Words. Wisdom. Winners.

Today and tomorrow

You are an entrepreneur today.
You do not have to be an entrepreneur forever.

You are in a job today.
You do not have to be in that job forever!

You are still figuring out things .
You do not have to decide everything today.

Do not let the world define who you will be, by what you do today.

Saving money away from home

Staying away from home for one’s studies could take a toll on your expenses. 

Here are 3 ways I saved money staying by myself, that helped me, during my 2 years of PhD in the US:

1. I used to cook at home. Everyday. No ordering out.
Healthy. Cheap. Therapeutic.
Caveat: We used to order a pizza every Thursday.
That’s when FRIENDS used to come on TV (there was no OTT back then!)

2. Not a lot of travel.
I regret that btw, looking back.
Should have travelled a bit though.

3. Stayed in a shared accommodation.
It reduced living expenses drastically.

I worked in the University teaching student, earning me a stipend of $1,300 every month, that helped me save 50% and spend the remaining 50%

Lack of money often results in plenty of ideas. Isn’t it epic?

Where do I get motivation from?

How to get motivated to workout daily?

Hire a trainer
Go with a friend.
Commit to a goal publicly.
Engage in the gym gossip.
Sign up for the membership.
Find a new love interest in your gym.
Get expensive shoes that you will regret not using.

Whatever works for you!

Until, it gets to a place where it becomes automatic. 

Which is when you would have cracked the motivation code.

Automaticity > Motivation to be motivated. Period.

Lunch with warikoo

“There are times I feel I don’t want to live.”

“My mother’s dying. And I cannot do anything to help her.”

“Every morning I get up, I feel I would never be as good as my elder brother, whom my parents completely adore.”

As the founder of nearbuy, I started an initiative called “Lunch with warikoo” where I had lunch with a new colleague everyday. 

What I had expected was plain, simple feedback.
What I got instead was something I wasn’t ready for.

During almost every lunch, I felt I was not the CEO anymore. I was instead someone who they were openly sharing with, in the hope I was listening. Without judgement. Without any mockery. Without any bias. 

Here is what I learnt from 252 such lunches over 3 years:

1. When people told me their stories about what they have been through to get to that point that they were at, it left me humbled. Because I took those points for granted.
I recognized my privilege that I was blind to, so often. 

2. Leadership should not scale.
It should get HARDER for you to lead a bigger team and not easier.
Because people are people.
Not data points on an excel sheet. 

3. The best gift you can give someone is to listen without judgement.
We all have something to share.
But we may not have someone to share it with.
Become that someone, for someone. 

It is important for people to be heard.
To be seen.
To know that they matter, without offering solutions to their problems.

Pro productivity hacks

Are you someone who loses their productivity as the day goes on? 

This post is for you.

As the day goes on, many of us start losing focus, especially after lunch. However, here are some ways in which we can keep our productivity going even at this time:

  1. Japan’s 80% rule: Japanese follow this rule where they stop eating after their stomach is 80% full. If you eat after this, then the food, instead of giving you energy, makes you more lethargic. Food is supposed to give us energy. The excess of it, simply takes it away.
  2. Stay hydrated: I haven’t seen a single human being who drank 5 litres of water a day and was lethargic. None. 
  3. Have a standing desk as well: Fitness experts are claiming that sitting is the new smoking, because it makes your bones weak, joints damp, and energy levels plummet. Why would you do that to yourself?

The key to doing productive work does not lie in doing more work, it lies in doing more of things that make you increase your productivity. Sometimes by even working less.

Happiness is a choice

“Once you finish studying, you will get a job.
Once you get a job, you will make money.
Once you make money, you will be happy.”

THIS was the biggest lie sold to us!

Happiness is not a candy out of a vending machine – that once it is with you, it becomes yours.

Happiness is a choice.

Choice to be happy even when things are not going as you wished them to be.
Choice to be happy when the world thinks you should be wandering and depressed by now.
Choice to not take your life situations seriously, because to you it’s no big deal (even if it is).

It turns out, if money or a good job could buy happiness, everyone with these would be happy. But they aren’t necessarily!

A good job and good money are important. I get that.
But they are not the source of your happiness, unless YOU ARE NOT HAPPY.

When you are the source of your happiness, you figure out happiness even when for the time being, you do not have the money/job you wanted. 

Could there be anything else, to be happier? :)

Success in your job

5 things that do NOT make you successful at work:

1. Taking credit for someone else’s work, to look better in front of the boss.
2. Giving the boss the most importance, while demeaning other colleagues.
3. Doing mediocre work, filled with errors.
4. Not being curious, and doing things “because they have been done this way”.
5. Spreading politics and rumours at work.

One thing that will make you win in EVERY job:

Making a commitment, and staying true to that, without anyone having to follow up with you.

Gratitude should be a way of life

Google is often ranked as one of the best companies to work for.
One fancy thing about Google offices is their MASSIVE free lunch.
Like a politician’s wedding x 3!

One day, I was having lunch at the Google Gurgaon office.
Standing in line at the North Indian counter.

And in front of me is a Googler.

The dude steps away from the line to check what the menu of the day is.
Holds his head with both of his hands, in excruciating pain. And goes, “Damn! Aaj phir se dal makhani hai!”

(Translated: Damn!! I have to subject myself to the torture of eating butter-laden richly cooked lentils for 2 consecutive days of my hard-earned life!)

I stood there. STUNNED.

Wondering what has this person done in life, to be complaining about the fact that he is getting to eat dal makhani for 2 consecutive days of his life?
This was not how it was meant to be.
Something had seriously broken.

So, I came up with this theory of how Google started.
It’s a lie. But I think it’s true ?

When Larry Page and Sergey Brin, the two founders of Google, decided to start Google, they said:
We are going to create the biggest social experiment that this world has ever seen.
And here is how it will work:

We will get a set of super-smart people in a room (we will call it a company later on).
And give them the most complex problems to work on.

But we will also give them stuff they didn’t expect.
A fancy office.
Free lunches.
Bean bags.
Come and leave whenever they want.
Bring their pets to work.
Sleep at work.
Take 20% off and do their own thing.

And over time,

They will stand in front of the mirror and say, ‘I deserve this!’
“I deserve everything that I get in life. I have worked hard to get to this point. I deserve this.”

But then Larry and Sergey were statisticians.
They know that it is impossible that EVERYONE would feel this way.
There has to be a percentage, however small, that doesn’t.

Let’s assume 1%.

So they said, “If we build a large enough company, say 100,000 (Google’s employee count), then 1% or 1,000 people will get up every morning and say:
I don’t deserve all of this.
I just got lucky. I was lucky that I was born into a family that took care of me, gave me food, shelter, love, upbringing, education. Because of which I sit on opportunities that millions of people will never get to see even for a second of their lives.
So I am going to just work hard everyday to get close to hopefully feeling one day that I deserve this. That I earned this.”

And those 1,000 will move the company forward.

The remaining 99,000 are just filling in a seat.
They are smart, no doubt, but their level of entitlement makes them dispensable.
It is the 1% that creates magic.

This, my friend, is not true about Google.
It is true for every company, for every state, for every country, for the entire world.

It is the 1% who do not feel entitled that drive it forward.

Are you that 1%?

I repeat this story every year and it is fascinating how the responses repeat themselves as well.

Part of the crowd agrees, part of the crowd disagrees. Which is how any point of view is expected to be.

And part of the crowd digs deep into how the post stupidly extrapolates one’s reaction towards food, into something so big as lack of entitlement.
To them – you got too consumed by the details. Which was a designed trap.

The message is bigger.
How you do anything, is how you do everything.

This story isn’t about google or food.
This story is about one’s attitude.
About awareness of one’s privilege.
About gratitude.

I could change the story to something else. The message will not change :)

Waiting for it to be shared next year now.

Result or regret?

Someone is tired of their job.
Someone hates their boss.
Someone feels they are in the wrong relationship.
Someone wants to startup but is not sure if it’s the right move.
Someone wants to move abroad, but isn’t sure which country.
Someone questions if they should move out of their hometown or not.

Whenever I get emails like this, I reply to them with my favorite question, “What do you want to do?”

Once they come to that point, my next question is, “What is stopping you?”

This is when reality hits hard.
More often than not, it is our own mind.

We have convinced ourselves that we should not pursue what we want to do.

Because it is too risky, because people will laugh, because we might fail, because what will the world say, because we may not get a chance to recover.

But you know what?

A year from now, you will regret not having started today.
Time goes away and leaves us with only one of these two things: Results or regret.

Brilliant people

There is a difference between SMART people and BRILLIANT people.

The more I studied truly exceptional people, the more I realised:
Brilliant people DON’T solve problems.
And then the questions solve the problems.

Here are my top 3 questions:

1. “What is the most important thing for you in life right now?”

Whenever someone asks me for career advice, this is the first question I ask them to answer.
If it is money, then are they ready to face a toxic work culture because of it?
If it is peace, then are they ready to sacrifice their luxuries for it?

It is a very interesting question, and you won’t believe how many people are unable to answer it.
Why is the answer important?
Because here is the thing with humans: if we do not know what is the one thing we want from life right now, the next best thing we want is EVERYTHING.

And that is a disaster.

2. “What do you WANT to do?”

Going to the depth of the reason behind their actions tells a person so much about their own selves.

Do they operate out of obligation (have to), lack of choice (need to), or desire (want to)?

3. What is the worst thing that can happen?

Are you ready to face that worst thing?
Emotionally, socially, financially, psychologically, and physically?

If yes, go for it!
If there is even a shred of doubt, then don’t.

The number of problems that just answering these 3 questions will solve for most answers you are looking for, in life :)

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