Words. Wisdom. Winners.

Make this decision wisely

The one decision that will affect EVERY area of your life meaningfully is picking the right partner.

This is because, your partner affects:

– Your financial life:

To have the same financial goals and use money in similar ways makes life less about convincing and figuring out, and more about living it together.

– Your physical life:

Your workout habits, your eating habits, your binge-eating habits, your sleeping habits – all have a direct impact on how you live your life.

– Your emotional life:

Stability in your relationship with your partner will eventually determine how emotionally stable you are in every other relationship you have.

Making this one decision wisely will determine almost everything in your life, meaningfully.
Not to be made in haste :)

What do you REALLY want in life?

Several years back, I got a call from a current student of ISB.
“I have an offer from McKinsey and Google. I don’t know which one to choose. Can you help?”

I didn’t help. I just asked a question:

“What is the most important thing for you in life, right now?
Something so important, that you are willing to compromise on everything else?”

“Umm – learning. I want to be learning right now in life. Very important!”

“Fair. Is learning so important that you are willing to work in a shitty company with shitty pay and a toxic culture, but you get to learn A LOT?”

“NO! That sounds awful.”

“Then, learning is not the most important thing you want in life right now.
It is ONE of the things you want.
Think again.”

“Okay okay. It is money. I need money.
That’s important!”

“Fair. Is money so important that you are willing to work with a horrible boss, horrible work hours, you learn nothing, but it pays you A LOT?”

“No! That sounds awful.”

“Then, money is not the most important thing you want from life right now.
Think again.”

Here is the thing with us humans…

If we do not know what we truly want in life the most, at that point of time,
The next best thing that we want

We want everything.

A great pay. Great work-life balance. Great office. Great manager. Great colleagues. Great offsites. Great promotions. Great increments. 

So we settle for something that we think offers all of that.
However, the one thing that we truly want from life, is left unattended.

“What is it that you want most from life right now?”

When I have gone into deep discussions with people about this, they have been mostly surprised at their own realisations.

It is ridiculous how many of us have never asked ourselves this question!
Thus, have no idea what it could be.

The best thing you can do is feed your soul with the one thing it craves for the most right now.

Is money important?

Those who say that money is not important, are lying.
Money is VERY important!

May 2003

At the age of 50, my parents had decided to buy a house.
They had moved to Delhi 20 years back.
Made it home.

But they had no home to call their own.

Every 2-3 years, moving from one rented house to another, had tired them.
Physically and emotionally.

There was a house in Faridabad that caught their eye.
It would cost 10L.
Which was not a small amount, by any measure.
A loan of 8L was somehow arranged.

August 2004

Papa was fired from his job.
At 50, it was hard getting another one.

So, he decided to start on his own.

The business didn’t work so well.
Money wasn’t coming.
The EMIs had begun defaulting.

One day, he called me, checking if I had some money to spare.
I thankfully did.

“Yes Papa. I have money right now.”
“Thank you. Thank you so much.”
And as he said so, he broke down.

He was tired of how much money ruled over us almost all our life.

At that moment, I HATED MONEY.
I hated what money, or the lack of it, did to us.

Today, I believe we all have 2 lives.

One, that we spend earning the money that we need in life, to have enough.
Two, that we live once we have lived the first.

Money is important.

It buys you peace of mind.
It buys you health.
It buys safety.

But, at the same time, do not run after it endlessly.
Know how much is enough.

Around 28, I came up with that number. And have worked towards that.
Today I have it.
So, I do not need to run after it anymore.

Find that number for yourself.
And do not feel any shame, chasing that number.

And once you have it, live your second life.
Where you do not chase anything.
Except your inner voice.

Not all success is due to hard work

We drive an air-conditioned car and get mad when the bicycle comes in front of us.

We walk into an interview hall and judge the person dressed shabbily.

We speak in English and laugh at those who don’t know how to pronounce cafe. 

We judge those that try to save 20 rupees at the vegetable store.

We feel losers are losers because “if only they worked harder”.

If only we realised that not all success is due to hard work.
And not all failure is due to laziness.

On hopelessness

When you are working towards something, there is always hope. 

Hopelessness is felt on two occasions:

  1. When you haven’t yet started and feel there is no way you can (untrue more often).
  2. When you achieve what you wanted but it doesn’t change how you feel (true more often).

Do you get sarcasm?

Wrote a Twitter thread and I was reminded of something I read 10 years ago.

“Sarcasm is like electricity.
Half of India doesn’t get it.”

Funnily enough, the electricity gap has reduced.

Sarcasm, though… ?

5 questions to ask your parents before it is too late:

1) What is your happiest memory of us?
2) How was the first year of parenthood for you?
3) What is the nicest thing I have ever done for you?
4) What are the best & worst parts about getting older?
5) What’s one thing you want me to always remember after you are gone?

My first laptop

Here is how I bought my first ever laptop, at the age of 23! 


I was a student in the US.
On a 100% scholarship.
Which was enough to pay for my living.
But not enough to buy a laptop.

So what did I do?

Jugaad :))

The physics books in my curriculum were very expensive in the US but very cheap in India.
Because of what is called an Asian edition.

When I came back to India during the summer holidays, I went to Nai Sadak, which is a huge book market in Old Delhi.

I filled a suitcase with physics books!

When I returned to the US, I listed them as second-hand books on eBay.

In India, the books were priced at Rs. 400.
In the US, they cost Rs. 4,000.

I listed them at Rs. 1,500, and sold all those books within 2 weeks!

I earned $1,000.
And that’s how I bought my first laptop :) 

3 steps to land your dream job in 30 days – through a cold email!

Step 1:

– Search on LinkedIn for the company + role you wish to apply for.
– Find the names of employees working in the same/similar roles, who are senior enough to be responsible for hiring.

Pro tip: Do not look for HR in these companies – they get a LOT of these emails which they cannot respond to.

Step 2:

– Send them an email, expressing interest to work with them.
– The email NEEDS TO BE personalised.
A good test is – can the email you’re drafting be sent to someone else?. If not, you’re on the right track.
– Send the email.

Pro tip: if you cannot figure out their email address – send it to a couple of email combinations such as:

First name.last name (ankur.warikoo),
Initials (aw),
First initial.last name (awarikoo),
First name.last initial (ankurw),
First name (ankur),
Last name (warikoo)

Except the first one, keep all in BCC.

Step 3: (Hardest step)

– Send 3 cold emails to 3 different people, EVERY SINGLE DAY.
These emails should be personalised. Which means, the email could NOT have been sent to anyone else except them. 

Here is why:

– Cold emails have a response rate of 1-2%.
– Through this personalised approach, you will increase it to 8-10% (5 times better).
– But that still means sending 100 emails before you get 8-10 responses, of which 3-5 will convert to an interview, and 1-2 into an offer!

I have hired the majority of my team through cold emails, got most of my podcast guests through cold emails, worked with terrific partners because they sent me cold emails.

I can tell you one thing with conviction: it works, if you stay committed to it!

What is your success?

Your salary is not your only success.
Your happiness is as well.

Your marks are not your only success.
Your learning is as well.

Your designation is not your only success.
YOUR description of your designation is as well.

The world will make us believe a fake definition of success.
Not falling for it is the biggest success!

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