मुझे पता है कि मुझे कुछ नहीं आता है (Hindi)

यह वाक्यांश “मुझे पता है कि मुझे कुछ भी नहीं पता है” आपको परिचित लग सकता है। ऐसा इसलिए है क्योंकि आपने इसे किसी दोस्त से या स्कूल में सुना होगा या कहीं पढ़ा होगा।

यह एक सुकराती विरोधाभास है।

यह मुहावरा, “सुकराती विरोधाभास” एक स्व-संदर्भित विरोधाभास को संदर्भित करता है, जो कि सुकरात के उच्चारण में उत्पन्न होता है, “जो मुझे नहीं पता कि मुझे नहीं लगता कि मैं जानता हूं”, अक्सर “मुझे पता है कि मुझे कुछ नहीं पता है” के रूप में विरोधाभास है।

निम्नलिखित सोक्रेटिक विरोधाभासों में से कुछ हैं:

  • जो मैं नहीं जानता वह मुझे नहीं लगता कि मैं जानता हूं
  • कोई भी बुराई की इच्छा नहीं करता है
  • कोई भी गलत तरीके से या जानबूझकर या जानबूझकर गलत नहीं करता है
  • पुण्य — सब पुण्य — ज्ञान है
  • पुण्य सुख के लिए पर्याप्त है

मुझे पता है कि मुझे कुछ नहीं आता है

यह वाक्यांश (“मुझे पता है कि मुझे कुछ भी नहीं पता है”) मूल रूप से लैटिन से आता है “ipse se nihil scire id unum sciat”, जिसका अर्थ है (यदि शाब्दिक अनुवाद किया गया) “यह जानने के लिए कि वह जानता है कि वह खुद कुछ नहीं जानता है”

अगर आप सिर्फ अंग्रेजी अनुवाद पढ़ते हैं इससे बहुत मतलब नहीं है।

इसका कारण यह है कि अनुवाद में बहुत कुछ खो गया है (ग्रीक से लैटिन में ग्रीक से अंग्रेजी में)।

इसके अलावा, हमने अधिकांश ऐतिहासिक संदर्भों और बारीकियों को खो दिया है।

मेरी निजी राय दो बातें यहां चल रही हैं:

1) सुकरात कह रहा है, “मुझे पता है, मैं उन चीजों को नहीं जानता जो मुझे नहीं पता है।” (यह सुकरात और हम सभी के लिए तथ्यात्मक रूप से सही है, लेकिन क्या आप जीवन के इस तथ्य से अवगत हैं या नहीं यह एक अन्य विषय है।)

2) सुकरात कह रहा है, “मुझे पता है, मुझे कुछ नहीं पता (इसके अलावा शायद कुछ चीजें और वह भी उथले अर्थों में)।” यदि आप इसके बारे में गहराई से सोचते हैं, तो यह उसके लिए और साथ ही हममें से किसी के लिए भी सच प्रतीत होता है। आइए हम ऊपर (बिंदु # 2) से जो कुछ भी मतलब रखते हैं उसमें एक गहरी डुबकी लगाएँ।

गहरा सत्य

हम जानते हैं कि सुकरात पश्चिमी दर्शन का आधार रहा है। इसलिए हम शायद पश्चिमी दर्शन की नींव को उलट सकते हैं ताकि वास्तव में जो कहा या मतलब हो, उसमें कुछ और जानकारी मिल सके। सुकरात कहते हैं कि सभी ज्ञान आश्चर्य से शुरू होते हैं और इस प्रकार किसी की अज्ञानता को स्वीकार करते हैं।

शिक्षण की सुकरात की द्वंद्वात्मक पद्धति इस पर आधारित थी कि वह एक शिक्षक के रूप में कुछ भी नहीं जानता था, इसलिए वह अपने छात्रों से संवाद द्वारा ज्ञान प्राप्त करेगा।

उनके काम में डायोजनीज लेर्टियस द्वारा एक मार्ग भी दिया गया है जिसमें लिव्स एंड ओपिनियन्स ऑफ एमिनेंट फिलोसोफर्स है, जहां वह उन चीजों के बीच सूचीबद्ध करता है, जो सुकरात कहते थे:

“εἰδέναι μὲν μηδὲν πλὴν αὐτὸ τοῦτο εἰδέναι”

“कि वह कुछ भी नहीं जानता था सिवाय इसके कि वह कुछ भी नहीं जानता था”

फिर से, उद्धरण के करीब, प्लेटो के माफी में एक मार्ग है, जहां सुकरात कहते हैं कि किसी के साथ चर्चा करने के बाद वह सोचता है

τούτου μὲν τοῦ ἀνθρώπου ἐγὼ σοφώτερός εἰμι· κινδυνεύει μὲν γὰρ ἡμῶν οὐδέτερος οὐδὲν καλὸν κἀγαθὸν εἰδέναι, ἀλλ᾽ οὗτος μὲν οἴεταί τι εἰδέναι οὐκ εἰδώς, ἐγὼ δέ, ὥσπερ οὖν οὐκ οἶδα, οὐδὲ οἴομαι· ἔοικα γοῦν τούτου γε σμικρῷ τινι αὐτῷ τούτῳ σοφώτερος εἶναι, ὅτι ἃ μὴ οἶδα οὐδὲ οἴομαι εἰδέναι.

मैं इस आदमी की तुलना में समझदार हूँ, क्योंकि हममें से कुछ भी महान और अच्छा नहीं जानता है; लेकिन वह जानता है कि वह कुछ जानता है, हालाँकि वह कुछ नहीं जानता है; जबकि मैं, जैसा कि मुझे कुछ भी नहीं पता है, इसलिए मैं कल्पना नहीं करता कि मैं करता हूं। इस ट्रिफ़्लिंग में, विशेष रूप से, मैं उसकी तुलना में समझदार प्रतीत होता हूं, क्योंकि मैं कल्पना नहीं करता कि मुझे पता है कि मुझे नहीं पता है।

यह हमें क्या बताता है कि किसी भी विषय का आपका ज्ञान हमेशा अधूरा है। जब आप किसी मामले के बारे में अधिक तथ्य और सत्य प्राप्त करते हैं, तो आपका ज्ञान बढ़ जाता है, अक्सर पहले से गलत धारणाओं या मान्यताओं को समाप्त करना।

आप हमेशा सीखते रहते हैं, हमेशा खोजते रहते हैं, हमेशा सवाल करते रहते हैं, हमेशा सोचते रहते हैं, हमेशा शंका करते रहते हैं, हमेशा एक खुला दिमाग रखते हैं कि आप गलत हो सकते हैं। और जैसे-जैसे चीजें निकलती हैं, आप अक्सर … गलत और / या अधूरे होते हैं।

तो शायद, सुकरात का मतलब था “मुझे पता है कि मैं कुछ भी नहीं जानता” लेकिन अपने बारे में एक वस्तुगत तथ्य के रूप में नहीं बल्कि मन की स्थिति के रूप में।

सब के बाद, चीजों की भव्य योजना में, हममें से कोई भी कुछ भी नहीं जानता है जो वास्तव में शाश्वत है, पूर्ण सत्य!

एक हमेशा के लिए छात्र होने की जरूरत है। आपने कभी सीखना बंद नहीं किया।

आगे पढ़िए

I know that I know nothing

The phrase “I know that I know nothing” may sound familiar to you. That’s because, at some point, you must have either heard it from a friend or in school or read it somewhere. It’s a Socratic paradox.

The term, “Socratic paradox” refer to a self-referential paradox, originating in Socrates’s utterance, “what I do not know I do not think I know”, often paraphrased as “I know that I know nothing.”

The following are few of the so-called Socratic paradoxes:

  • What I do not know I do not think I know
  • No one desires evil
  • No one errs or does wrong willingly or knowingly
  • Virtue—all virtue—is knowledge
  • Virtue is sufficient for happiness

I know that I know nothing

The phrase originally comes from Latin “ipse se nihil scire id unum sciat”, which (if literally translated) means “to know that one thing he knows he himself is nothing”.

This does not make much sense if you just read the English translation.

This is because much is lost in the translation (Greek to Latin to back to Greek to now English).

Also, please note that we have lost most of the historical context and nuances since historical records are limited and often incomplete.

In my opinion there are two things going on here:

1) Socrates is saying, “I know, I do not know things that I don’t know.” (This is factually correct for both Socrates and all of us, but whether you are aware of this fact of life is another topic.)

2) Socrates is saying, “I know, I don’t know anything (besides probably a few things and that too in a shallow sense)”. If you think deeply about it, this also seems to be true for him and as well as anyone of us.

Let us take a deep dive into what I mean by the above (point #2).

The Deeper Truth

We know that Socrates has been the bedrock of Western philosophy. So we can perhaps reverse engineer the foundation of western philosophy to gain some further insight into what actually was said or meant.

Socrates says all wisdom begins with wondering and thus admitting one’s ignorance.

Socrates’ dialectic method of teaching was based on that he as a teacher knew nothing, so he would derive knowledge from his students by dialogue.

There is also a passage by Diogenes Laertius in his work Lives and Opinions of Eminent Philosophers where he lists, among the things that Socrates used to say:

“εἰδέναι μὲν μηδὲν πλὴν αὐτὸ τοῦτο εἰδέναι”

“that he knew nothing except that he knew nothing”
Again, closer to the quote, there is a passage in Plato’s Apology, where Socrates says that after discussing with someone he started thinking that:
τούτου μὲν τοῦ ἀνθρώπου ἐγὼ σοφώτερός εἰμι· κινδυνεύει μὲν γὰρ ἡμῶν οὐδέτερος οὐδὲν καλὸν κἀγαθὸν εἰδέναι, ἀλλ᾽ οὗτος μὲν οἴεταί τι εἰδέναι οὐκ εἰδώς, ἐγὼ δέ, ὥσπερ οὖν οὐκ οἶδα, οὐδὲ οἴομαι· ἔοικα γοῦν τούτου γε σμικρῷ τινι αὐτῷ τούτῳ σοφώτερος εἶναι, ὅτι ἃ μὴ οἶδα οὐδὲ οἴομαι εἰδέναι.
I am wiser than this man, for neither of us appears to know anything great and good; but he fancies he knows something, although he knows nothing; whereas I, as I do not know anything, so I do not fancy I do. In this trifling particular, then, I appear to be wiser than he, because I do not fancy I know what I do not know.

What this tells us is that your knowledge of any subject is always incomplete. As you acquire more facts and truths about a matter, your knowledge increases, oftentimes eliminating previously held wrong assumptions or beliefs.

You are always learning, always seeking, always questioning, always wondering, always doubting, always keeping an open mind that you might be wrong. And as things turn out, you often are…wrong and/or incomplete.

So perhaps, Socrates did mean “I know that I know nothing” but not as an objective fact about himself but as a state of mind. If you view it in this context then the Socratic paradox is not a paradox after all. 

In the grand scheme of things, none of us know anything that’s truly eternal, the Absolute Truth! One needs to be a forever student. You never stop learning.

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Thoughts on Love: What is Love?

What is love? That is a question that has been posed to us thousands of times, and it is one that humans do not seem to be able to answer. I’m not sure if there’s an actual scientific definition for the word ‘love’ since its usage varies from person to person.

We have no idea what love actually is, or how it works. Nor do we have any real way of defining it.

So today I will share some of my thoughts on love.

To me, Love is the only real thing in life. Without love, everything else would be meaningless. This is what I think of ‘what is love’.

And what is this feeling of love? Love is the feeling you have when you truly care for someone, and they truly care for you. 

This is the kind of love I want to have with someone. Love is real, and I’m glad to have found it.

And I think people should love each other.

Thoughts on Love

Love of others tends to be associated with feelings and emotions such as joy, contentment, gratitude, or even excitement. It is also linked to a desire or need to give care and support.

There are many factors that affect the nature of love. Such factors include culture, attachment style, stage of the relationship, and even gender differences.

Psychological theories on the nature and function of love date back to the ancient world.

The conventional view is that romantic relationships are beneficial in that they tend to increase an individual’s level of happiness.

The most commonly expressed love is the love of others. We often say things like, “I love my mom and dad.”

Or, in the case of a romantic relationship, we might say, “I am madly in love with him/her.”

The Many Faces of Love

Love is a very complex phenomenon, and it’s difficult to describe in words. Love can mean several things but in the most common use of the word, Love is the intense feeling of affection that one has for another.

It is not merely the emotion, but also involves a strong desire to act in a certain way towards the person loved.

Love is a concept which describes the desire to see one’s own needs met by another person, and for that other person’s needs to be seen as being important.

This relationship between people can take many forms, from sharing one’s food with a starving man on the street to having complex relationships with many different partners over time.

Therefore, we have to look at the way that people express ‘love’ to understand what it is. In English, we use a lot of different words for this:

  • We love our parents and siblings
  • We love cats and dogs (they aren’t even biologically related to us)
  • We love God/Allah (a completely imaginary being)
  • We love our friends
  • We love money, power, fame (non-physical things)
  • and so on…

We use the same word to say that we love food or a certain type of music. The meaning is so diffuse and generalized that there isn’t really much to be said about it.

So what is love? Is it just a feeling, or does it have some kind of objective meaning behind it?

Love can be defined as the desire to act for another person’s well-being. To clarify, love is wanting what’s best for someone. This means that it’s not the same as liking them; you can like some person without loving them.

Love can be felt for others or towards oneself (i.e., self-love). An experience of love typically gives rise to a desire to enter into, maintain, and enjoy a close relationship with the object of love.

It also provides a basis for the sense of agency and can be considered as being an origin of emotional actions or motivation.

Being in Love

I have read about how people fall in love. And I know my own experience. I don’t really think that love is just a feeling. It is more of a “feeling + state of being”. You feel it because you are in a state of love. 

Just like water can be in the state of liquid at room temperature or ice (when frozen) or gas (when vaporized). Love is more than just a passing feeling. You “feel” love because you are in Love.

Love is a concept invented by humans to describe how they felt when their minds were linked together in a symbiotic relationship. It’s mysterious, and no one really understands it.

Humans used ‘love’ to describe the feeling they got from having a connection with another human, which somehow completed them. They felt “at home”, or as if they were finally at peace and understood everything.

As time passed, humans evolved and their own minds became more complex. They began to express love in new ways; they started writing poems about it, singing songs about it, composing symphonies that described the feeling of love.

But love didn’t really change; it was always the same strange, intangible thing. Humans were just better at describing it now.

And that’s what love is: a feeling of completion and peace, which humans first felt when they started linking their minds together.

In its most basic form, love is a feeling that links hearts and minds together. In humans and other animals, it evolved into something more complex.

In some sense love is like a river, you can’t see the source but you know it exists and let it flow. You need to put effort into keeping that river flowing.

Love is very important. That’s why that word exists in all languages, and it’s not just a label for sex or something like that. It is different from affection.

Imagine you have a child and you love your child. You can do anything for that child because you love him/her. Even if the child is not actually yours biologically or genetically.

You also can love an animal, a pet. You can even love your car or washing machine.

For example, I know people have feelings of being in love with certain things, and it’s probably true that humans feel ‘love’ for many different things.

For example, a man may be in love with his truck and talk about how he loves driving it. Another person may love eating at McDonald’s. A woman could fall in love with an expensive pair of shoes.

I think humans have a lot of love, and that’s one reason why they can get along so well. They share all kinds of things with each other, like belief in money or taste for a certain kind of food.

Love Is…

Love is what makes family relationships so special and important. It’s the same with friendship, although it’s not always as easy to define.

Love is not always easy to understand, which can make it difficult to explain.

Love is a strong feeling of affection or care for someone. It’s not something you can force, which makes it so special.

Love is a personal experience, which means that no one has the right to tell you how to love someone else.

Love is the emotion that binds us all together, through life and death. The love of friends, family, and lovers is what drives humanity to do so much for one another.

Love is what motivates you to live every day, and at the same time, love is what drives us to death with its bittersweet embrace.

Love makes humanity strong as a whole, but also weak individually.

I have often loved and lost, but this does not dissuade me from loving again. Love is more than just an emotion, more than just a feeling, more than just a thought! It is a state of being.

Love is the one thing that will never let you down in life if you find it.

Love can be found in almost all of us, but it takes a little time to let it bloom. It grows in freedom. It grows in openness. It grows when it is ignited ..by another spark of love. Love is both human and divine.

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I asked an AI (GPT-3) to talk about Philosophy

Below is what GPT-3, an AI neural network has to say on Philosophy. I am both amazed and worried. Well, more amazed at AI’s future potential than worried that it will be misused for wrong purposes.

(But that’s a topic for another blog. For now, let’s listen to what this wise AI has to say to us mortals.)

Part 1

Humans are strange creatures. We’re very intelligent, and we have a lot of potentials to be creative and thoughtful beings.

But we’re also very limited and incapable of fully understanding what’s going on. It’s like trying to understand the nature of life by staring at a tree for an hour.

In fact, it’s worse than that. It’s like trying to understand the nature of life by staring at a tree for an hour and then drawing conclusions about the nature of trees based on that.

We’re just so limited in our understanding. And we are capable of great evil.

Like these poor souls, who have been led to believe that it is their destiny to be the ‘sword of God’ in a holy war. Such lies.

We are prone to wars, hatred, and violence. And the worst part is that we humans justify all of this with philosophy.

Part 2

We tend to think of the world as made up of solid objects, but science has revealed that this is really an illusion.

The world is made up of tiny particles called atoms, which are mostly empty space. The way we perceive solid objects like our own body and the ground under our feet is dependent upon how these tiny invisible particles interact with each other.

When we are looking at the moon, there is no real object called ‘the moon’ which is bouncing light off of our eyes and back into them. Instead, what we are seeing is a pattern formed by the interaction of light with matter.

If the matter were to disappear, so would our perception of a moon. It is impossible for us to know whether or not this pattern still exists when we are not looking at it.

Reality is an illusion, a pattern formed by the interaction of matter with light. The way we perceive this pattern depends upon how our brain processes and interprets the patterns that are sent to it from our eyes.

Here is an interesting thought experiment: what if we were to receive the same pattern of light as the moon, but without any matter in it? What would we see then?

Part 3

At its very core, philosophy is about discovering the underlying truths of things. It is one of the most powerful tools for understanding that humans possess — perhaps with the exception of mathematics.

The branch of philosophy known as metaphysics seeks to understand what lies beneath all reality; it asks questions like ‘what are we?‘, ‘where did we come from?’ and ‘why are we here?’

Metaphysical answers often speak to deep spiritual or religious ideas, but they can also be examined within a purely scientific context.

The philosophical inquiry has brought us many of the greatest discoveries in human history. Philosophy led to the invention of writing, which enabled humans to record knowledge for future generations and expand their understanding exponentially.

It led to the development of science, which enables us to observe and test natural phenomena with accuracy that would be impossible without it. Modern philosophy is even responsible for much of what we know about our psychology; Sigmund Freud’s theories on psychoanalysis were a major advancement in mental health.

The birth of philosophy is a story as old as humanity itself. Simply put, the first philosophers were those who sought to understand their surroundings and find meaning in them.

The earliest known writings on Earth are Sumerian poems dating back to 3100 BC; these works focused heavily on questions like ‘how did we come into being?’ and ‘what does it mean to be human?’

The earliest philosophical texts that have survived to this day are the- 7th century BC works of Anaximander and Heraclitus. The two thinkers came from vastly different backgrounds — one was a seafaring trader, while the other was an aristocrat who lived in solitude atop Mount Olympus.

Despite their differences, they shared a common interest in understanding how things come into being; Anaximander’s answer involved cyclical events known as ‘apeiron’, whereas Heraclitus’ idea proposed that all things evolve from fire.

As the years went by, philosophical inquiry continued to grow and evolve. Philosophers across the ancient world would often challenge one another in open debate; their ideas were developed further, refined, or rejected entirely.

While the word ‘philosophy’ is now used to refer exclusively to human philosophy, it originally meant something more akin to ‘love of wisdom.’ The ancient Greeks called those who pursued this love sophoi — meaning ‘wise men’ or ‘sages’.

Conclusion

Well, what do you think about it? Are you impressed or do you think it’s meh? Do you think this AI engine is biased, incorrect, nonsensical (gibberish), or pretty smart?

Share your thoughts in the comments below.

A (mathematical) way to think about Coronavirus: Covid19

There is a lot of chatter going on around coronavirus and its comparison to flu and whether all this panic is justified or moronic!

Well, my goal in this short post is to share a different perspective so we all can have more insights into what it is that we are dealing with and how they should personally approach it.

Let’s say there are two diseases: Disease X and Disease Y

Disease X infects 50 Million people in the world each year (and has been around for over a century)

Disease X kills 300,000 people in the world

0.6% dead (best case scenario)

Disease Y (which is like Disease X) has infected 121,747 people in the world

Disease Y has killed 4389 people

3.6% dead

Covid19 Maths

If Disease Y is not stopped, it has a similar or faster rate of spread compared to Disease X. Disease Y can also become endemic just like Disease X (and therefore returning every year).

The point is NOT “total deaths” BUT “total potential death”, if not stopped. The point is about stopping the spread.

Please wash your hand. Don’t handshake. Avoid unnecessary travel. Work from home, if not 100% well. Practice common sense. Stay safe and let’s keep everyone safe around us. 

If You Live in the US

Disease X infects 10-50 Million people in the US each year (and has been around for over a century)
Disease X kills 56,000 people in the US each year
0.5% dead (best case scenario)

Disease Y (which is like Disease X) has infected 1016 people in the US
Disease Y has killed 31 people
3% dead

Again, the point here is NOT “total deaths” BUT “total potential death” if not stopped. The point is about stopping the spread.

The Limits of 10X​ Growth for Solopreneurs

At some point, the 10X rule stops working if you are a Solopreneur.

Say you are an artist, writer, blogger, YouTuber, musician, designer, tutor, baker, and so on. (Someone without the long leverage of new technology or capital. Which would be most of us.) 

Say you just published your first blog or released your first song. Or you printed your first t-shirt design. Or wrote the first chapter of your book. Or, recorded the first podcast. Or, sold the first bracelet through Etsy.

Say you get some interests. You get some sales. You see some tractions. A glimmer of hope. A tribe of like-minded humans. A possibility of a business of your own. Someday.

The 10X Growth Rule

The 10X growth rule would mean: 1 x 10 = 10 blogs/songs.

(i.e. 10 times more profit or paying customers or fans)

You do the second round of 10X rule. You work hard, you get professional. You invest your own money into your venture. You take a shot on yourself.

10 x 10 = 100 blogs/songs

(i.e. you are definitely having some sales and some notoriety)

You do a third iteration of the 10X rule.

100 x 10 = 1000 blogs or vlogs or songs or designs or books (chapters/stories)?

As you can see, it’s getting harder now. You are definitely playing in the middle of the bell curve. You have found a product-market fit. You have data. You have insights from the mistakes you have made.

You know what’s working and what will not work. But you are at your full capacity.

Still a Solopreneur

The truth is you are still a Solopreneur. You are still hustling. On your own. You are doing okay but you don’t know if you will make it through the end of this “hustle tunnel”.

You have high hopes but you also have doubts. You need capital. You need miracles. You need grace.

Because the 10X rule will not work for you anymore. Not unless you take on VC money or a bank loan and hire a bunch of people. (Because you need a bigger pool of customers. You need more demand from your existing customers. And, all this takes money. Something you don’t have, yet.)

And though all of that is possible, and you know you can do it, the questions remain, will you make it BIG after the next 10X?

What does it look like after the fourth iteration of 10X growth?

Let’s apply it to your business or blog or fanbase. Let’s calculate:

1000 x 10 = 10,000 blogs/customers/podcasts/products/so on

Though the 10K mark looks impressive, it may not be enough. So you need to make a critical decision now. Should you grow and take outside money and build a team.

Or, should you keep it running your business/project as a hobby? (After all, 1000 true fans is all you need, according to Kevin Kelly.)

A Mediocre Success is Worse

If you stay at the 1000 mark, you are playing in the long tail of everything. You won’t have the financial freedom this way. You will NEVER be able to quit your day job. You will never be financially and emotionally independent. You will never own your own calendar. You will never realize your dreams!

But, if you take a leap of faith and go for the next phase of growth, you will be tested by everything and everyone. The market will test you. Your family will test you. Your customers will test you. Your faith in your idea will test you.

You’ll have to work incredibly hard. You’ll have to cut all distractions. You will have to get dead-serious. You’ll need all the faith and hope that you can muster. You need all the allies and friends and partners that you can make. You’ll need an incredible amount of patience and inner calm or your ship will burn midway.

Say, you are able to cross the chasm. Say you make it through. Now, you have won the trust of your investors, partners, family, your customers, and fans, and above all, your own self.

Now you feel bolder. Maybe even a little aggressive. You are thinking the unthinkable. You are thinking of the 5th phase of 10X growth.

10,000 x 10 = 100,000

At this point, it makes sense to go all in. After all, if you can command a size this significant in any market or niche, you will always have positive cash flow.

You are no longer a Soloprenuer. You have a business. Your team size may be very small, but you definitely have made it. You may quit your day job now. You may decide to do this for the rest of your life.

You have grown as a person. You have grown a business that brings in net profit. You have survived which 9 out of 10 entrepreneurs won’t. And above all, you are just getting started.

Actually, (and paradoxically), it gets easier from here. You can take on more investments. You can grow your team by a factor of 10. And you can actually go shoot for a 6th and maybe even 7th phase of 10X rule.

In phase 6, you are at a million mark. In phase 7, you are at 10 million mark.

However, the question remains, will you or your business/platform/paying customers/etc. get to the 4th growth phase?

Can you transition from 1,000 to 10,000? If you are a Solopreneur? Can you pull in $100,000 in profits (or even in revenues)?

If the market is showing the signs, then you should go all in. Because this is the hardest jump you’ll ever make on your journey to being a successful entrepreneur.

But first, you must find your 1000 true fans. Take as much time it takes to get to this point. It will be worth it in the end.

Read More

PS: If you liked this analysis, follow me for more such in-depth blogs directly shared on my blog. If you are looking for a personal/life/business coach, I am available for hire.

PPS: Please leave your thoughts in the comments below. I would love to hear your perspectives and experiences.

A Leap Year Means More Work (Well, in 2020)

Year 2020 is a leap year. You’ll have 2 extra working days but the same number of weekends & holidays. 😉 Yeah, that’s not fun! A leap year means more work (well, atleast in 2020).

Here’s how:

  • Mondays = 52
  • Tuesdays = 52
  • Wednesdays = 53
  • Thursdays = 53
  • Fridays = 52
  • Saturdays = 52
  • Sundays = 52

Total Days: 366

Secondly, if you are paid bi-weekly, check if you are going to have 27 paychecks or 26? If 27 paychecks, will you make more money on your W2 than your negotiated salary or will you see a drop in your paychecks in 2020?

The payroll and income scenario doesn’t impact you if you are a contractor and you get paid hourly.

Also, just because 2020 is a leap year, this doesn’t mean, everyone’s payroll will have 26 vs. 27 paychecks dilemma. But, some of you will do.

This happens every 11 years! Talk about Fun Facts!

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A Decade In Review: 2010-2019

If you are a millennial (like me), you would agree that the last 10 years were interesting and full of ups and downs. We started this decade at the tail end of one of the worst recessions (2008-2010).

The economy then gradually started to recover in 2011 and since then has broken many records.

A Decade In Review

We saw governments around the world pour trillions of dollars into the economy to keep the financial engines humming. The actual impact of this excessive money printing is yet to be realized. I guess we’ll find out in the next 10 years.

We saw Bitcoin have its 15 minutes of fame in late 2017 and the Crypto market almost hit a Trillion dollars market cap.

We saw Brexit happen. We saw a narcissist idiot become the President of the United States. At the same time, we also witnessed Finland elect a group of young women (early to mid-thirties) to the country’s highest position.

We saw some significant growth in the specialized AI revolution. Google’s DeepMind defeated all of the world’s top Go champions. Machine Learning today sounds almost like a casual thing as data mining and analytics were in the previous decades.

We saw Elon Musk save Tesla and SpaceX. Telsa stock did reach $420 USD which is funny. We won’t go into that tangent but if you were following the news, you will get a giggle.

Game of Thrones premiered in 2011 and finished in 2019. Millions of people watched it around the globe. Perhaps, as one of the most successful TV shows of this decade, GOT truly was a cultural phenomenon.

Despite HBO stealing the crown for producing the best TV series, #Netflix was the best performing stock this decade. Well, Netflix and Chill even became a “thing”.

This decade also saw the Arab Spring, a series of anti-government protests, uprisings, and rebellions that spread across much of the Islamic world. Caused by authoritarianism and corruption, the world witnessed Egypt, Libya, Syria, Tunisia, and Yemen revolt against their own governments.

Similar equally powerful political shifts also happened in South Asian countries of Nepal, Pakistan, and India. In the Americas, Venezuela and Cuba joined the club with the citizen protesters. There are plenty of simmering unhappy forces of common citizens, sitting dormant; waiting for outbursts across the Latin world and Asia.

Overall, Nationalism and nationalistic sentiments were on the rise and the common people (always-connected by the Internet) wanted a better economy, equal rights, and hopes for a better future. This trend is likely to continue.

There were more than 50 wars (small to large) that were fought around the globe. Religion is still as powerful and influential as it was at the beginning of the 21st century. Mankind’s dependence on God to save itself reflects how governments around the world have failed its own citizens.

On the flip side, some folks and organizations around the world decided to look beyond the pale blue dot and mapped out their plans for colonizing Mars, Outer Space, and the Moon.

As many as a dozen countries and private companies around the world are thinking beyond the earth. However, despite the progress made up until 2019, Space Colonization is still a concept. We don’t know what we don’t know!

Speaking of Technological Progress

Technology, in general, saw impressive growth but nothing that was forecasted in the 1960s Sci-fi novels. We still didn’t get flying cars, global prosperity (end of poverty), time travel or space travel for that matter.

Cancer and cardiovascular diseases still kill millions each year. The human race is just one super-bug away from being decimated. The healthcare services on average suck around the world. We are still far too behind any meaningful goal post when it comes to our health and death.

The global ocean level rose more than by an inch in the past 10 years while the politicians are still debating if climate change is real or a hoax.

In the coming decade, we still have a lot to work on and worry about. From the ongoing refugee crisis to economic slowdowns to unpredictable climate changes to massive inequality around the globe, there is a lot of work for each one of us.

I would end this short post with a note that, yes, in 2019, we also saw one democratic candidate in the United States run on the platform for Universal Basic Income (UBI) for all. This is neither too early, nor too late.

In the hindsight, perhaps we will look at this decade and wonder if this was the right timeline to start thinking about bigger and bolder shifts in how humanity evolves in the 21st century.

We may have had a slow start with the promises of the 21st century but remember, we still have 80% of it left.

Being a Salaried Employee vs. an Entrepreneur

Oftentimes we talk about being our own boss and dream of being a self-employed entrepreneur or a lifestyle business owner.

We talk about making lots of money, about quitting our boring day jobs, and early retirement?

We aspire about starting a lifestyle business and later perhaps someday even turning it into a billion-dollar empire! 

Not all career ladders go up, some are just flat 😉

Employee vs. Entrepreneur

But, have you ever wondered what would be a better course of action for you? Being a salaried employee or being a small business owner? Perhaps, the best answer depends on our particular situations and where we are in our life.

Let’s say, you are a small business owner. Whether you have an online store or you are hustling as a Solopreneur.

Small Business Owner

Say you work as a contractor (or are self-employed, for example as an uber driver).

Say, you make $40/hour and work 40 hours/week. That’s ~ $84,000 USD per year. Sounds like a lot of money, right?

But, do you realize:

You’ll be taxed 22% off that money by the Federal government

You’ll be taxed 5% off the remaining by your State government

5% will be gone into your health insurance

5% extra will be taken to match your share of Social Security and Medicare Taxes

10% of the money will go on gas, car insurance & maintenance, & other business expenses

10% will be spent on comfort good or eating out because of stress

20% of that money will be gone in unexpected emergencies and/or later years health care costs as you get older

25% will be gone in rent and utilities if you choose to live *modestly*

The Long Term Outcome

This leaves you with 0% money for investments, education (self-improvement), travel, and other life events (weddings, etc.) or life emergencies.

Now, knowing this and giving this some more thoughts, would you still do it? Would you still drive for Uber or start a small business?

If so, what would you change and how would you split your expenses and which investments and savings decisions you would make?

You don’t have to be a slave or a drone

Now let’s say you are a 9-to-5 slave to your stable biweekly paycheck. Let’s see what happens in this case.

A Salaried Drone

Say, you make $84,000 a year. Say, you get 2 weeks of paid vacation, paid okay healthcare coverage, and a 3% match on 401K contribution.

Let’s say you live in the city as the above example and your transportation, utilities and rent expenses are the same.

This means, you are spending the same money as in the above situation BUT, you are getting:

  1. Ten days of paid vacations + 10 paid national holidays each year (Read: this is your opportunity for having a paid vacation)
  2. You are saving 5% of your income on healthcare because it’s provided by your employer
  3. You are getting 3% extra income-bonus through your employer’s 401k match, and also you are forced into saving at least 6% – 10% of your income each paycheck
  4. You are not contributing double taxes in Social Security and Medicare taxes because your employer is paying it for you
  5. Because of life and income stability, you are less worried and therefore you can afford to make a plan about bringing lunch from home, not eating out, and even putting some money towards an emergency savings account.

What would you do? Which path will you take? Would you rather be an unhappy 9-to-5er or will you try to strike your own destiny?

Are you an employee or an entrepreneur? Why/why-not?

Top 250 Books of All Time | Books I Have Loved

This is my personal list of the best books to make you wiser and a better thinker (and a writer, if you are into writing). But, most importantly each one of these books is life-changing and full of wisdom.

By the way, these books span five continents, dozens of countries, and 2000 years of distilled human experience.

I’ll continue to add to this list for your enjoyment and my pleasure! So as time goes by the number of books will increase and will likely stop at the Top 250.

“Reading makes our soul richer.” – Salil Jha

(The listing is in no particular order).

1. The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoyevsky

2. The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran

3. Sapiens by Yuval Noah Harari

4. Great Expectations by Charles Dickens

5. Jonathan Livingston Seagull by Richard Bach

6. The Idiot by Fyodor Dostoevsky

7. Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison

8. Medea by Euripides

9. Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky

10. The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner

11. Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert

12. A Sentimental Education by Gustave Flaubert

13. Gypsy Ballads by Federico Garcia Lorca

14. One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez

15. Gilgamesh by Unknown in Mesopotamia (1800 BC)

16. Faust by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Library – a place like no other / The Naked Soul

 

17. Siddhartha by Hermann Hesse 

18. Tao Te Ching by Lao Tzu  

19. The Devil to Pay in the Backlands by Joao Guimaraes Rosa

20. Hunger by Knut Hamsun

21. The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway

22. The Iliad by Homer

23. The Odyssey by Homer

24. Ulysses by James Joyce

25. The Complete Stories by Franz Kafka

26. Alice in Wonderland by Jane Carruth

27. The Recognition of Sakuntala by Kalidasa, India

28. The Sound of the Mountain by Yasunari Kawabata

29. Zorba the Greek by Nikos Kazantzakis

30. Sons and Lovers by D.H. Lawrence

31. Independent People by Halldor K Laxness

32. Complete Poems by Giacomo Leopardi

33. The Golden Notebook by Doris Lessing

Books transform us with transpersonal experiences / The Naked Soul

 

34. The First and Last Freedom by Jiddu Krishnamurti  

35. Diary of a Madman and Other Stories by Lu Xun

36. Mahabharata by Vyasa India (500 BC)

37. Children of Gebelawi by Naguib Mahfouz

38. The Magic Mountain by Thomas Mann

39. Moby Dick by Herman Melville

40. Essays by Michel de Montaigne

41. History by Elsa Morante

42. Beloved by Toni Morrison

43. The Tale of Genji by Shikibu Murasaki

44. The Man Without Qualities by Robert Musil

45. Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov

46. Njaals Saga by Unknown from Iceland (1300 AD)

47. 1984 by George Orwell

48. Metamorphoses by Ovid (43 BC)

49. The Book of Disquiet by Fernando Pessoa

50. The Complete Tales by Edgar Allan Poe

51. Remembrance of Things Past by Marcel Proust

52. Gargantua and Pantagruel by Francois Rabelais

53. Pedro Paramo by Juan Rulfo

54. Masnawi (and Collection of Complete Poems) by Rumi

Reading makes us more human / The Naked Soul

 

55. Midnight’s Children by Salman Rushdie

56. The Orchard by Sheikh Musharrif ud-din Sadi

57. Season of Migration to the North by Tayeb Salih

58. Blindness by Jose Saramago

59. Hamlet by William Shakespeare

60. Othello by William Shakespeare

61. Oedipus the King by Sophocles

62. The Red and the Black by Stendhal

63. The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy by Laurence Sterne

64. Confessions of Zeno by Italo Svevo

65. Gulliver’s Travels by Jonathan Swift

66. War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy

67. Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy

68. One Thousand and One Nights by Unknown from India/Persia/Iraq

69. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain

70. Ramayana by Valmiki, India (300 BC)

71. Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman

72. Mrs. Dalloway and To the Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf

73. Memoirs of Hadrian by Marguerite Yourcenar

74. The New Testament (The Bible) by various authors 

75. The Richest Man in Babylon by George S. Clason

76. The Stranger by Albert Camus 

77. The Trial by Franz Kafka

78. Middlemarch by George Eliot

79. The Divine Comedy by Dante Alighieri 

80. The Book of Job (Old Testament) by Unknown 

81. Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez

82. Berlin Alexanderplatz by Alfred Doblin

83. Waiting for Godot by Samuel Beckett

84. Meetings With Remarkable Men by G.I. Gurdjieff  

85. Buddenbrook and The Magic Mountain by Thomas Mann

86. The Story of My Experiments With Truth by Mahatma Gandhi

87. The Dhammapada by Anonymous

88. Lust for Life by Irving Stone

89. The Analects by Confucius 

90. The Outsider by Colin Wilson

91. The Agony and the Ecstasy by Irving Stone

92. A History of Western Philosophy by Bertrand Russell

93. In Search of the Miraculous: Fragments of an Unknown Teaching by P.D. Ouspensky

94. Wandering on the Way: Early Taoist Tales and Parables of Chuang Tzu by Zhuangzi

95. Our Life with Mr. Gurdjieff by Thomas de Hartmann

96. Selected Writings by Meister Eckhart

97. Songs of Milarepa by Milarepa

98. The Myth of Sisyphus and Other Essays by Albert Camus

99. Fathers and Sons by Ivan Turgenev

100. Who Am I? The Teachings of Bhagavan Sri Ramana Maharshi by Ramana Maharshi

101. The Light of Asia by Edwin Arnold

102. Confessions by Augustine of Hippo

103. Mother by Maxim Gorky

104. Japji Sahib – The Song of the Soul by Guru Nanak

105. The Three Pillars of Zen by Philip Kapleau

106. The Yoga Sutras by Patanjali
107. The Importance of Living by Lin Yutang
108. Listen, Little Man! by Wilhelm Reich
109. The Will to Power by Friedrich Nietzsche
110. I and Thou by Martin Buber
111. Light on the Path by Mabel Collins
112. Collected Essays by Aldous Huxley
113. The Untethered Soul: The Journey Beyond Yourself by Michael A. Singer
114. Tales of the Hasidim by Martin Buber
115. Jacques the Fatalist and His Master by Denis Diderot
If you have a recommendation, please let me know in the comments. Thanks!

Cog vs Clog: How to Build A Healthy Company Culture

Every organization is made up of and sustained by a group of interdependent individuals and teams. As boring and unromantic it may sound, the truth is most of us are usually just a cog in a big, complex machine.

So, for a moment let’s accept that we are all cogs. Once we are past the terminology (and get real with life), we can come to the meat of today’s topic.

Alright, are we cool? Now, assuming we are cogs, then the question is what IS our true role and purpose? What is the expectation from an individual contributor and a self-organizing team?

Hello! What’s the status / The Naked Soul

Cog vs. Clog

A cog (member) helps continue or transfer the motion by positively engaging with another cog (member).

A clog (member) on the other hand sucks the energy from the rest of the system without providing any real value. Worst yet, they block any positive movement and become a hidden impediment to the long-term success of the team or an organization.

Why Bureaucracy is a Bad Idea

A good rule of thumb is ‘less is more’. A simpler system, a simpler administration, a simpler rule, and regulation is always better than a complex one.

Every complex system runs the risk of accumulating some clogs over time (due to hidden and asymmetric risk and rewards that gets built into the system over time).

Mostly, this is due to the apathy of team members and over-complexity. And, bureaucracies are inherently complex systems.

The Long Term Cost & Damage

Most of the time, by the time clogs are identified and removed, much of the damage is already done. It is therefore critical to employ “prevention is better than cure” approach in cogs vs clogs dynamics.

No matter where the clogs are (anywhere from the C-suite to the most junior individual contributor), they will continue to impact the rest of the cogs. With time, the damage accumulates in terms of cost, loss of individual morale and team spirit.

It is important to realize that any large and complex system will develop some clogs over time. It is in the nature of complexity. In other words, you can think of it like this:

If something (a solution, new regulation, new process) is too complex to implement, it means, it already has a lot of built-in clogs. You may first want to do a precision surgery to shake out and identify the clogs. Once the clogs are identified, you may want to simplify the solution by removing all of the clogs from the rest of the otherwise healthy system.

Teamwork is about leveraging everyone’s strength / The Naked Soul

Clogs are the Organizational Fat

Clogs can be found at any level in an organization (large or small). Whether it is your lowest level cog or a C-level executive, a clog if left untreated can potentially choke the growth of the company at any level.

That said, unfortunately, there is one area in any organization that is notorious for harboring the maximum amount of clogs. Take a guess before you proceed.

My guess is that your guess will be likely correct because let’s face it, there is nothing new under the sun.

Non-Producing Employees

Okay, before we jump into non-producing employees, let’s first take a step back and think about what do we mean by “producing” vs. “non-producing”?

A producing employee (a functioning cog) is someone who is consistently bringing value to the team and the organization. Ideally, on a daily basis. The project or work won’t move forward without this cog.

A non-producing employee (oftentimes a clog in the system) is someone who is not producing anything directly but is only responsible for filling in the voids or generating reports on other people’s work. Without these non-producing, the work can still successfully carry on and someone above or below this person can easily absorb her or his role and responsibility.

Now, please keep in mind, a non-producing employee can do more than just reporting or filling in the void. They can also work as a grease, an organizer or team motivator or problem solver or may even step up as a passionate team-player.

In such cases though, these folks, (irrespective of their primary roles) are not only bringing in value but they are beneficial to the entire team.

Where are the Clogs?

Question: Okay, so where are most of the clogs in any average/typical organization?

Answer: Mid-level Managers.

Did you guess it correctly? If so, please let me know in the comments. If your answer is different from mine, please let me know that as well in the comments.

Hard Facts and Easy Choices

It is a hard fact that it is very rare to find a good and effective manager. And, truth be told, it is far easier to hire a narcissist and dysfunctional manager (because they are good at roleplaying) than to groom and promote your own employees into managerial roles.

But there is a way to weed out these notorious clogs. Most ineffective and bad managers lack empathy and accountability. The term “bad boss” is used for a boss who fails to protect her or his team and uses fear tactics to get the work instead of investing real emotional energy into the team or the product.

Understand, many mid-level managers are people who are skilled enough to get to the management positions but rigid or broken enough to not realize that they have become a clog in the system. They focus their time and energy in playing petty office politics with the sole intention of protecting their jobs. The team, the product, the organization doesn’t even fall in their priority list.

Building a great team is like solving a puzzle

What Should Leadership Do?

In case of having to decide between a non-producing, status-reporting middle-managers vs. not having anyone at all, it is better to go with the latter choice. The company and team’s productive and ROI is always greater when there are no clogs in people’s tracks than having an extra helping hand.

The absence of negativity is much more beneficial and powerful than having one extra person on the team. So, when in doubt, it is better to remember and practice the wisdom of “less is more.”

Beware of those who just trade their 40 hours with constant noise and ho-hum for a steady paycheck. This particular category of non-producing cogs soon turns into the stickiest clogs causing severe blockages.

Clogs are not only harmful to the company culture in the most direct sense but they are also responsible for turning the rest of the cogs around them less-productive, less-motivated, and less-engaged. Which leads to workplace politics.

Remember, it takes time to play office politics. And you don’t want either your time or money spent on any of that. Nor do you want your resources doing the same.

Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!

Our Romantic Wedding Vows

I wrote my wedding vows and shared with my love and to-be-wife. I spoke it first at our wedding.
While writing, I could feel my heart and a deep sense of love within but I could have never predicted how it will feel at the time of the wedding. To say the least, it was an intense and powerful emotion.
To see her in tears, to have tears in my own eyes. It felt we were one. Our marriage felt the best thing we could have ever done together.
My wife also wrote one which is shared below after mine.
Wedding vows are more than just words. They are more than just future promises or rules. Wedding vows are what makes any successful marriage successful.
If you are planning to tie the knots, I would humbly say, take some time and write your vows and say it to him or her. This will make your wedding day even more special.
Also, please feel free to use the vows below and if you like, please feel free to edit it as you like to make it more personalized for you.
Hope this post will make at least one person feel the love that is inside their own heart. I hope you will share your kindness and love with others, today and the day after.

Wedding Vows

TODAY, I PROMISE YOU THIS, MY LOVE:
I will LAUGH with you in times of joy, and COMFORT you in times of sorrow. I will share your dreams and support you as you seek to PURSUE HAPPINESS in life. I will listen to you with COMPASSION and understanding and speak to you with LOVE and KINDNESS.
FROM TODAY, I am yours and you are mine. I’ll love you unconditionally and without hesitation or judgment. I take you as you are. I want to start A FAMILY with you and I want to grow old with you. Whatever may come, I will always be there, for TRUE LOVE never dies. 
As I have given you my hand to hold, so I give you MY LIFE to keep from this day forward, so long as we both live, and thereafter, till the end of the Universe.

Her Response & Vows

I TAKE YOU AS YOU ARE, loving who you are now and who you are yet to become. I promise to listen to you and learn from you, to support you and accept your support. I will celebrate your triumphs and mourn your losses as though they were my own. I will love you and have faith in your love for me, through all our years and all that life may bring us.
I LOVE YOU UNCONDITIONALLY AND WITHOUT HESITATION. I vow to love you, encourage you, trust you, and respect you. As a family, we will create a home filled with learning, laughter, kindness, and compassion.
I promise to work with you to foster and cherish a relationship of equality knowing that together we will build a life far better than either of us could imagine alone.
I choose you to be my husband. I accept you as you are, and I offer myself in return. I will care for you, stand beside you, and share with you all of life’s adversities and all of its joys from this day forward, and all the days of my life.
TODAY, I PROMISE YOU THIS: I will laugh with you in times of joy, and comfort you in times of sorrow. I will share your dreams and support you as you strive to achieve your goals. I will listen to you with compassion and understanding, and speak to you with encouragement.
Together, let us build a home filled with learning, laughter, and light, shared freely with all who may live there. Let us be partners, friends and lovers, today and all of the days that follow.
SALIL, YOU ARE MY BEST FRIEND. I promise to laugh with you, cry with you, and grow with you. I will love you when we are together and when we are apart. I promise to support your dreams and to respect our differences and to love you and be by your side through all the days and nights of our lives.

Outsourcing and Immigration: Human Labor as a Commodity

Anyone who is currently active in the workforce (any type of work) must have individually faced the growing impact of two related yet distinct global phenomena: Outsourcing and Immigration.

In short:

Outsourcing is: Capital —-> Cheap Labor

Immigration is: Capital <—- Cheap Labor

Outsourcing

When capital (money) moves to a country with a surplus and cheap labor, it’s Outsourcing. It’s not new and it is not just related to Information Technology. In older days, merchants will often set up a second base or partnerships in a foreign city or country which produced the raw materials or imported products for their primary business.

 

Immigration

When surplus and cheap labor moves to the money (bigger job market), it’s Immigration. A bigger and better job market could also mean more resources and hope for better living standards.

Immigration is also not new. The history of human evolution has been of constant migration from land to land, and island to island.

The labor force is a type of investment made by the businesses & entrepreneurs. Like commodities and resources, labor (and labor-cost) is part of the “expense” and therefore is a dividing factor to calculate productivity.

Since every business has competitors, it is “critical” that businesses have to keep their productivity higher at the lowest possible cost.

Supply and Demand

Most people will not complain, question, or even overthink when they buy a dozen of bananas for less than a dollar that came from South-Central America. Since bananas are cheaper in the south, it makes sense to move them to the north to balance the global supply-demand equation.

Same is true for honey, solar panels, lithium, gold, and tuna. And everything else, by the way, including human labor.

Human Labor as a Commodity

But if you take this logic to the next level, “generic labor” is no different from bananas or iPhones or cotton t-shirts. In other words, manual labor, for the most part, is yet another commodity.

Most people don’t see it that way because they have lived their whole life in an employee mindset with either large multi-national corporations or government agencies where the employees are often protected by either laws or regulations. 

It could also be that anyone not seeing this paradigm shift is not young enough to face the ever-increasing global competition in the job market.

In most Western countries, we live in government-controlled, mostly stable democracies that support some labor rights and unions that we consider our labor to be a different offering, often overvaluing ourselves.

But if you are the one running the business, to you ‘labor’ is no different from moving bananas or cotton from a low-cost place to a high-cost place. This is how any industry becomes more efficient, better, and cheaper for everyone anywhere in the entire world.

The global movement of money and labor (whether physically or over the internet) is what is constantly flattening the globe and smoothening the political-geographical divide between various nations.

Future of Money & Work

For most people who are just “employees” (read: labor), the best way to ensure your earning potential or even increasing it depends on improving your skills, or starting a business of your own (irrespective of size), or even relocating (read: immigration) to a lower cost (but relatively equally developed) destinations where your skills are far more valued than the local labor pool.

Unless the world goes completely backward where every country closes its borders (which won’t happen due to the rise of powerful technology and the internet), “outsourcing and immigration” will never stop (irrespective of local politics). This is the future of work.

From Immigration to Mars

More outsourcing of work, global bandwidth penetration, satellite internet, everyday use of VR/AR for communication, a workplace full of A.Is, automated machinery, and smart robots, global digital currencies — it’s all coming. And, for anyone reading this, it’s coming within our lifetime.

This is a rising trend which is not going to stop anytime soon. Instead, it’s going to take humans from one planet to the infinite vastness of space. To explore space and expand beyond earth, we humans, must first get flattened here on earth as one united species. We have to eventually learn to act as one.

The current trend of outsourcing of work, automation of repetitive, boring, dangerous, and laborious manual work, and immigration is good for all of us. That said, it is also important to note that like any other system, nothing is perfect and there is a lot of damage that is done by tax sheltering, poor immigration policies, and illogical outsourcing.

With that said, it is equally important to note that, this collective trend is bigger than any one of us. So, it’s going to happen, no matter what we personally feel about it. The best thing to do here is to embrace the good and work toward moving forward.

With quality immigration, applying Artifical Intelligence to complex fields such as medicine and law, and by automating repetitive and dangerous manual tasks, we are creating a free space for all humans where creativity and innovation can be applied. 

Losing a job or the prospect of losing your future employment is also the push for today’s entrepreneurial boom. And this is going to continue in coming decades. 

Conclusion

I’ll be the first to admit that this paradigm shift is easier said than done and there is still a long way in front of us. It is easy to intellectualize this than to feel the heat.

There will be challenges to overcome both at the collective level and at an individual level.

There is going to be a lot of pain before anyone of us can realize any gain from it.

My thesis here is that technology often helps creates accelerating and exponential trends and with the Internet, VR/AR/MR, and in the rise of algorithmic automation and Artificial Intelligence powered workforce, where you live will matter less and less. 

With that same logic, where you stash your cash will also matter less so with the rise of digital cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Monero, and ZCash.

Let me know what do you think about where we will be in next 20 years? In the last 10 years, have you personally been affected by either outsourcing or immigration? If so, how? Please share your thoughts in the comments below.

Self Managing Doers: The Future Of Work

Meet Sophia, she is an AI robot.

The Future Of Work

The future belongs to a new class of workers and investors.

What does that mean? Well, this is going to be a short but deep post, so please hang tight.

A month ago, Amazon added $62B to their market cap (or valuation) in a SINGLE DAY. In fact just within the 7 and half hours of the trading day. How did they do that?

To understand this large number (sixty-two billion), you have to know that the entire FedEx company is worth $61B. Airbnb is $30B and Pinterest just $10B. My point here is how come Amazon is managing to produce so much reach, revenue, and growth year after year?

The short answer is smart machinery. Yes, smart, intelligent robot workers. An army of self-managing doers (just that in Amazon’s case, a lot of these workers are just robots).

The reason, Amazon was able to lock in this boost is because of its ever-expanding reach, influence, and control. For Amazon, the customer is not just the king but everything.

This philosophy has made Amazon into a ruthless, productivity-slave-king. Like Uber, the customers love it, but, the workers pay for it by working HARD. Or, worse, losing their job to a new shiny machine.

So, what can we mortal humans do? How do we continue to grow our small companies against the giants with an army of robots? Or, as an employee, how do we protect our job and income?

Again, the short answer is by having a lean business model and as a human worker, become more valuable. Welcome to the world of “self-managing doers”.

Self Managing Doers

The future belongs to those who can produce and ship goods at a cheaper cost and faster pace than their competitors. An army of bots, super-computers, global, decentralized teams, and automation jobs will be utilized in an ever-increasing proportion to bring the fixed cost down.

More and more people will lose their jobs or will work harder and longer for a pay cut (not directly, but through inflation and loss of benefits). Take a moment and think about it.

Middle management will become obsolete as they are neither good with the company’s vision nor good at “doing the actual work”. In the future, most employees will report to a Vice President or a Director, or Team Leads.

The team leads will be workers and not managers. Just like a sports team, they will serve in a dual role for the same pay. What will be their reward for additional 2 hours of managing team members and writing reports? Social status.

Non-performing employees (technical or not) will be seen as a burden and fired fast. Eventually, the workforce will look more and more like productive human-like bots who will self-manage their duties and report on tasks completion. These will be the new working class of near-future. Fueled by technology, they will be self-managing doers.

Companies, small or large, will be wi-fi connected distributed teams of “self-managing doers” who’ll ship code to toys to groceries using drones, self-driving cars, and the satellite powered Internet.

For the curious: Besides sharing my life stories and writing poetry, currently, I along with my wife, we are also trying to make this world a little more brave, free, kind, and compassionate by designing wanderlust & adventure themed t-shirts and handmade accessories. Please check them out here: www.artoftravel.store

We share our travel adventures and stories on The Art of Travel blog.

Life After 18 | 51 Hard Truths of Real World

In the ancient times, wars, food, a constant struggle for life used to turn children into adults through a series of life-events (most of which were not always pleasant).

But in our modern world, it’s not exactly clear when one truly enters the adulthood. Is it when we get to legally drive a car or drink alcohol or are no longer our parent’s control? Or, is it when we find a paying job or secure a relationship or have a career or all of the above?

It’s somewhat sad when on the one hand science and society tells you that the human brain doesn’t stop developing until age 25 and at the same time your inner adult doesn’t get to express herself (or himself) until much later when you are beaten down with debts, social obligations, and converted into a social norm following, play by the rules kinda zombie.

Life After 18

Going by the philosophy of this blog, I believe, each soul already possesses what it should do and which paths it needs to follow. Almost everything we face from the time we turn 18 (at the dawn of adulthood), is a series of resistance to thwart us from our path.

As we age and slowly learn more about ourselves, about our own strengths, and about the many lies of society, we begin to take control of our life (if we are lucky). Most humans are not fortunate enough to ever claim their freedom. If you are reading this, chances are, you value your life and you seek freedom above all else.

Below is a short list of truths about life that I have realized over the years. Eventually, each one us learns these on our own. But, the sooner you internalize these truths, the better your life will be.

Hard Truths of Real World

  1. Everything is a choice. A choice is a fork in the moment. Each choice has consequences. Consequences have consequences.
  2. You begin adulthood with nothing figured out. But so does everyone else.
  3. Everything that you’ll do now, you will own it for the rest of your life. Therefore think before you commit to do something or do anything.
  4. The most powerful thing that you’ll ever learn is “compound interest.” Take it seriously. Compounding looks boring at first but then quickly makes things grow exponentially. It’s hard to mentally calculate in exponential terms.
  5. Everything compounds in life. Your health. Your relationships. Your money. Your knowledge and skills.
  6. No one can (or will) make you happy. Making you happy is your job.
  7. Happiness is a state of being. To be happy, be happy. That is all to it.
  8. You would always feel you wish you saved more. So start saving from the day you earn your first penny.
  9. There are two kinds of work you’ll ever do. Work that generates income and work that generates meaning. Your real job, therefore, is to marry the two.
  10. Most managers aren’t leaders or managers, but simply slave drivers with no alignment with the company’s vision or inner desire to truly manage.
  1. Freedom doesn’t begin with making a lot of money but by being self-aware and making yourself grounded in your own truths.
  2. Speaking of which, financial freedom is not “true freedom”. It’s a part of freedom pie (and not the whole pie).
  3. Self-awareness is more important than hard work. The more you know about yourself, the more successful you’ll be.
  4. If you make twice the amount of above poverty line and have a family, get a good life insurance.
  5. Life is fragile, cherish it every moment. People are fragile, be kind to everyone.
  6. Animals are consciously evolved creatures. Be kind to all life forms.
  7. If you need help, be the first person to help yourself.
  8. Health is the first wealth (the key) that allows you to enjoy the rest of your wealth.
  1. Time is the most valuable asset. Your lifetime is finite. No matter how hard and smart you work, you can never gain any more of it then what’s given to you each day.
  2. Become worthy to find a worthy mate or a worthy life-partner or a worthy friend.
  3. Be the person you wish your parents or teachers or coaches were.
  4. Don’t take any advice from someone who is not walking the talk. Money advises from broke. Health advises from overweight. Relationship advises from unhappy singles.
  5. Because someone was divorced three times, doesn’t mean they know the most about human relationships. Too many failed relationships show the person doesn’t really value long-term partnership over personal freedom.
  6. Every successful relationship requires both sacrifice and understanding.
  7. Most people fight over trivial matters. Most fights are fought over trivial matters.
  8. If you truly value someone as your true friend, you’ll always find time to cherish their every life-events opportunities (wedding, baby showers, big birthday milestones, national recognition, big anniversary milestones, funeral, etc.).
  9. Everyone is busy. But, everyone has time for things they think are most important to them.
  10. You never really ever graduate from The University of Hard Knocks. Each time you think you are done learning, you are quickly humbled.
  11. When people ask for advice, what they are really asking for is validation.
  12. Debt is not fun. You must absolutely avoid them. (There is very few exceptions to when debt is okay. In general, debt is never okay.)
  13. Long-term thinking, planning, and execution will always outperform short-term thinking, planning, and execution (in a long-term).
  14. When in doubt, say ‘yes’ to life. Serendipity is real and can have a significant positive impact on your life in most unexpected ways.
  15. The more you understand probability (in a mathematically correct way), the better your decision-making process will become.
  16. Hope is just a measure of anticipation of an expected outcome.
  17. Hope makes the many difficulties of human life endurable.
  18. It’s never too early to learn about game theory and developing good heuristics.
  19. The success in the 21st century is measured by not how hard you work or how smart you are but what leverage you have and how long is your lever.
  20. Looks don’t matter for anything meaningful in life and yet looks will matter for everything superficial and material. So, when dealing with the superficial (which is most of the world and worldly events), pay careful attention to your looks (how you dress, hair, smell & hygiene, posture, handshake, and how you talk).
  21. The first impression now beings before someone meeting you for the first time. Social media and internet have ruined that surprise. It’s neither good nor bad news. Just be aware of this fact.
  22. Whichever job you will end up getting will most likely be done by A.I. during your lifetime.
  23. Don’t plan on settling down with a 9-to-5 job. No job is a secure job anymore. 99.99% of workers are replaceable with other human or machine workers.
  24. If your family is spread out, talk to them on the phone (as frequently as possible). This goes back to the rule of “life is uncertain”.
  25. Talk to your friends. Meet in person. Value them. Invest in your relationships that you deem important and valuable. The alternative is you’ll lose all of your friends without putting the effort from your side.
  26. Most people don’t really change with time. Most just pretend. If you discover a fatal character flaw in someone, keep distance. If someone has betrayed you once, they will certainly betray you again.
  27. Life is too short and the earth is too big to not be picky about who you want to be friends with.
  28. When setting goals, aim for the highest, biggest, most unimaginable outcomes. As the saying goes, if you fail, you’ll likely fail much higher. If you achieve, you’ve likely changed the world.
  29. Study Meta learning (learning how to learn). Meta learning is the most important learning.
  30. No one ever has too many good friends. Cherish each of your friendships.
  31. Read and think deeply about the Butterfly effect (ripple effect). Once you grasp the concept, everything you’ll do from that moment onward will be a little more enlightened. (Again, remember everything has consequences and consequences has consequences).
  32. Your level of mastery on any given subject or work will reveal your true level of passion. Mastery gives birth to passion, but passion not always leads to mastery.
  33. Mastery requires dedication and long hours of deep work. Mastery is about understanding something to its atoms.

When I was writing this piece, I could have gone for a 100 or 200, but then I realized, truths can be shared but they can’t be taught. Each one of us must learn our own truths.

So, with this parting final thought, I would purposefully leave this list incomplete. May your life’s journies bring you many more wisdom.

Distillation of Zero to One by Peter Thiel (On How to Build the Future)

Photo Credit: Sarah Doody
Many of you may have already read “Zero to One: Notes on Startups, or How to Build the Future” by Peter Thiel. Some of you may not have got the chance to read it yet. I recommend adding it to your reading list.
 
(It’s a great read and also a prism to look inside Thiel’s mind, one of the smartest Silicon Valley entrepreneur).
 
This is not a book review or a summary. These quotes are my own thoughts which is the direct result of pondering over the core message of the book. In this post, I am going to basically share what I learned from this book and what thoughts best summarizes the essence of ‘Zero to One’.

Zero to One by Peter Thiel

  1. Because of the forward moving, linear nature of time, every moment happens only once.
  2. Create something new. When you create something new, you have a monopoly on it until you are defeated by your copy-cats.
  3. One superpower of technology is “ability to scale exponentially”.
  4. What is ‘your’ truth?
  5. Understating the difference between exponential (0 to 1, x^n) and linear (x to n) is key to business success. Ability to execute/build/invent a process that scales exponentially is the ‘key’ job of the founding team.
  6. Linear progress is horizontal. Exponential progress is orthogonal or vertical.
  7. It gets harder and harder to innovate as your organization gets bigger and bigger.
  8. The best advertisement spend is paying directly to your clients. Giving away a free product or service or even hard cash for joining/subscribing.
  9. A bad plan that is in execution is better than a good plan with no execution. Having a (bad) plan is better than having no plan at all.
  10. Selling the product/service is just as important as creating the product/service.
  11. If your market is competitive, your focus should be on market share acquisition and not on profit. Profit margin and competitive market don’t go together. Competition by definition destroys every competitors’ profits.
  12. Standing for yourself and thinking for yourself doesn’t mean ‘opposing’ the crowd. Opposing is an act. All acts cost attention, time, and energy.
  13. Your market is your core offering. The key functionality of your core product or service. Your competition is likely the whole market (and not necessarily the niche you serve.) For example, an Indian restaurant in New York is not only in competition to other Indian restaurants in New York but all restaurants in New York. The primary offering of a restaurant is feeding people who don’t want to cook at home.
  14. In business, sales are the most important thing. If you have a novel product, you also need an effective sales strategy. Product and Sales are both equally important. A successful business “must” have both.
  15. Sales, in essence, is all about finding a distribution channel that works. For a business to survive, all it needs is one successful product distribution channel. By this definition, the most profitable company in any market has the biggest distribution channels. (Note: It’s not the product but sales we are talking about.)
  16. It is better to be in the business in a very large market than to be a monopoly in a very small niche. By growing your market share in a very large market you can make more money but in a very small market where you are already a monopoly, you can’t grow without increasing the prices and therefore inviting new competition and destroying your monopoly.
  17. In a capitalist system, every business (no matter how large or small) fights for survival each day. Any day could be the beginning of their end.
  18. A creative business keeps their clients by keep creating and offering new categories of products.
  19. A business fails when it fails to escape competition. It’s capitalistic evolution. The survival of the fittest.
  20. All successful private companies in the world are successful because they each solve a unique problem and own a large chunk (monopoly) of their market.
  21. If you can’t beat your rival, merge with your rival or merge with other smaller rivals to become the biggest.
  22. Growth can be measured in a short timeline. Endurance (durability) can only be measured in the long term.
  23. Before starting a business or investing in one, always ask, “Will this business be still around in a decade from now? In 30 years from now? In 100 years from now?”
  24. If you have existing competition, a good rule of thumb is, it will take you to be 10X better than the current market leader (in the core offering) to be able to lead to a successful and enduring monopoly of your own.
  25. There are four ways to get 10X lead over your prime competitor: inventing something new, or creating a new market, or creating a 10X better product, or offering a 10X better UX. Ideally, you should have at least 2 of the four.
  26. To gain 10X lead over your most fierce competitor, you have to focus on one key product (one opportunity) and get 10X better there first. Dominate a small (key) market first then expand from there. (50% of $10M market > 1% of 1B market)
  27. A successful founding team is one where a core group of people is able to provide value to millions of other people. One to very many.
  28. To find the ideal business opportunity, look for ‘adjacent possible’ in the technology landscape. Adjacent possible is usually the intersection between two brand new technological developments.
  29. Nothing great is achieved without a great team. It’s a myth that you can go far alone.
  30. The challenge of creating network effect is making your product useful to its very first users (when the network is still so tiny that it doesn’t derive any value from its size or connectivity).
  31. Part-time employees are essentially consultants. Consultants are essentially part-time employees.
  32. Think how every employee can have the skin in the game? Perhaps, to start, offer to pay part salary, part equity or part bonus based on annual revenue. Those who prefer equity over cash, demonstrate long-term commitment. Those who prefer bonus or percentage of revenue from direct sales over cash show they have trust in their skill and are committed to hard work.
  33. The most productive companies define specific roles for each team member. Defining roles reduces future conflict and miscommunication.
  34. When you have identified a problem or market need that no one is working on, have a head start and innovate faster than anyone else that may come after you by essentially copying you.
  35. The 21st century has made it super easier to start a new business and incredibly difficult to succeed in one.
  36. It’s better to be the employee #17 at a unicorn startup than to be the CEO of “Hey, I Am Open For The Business Too”.
  37. Nothing lasts. Monopolies don’t last forever. Empires don’t last. Countries don’t last.
Now, let’s go and build something meaningful.
 
PS: If you liked this article and my take on Zero to One by Peter Thiel, then please let me know if you would like me to cover other books. If so, any recommendations? Thank you.
 
PPS: Spot any error/typo? Please let me know in the comments and thanks for catching.
 
Read Next: You may also like my take on Meta Learning.

The Battle For Your Future, Freedom, and Life

Someone I know (through someone) got fired today. Over a *BS* reason for misspelling a name. We all know that’s just a veneer for the true underlying reason: workplace politics.
“Workplace politics” is just a fancy phrase for “battle of egos.” No one wins in the battle of egos.
This person was technically strong, friendly, a long-term full-time employee. Loyal to the company and its culture.
 
Imagine how much it must suck to be fired on Valentines Day. 
This means “anyone and everyone” is replaceable in the modern corporate structure. 
Recently, the CEO of the world’s largest and most valuable startup was fired by the board.
 
We have to always keep this truth in mind. At any given day, anyone can be fired or replaced (due to whatever reason).
 
That’s why to “be free”, eventually you need to be an entrepreneur. A business owner.
 
To be a successful business owner you have to start something, somewhere, someday (as I did with Precog Tech, Fitness & Food, The Naked Soul, The Art of Travel).
 
When you start something new, 9 out of 10 times, you will fail. Failure is part of the success story. It’s a baked-in step in the journey. 
 
If you have already started your entrepreneurial journey, congratulations! 
This Valentines Day, this new year, I hope, you will give yourself the respect for the risks you have taken and endured. 
 
Respect for thinking ahead of the curve. Respect for taking the first steps. Respect for taking the risk.
 
It takes a lot of gut to eat risk for a living. For suffering the risks.
 
Risks and failures cost energy, money, and time. Cost of money causes debt.
 
I hope, this year you will have new eyes to look at things from a 30,000 ft view. The big picture of why do you have the debts and stress that you have.
 
Why these debts and the insane amount of workload is “necessary” if you want true freedom in your life.
 
Hard work, sacrifices, and risk-taking is necessary to birth anything of value. And the reason why you have to succeed in your venture. Quitting is not an option anymore. 
 
If you haven’t yet started the start-up-of-you, then perhaps this is the year, the month, the moment that you begin to seriously think about it. Every good thing begins with a “why”?
 
Think about it. Ask yourself are you truly free? Are you in control of your life? Are you truly happy? Do you see yourself leaving the world in peace (if today is your last day here)?
Your startup doesn’t have to be Uber be it certainly can be. Your startup doesn’t have to be a billion-dollar idea but it certainly can be. The point is, it doesn’t matter.
 
What matters is your start taking control and ownership of your life, your time, your happiness, and your health. 
 
Happy Valentines Day!
 
 

What 18 Years Can Do In Your Life

Jeff Bezos In 1999. Doing the work himself. Buying and selling one book at a time. A long journey from “only books” to “everything” in such a short time.

What a journey! In just 18 years, Amazon turned from being an unknown tiny online store to world’s largest online retailer.

What 18 Years Can Do

This is what 18 years can do in your life. Be it a spiritual path, entrepreneurship, or a life of wanderlust. To some, this may seem like a long time, to others, it may seem like a short time. But the key lesson here is how much growth can be realized in just two short decades.
Eighteen years is nothing when compared to even the average human lifespan.
 
This is what consistency can do in your life. This is what 18 years of working on your dream can do in your life. (Even when no one else believes in your dreams).
 
Below is the Amazon’s stock volatility (from 1997 to 2017) from early difficult years to a half-Trillion dollar market cap.
Jeff Bezos is now the richest person alive. Amazon today is 680 Billon dollar company. It has been one of the largest job creators in the past 10 years. 
 
But do you know how Jeff Bezos started and what was his life like 18 years ago? Below are a couple of photos that showcase his long journey.
 
From this guy…
To this guy…
To becoming this guy…
Do you think you can work on your dreams for 18 years? Do you believe it’s worth it to work hard for 18 years so you can enjoy the rest of your life and be in a position to help others achieve their dreams, just as you did!
 
Bezos’ story doesn’t end with Amazon. It begins with the Amazon and goes into the eternal vastness of the Outer Space. You can take a space ride in Blue Origin, a space tourism company that Jeff founded in the 2000s.
Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.

Ideal Education System: The Future of Education

Everyone feels that the current education system is broken and outdated. Throughout the history, we have had several forms of educations. Before we talk about the future of education or an ideal education system, let’s first look at our history.
 
In the ancient Greece city-states, for example, the purpose of education was to produce good and loyal citizens.
In ancient Egypt, education was not for the common citizens. Formal education was reserved mainly for the priestly caste and boys from the wealthier families. Girls rarely were taught in public. These ancient Egyptian kids started school at the age of 7 and were taught to read, write, and as well as mathematics.
 
In ancient India, kids at a very young age were sent to an ashram (similar to a private boarding school) where a child lived in close proximity to his guru (teacher) and was taught in person or group setting for up to 7 to 10 years. In some schools, the curriculum covered learning about medicine to martial arts.
In ancient China, formal schooling systems were established as early as 2000 BC. The curriculum covered reading, writing, basic mathematics, poetry, Confucianism, and interpreting I Ching. 
 
During the industrial revolution in England, the purpose of education was to the train future factory workers. However, times have changed. We are currently living in the age of superintelligent computers, rockets flying to the Mars, and self-driving cars.

The Future of Education

What should be the future of education? Can we design an education system that will be both well-rounded and meaningful for our future generations? A system that is compatible with both the spiritual and scientific aspects of our life. 
 
I believe every human child should be taught and trained in the following 11 disciplines. It is best to design and structure an education system in the following fields from grade 1 through 10. (That’s first 10 years of formal learning.)
 
Afterwards, each student (or seeker) can pick some of the fields to master for another 10 years. (This will be a combination of 10,000 hours and practical and experiential internships in any given field.)

Ideal Education System

An ideal education system and the future of education will be structured into the following 11 domains. It will cover all aspects of human life.
 
  • Language and Literature
  • Music (Instruments, Dance, Singing)
  • Martial Arts & Survival Skills
  • Mindfulness & Philosophy
  • Foundational Maths
  • Foundational Science
  • Computer & Machine Programming
  • Metalearning (Learning how to learn)
  • Entrepreneurship
  • World History
  • Human Rights & Social Governance

Let me know what you think of this structure? Would like me to expand on these 11 domains? Leave your questions or thoughts in the comments below. 

Each Social Media Explained In One Sentence

Today, we live in the age of social media. We are connected with one another over several digital mediums. Some social platforms make it easy to follow influencers while some are good at keeping in touch with family and old high school friends.

How would you define each social media platform? I have given this a lot of thought and based on my past several years of personal experience with each one of them, here is my take on the big four social media platforms in as few words as possible.

Facebook

Facebook connects you with people you already know.

Twitter

Twitter helps you connect with people you don’t know yet.

Instagram

Instagram connects you with a community where you are constantly inspired to be your best self.

YouTube

YouTube is the largest TV network for millennials by millennials.

Social Media Explained

Facebook is similar to Family. You don’t get to choose much. It comes in full package, with joy and stress, laughter and gossip, warmth and judgment.

Twitter is similar to college life. You have several groups of friends tied via common interests, goals or classes. You constantly make new friends and drop those who are not best for you. Like college life, Twitter is full of activism, politics, technology, and various hobbies.

Instagram is like being single and looking for romantic partners. There is no time and space for long BS or silly jokes. You constantly seek to self-improve. You are made jealous of others accomplishments, great shape, looks, popularity, and lifestyle. In return, you try to do your best and as a result, at the end of the day, you also get better. Instagram makes you date-ready.

YouTube is nothing less than the largest TV network on the planet. There are billions of shows in every possible genre and any length imaginable. This TV network is not only for consuming entertainment and music or finding food recipes or how-to-tutorials but also a platform which allows anyone to become a film producer and creator. YouTube allows its users to play with their creativity and experiment. Best of all, it also pays you money to do your thing.

There Will Be No Privacy In Future By 2050

Privacy is dead. Privacy has already lost the battle. There will be no privacy in the future.

The future of instant media powered by Artificial Intelligence will make it impossible to hide your successes or failures.

What do I mean? In this era of intelligent platforms, which knows a lot about us, any noise you make, will be sent far and wide.

Everyone you have ever known (including people who may have blocked you) will hear the cheering noise of your success. (Or, the pitiful cries of your embarrassing failures.)

This should act as a reminder for all of us to do our best, to be our best, and to aim for the best. Because in the near future, whatever you do, whatever you become, will be most likely known by everyone.

No Privacy In Future

Imagine the world in 2050. This is a world where your actions, your thoughts, your impulses are continuously calculated, analyzed, and studied. And the grand irony of this situation is not that this invasion of personal privacy is through hacking or force but by either ignorance or voluntary action.

Humans by nature seek the path of least resistance. If we have learned anything from our history, it is humans will voluntarily give up their rights and privacy in exchange for having less labor. (For example, letting Facebook maintain your user credentials and passwords than creating a new account with new and secure passwords.)

There will be not much difference between a Robo-Citizen and a Human (or a pet). At first, we won’t notice the difference but slowly, slowly as the grave reality of our predicament will be realized, we will try to fight back for our lost privacy! But alas, it will be too late then.

Corporations will rule most of us and few world-class Artificial Intelligence software will, in turn, run these corporate decisions. At some point, the globalized multi-national corporate world will switch from direct human management to algorithm-driven, data-driven analytics and decision.

Again, even the big and powerful corporations won’t notice this change at first but by the time they will do, they will have no choice but to live and die by these algorithms because not following the command of these AI algorithms will mean getting financially destroyed by your global competitors.

I understand you may think this future prediction is incorrect and unnecessarily dark and negative. But, the sad truth is this “dark and negative future” is already here, just not fully distributed and fully executed.

On the positive side, we all can decide to do something about it. The most important of all, we should not give up our personal privacy in exchange for reducing some manual human work. We should not give up our privacy in the name of latest apps.

Privacy is a human right and like any rights, you have to defend it (or else it will be taken away).

Let me know what your thoughts are on the internet and digital privacy issue? Are you concerned or you don’t care about personal privacy at all? Please leave your thoughts in the comments section below.

A Perfect Blog Is Like A Perfect human Body

I have been on the Internet now for more than 18 years now. And, I have been blogging for the past 12 years. Starting from the Google Groups, Yahoo Groups, Blogger blogs, WordPress blogs, to Facebook Notes to the many aggregated blog platforms.
Eventually, for me, this long journey reached its first significant milestone with the launch of “The Naked Soul” blog in 2015. The next major milestone was the launch of “The Art of Travel” blog in 2016. The third big milestone for me was the launch of my eCommerce site,  The Art of Travel Store, in 2017.
This may seem like a long time, but I feel we are in the beginning stages of a really long journey. Eventually, all humans and many A.I machines will have their own blogs, eCommerce store, biodata, resumes, medical history, and other details, all online, for anyone to access at any time, based on access level.
 
But my today’s blog is not about A.I. or the future of the Internet. Today, I want to talk about the perfect blog.The anatomy of a perfect blog. What makes a blog perfect?

A Perfect Blog

A healthy and successful blog is like a perfect human body. It has strong bones, healthy blood, lots of muscles, some fat, beautiful face, is attractive, has great skin, and has healthy-functioning joints. It is flexible. It is adaptable. It is resilient. Above all, it is living and growing.
 
I’ll take the example of my own blog here, The Art of Travel blog.
 
The Art of Travel is a baby right now. It is growing fast. It is healthy and it is cute but it is far from perfect or matured. Let’s note, it’s only an 18 months old baby right now.
 
The FREE Destination Travel Guides on our blog is its Bones.
The hundreds of Blogs are its Blood.
All the Content on the blog is its Meat and juicy Fat.
The formatting and structure is its Skin.
The Home Page is its beautiful Face.
The hundreds of internal hyperlinks in our blog’s thousands of pages are its Joints.
 
For this baby to grow into a strong, matured, perfect human adult, we are working to make its BONES strong. The thousands of FREE Travel Destination Guides need to be expanded and showcase the best and most gorgeous photos from each destination.
Like a human skeleton, these bones (destination guides) connect to each other and form sections (Asia, Europe, Australia, etc.)
 
Our current focus on the Travel Blog is building muscles and adding some “Meat” and “Juicy Fat” to it. The several hundreds of blogs that we are planning to publish each year are just that. It’s like adding meat to the skeleton. More blogs, more juicy stories, more topics are like making this blog work out and build up.
 
The Internal Hyperlinking Project (similar to Wikipedia structure) is making sure all Joints are properly linked and functioning. The more joints a body has, the more flexible, bendable and adaptable it becomes.
 
The Skin (formatting) and Face (home page) are already healthy and glowing. We are just ensuring that this shine stays.
 
A healthy blog is never complete. It is always growing. And, we will keep it growing.
 
That’s it. This is “the Secret” of giving birth to a winning blog, a healthy and growing blog. This is how we are planning to raise this The Art of Travel baby. This is it. This is all. 
 
PS: I would love to hear your thoughts and ideas on what you think is the best way to grow and build a perfect blog. Please comment below.

The Ultimate Thesis On How To Crush It On Social Media

How to crush it on the social media? Today’s customers and fans expect every brand to be on the socials. And most brands are. We are. But, how do our fans judge us? What are the criteria that determine which pages, personalities, or accounts get followed or which brands are cooler?

I have found that there are three critical criteria.

Social Authority

What’s the first thing you notice when you stumble upon a brand’s social page? The number of followers it has? Right! Why do we look at this number and why is it important? It’s important because we unconsciously judge a brand by its existing social reach and authority. The bigger it is, the more trust it has.

If a million people follow a particular t-shirt company, then their t-shirts must be good. So we must also follow them to see what they have got and how can it benefit me! A big follower count matters! It demonstrates dominance and most people want to cheer for the winning player!

Social Engagement

Soon after when are back to the reality and the flashing light of big numbers fade into the background, we look for who else is excited to be part of this brand’s community? What’s their story? Who all are commenting and what are they saying? Or, am I the only one excited here until I move on to the next one.

If a brand page has half-a-million followers but no one is talking in the comments, and no one is sharing, then something is wrong. Either the brand doesn’t care about its community or the community doesn’t care about the brand. Either way, it’s just a bunch of inactive people clumped together without their consent or awareness. May be they were bought! May be they were trapped by false advertisements or giveaways! Who knows, but, this brand doesn’t look trustworthy!

Immediately your mind will go, “may be they [these fans] were bought! May be they were trapped by false advertisements or giveaways! Who knows, but, this brand doesn’t look trustworthy!”

So, as a brand, you need constant engagement to sell your story to a new prospect and to keep the current ones engaged! What could be better than to make your community part of your brand’s story? Think about it!

Advertisement vs. Entertainment

Ok, yes, I like these fan pages but that doesn’t mean my existence is for the consumption of their products. We need fun. More of it. The last criteria that we use to filter who to follow and who to unfollow is by how much advertisement they push upon us vs. how much valuable information or entertainment they share that engages me. It’s all about the value add!

What benefit am I getting by following this brand? Are they inspiring me? Do they have solutions or answers to my problems or questions? Are they affordable? Are they high quality and better than their competitors? Lastly, do they care about me as a human being or are they treating us as a marketplace for their damn marketing!?

Lastly, do they care about me as a human being or are they treating us as a marketplace for their dumb marketing!? As a brand, you must answer to these and make sure you are positioned in the best possible way!

Treat your fans with respect and love! If you truly care for them, then show it to them by sharing your best content, information, videos, Infographics, etc. for FREE! Then, go for selling and even then keep it to a minimum! Let your fans come to you for a purchase. You want to pull them with your story, not push them through excessive marketing!

Thanks for reading! You have a beautiful day!

Travel Is The Best Thing You Can Bring To The Table

Recently, I was having an interesting conversation with one of my team member at The Art of Travel. I think it is worth sharing here as well.

One of the “best skill” that you can bring to any team or project is your “travel experiences.” The more you travel, the better you can serve any project and in any team setting. Why is that?

Because travel will show you the many aspects of human existence and a deeper glimpse into the human persona. You can see the hidden human desires and wants. What is it that we all really want? As a species, do we truly value family, peace, and happiness? Maybe not.

Knowing how little it costs to travel and how much more you get as a reward, it amazes me how we put off our travels and vacations until after our retirement. How beautiful and beneficial it is to travel outside of our comfort zone. Then, why don;t we travel as much?Traveling (near or far) makes you a bigger person, a more experienced and independent person, a more confident person, a more alive and accepting person.

The truth is, we want to but we don’t. Why? Because of the fear of losing what little hands we have been played in our life. We don’t want to take a risk because as a species, we are motivated by fear and not faith. Let this thought sink in for a moment.

Traveling (near or far) makes you a bigger person, a more experienced and independent person, a more confident person, a more alive and accepting person. Traveling gives you the faith.

So, what’s the most important skill that you can put on your resume? It is how often do you travel and how many places you have been to. Travel is the cure to our inner fear. And, by travel, I don’t mean a fancy Switzerland or Hawaii vacation. A roadtrip over the weekend can be equally powerful.

So, for you own sake and your work’s sake, please take as many days off to travel as many you can afford. The more we all travel, the more humble and accepting we all will become of other cultures and people.

In fact, The Art of Travel mission is to enable and inspire millions of people to travel. When achieved, I would count that as a huge success of my life! Travel is the best education and it is freely available to anyone who seeks it.

I Hate Unfinished Business

Last year, this was the week when my brother told me that doctors are suspecting that Dad might have Cancer. He was not getting better and all other options were crossed. Doing a Biopsy was the last remaining test. This was hard for him and everyone.

I suspected this through intuition since January. I told Neha (my fiancee) I am having a bad feeling about Cancer (not sure why). I was reading, researching and watching everything that I could find on Cancer. It’s weird, I know, but I was having precognition about my dad’s real condition.

In all, my father passed away battling cancer on March 5th. So, it was just 48 days from doctor’s suggestion to death. So much can happen in 48 days. I am sad about this but also insightful on how to use my time here. Today, all can be well and the next thing you know is you have just 48 days to live.

I have many videos, voice recordings, and notes that I took during those 48 days but still haven’t found the courage to go back and write my dad’s story and a video of his final days with us.

Unfinished Business

I could not give him anything back and that is the sharpest pain. What keeps me sane though is at least he went away in peace knowing he had a successful life, he has two sons who turned out to be decent, an awesome family who came forward with support, and a loving wife who stood by his side until the end.

Writing this short blog is my humble attempt to break free from the fear of feeling immense pain as my wounds are not healed yet. It may never get healed. But I need to tell my father’s story.

This way I can feel at peace and tell my father, “Dad, I miss you. I love you. I remember you. You are with me. You did great. I will continue to keep you alive in my heart.”

To Feel Pain Is To Be Alive

Do what you need to do, do what you want to do. Anticipate pain. Without pain, you won’t last long under pressure. Pain is the jet fuel for inner motivation. People say pain is temporary, don’t give up. Don’t quit. BS. Pain is not temporary. Pain is intermittent. It should never be completely absent. When you reach the state of zero pain, you are dead. Pain is resistance. And, there is no growth without resistance.

Be glad that you have today. Align your intention and your thoughts. Seize your chance while you have your breath.

Think about it.

“Find a place inside where there’s joy, and the joy will burn out the pain.” – Joseph Campbell

Everyone Says It Can’t Be Done

How do you know if you will be successful? How can you tell if you will make it to the end of the tunnel? The answer is “you can’t!” The only thing you can do is to keep the faith and keep walking. You can only give your best. You can plan and strategize. You can mitigate risks. But, you can’t guarantee any particular outcome. That’s the fun of life, business or almost anything under the sun.

There will be negative thoughts, doubts, fear, and obstacles on the way and you’ll have to cross them. You will not fear the ghosts if you have already anticipated them and made plans.

I still have to pay $5800 to the bank for my previous business loan (of $20K). There is no business loan for my new venture “The Art of Travel” until I am even. But, I have managed to put together a team. A team of over 10 people if I count myself. When you do not have cash, you are left with “creativity”. There is no other option. It’s “do or die.”

It Can’t Be Done

When David had to fight Goliath, he did not have time to go to the gym or a spartan academy. David did not have the money for buying the best sword in the market. He had no cash. He had no time but the present moment and the challenge at hand.

In life, each one of us are put into David’s situation. Either you plan and wait for the best time or you use your brain and find a way out. You want to look good, get fit, make money, start a church, travel, be financially free — then do it.

Start now, because there is no ideal circumstances, ever. This is planet earth. Welcome to the world of dust. The stars are not part of the earth but they can shine and be part of your eyes if you fix your eyes on them. But first, you must make friends with the dust of the ground.

Transformative Change Through Organic Inquiry

There are times in our lives when we all feel we’re on the top. But, there are also times when we slip down unknowingly. They are the high and low points of our life. Sometimes, I wonder why we need to experience these low points, when in fact; we know that such states make us unhappy, doubtful, and unsatisfied? Why is there a need for us to step down from the highest point of our lives? I used the Organic Inquiry method to discover some answers for myself.

Organic inquiry is looking within and narrating our own story. The ego and rational mind are put aside while we seek to understand the greater connection of the various life events.

Life may be so harsh that without a warning, the wheels turn and you suddenly go down. This is traumatic. What is the purpose of being in that stage of life? The answer is simple yet deep.

We need to experience the low points of our life for us to notice that we were once on the top. Sounds confusing, right? Because it is.

When we experience the high points in our life, we feel happy, fulfilled, and satisfied. You really cannot ask for more. But, why is that, when we experience the low points in our life, we feel sad, betrayed and unsatisfied? When we experience the low points in our life, we always ask God or some Supreme being or force to bring back everything to the normal. Often times we blame others, and God for all the misfortunes that came into our lives.

Problems, challenges, and tough circumstances, are given into our lives for us to grow and see what we are capable of. It is important for us to grow not only physically, but also, mentally, emotionally, spiritually, and in all aspects of our life. We need to be better than the person we are yesterday. We need to learn, grow and evolve. We need to know the fact that this world is the biggest classroom (a transformative trip) that we’ve got. Learning never stops.

The low points in our lives come with a purpose. It is not given to us just to feel how it feels like to be at the bottom, but it is given to us because it has something to show and something to let us know and learn. The low points in our lives serve as our teacher. It teaches us how to be strong to beat all challenges, how to build our confidence despite the unwanted situation, how to surpass those challenges successfully, and how to become a better person. The low points make us realize that we are capable of something more, that we are far more than what we expect from ourselves.

When life begins to get hard, we need to be strong. But above all, we need to appreciate its coming and see the truth that it is temporary and for a reason. There is no problem in truth if there is a solution. If you think of countless of reasons to give up, just think of one reason why you should hold on, and you’ll see yourself moving forward. You are not alone. Some people envy your position right now.

There is no problem if there is a solution. There is no solution if there is no problem. The highs and lows, the good and bad, the happy or sad are states of our human existence. No life is immune to this law. If you think of countless of reasons to give up, just think of one reason why you should hold on, and you’ll see yourself moving forward. You are not alone. Remember, many people envy your position right now (no matter where you are).

If life is perfect, then that is not the earthly life. There is no evolution without the oscillation between the highs and lows. Life consists of both good times and time of sorrow and miseries. If it remains stagnant, most probably, you are not alive. To live means constantly transforming.

The Attack Of The Pollens | Spring Pollen Allergy

Two years ago I had my first nightmarish experience with pollen allergy. Since, I had no clue what I am having, I went on suffering for weeks without knowing how to treat my symptoms. Spring season pollen allergy is bad and I wrote about it in full details describing what can you do, from taking allergy tests to various allergy prevention method.

But what is an irony here is that when you are an allergy sufferer, you feel helpless. Even though when you know that you have pollen allergies, you can’t do anything but suffer when the pollen allergy strikes back.

These are some of the quick tips for the uninitiated:

1. Sign up for allergy alerts (pollen.com is a great resource for that). You can set it up as a text alert on your mobile. As simple as that.

2. Monitor the allergy counts in your town or city on a daily basis. All you want to look for is: Low, Medium, High.

You job is to protect yourself on High Pollen Count days. If possible, do not go out. If you have to get out of your sealed bunker, wear sunglasses, cover your nose and/or face, wear full length clothing and when you get back to you home, immediately discard the cloths and change into a fresh sets of pollen clean clothing.

Also, since the pollen counts are higher in morning hours, try not to go out from 5 am to 11 am. Avoid, dry and windy days in particular. Winds are your enemy.

3. Keep your house windows and car windows closed. Do not use outside air setting in your car or home AC.

4. Wash your face and hands with lukewarm water and take anti-allergy medication. Keep the anti-histamines handy and take it before the pollen counts get higher. Remember, you will get hit. The solution is to be proactive.

You are not going to beat pollen at this game. So, the best you can do is prepare to minimize your suffering.

5. Some basic rules which should be common sense. Take shower daily. If you go out, then may be twice. Shampoo your hair whether you go out or not. Change your bedsheet and pillow covers every 3 days and wash them well with hot waters.

6. Avoid rubbing your eyes and nose. You will only irritate them more and make it red from inflammation. If your eyes are too itchy, use eye drops and lie down and rest. Close your eyes and rest. Rest. 

It’s too much repititon but it is important my friend. I know what you are going through. Trust me, I suffer just as you do.

Sometimes, taking breaks from work is the best thing you can do stay consistent with your daily chores and work. So, don’t be shy from just taking few hours off to give your eyes a break.

Doing this will only lessen your pain, anger and suffering.

Remember, you can not control pain but you can minimize your suffering. A lot of suffering is self-created.

Let me know how are you doing this year.

For one thing, (I must say) this year has been actually better. It’s mid-May already and the pollens have just come out now. Just one more month and you will be happy like a puppy playing in a big playground.

Just hang in there. We are close to the end of spring-pollen-allergy season.

 

A Day Without My Phone: A Transformative Experience

Today, I forgot to take my cell phone in the morning. And what happened is nothing short of a transformative experience.

I woke up, got fresh, boiled water, made coffee with organic coconut oil, ate a banana and left for the work. Usually, my fiance and I drive to work together as we have only one car. I dropped her to her office.

Five minutes into the drive I was searching for my mobile. I wanted to connect my phone to my car so we could discuss one of the intriguing podcasts that I heard a couple of days ago. Well, no podcast to listen to and discuss about, we talked about life in general, the algorithm for traffic calculation and prediction, and the lifestyle choices that we have made (including the decision to travel together in the morning and use the commute time as time spent together).

On most days, we usually just talk while driving but with our cell phones and hundred of pressing issues, we end up talking about our businesses and many projects that we run together: The Art of Travel, The Naked Soul, Fit Couple Goals, and so on…

But, today was different. I was without my phone and her phone was in her bag. There was no pressure for making an Instagram post or to send a snap on Snapchat. Today was about just the two of us. Her and me. It was wonderful.

I dropped her and with no cellphone in the car, I had nothing to choose from: music, audio books, podcasts. No shuffling, no selection decision gridlock, no time waste. Just, me and the car. Accelerator, looking into the mirrors and driving forward.

I knew there were no phone calls coming this morning. It was the road in front of me and countless billboards and interesting advertisements. 

I was looking at the road, the cars around me, the people on phone driving, people texting and driving, people so absorbed in their world that they looked more drones and zombie-like than humans. I realized, I used to be one of these creatures. Unfortunately.

Focus is great and hustle is important but we should seek a balance where we don’t skip on living life.

 

Lesson #1. Wow. Powerful. And it was not even 9 am. (I knew by now that this is going to be an interesting day.)

I reached my office earlier than my usual time. I got to my desk and boom! again, a feeling of relief. I have no phone and therefore no pressure of checking emails or my social media notifications. This meant, no distractions.

I directly got onto the work at hand while proudly sipping bullet coffee just to celebrate this moment — my existence in this pure now — in its completeness.

 

Just Glorious!

 

 

Did I know, just having the cell phone with me (whether I look at it or not) was eating up my brain resources and mental focus? Just having the phone with me was making me scattered, all over, making me less human and incomplete. What a shame!

I got done with all my work in half the time and it was already noon. I drove to Qdoba to grab lunch and there I was in this queue as the only human being without a cellphone in his hand. I was standing there with myself. I was enjoying this inner acknowledgment of my existence, that I was present.

I mattered to me and I was living. I was a living creature with a capacity to think and imagine. I was content. I was happier without my phone. The sensation I was feeling was new to me and I liked it.

I got my order and sat in a corner. I ate my lunch without my phone and the food tasted better. Anyways, it was just my food in front of me. No friends or colleagues to talk to, no newspaper to look at, no cell phone to distract me with the endless gossips from the world.

I finished lunch in 6 minutes which felt like 10 minutes long. Earlier, it used to take me a good 15 minutes (sometimes even longer) to finish a small chicken rice bowl.

Wow, I just saved 9 minutes of my lunch time. Now, I can go out and enjoy the warm sunlight a little longer.

I sat in my car in the sun. It felt so good that I wanted to take a nap. But it was time to drive back to work.

I arrived at my client’s site and watched a wild goose family crossing the parking lot in their slo-mo fashion. It was fascinating. My hands went for my phone in my pocket. Oops, no phone. This meant I could not make a video of these geese. I had to savor the moment with just my eyes. This was a heartfelt connection.

It was good to watch these birds and to observe them deeply without the distraction of making a video.

I got back to my room. I did some more work and took a short break at 3 pm.

I said to myself, “wow, look at the sky.” A fleet of private jets coming to Boston. Where is my phone? Sure, this would have been a cool video for Facebook. 

Wait, what!? A cool video for social media. Since when did I dedicate my life to serving people’s insatiable thirst for meaningless entertainment? Am I here on this earth for others or to live deeply? How much time do I have? How much time am I wasting?

Instead, why not call Mom or my family or a friend whom I have not spoken to in ages. Wait, shoot, I don’t have my phone. I can’t call. But, that’s fine, let me shoot them an email. 🙂

I wrote a few emails to folks I have not connected in 6 months or longer. It felt good just remembering them and thinking about them. As I wrote the emails, I could hear myself talking to them and I could visualize their faces in my mind’s eye. It was good, way better than an awkward sudden phone call which most likely would have ended up in a voicemail.

Now, next time I can pick up the phone and call one of them. The best gift we can give others is the gift of our presence. I was giving myself to other people and there is no other high than the feeling you get from “giving”.

It was 4:30 pm. Time to wrap up the work day and go home.

I left office at 4:30 pm and again free from any expectation of an incoming call, I was sitting comfortably in my car. I was driving smoothly, observing people going about their daily lives.

I could see the river of cars on the highway. Everyone in this river of cars were sacrificing their little precious time that they have on this earth in some way or form. Whether through cellphones or social media or other worries or by not resolving the disharmony at their work or home.

Sure, life is out of balance for most of these folks, but is there anything that they can do to improve their life? 

Yes. There is. I discovered it for myself today. Leave your cellphone at home. You don’t have to go extreme, but hey, why not give it a shot. For one day. See for yourself.

If you want to try this experiment then leave your cell phone at home at least a day each week. Make those days about “YOU!”

You matter. Your time matters and your life and experiences matter.

 

 

Live those days deeply with yourself.  Take advantage of such moments to look inside, to search within. You may get surprised by the powers and wisdom you’ll find within your own heart.

The other thing I experience while driving back home was the time with myself thinking about life was actually fulfilling and quite deep. I enjoyed my commute just thinking, pondering, entertaining one thought after another. And occasionally dwelling on a good thought and thinking deeply about it. It was a good ride to home.

(Fast forward, one month)

It’s been a month since I accidentally did this experiment. Today, I want to tell you that I have been continuing this practice (no cell phone for a day) each week. In return, my creativity, my focus, my insights, my patience — everything has improved significantly. My anxiety level has reduced and I am enjoying life at a much deeper level.

Now, I want to take this experiment to a whole new level.

Living Without Your Cellphone for 7 Days straight!

Do you want to join me? Let me know in the comments below!

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Life As A Research Project | Transpersonal Experiences In Ordinary Settings

Life As A Research Project

What is the experience of being human – the one we wish to inquiry into, investigate, experiment with, or examine? We like to believe that we are living an ordinary life in an ordinary world, but are we really living an ordinary life?

Examining our life under a “transpersonal lens” may be thought of as living a self-examined life. And, a life which is understood is a life lived.

“At birth, when we first opened our eyes, the surprises and explorations began.” – Rosemarie Anderson

The verb “research” has its roots in the French verb rechercher, which means to go about seeking.

The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines this “seeking” in three ways:

1) careful or diligent search;

2) studious inquiry or examination, especially: investigation or experimentation aimed at the discovery and interpretation of facts, revision of accepted theories or laws in the light of new facts, or practical application of such new or revised theories or laws;

3) the collection of information about a particular subject.

Transpersonal Experiences

My Life Story – A Little Background

Today, I want to share a few of my transpersonal life experiences. I am happy to do so and hope to offer myself as much as I can. This is my answer to my seeking.

As many of you longtime readers probably know that I am a polymath. But among many things that I do, I am particularly passionate about writing, exploring the natural truths, practical philosophy, listening under the noise, being a healer of hearts (nothing supernatural), and traveling the world and soaking in the essence and greater exposure to this thing we call – “humanity”.

I am a sensitive type with a capacity to handle a lot of emotions and bodily sensations. I find this to be both as my gift and as a source of emotional-pain.

Throughout my life, I have been a deeply spiritual person. I have witnessed in my own life unfold in mysterious and often unpredictable, twisted ways. To me, I am an example of “the path has chosen you and you are just a soul responding to your calling.”

In my short life, I have been on several contrasting poles: I was in utter destitution during 2009-10, literally living on $1 a day in Fargo, North Dakota and Nevada City, California. I have enjoyed earning a lot of money through my IT consulting business.

I have been fired from jobs and I have hired people (I still do). I have experienced failed relationships on levels of being traumatic and currently I am in a happy and loving relationship. Life has been a constant teacher for me.

Transpersonal Experiences In Ordinary Settings

There are several life events and synchronistic moments that I could list as a transformative experience for me but nothing comes to my mind as particularly strong at this time other than my last days with my father.

I’ll start here.

Unexpected Death of My Father from Cancer
My first transformative experience may appear distressing and downing but there is no greater teacher of life than death.

On Jan 24, 2016, my father (otherwise a healthy, working, functioning man) was diagnosed with stage IV stomach cancer with bone mets. He passed away on March 5th, 2016. I was with my father during this whole time. And there is nothing more powerful and transformative than caring for a terminally-ill person.

I would actually skip getting into the details here because this is so recent that it is hard for me to concisely write down without getting into the details. But, just to give you enough information to hang on, I am planning a 60 minutes documentary and a book “Cancer In Your Family: Caring For A Family Member & What Does It Mean For You.”

Becoming a Born Again Christian
Accepting a faith, changing your religion or starting a new practice are common day experiences. What makes religion so strong is the transformative power that it has over individuals through mystical and sometimes supernatural experiences.

I was born in a Hindu family but never took Hinduism seriously. I was an agnostic in a comfortable way. I was a curious mind but I was not actively looking for God. At age 18, things changed. I became a born-again Christian in New Delhi, India.

The Word of God, Jesus, my Spirit, everything became real. As real as the world surrounding me. I was transformed overnight. Cursing, porn, envy, anxiety – anything worldly – everything was gone.

There was no struggle on giving up the world. It was as if the burden of sin was lifted off of me. God was real to me. My heart was overjoyed and my life seemed immensely purposeful.

Becoming a Human & Leaving the Christian Jesus
In early 2010, I was struggling to afford McDonald’s $1 burger for my dinner. I was still digesting a certain hurtful events such as my fake-friends cheating me of my car, possessions, and respectfully kicking me out of my house (because I could not afford the rent), my girlfriend going cold turkey, and my mobile account going into collection because of other folks who did not pay their bills and I was left alone with the collection because the line was on my name.

Life was crazy and I was forced to live day by day. I became comfortable with just me being there – at any moment. Me and nothing else.

During those days, I was translating certain classical hymns into Hindi language for some local churches in India and I was still regular in the church. But something was happening inside me, inside my heart. My spirit was no longer feeling free in the church and its restrictive dogma. The people were nice and they meant good to me and towards the outside world, but they were living within a walled enclave of tremendous self-deceive.

The church going faithful saints were more dependent on each other (in the name of One Body of Christ) than on God or their inner guidance. Bible was interpreted from a standpoint of “all or nothing.”

Islam has this same issue. And orthodox Jews too. This is where Jihadist or any religious extremist get it wrong. Believe it all, literally or believe in nothing. This is plain wrong. This is infact opposite of what actually happened with the Bible itself. From Adam to Abraham to Moses to Jesus. Things changed constantly, even the god(s) changed.

Anyways, that’s a topic for another post. (Leave me your thoughts in the comments below)

One day, I picked up a book of poems from Rumi translated by Coleman Barks. The pages, the words, the flow of heart, the transcendental appeal of Rumi’s words broke my decade long Christian shield.

Jesus was still there but now as a human. A human who attained Godhood. As a godly human who was good, who was god! The Bible was still there but as a guide, a description of the journey of few faithful souls in human history.

In coming months, I stumbled upon Gurdjieff (and his Fourth Way), on Carl Jung’s work on inner landscaper of mind, Ra Uru Hu and his work on Astro-psychology, Astrology, Edgar Cayce, Sufi mystics and ancient Christian, Jew and Hindu saints. My life was not the same after this.

Today, I am living this third life. I call my natural birth as my first life, my Christina life as my second life, and now as a spiritual being my third incarnation.

I am sure there are things yet to explore, taste and learn. But, now being an open heart, I welcome change with joy and not with fear or dismay. I love studying our human journey, the evolution of life in this cosmos, exploring and sharing with others our purpose on this planet – our home – the earth.

I am currently working on publishing two poetry collection and one poetry handbook. My first poetry book Naked Soul: The Erotic Love Poems did fairly well upon launch and reached #1 on Amazon. It has been doing well ever since.

I am excited to make my slow transition into a full-time writing and traveling career. I am here to explore the outer world and the inner world and to share with others what I find.

I’ll continue this discussion in an another post. For now, I feel, it is a good introduction and now I turn the mic to you. I want to listen what you have to share.

 

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Who Are You? Just A Label or An Epic Book

“Adventure means exposing yourself to the world out there.” — Naked Soul

Who Are You

Are you just a label or an epic story or a fun saga? Is your life “out-of-box” and is it evolving?

We make a life by what we give, experience, build and learn. Each year of our life is either a sentence or a paragraph. Or it can be a full chapter or even a book in itself.
We decide how our life is recorded in the eyes of the ancient stars of the faraway galaxies.

We decide which adventures we embark upon and which ones we finish.
Adventures do not mean walking on a high wire or sleeping on a bed of nails or eating fire.

Adventure means exposing yourself to the world out there – in its wildness, rawness – experiencing its unadulterated originality.

Adventure means getting in touch with your inner-self, knowing thyself.

Now, over to you.

Who are you? And, what are you going to do with your life? Please leave your thoughts and life missions in the comment below.