24 June, 2010

People are People

This post is a way to find a reason for the internal conflicts that I am having, and hence there are chances that there might be statements and points that contradict each other. The post is about me trying to understand that people are people and not business contacts. At least that's the way I see it or better put, have so far been seeing it. 

Over the past few months, I have been involved in running my own design startup. Now I do not need to reiterate that, that is a challenging job. However I do need to re-iterate that its a monumental task when you try to run a business by comprising on values that define you as a person. 
Perhaps this is the situation that I am in and is becoming a part of my biggest internal conflict. When I interact with people, I deal with them as people. Over time, when I tried to develop the acumen towards business, I guess I started to compromise on that value that defined me. There are numerous outcomes of this. One of the prime things being that I started to see business in everything.

Any small favor that was earlier done in the goodwill of things, was now viewed upon as a business interaction. (I do not mean to contradict this with one of my earlier posts regarding charging for an effort spend on a task. That still holds true.)

In this process, I lost a few very good friends. Friends with whom I had shared a lot of great moments and they were there always in a position to help me out when I needed help. The interesting part is that these friends were the ones who got us the initial few projects.

The other day, I was talking to another college senior of mine, whom I have admired for what he is. One of the things that he mentioned is that there are two ways of running a company. One is a boutique style and the other is the corporate style.

Presently we are in the boutique style (let us call this a) of running the company, and have dreams to become a corporate style (let us call this b). Now this transition from a to b would require us to compromise on a few things. And one of those things is that having to deal with people only as business contacts. And as another entrepreneur friend of mine would say, in business there is no value for a person. It's all about the money. Somehow I do not buy that and I refuse to believe it. I have read and heard about a lot of entrepreneurs who build a team of people they value and not of businessmen. Only when I have a team of people I trust and have full confidence in, I can strive towards building the business.

Coming to the internal conflict, I feel that this is the whole tussle that is happening within me. The other partners see people as a business contact. For me however, the way I interact with people, I first try to understand them as people, or better put, as Humans. This understanding I owe to my graduate school education in Human Computer Interaction Design, wherein the most emphasis was put on the Human part. I think that was one of the most valuable things that I learnt there.

I cannot see people as business contacts first and then as people. For me business comes only later on. I cannot sacrifice so many friends and acquaintances on the pretext of getting business.  It's just not me. I think the basic premise on which people should lead their lives is with the notion of help. Even if you are working with a client, you are actually helping him/her solve a problem. We strive towards making them smile. Towards making their lives easy and hence help out in bringing about some more happiness. Isn't that how things should be?

Money will flow. That is not a concern for me ever. If I was after money, I would be leading a totally different life. I have always believed in that, however sometimes (like now) I have to rewrite that. 

Conflicts are not uncommon. It's something that everyone has at some point of time. However how we get out of that conflict is important. And one has to come out of it, no matter what. If not, then things get hampered. A lot of the things that you had planned to do appear a far fetched dream.

I am struggling to come out of the conflict. I hope I do.

18 June, 2010

Fear - from Life of Pi

I read this a few years back, and it has stuck to me ever since. Chapter 56.

I must say a word about fear. It is life's only true opponent. Only fear can defeat life. It is a clever, treacherous adversary, how well I know. It has no decency, respects no law or convention, shows no mercy. It goes for your weakest spot, which it finds with unerring ease. It begins in your mind, always. One moment you are feeling calm, self-possessed, happy. Then fear, disguised in the garb of mild-mannered doubt, slips into your mind like a spy. Doubt meets disbelief and disbelief tries to push it out. But disbelief is a poorly armed foot soldier. Doubt does away with it with little trouble. You become anxious. Reason comes to do battle for you. You are reassured. Reason is fully equipped with the latest weapons technology. But, to your amazement, despite superior tactics and a number of undeniable victories, reason is laid low. You feel yourself weakening, wavering. Your anxiety becomes dread.

Fear next turns fully to your body, which is already aware that something terribly wrong is going on. Already your lungs have flown away like a bird and your guts have slithered away like a snake. Now your tongue drops dead like an opossum, while your jaw begins to gallop on the spot. Your ears go deaf. Your muscles begin to shiver as if they had malaria and your knees to shake as though they were dancing. Your heart strains too hard, while your sphincter relaxes too much. And so with the rest of your body. Every part of you, in the manner most suited to it, falls apart. Only your eyes work well. They always pay proper attention to fear.

Quickly you make rash decisions. You dismiss your last allies: hope and trust. There, you've defeated yourself. Fear, which is but an impression, has triumphed over you.

The matter is difficult to put into words. For fear, real fear, such as shakes you to your foundation, such as you feel when you are brought face to face with your mortal end, nestles in your memory like a gangrene: it seeks to rot everything, even the words with which to speak of it. So you must fight hard to express it. You must fight hard to shine the light of words upon it. Because if you don't, if your fear becomes a wordless darkness that you avoid, perhaps even manage to forget, you open yourself to further attacks of fear because you never truly fought the opponent who defeated you.

A morning with a call

A pleasant surprise early in the morning, from seven seas across. A dear friend who understands me so well, called up. Caught me in my morning yawns,  but well worth the call. A more of a eye opening call, and not just in the literal sense, but also in the philosophical sense.

In that long call, he was clearly able to point out exactly where my internal conflicts were.  I was surprised at the whole thing initially, but one good thing he mentioned was that in the morning you have a uncluttered mind. As the day progresses, we tend to clutter our minds with one tension after the other. By the end of the day, its very likely that we are unable to even think of the first thing that we started off our mornings with. How true!
Some points from the talk that I will never forget and will try to follow everyday.
  • Your passion should not become your obsession. There has to be a clear line between the two.
  • Nothing is worth it, if at the end of the day you cannot get a peaceful sleep. 
  • You are only 28 and have a lot of life left to do a lot more things. Do not burn yourself out rightaway. 
  • You have to keep working at things you really believe in. And doing such a thing takes time, a lot of patience and determination. 
  • Try to make the mind decluttered. Focus and concentration would follow. A lot of the cluttering is coming from the internet and the moment we see and read about the things around us. Try avoiding that for a while and see how much at peace you are.
  • Decide between the two sides of the coin. Are you a photographer ? Or are you Deskala?
  • You can be the way you want to be as long as you are single, but when you are married, things will be different and you have to be prepared for that. You cannot just ignore that.
I feel blessed to have a few friends who understand me so well.

Thanks for the awesome call.

I have a feeling....

For a lot of reasons 2010 seems to be a year of the most learnings!

That everything will be well.

This is post #200 on this blog. I know its nothing really a milestone, but still, small joys in life.

13 June, 2010

How do you improve your concentration?

When I started doing photography and interacting on Flickr, I did it for hours. The same applied to when I used to blog and write more regularly. The same was when I watched movies on laptop. I would watch a movie un-interrupted. I would read a good number of pages in a book before I let it down.  These things seem like a thing of the way past. So I have been looking into this phenomenon for the past couple of days, and realize that I have been short on my concentration level.

I do not recall the last time I saw a movie on the laptop and finished it in one go. I do not remember the last time I read 100 pages of a book in one sitting. I hardly spend time doing photography and it's editing. 

All the above activities used to have me so involved in them that I used to be totally immersed in that experience. And since that is not happening for the past few months, I am having an issue with that. It is been bugging me and leading to a lot of internal conflict.

I do realize that this phenomenon that I am going through is because of the zillion other things that I am involved in. Well one of the easy way of getting out of this situation could be not do those things. But as far as I know myself, I am not going to stop all of them. But I do realize that I need to prioritize. 

I tried asking a few friends on why this is happening, and why inspite of knowing the problem I am unable to find a solution to it.

Many say you owe it to the startup lifestyle, the fact that the mind is always pre-occupied with some thought or the other in relation to the business. You are always constantly at the back of the mind trying to make connections, the business ones to be precise. The personal life has taken a back seat and you are too engrossed in the promotion, sales, and what not for the business. Ok. Point taken.

Some say that you need to find ways to get your concentration level back. And that I am the only person who can find an answer to that. I agree. One of the things that came out of these discussion is that I need to write more and write about things that are going on in the mind. I do realize that I want to write. And write to the extent that I want to publish a few books. But that requires a lot of concentration, and I am making the small start towards that.

I have also been avoiding coming online much and I have been trying to go out and meet people in person to help me away from the system. I will be soon getting more back into the habit of reading more.

I would love to hear from you on what you do to improve your concentration.

09 June, 2010

The other side of Bangalore

Today I had the opportunity of visiting three engineering colleges in relation to my sister's admissions there. Two of these colleges are located totally out of the city, in Yelahanka to be precise. I got to explore the other side of Bangalore, the villages that surround it and the farms that lie along the way.

While coming back from the Sir M Visvesvaraya Instititute of Technology (MVIT) to the BMS Institute of Technology (BMSIT) , we (me and the cab driver) lost our way. I was not carrying the laptop, else I could have checked the maps there. We had to get to the colleges in time, as I was worried that the offices might close and I would not get the proper information.

We decided to ask a few people and got three different directions. One was a local person, one was a worker who was new to Bangalore, one was a policeman. We decided to follow the policeman's directions. However after a point of time we got lost again. This time we decided to just follow the road and whereever it took us. Our aim was to reach the Doddabollapur main road, that would then lead us to the BMSIT college.

At the end of the day, I feel glad we got lost and took that route. Had we not got lost, we would have not passed through the three villages, which reminded me of the villages back home. We would have not crossed the vineyards that always fascinate me. We would have not crossed the mango orchards, which continuously reminded me that at this time of the year if I am at home, I would be having mangoes for breakfast, lunch and dinner (yes you read that right ! ). We would have not crossed the farm houses, and I would have not remembered my dream of owning a farm house someday and that I need to work harder towards that goal.

The whole experience was so joyful that it did not matter that I was getting delayed to reach the college. Neither did it matter that the radio played Kannada song, of which I understood nothing. It did not matter that roads were not as good as the one that led to the airport, and that we had just left.

What only mattered was that I was enjoying the ride.

Sometimes, life just has these weird ways of making you realize the futility of worrying about things that are so silly and shows you the things that you really enjoy. And I was not carrying my camera either, so it was God's way of telling me that I just need to enjoy it. Period.

I finally did get to the colleges and got all the information that I wanted. 

08 June, 2010

What a crazy week that was!

Once in a while there are phases which are so low, that the only way to look at getting out of it is to believe that going up it is going to be from here on. 

The past week has perhaps been the most crazy week in my life so far. There have been multiple things going on in the personal as well as the professional field.

From moments of breach of trust, to people simply ignoring me, agony at the loss of a friend to moments of anxiety with admission blues for sister, to making a firm determination to not undercharge for my services. 

A few of these did lead to moments of depression, and in the middle of that there was hardly any moments to cheer up. However that is past. And one needs to bounce back.

Of all the things that the past week has taught me is its just all about - each one for one self.

So here's a cheer to good life, and good bye to the depressions :)