Structure

Something that is so elusive to me. It seems the more I am trying to build towards it the more it gets away from me. However, I’m not letting that stop me because if anything Jiu Jitsu has taught me that if nothing you have to keep on keeping on and then one day overnight you find you have made progress.

I don’t think I naturally am the most structured person and I revel in the spontaneity of human thought, random occurrences, and chance and probability. Well, that last one might just be an outcome and not necessarily anything related to structure.

For the latest portion of my professional career, I have fought against my natural instinct of being a non-linear thinker and tried to build more structure in my thought and conversations. I have seen progress towards that goal of getting more structure. The more I have tried to build it, the more I feel there is to learn. However, that is not necessarily a bad thing. It may mean that I am getting to the most nuanced portions of understanding and applying structure. Yes, some people are already there and I experience that. I very much appreciate learning from them.

I will keep learning and keep going forward. This blog post was an effort in creating a structure to some extent. I also know that I could have done so much better.

Jiu Jitsu start makes the day seem less hectic

Today was another hectic day. At work it seems that leadership wants the materials quicker and yet folks are leaving the project rather than staying on. I like this intense part of the project perhaps because everyone is super focused and I can’t afford distractions.

Talking about focus, starting continuously at the screen has been showing it’s affects on my eyes. I’m probably headed to a pair of glasses and weakened eyes. I don’t know if I can or want to do anything to avoid that situation.

The day started with Jiu-Jitsu so it wasn’t going anywhere but down from there. However, when you start the day with learning to choke fools and get choked there isn’t much that’s shaking the Earth under your feet. Unfortunately, it is getting so much harder to take out time for anything besides work. A part of me knows that the more I’m giving to this work the further away I’m getting from it. Not because I don’t like hard work but because I know I’m not getting my due.

This brings me to the ongoing thought about starting my own thing. I know I have the skills but do I have the perseverance? Isn’t this the time when I pursue something that really energizes me? I’m now almost relieved of financial burdens and should pursue something more meaningful without being tied to anything.

Knowledge, Not Boring & Space

I haven’t meditated for a long time (relatively) and that is a bit frustrating to realize because it was a good habit. At least, I thought, it was a good habit and it was helping my brain switch off from the constant updates that I was receiving from everywhere. I will get back to it starting today. Right after I finish this post. (Isn’t this how it always goes? A little later, a little bit later). Right now I want to create a new habit. One to write one post daily. Then refine along the way.

I want to write about a few things today and more important than anything else I want to make sure that I write every day about things that interest me. I don’t want to become a person who is consuming and regurgitating opinions without any knowledge. I don’t just want to consume and be informed. I want to connect the dots and convey knowledge (see Knowledge Graph).

Individual data points and insight are related but not a one-way connection; image credit: © Maxger istockphoto.com

Something that caught my interest early was Not Boring by Dan McCormick. He clearly illustrates how more can be with a simple email. He clearly illustrated how important it is to have an idea and execute it early with the simplest of tools. Dan McCormick wrote a simple email called Not Boring that talked about everything Venture Capital and eventually now has an audience of about 200,000. He himself started a fund supported by his audience and allows them to have skin in the game. 

One of Dan’s latest areas of interest is Space. Space technology is growing like anything and there has been substantial money poured into this ‘space’. 2021 alone saw $14.5bn invested by private capital firms into startups. I started tracking this space a few months ago after a newsletter from Dan and it connected deeply with my prior experience (starting a Cube satellite project in undergrad, attending satellite navigation control courses at IIT-B, etc.). However, I didn’t act on it. I should have gone beyond the Google sheet about emerging players and created content that illustrated the players to track this space. Like Space Capital did.

WEF: Top 10 Countries in SpaceTech Sector in 2021; image credit: SpaceTech Analytics

This brings me to Alex West. Alex is a guy who started as a daily blogger and now is at a stage where he is earning $500k/yr with his clients. Of course, there were failures involved. “19 failed products” as he states frequently on different media.  However, in the long term he made choices to focus on the right things and results followed. His story is inspirational but the devil is in the detail. What I take away from all this is that I need to write and I need to write with structure and speed at the same time. 

What I lay out here in this post is day one, step one in a long journey that will build on everything that I have achieved in the past. I hope I am successful but I will stumble along the way. What I want to be sure of is that I put effort into this thing that I am trying to build and I have fun while doing it. It is not going to be easy but it will be something that will energize me and not drain me. Excited about the next steps.

The Chat, Challenges and Changes

This post was supposed to come to you and my blog from an airport. Things have been hectic but there are signs of growth. I have been back home or the past 72 days now and it’s been great mostly. When I say mostly I am including things that are not part of the home. Things like worry about the work visa, prospective work, etc.

Now I’m getting back to this draft after about two weeks and I desperately feel like I have to get something out. Things have started to tend towards the mean again. I think that’s what happens at home or when you’re surrounded by people that make you feel comfortable. You start to become comfortable and you tend to stop pushing yourself, both mentally and physically. I am not blaming anyone I myself because I have not held myself to account. If I don’t take control today I will consider myself to be slacking but this post is an effort for me to get moving forward. I am almost about the complete the second book in a month so there’s that. Personally, I’ve slacked but I’ll give myself this one chance.

Things are not easy in a family with children that are grown adults. Things are not easy in a family that has a fractured core. Things are not easy in a(ny) family. It’s a unit where people get together for some reasons they feel they understand when they are younger and then again they start to feel the same when they grow older. Sometimes these things are pressures, while other times they are desires but at the end of it all it is all the consequence of Life trying to prosper through us. Everyone attaches a different meaning to aspects of their life without realising they are just a vessel for Life. Perhaps people that involve themselves with the trivialities of religion understand this better because for them the entity is not Life it’s a God. In popular culture this is the Force. If you are conducive to the propagation of Life you are assisted with direction and guidance, otherwise you have to trudge through the misery and suffering that is life. When living within a unit that is a family combine all of the above to consider individual ambitions, fears, concerns, and emotions. It is not easy.

An attempt to paint a picture, in a very familiar setting he is oblivious to his own actions and she is too engaged in her own thought process oblivious to the impact it has on her own actions. She over-thinks it while he forgets to think about it. ‘It’ can be anything. To understand how lost we all are takes some amount of thinking, bandwidth and planning to have the spare intellect to think about thinking. I am aware that I am indebted to my family for where I am but then I have come to realise that I too have made some decisions by myself along the way. Not too many but some that have had some impact on outcomes. I was born into privilege. I have the privilege of thinking about thinking because some of the burden of survival was taken away from me followed by a lot of other burdens, which are perhaps not as tribal. This allowed me to thrive (i.e., spend time on thinking among other things). However despite all the privilege that I was born into, I cannot be oblivious about the shortcomings of others for whatever reasons they were ingrained into them.

The “beauty” of the hill station that is Shimla

Travel back home even before I was home was not easy. Balaji has a lot of hope in Indians if not in India. My trip back and specifically the part that started after I collected my bags at the luggage belt on arrival at IGI shed some light on and reminded me why my extremely bearish on the individuals within this country. The individuals in this country are doing great things no doubt but there is a dearth of a need to struggle. I don’t know if struggle is important to succeed but many who are in the limelight right now are not necessarily a product of the struggle in the sense that a large part of India understands struggle. The large part of India being the segment of the population that lives under a $1/day. I’m not from that segment of society either and I don’t want this to come across as sour grapes. I don’t think my story is complete yet. A large part of India is struggling and doesn’t have the most basic infrastructure that many smaller nations boast about. Yes, a large country comes with its own challenges but even a large number of people in this nation seem oblivious of its challenges.

It’s not a prerogative of the individuals to keep abreast of the challenges in their society. One individual can only investigate and/or be aware of so much in the 24 hours they spend in one day. There is a dearth of leadership in our country. Individuals reeling under the burden of a failing leadership cannot be blamed completely. For the past 75 years we have had a fragmented society or Disjointed States of India as they were originally intended. Perhaps leadership of a such a vibrant collection of states is a challenge in itself. Keeping aside the corruption and the general tendency of laxity in people (that may have arisen due to geographical benefits) there is a variance in culture of the peoples. Different cultures, languages, styles of living has rendered a variation unlike many other around the world.

Diversity is a great thing… Here are the ethnic diversity scores of a few countries (Source: worldatlas.com)

However, looking at the number of challenges all the way from the unit of the family to society at large is not easy and doesn’t occupy my mindspace all the time. This was just an attempt to quantify the emotion about the fact that life is a struggle. Among other things I’ve wondered how meditation fits into all this. It fits well and has helped me as I’ve practiced (consistently) over the past six months. I don’t think it matters which app or practice you follow but the action to practice is what is important. I’ve started to realise that I’m present in some thing that is way larger and encompasses a space beyond me and my epoch, whatever name one wants to give it but that also means that my actions are consequential for a very small part of the universe around me. It does by no means imply that I am relegated of responsibility. Quite the contrary, the responsibility to observe my actions as causes and then my reactions to other things is more important if I have a need to understand how this works.

On another note and in a very contorted and abstracted way feeling hurt by some of the closest people feels … hurtful. The poison and the pain are disproportionate not because of the actions of the other person but because of the level of expectations that one builds up. There are times when some of these closest people are selfish not consciously but out of a need for self preservation. In such a state their definitions of what is right and wrong gets contorted and they lose the ability to evaluate their decisions. It happens to me and the best of us. This is just human. Meditation might make you realise this sense of loss of control when the person is in the moment but I think it only takes a significant amount of practice to overcome these human instincts. Add to this the fact that sometimes these people may not have the best intellectual capabilities and then it only pushes these issues and their resulting arguments and disagreements more downhill. Perhaps, more compassion and that’s the lesson I need to derive.

Things I need to be grateful for:

  • the awareness to avoid the feeling of victimhood
  • the good that has been bestowed upon me by people that were in my life when I was born and the people I got to know along the way
  • the amount of goodness in everyday that is serendipitous

Much has changed and much needs to be written about but this draft needs to go out now. Signing out of this disjointed post to do something more irrelevant but hey I salvaged the day despite all the hurdles.

80 days later

This is for you. It’s never easy and it takes effort. The easy part is to make up your mind. Executing and consistency is the hard part. Laurels are not won on the stage or during the performance in front of hundreds or thousands or hundreds of thousands. They are earned in the early mornings, the times where you take a step and question yourself about whatever it is that you are doing and then proceed, either by deluding yourself in some vision of the future or by convincing yourself that every other option is pointless, in the times when your face is marred with defeat but you decide to dust it off and get back at it.

Life isn’t a big fancy movie but it’s got ups and downs just like any adventure. In all of that action, resolve is paramount. Results come by virtue of staying at things, consistency and repetition are key. Repeated movement around the sun, around the objectives, and around whatever propels us forward. Forward towards whatever is next. I have been doing daily meditation for 80 days now and can tell there’s a difference from when I first started. To drop whatever is going on and proceed with an effort to realize something. The realization that this body is floating in a sea of things that are taking place irrespective, is not small. However, it is the action of consistency that makes you realize the importance of the little things amidst what seems like a futile journey.

I will write more about the process sometime as well but for now this is just a check-in.