Wisdom = Knowledge + Integration

As an entrepreneur and someone who wants to experience a lot of life, I’ve come to a conclusion that’ll help me stay sane in all of the noise.

You see, when you’re always venturing out into the unknown, trying to meet new people, finding out latest advancements and trying to always be on the lookout for new experiences or what the future’s going to look like, you start missing out on the present moment. ‘Mindfulness’ as they’d call it, and I’d read tons about it, hit me in the face this weekend when I found myself unable to focus at all. You might have experienced the urge to pick up your phone every 15 minutes, getting distracted in the middle of writing an email and completely missing out on an hour sometimes just because of trying to learn ‘new’ things. 

I don’t say present moment, like a guru, but as someone futuristic always trying to look ahead. Where do we draw the line between ‘thinking ahead’ and ‘living the now‘? Why are we constantly losing out on our lives and on what’s really happening? When did it become more important to ‘look like you’re having a great time’ than actually and truly enjoying yourself? It’s a shame that sometimes we forget to realize, sit back and adopt lessons from our learning, as we’re unconsciously devolving to the level of a gold fish.

The ‘missing key’ to everything we learn and actually experiencing or implementing it in our lives, is the fact that we do not integrate. We’re always learning new things, consuming more knowledge, and midst all this new information and facts we forget the fact that the only useful information is the one we choose to integrate into our daily routines.

It is pointless if you know something and don’t use it. I’ve got a hundred books on the book stand next to my bed, and I’ve read most of them however, the shame is that I don’t necessarily remember the essence of the books, or what I liked the most about them- cause I just focused on getting through the pages, not digesting what I read. As we go through life, I think it’s more important to keep coming back to the things that matter, the principles and the fundamentals. What do you actually believe in? What did you really learn from an experience, from your day or your interaction with someone new?

I’ve learnt the fact that we constantly need to evolve through integration and implementation, and I hope to changes things from here on. I will take time to integrate my new learnings. Less is more, when you use the less to your advantage through action. Whatever you might learn, be it in the day or during your week, take some time to see how you can fit it into your life. What differentiates knowledge and wisdom for me, is integration, and I’m going to be mindful of this from here on. 

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How to beat competition every time.

Your ambition has to be greater than the sum of all your fears, inhibitions and doubts put together. You won’t always believe in yourself, but make sure that those moments are far outnumbered by the ones that you feel invincible, almost unstoppable- even when it feels unreal, especially when it feels unreal. Winner’s minds go further than most people’s realms of imagination.

My loyalty is to excellence.

I’m committed to becoming the best that I can be. My vision is of reaching my higher potential, forever evolving for the better. As I meet people I judge them on the basis of their ambition- not their bank balance, and definitely not their appearance. If you’re hungry to go after what you want, if you’re committed to your vision, and if you’re striving – I’m going to hold your hand, and support you till the very end.
I really believe in energy. Everybody we see or meet is bouncing off energies from the walls- what we gotta do is try and catch how they make us feel about ourselves. There are certain people who will leave you feeling drained and tired- the smartest thing is to stay clear of them, for their energy doesn’t resonate with yours. For people who leave you feeling happy, feeling like you’ve got to become a better person- spend as much time as you can with them. But know the difference between people who are trying to compete with you and the ones who wish to see you do well.
As much it’s important to have meaningful relationships, the most meaningful relationship that you’ll ever have, is with your own self. You gotta protect your vision, safeguard yourself from toxicity and negativity that some people will try and add to your life. The whole goal should be to be loyal to your inner being and not get distracted by what happens externally. For one thing will always remain true- nobody expect your own self is going to want the better, the best for you. You’re on your own journey and while people may love you unconditionally, you gotta respect your own self enough to be loyal, committed and focused.
What inspired me to write this post is the feeling that it is easy to get distracted by what people around us, especially our competitors are doing. If you keep looking in the rear-view mirror, you lose out on the opportunity to get further. Keep creating the best content that you can, do the best you can, so that you can feel content because of your efforts, and are constantly fueled by your own motivation rather than somebody else’s performance. Let the others play catch-up, while you show them what potential and capability can do. You have a reality that is your own, and have a life that you can tribute to through your wholesome contribution, keep striving and be loyal to your personal excellence!

Live forwards, no regrets!

Limits don’t exist anymore, I look at bad and good as merely circumstances rather than life states. You just gotta know that everything in life is transient. Perhaps, I’ve seen the transition too many times, going from quiet and low nights, to beaming and glowing soulful mornings. After experiencing drastic changes over a night’s time, I’ve come to realize that life is always moving forward, and it is our choice to either move along with it, or wither and fade away. My runs in the morning make me appreciate the nature to an extent that is almost transcendental. I feel like I get this window of a sweet escape where I’m absolutely capable of achieving anything, as I’m one with the whole Universe. I have clear visuals of being one with the cosmos, of breathing with the life forms around me and exuding extreme power. Moving to Delhi was a tough call, I was consciously making the decision to leave behind a life of comforts and build it all from scratch. No clues, no resources, no help, just a blank canvas- with the luxury of being able to adorn it however I wanted.

I am experiencing a paradigm shift within me now, I’m aware of it because I’m really introspective. I have found this unidentifiable source of energy within me, that’s making me appreciate life in a way I would’ve never before. I genuinely see the light in the eyes of the kids on the streets and I feel happy when I see exchanges of love in public, or like that time when I went to the dogs shivering in the park where I was running and put a piece of cloth next to them so that they could be warm. I smile to myself, I cherish love and kindness around me. I’ve picks three qualities that I look for in people- ambition, integrity and generosity, that simple! I want to associate with people who have a vision to make it grand, are honest and sincere and are willing to give back for this beautiful gift of life. Most people miss out on dreaming big and philanthropy because they set limits on everything, they never realize how the only thing holding them back is themselves. I am attracted to that rare species that lives to pursue excellence and aims too high. I doubt there’s someone who loves socialising more than me, but the truth is that there’s only so many conversations you can have about this season’s latest collections and next vacations- I like digging deeper to find hopes, aspirations and the real soul behind the facade.

Truth is, when you think like the way I do, you’ll often be questioned and challenged but then it’s better to be true to yourself than live somebody else’s life. I enjoy this pursuit of knowledge and excellence, where I’m constantly expanding my horizons and exceeding personal bests. I guess this kind of consciousness only dawns after having faced certain levels of adversity- but I hope you at least try to get rid of the inhibitions that hold you back. Some mornings I wake up and think about how my life has taken this unconventional and unplanned track, but then I say to myself, “Live forwards, no regrets.”

Be kind, be compassionate, respect people’s emotions, aim high, give back, seek, explore, learn and live without fear. That might sound cliched, but man, life starts where fear ends. Exactly a year ago, I was in a dark place, and I told myself that 2014 was going to be MY year, for myself and I think I’ve done surprisingly well by even my standards. Launched a company, moved out of my parents’ place, living off my own earnings, building exciting models with start-ups, teaching Zumba, meeting incredible people, long distance running and there’s just so much more that I accomplished in this past year! The only focus for this year was growth and personal development but guess what, this was only the warm up- game time is NOW!

Freshie 2 Fit at Finance

After graduation, I was pretty sure I wanted to learn more about Finance. My degree in Engineering Business Management while insightful about the two fields, completely ignored Finance on all levels and that made me feel inadequate. People think graduation is the end of learning and you should be equipped with all the knowledge you’ll ever need. Na boy, graduation is the start of a new journey and you need to learn more after, when the show is over, to make the next act better. As Warren Buffett says, “read, read, read…knowledge builds up, like compound interest.”

My life right now: wake up, head to the office , gym, read/reflect/write and 6-8 hours of sleep. I’m genuinely interested in learning and I pay special attention to the two Fs: Fitness and Finance.

I have come to idolise two men off late: Benjamin Graham and Warren Buffett (no less love for Charlie Munger either). Two books especially, have changed me so much personally, that I just can’t live life the same way; they are: The Intelligent Investor and Seeking Wisdom.

The point of this post is to share some of the things that should interest anyone remotely into finance and investing.

  • How your investments behave is much less important than how you behave. You know that saying, where they say the whole universe is within you? It indeed is, critical thinking, patient confidence, discipline and courage can help you make the most of even worst bear markets. You really ought to not let other people’s mood govern your financial destiny. As cliched as it sounds, YOU control it.
  • The future value of every investment is a function of its present price. The higher price you pay, the lower your return will be. Don’t buy into the noise, know the true value of what you’re getting into.
  • You cannot eliminate the risk of being wrong, however, you can minimise you odds of error by the “margin of safety”- never overpaying, no matter how exciting an investment seems to be.
  • People often forget what a stock truly means, hence the discrepancy in their goals and figures. It is an ownership interest in an actual business, with an underlying value, that does not depend on its share price. Don’t buy the stock just because there is ‘immense growth’, but because the business actually generates value, and you know is sustainable.
  • You need to be a realist in times of unsustainable optimism and unjustified pessimism; simply sell to optimists and buy from pessimists. As Warren Buffett says – be fearful when others are greedy, and be greedy when the others are fearful!
  • Life, in part, is like a poker game, wherein you have to learn to quit sometimes when holding a much loved hand. Most people, when they find themselves in a hole/trouble, keep trying to dig deeper in the hope to strike a jackpot, but they don’t realise that maybe, they should just stop digging. When you realise something was overvalued, is making losses and was not a good investment, get out of it, rather than hoping that it’ll get better.

Don’t be emotional about it, be rational.

I would include many more things that I learnt, but then I want to bombard investment jargon at you- I just wanted to share some of the core principles.

I’ve been thinking about writing a letter to Warren Buffett and Charlie Munger, just to let them know, that I probably am more financially secure, stable and aware because of their legacy. They make the act look effortless, and I just wish in the next few years, I can do the same continuing my pursuit of wisdom.

The thing is, that you need to become an active learner. You need introspection to realize what your wear points are, and work on them. I knew I was weak at Finance, so I grabbed books and resources to change that. Now I have a very balanced portfolio, that has well positioned me as a securities’ investor.

What you don’t know, you can learn- you just need the curiosity and the will to see you through. Good luck!

5 Questions you need to ask yourself.

A friend of mine replied to my previous post saying : “Although I dont agree that experiencing life and having a boring corporate 9-5 job have to be mutually exclusive. There are boring b***** like me who’d love that 9-5 corporate job and working 80+ hours each week!”

True. I know people like that, but those are not the people I want to get through to. It’s your personal preference if you like that intense working atmosphere, I am all for the concept of high productivity, hard-work and effort. However, I feel that there’s no possible way that you can be productive for the whole 7-8 hours at the office, you will take out time to procrastinate, just to reward yourself for the long working hours. Lifestyle entrepreneurship, for me, is working fewer hours but delivering the best results and doing what truly needs to be done- so that I can utilise the time to do other things- could be Salsa, swimming, cooking, spending more time with loved ones or whatever your hobbies might include. I go to the office, I log in to LinkedIn, read, try skimming through the news, get cups of coffee and tea, walk around and do a lot other stuff than just work. Everyone functions differently, but since this is my personal journey, I’m just trying to present my views and do not expect everyone to want the same things out of life. For the ones, who do want to enhance productivity and find a balance between work and life, without being subject to the 9-5 jobs, I’m going to try hard to appeal to you.

Ask yourself these questions: (I’ve included my answers, you gotta find your own!)

  • How can I bring about a sense of purpose in life?

Most of us spend our time following what is ‘normal’ as per our culture and society. Ideally they would want me to spend a few years working, get a Masters degree, get married and have kids. However, if we are all unique, how can we subject our lives to the same norms? As an individual, I want to contribute towards making lives better and be a learner for the rest of my life. I want to keep learning through reading, travelling, meeting new people and gaining knowledge while trying to give back to the society in different ways. For now, I sponsor a child’s education, later I might sponsor lots more but I know for sure that I get immense pleasure  in giving. While I do believe that goals can change over years, I think, everyone should have a grand philosophy for life. It could be acquiring wealth, status, love, fame, anything! Choose to live according to your philosophy, otherwise, we’re just astray rats in an endless, very long and probably unsatisfying race.

  • How can I achieve peak health and fitness even if I am on a busy schedule?

No matter how busy life gets, how over-worked you are or how many excuses you may think you have- there could be absolutely no reason to avoid looking after yourself. Remember how in an air plane you’re supposed to put the Oxygen mask on yourself first and then others? If you look at life as a journey, you’re in the very same situation- remember, without being equipped with health, there’s no way you can be useful or helpful to others. It’s essential that you take your health seriously, because boy, regardless of all the money you make or how famous you get, when you do get that heart-attack or stroke, the game is over. Make time to look after yourself, get some exercise and rest it out when you need to. For me, exercise clears my head, encourages me to challenge my limits and make me focus better. Squeeze it in your schedule and you won’t have to try as hard squeezing into your pants.

  • How can I achieve long-lasting happiness and success?

My happiness lies with the people I value, my work-life balance, and atmosphere of growth. In this book called The Happiness Project, Gretchen Rubin mentions wrote: ‘the days are long but the years are short,’ no matter how long a day might seem, you’ll get through years relatively quicker. You might be in your 20s now and try please everyone, but soon life will pass you by and you’ll end up at 30, still unhappy. The trick is to know what is crucial to YOUR happiness, and work your way around it. Since my happiness is directly influenced by the people I love, I force myself to follow the technique of negative visualisation.  This technique is a 2-3 minutes mind game where I try to imagine the worst case scenario between me and the other person- what if he/she died, or I never saw them again, or if I died? It helps me treasure the people around me more. I leave them hand-written notes, write them letters and tell them how I feel truly- and that has helped me develop closer friends and more meaningful relationships. Sure it makes me more vulnerable, but according to experiments, vulnerability is what brings us true gratification, and I find no harm in being open with the people closest to me. My work- life balance comes with this search of defining and analysing time and again what I truly want to achieve and setting different milestones. I make personal timelines and TODAY lists to enhance real time contribution and prove to myself that I actually am improving. Having said that, progress brings an atmosphere of growth with it. Keep challenging yourself, track your progress and aim higher- I think it’s the excitement of doing these things that is essential to my happiness and success.

Since this post is getting too long, I will pause here, and let you reflect on the three questions above. In the next post, I will answer the two questions below.

  • How can I change my current lifestyle and live the life I have always dreamt about?
  • How can I make money doing what I am passionate about?

Please feel free to share your opinions and your answers, I really would like to know about what motivates you and how you measure success and happiness.