A lot has changed since I wrote last, the most significant being a relocation from India to the nucleus of the tech world in the Silicon Valley.
Anyway, I kick off this new phase of the blog with a simple question: “What drives you?” The answers could be many—money, fame, creativity, social good—neither of which is right or wrong, nor mutually exclusive at times. However, my question goes a little beyond that to a core, rather psychological (for the lack of a better word) level. Take a step back from all the social, cultural, and economic rigmarole, and reflect on what you will answer at a deeper, personal level.
*Yeah, I can be quite cryptic and nonsensical at times with my thoughts, not to mention the rough edges I am trying to smooth out as I resume writing*
It is not as simple as characterizing yourself into being a pessimist or an optimist. I know many eternal optimists (yours truly included) who have been through morbid times just waiting for the bubble to burst anytime. On the other hand, there are pessimists who will probably wonder if things could go any worse, and in the process actually end up succeeding.
Before I get any more random, let me justify the reason to reflect on this question and the two choices. For years now, I have been toying with the idea of taking the plunge and going on my own professionally, but have not been able to. In the classic anatomical conflict, the heart says yes, but the head puts up a barricade.
The head often succeeds because as we grow older, the creative childlike spirit gets crushed under the distorted (although rational) logic that education teaches us and the liabilities that we pick up. Nonetheless, being an optimist that I am, I said ‘often’ and not ‘always,’ which gives me hope. It gives me hope that someday my mind will be able to look beyond the potential short-term failures and drool at the success that lies thereafter. Hopefully, the creator inside me (and all of us) will find a way to convince my mind that it is ok to fail sometimes. That it will after all be able to overcome a lifetime of conditioning around material achievements that you probably chose as your initial answers – money, fame, etc. That the material gains should be the outcomes, and not the objectives.
The more I think about this question and my own honest answer, the more my respect grows for those who chose the red pill. But be honest as you answer this question for yourself, and not for anyone else. And if your answer is still yes, give yourself a pat on the back and keep it going. In choosing to go after success, you have stayed true to yourself and your ideas, and it takes balls of steel to do that. And whenever you feel the gut wrenching weightlessness in turbulent times, think about this question, and remind yourself of your honest answer.
I am still waiting for my gut to be prepared for that leap of faith.