mechanism I had of taking a car and hitting the road is no longer a viable option. The other escaping method was to eat like a mad man, switch off the phone, and sleep. Even that doesn’t help anymore.
This is where I lean on what I learned from Naval. Will come to it in a bit. I want to stay with King Richard right now.
So, the other thing that I picked from King Richard is the reinforcement of the belief that I will probably not be a massive success as an individual. Rather I may be cut for being that person in the shadows, the one that works with these superstars and shapes them. You know, someone that sees their success come to life via others. In Richard’s case, it was his daughters. In my case, I am not sure. I mean I do have a few young ones that I am investing into. But I am still far from seeing them reach anywhere. I just hope that I don’t end up like Vikramaditya in Sur. Anyhow. Who cares.
I like the idea of enabling others. I just hope I am able to contribute to their lives and make superstars and massive successes off them.
The other thing that I want to talk about, from King Richard, is this entire thing about giving a hard time to the ones that are working for you. Remember Whiplash? I mean the entire premise is this hard-love for talented apprentices. Of course, I remain conflicted about what I take away from that. On one side, I like the idea of hard work, determination, sacrifice to achieve what you potentially can. And on the other, I know that mental health issues are real, especially with the dopamine-laced brains of kids around us. After I saw King Richard, I think I am leaning towards being a tough mentor. But then, to be one, do I have what a Richard had? Or Fletcher?
I dont know. Time shall tell.
Parked Thing B. Lessons from Naval Ravikant.
Lemme talk about Naval and Ambition.
So I read this tweet from Naval that said something like this – you can’t control your thoughts but you can observe them and choose to react to those.
Yesterday was one such day. When I was mindfucked. Probably because I was unwell and there were other things playing on my head. So I went walking. I walked real slow. I did like 5K steps in 2 hours. And while I walked I did not have a companion with me. You know, things like phone calls, music, videos, chess and more. I did not even pause to take photos that I’ve been trying to last few days. I merely watched my thoughts. And I tried not to react to the non-stop dark thoughts about my inability to do things. Or my inability to hold onto friends / relationships etc. I merely observed the thoughts as they came and went. It was tough considering I had to observe traffic in / around Lokhandwala as well. Lol. Bad timing.
So I while I was observing my thoughts, my head kept swirling back to the definition of success that I want to live my life with. You know, the outcome of ambition. It dawned on me that I believe success is the long-forgotten Kabir Das ka doha. It goes…
Saain itna dijiye, jaame kutumb samaay, main bhookha naa rahoon, sadhu na bhookha jaaye
Kabir the poet
Further, here are the things that I thought would look like success.
Mastery over time. When I can be the master of my time with 100% certainty. Right now, I am at about 5% in terms of how I plan my life and time. Long way to go.
Financial Freedom. When I no longer work for money. And I can choose to work on things that I want to, even if I am not rewarded for those things. Right now, I am in debt. So far far away from financial freedom.
Plus, I do not have those ambitions where I want to reduce consumption, etc. I really want a lavish life with all comforts and all that. I want to be able to buy anything from anywhere without thinking about the cost / price.
Giant with a shoulder. When I can support others around me with whatever they need / want. And then I want to help others in whatever way I can!
That’s it. Three things. Wow, that simple!
Funnily, as I think and write about this, family (my family, not my parents) doesn’t feature in this. Maybe I will change with time. And my personal goals of Everest, Marathon, etc do not fit in here as well. Hmm. Funny.
This is about it from the walk yesterday. A lot of this was probably triggered by King Richard. And by the general failure that I’ve been. Films do have power like no other. Must must must fastrack the non-existent films career. Come on, Universe!
I guess this is about it for the day. Realized, I’ve been writing for almost 2 hours now! Oh, and here’s streaks…
OMAD – 1
#book2 – 0
#noCoke – 145
#noCoffee – 0. Had two.
#aPicADay – 0
Money spent – 30 + 232. Adding this from today on.