Monday, November 30, 2015

I Wish I Could Do That

"I wish I could do that" is what I used to tell myself every time I missed doing something. These days I also hear that from my friends and most people I meet during my travel when they come to know that I am "Running a marathon in all the 50 States and 7 Continents".

I wonder what changed me from saying "I wish I could do that" to "I will do it". Few things immediately come to my mind.

  • The people I do it with. The people who consciously or unconsciously keep me accountable
  • The fact that I got little bit more wiser to know what goals I can and cannot possibly achieve with in the given time and with the resources I have
Yes it is very easy to say "I wish I could do that", but it takes planning, preparation and sometimes lot of commitment and discipline to do things.

Depending on the task/habit sometimes it might just be a simple tweak or change in perspective that might help us change our habits or stick to it. Sometimes it might require lot more planning and preparation.

As we come to the end of November when I self-reflect on some of the things I have accomplished during this month and over the past few years, the following things stand out

During the month of November
  • I Successfully kept the habit of writing everyday and posted articles to my writing group to keep myself accountable (yes forming a writing group definitely helped me to be accountable)
  • For the sake of Movember, I made peace with the fact that I look silly with my moustache but still dealt with it and didn't shave it off
  • Started making progress on the ebook I plan to release, until this point most of my writing was random and for the first time my writing has a purpose and an end goal for which I am very excited that some of my ideas, thoughts and experiences are manifesting into an ebook
During the past few years, things that changed from "I wish" to "I will"

  • Waking up early and working out (Thanks to NPSF group, yes I have been waking up by 5a.m most of the weekdays)
  • Made lot of progress on my running and travel goals. Currently at 39/50 and 6/7 and as per my race calendar I plan to finish running a marathon in all the continents in January and all the 50 states and D.C by Nov 2016. Yes for the first time in my life I am not adhocly running or traveling. I have a plan and I am preparing for it.
  • Made some good progress to getting close to Boston Qualification (currently at 3:18)
  • Made progress on Writing, public speaking, improv, Swimming, hiking and other habits

I definitely have consciously made my effort to make progress and change my thought process from "I wish" to "I will"

I attribute my progress to the power of the pack (accountability groups), frequently reviewing and visualizing my goals, planning and preparing for my goals and habits.

No not everything in my life is planned or prepared. If that was the case I wouldn't be able to spontaneously go on a hike to Mt.Shasta and Summit it. Also I wouldn't be able to go on trips and adventures like

  • Tough Mudder
  • Ragnar Relay
  • 2+ days of camping on Lost coast trail (and my lack of planning and preparation led me to dehydration and made me very hungry)
I am glad I am able to balance or atleast try to balance my life with deliberate plans and spontaneity. Living the life with intention while adventuring and rolling along with the things that come along my way.

Also one of the book that definitely had a significant impact on me is "The One Thing" by Gary and Jay. It definitely changed  my thought process and influenced me to take action by prioritizing the things and eventually planning and preparing for those priorities with purpose. I highly recommend that book to anyone sick and tired of "Wish lists" and want to start taking action. I read it last year and again during the beginning of this year. I immediately printed a calendar, pasted it on my wall and started noting down "The One thing" that I did for that day.

It definitely helped me make progress and change my "I wish I could do that" to "I will do it" to "I did it".

I started the year by saying and writing down "2015 - Year of Doing" and glad that I made some good progress and soon I might release an ebook titled "I Wish I Could Do That" (still debating on the title)

Sunday, November 29, 2015

The CDs of Life

Life I believe is a series of Choices and Decisions. It would be amazing if they were conscious choices and decisions that we deliberately and intentionally made, which I call a Life with Purpose and Intention.

Anyways all these cliches and philosophical B.S aside, the reason I am thinking of choices and decisions is I have been self reflecting lately on where I was and how far I have come. What triggered me to take the path I took so far ?

My journey would be incomplete or not justified by my rationale brain, if I didn't talk about the Choices and Decisions I made.

I truly believe life is a series of choices and decisions we make. I like to preferably think they are conscious decisions but someone who has a better knowledge on this subject concluded that our Choices and Decisions can lead us to 4 stages of growth.

  • Unconscious Incompetence - we don't know that we don't know
  • Conscious Incompetence - we know that we don't know (important stage of growth)
  • Unconscious Competence - we don't know that we know
  • Conscious Competence - we know that we know.

I am not entirely sure where I fell when I started as I wasn't thinking rationally. I  was very touchy-feely and in the mode of "Lets live life adventurously". Anyways I tend to follow my heart more often than I listen to my brain. Atleast thats what I like to think or the story I keep telling myself.

We can only connect the dots backwards.  I remember reading somewhere on the Internet which was talking about the "Victim Vs Creator" mentality. It resonated with me alot and I feel it had a good impact on me. Until then I was always giving reasons and thinking

  • "I wish I did that"
  • "I wish I could do that"
  • "I wish I had more fun" etc etc
I was in the wishy washy world in a way playing the role of the victim by pointing my fingers at the circumstances. More often we might tend to rationalize ourselves and play the role of a victim by saying

  • Because of My parents.... I didn't do well or didn't have the freedom
  • Because of the place I was born .... I didn't have the opportunities
  • Because of My Boss....I am not enjoying my job
  • Because I don't have money.....I can't afford to travel
  • Because of this.... Because of that... Because of those people... Because of those circumstances... Blah Blah Blah..
Anyways I guess you  know where I am going with this. The victim mentality finds something external to find fault with or puts the blame on

My life changed when I made a conscious decision to CHOOSE the Creator Mentality. I consciously (atleast I like to think so) said to myself "I am no longer going to play the role of a victim. I will take ownership of all the things that happened in my life and will happen in my life. I am the Owner of my life and the creator of my destiny"

Yes this might sound like some spiritual mumbo jumbo but take the gist of it for what it's worth. It is very liberating and empowering when we realize truly and in spirit that we are the creator of our destiny and we can change our lives.

While I was in college I worked in the library and it gave me access to lot of books and also I spent a lot of time on the Internet all the while thinking I am wasting a lot of time. Who knew that Internet browsing and randomly going through books in the library will make me come across folks like Zig Ziglar, Steve Pavlina, Leo Babouta, Robert Kiyosaki, Stephen Covey. Those were few of the many authors who definitely influenced my thinking and competency. I guess they helped me from one stage of growth to other in certain aspects of my life. I can definitely say I have progressed from Unconscious incompetent to Conscious Competent in regards with certain aspects of running, while I might still be unconscious incompetent or unconscious competent in other aspects of running. Who knows only time will tell. As Steve Jobs would say "We can only connect the dots backwards".

I like to think I am where I am today because of the choices and decisions I made and I like to think they were conscious choices that I made through the influence of people who did what I wanted to do. I read many books but I  only gravitated to few, which makes me think that it was my "Conscious decision to choose what I want in my life"

This world needs people who take ownership and have the courage to move forward with their choices and decisions. Good, Bad or Ugly. Own them. Own  life.

I am glad I made some good choices and decisions that lead me to set goals to run marathons, travel around the world, write a book, create apps, become financially literate. Also I truly believe "Sharing is Caring" and I am glad I am currently able to share some of my life experiences with friends and family.  I will count my life well lived - even if one person can resonate with some of my choices and decisions and if it had impacted his/her life in any way. Again I am just the messenger or communicator of  my experiences  and all the good that I picked in this world which was passed on to me by others who shared their experiences. Hopefully this message will help someone become the creator and own his/her life. Even if nobody listens I might just read this to my future dog or grand kid who might just flip me off or think this OLD GUY is Crazy.  Yes crazy enough to change the world for better or read a book to my dog or the grand kid :)

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Life Progress Through Dabbling and Experimentation

Most things that happened in my life, happened because of me dabbling and experimenting with life. I started running, traveling and got into lot of activities and habits as I dabbled my way through them.

Dabbling also helped me figure out what I like and don't like. Dabbling helped me set goals and see if those goals are important to me or not. I typically get excited about lot of things and want to do lot of things but that excitement might not carry along and be there forever. Dabbling and experimenting helped me figure out if my curiosity and enthusiasm will last for that particular activity or task.

I typically set  yearly goals  and also write down to-do lists for days. I frequently review my notes on my iPhone to see if I am on track for my goals, if I am not I create the to-do items to focus on my goals. If I repeatedly missed something that could mean I haven't been focusing on my goals or that goal is not a priority or as exciting as it was when I first thought about it.

I always questioned myself "Why am I not doing what I want to do ?" Few of the reasons I could come up with my rational brain are

  • I am distracted by other things (social media, Internet etc)
  • That has not been my priority/Lack of focus/Just forgot about it
  • Doing too many things or too much too soon.
I have started to write things down which is also helping me remember some of the things I want to do, some of the things I want to dabble in and experiment with.

Dabbling has helped me get into
  • Running
  • Traveling
  • Reading
  • Writing
  • Public Speaking
  • Swimming
  • Rock Climbing
  • Hiking
  • Improv
  • Startups/Products/Companies
  • Saving/Investing/Earning
Dabbling made me run and travel in different states, countries and continents, made me a reader and writer. I also plan to release an ebook on amazon that covers topics like

  • How to run a marathon in 50 states and 7 continents while trying not to have a 9-5 job
  • How to live minimally, leading a location independent and debt free lifestyle using
    • -- CouchSurfing, AirBnB, hostels
    • -- Uber/Lyft
    • -- Sprig/Munchery/Blue Apron
    • -- Khan Academy/Udemy etc
Will see what else I might dabble and experiment with to accomplish the goals and make progress in life while growing adventurously.

Friday, November 27, 2015


I am thankful and glad to have so many friends. People who were once strangers now have become friends. I meet many through my running, traveling and through my active lifestyle.

I am lucky to have them in my life and today I get to spend some more time with few of them. Yesterday I spent time with my family at the thanksgiving dinner. Today I spent lot of time with my friends, eating, laughing and just being silly.

We might be born to our parents or born into a family but luckily we can choose our friends. I met most of my friends through social activities. Be it my running adventures or travel adventures or activities I am into. Activities like Public speaking, improv, writing, startup events, hiking, workout in the nature. Meaning I make friends doing things I love.

I am glad I am still able to make time to meet people in person. In this noisy world of Internet and Social Media it could become increasingly difficult or unusual for people to take time to spend time with friends in person. It wouldn't surprise me if people have thousands of friends, followers or connections on the social media but very few to talk to or share their life moments in person leading them to boredom, loneliness and depression.

It is very important we take time to spend time with our friends. Also with increasing trend of people living in different parts of the world and away from family, friends are the one we rely on most. If it is hard to get to the family thanksgiving, we can now organize friendsgiving. Luckily I have few of my cousins who live close to me and I was able to attend the family thanksgiving dinner. Although friendsgiving is even more fun where we get our own food and satisfy our fantasies and food guilty pleasures of nutella and queso dip while talking about silly and weird strories from Reddit AMA, who knew there are men with two dicks and women with two vaginas. Anyways I digress ;)

Having friends to talk to, share your life is a great blessing and gift and I am lucky to have them to share my life with.

Thursday, November 26, 2015


I am thankful to be alive. I am thankful that I can eat. I am thankful that I can drink. I am thankful that I have the freedom to move and go where I want without the fear of being killed.

I am thankful to all the people who hugged me, ran with me, inspired me to run faster, explored the trails and hiked with me.

 I am thankful to the people who put up with my B.S, cliches and philosophical quotes. I am thankful to the people who rock climbed with me, swimmed with me and laughed with me. 

I am thankful to all the people who were patient with me and took another chance to understand me. 

I am thankful to the people who joined me on adventure hikes and rafting. I am thankful to the people who saved me from panicking and drowning in water.

I am thankful to Mother Nature for being so pristine and kind to this kid 

 This is a reminder for us to live our best lives with what we got. Live to the best because there are many dying to have what we have and we need to make the best use of it in honor of them and if possible share what we have. Sharing is Caring 

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Fasting For Healthy Life

I was reading this article "50 ways happier and healthier and more successful people live on their own terms" and one of the way was "fasting one day a week to live a healthy life". That gave me an idea of "why not fast during thanksgiving when everyone is stuffing themselves with food in the name of Thanksgiving."

I thought let's see how this experiment goes 

Also I was touched and moved by recent incidents of terrorism which leads to unfortunate things like kids becoming orphans, kids living without food, water or shelter. Very unfortunate.

I am here in San Francisco one of the best cities in the world, living my life in the great company of amazing friends, not worrying about when I am going to die or get killed. I would say  my life is relatively good. Meaning my basic needs of food, water, shelter are met. I wanted to challenge myself and said to myself "what if I don't eat or drink even a single drop of water for a day"

So I strategically ;)  planned my experiment to NOT miss my thanksgiving dinner. Strategic as I didn't want to be the party pooper at my family's thanksgiving dinner and be that douchebag saying "I am fasting and I can't eat". So to go on with my adhoc experiment and challenge to myself I decided to start the fasting starting today and for the next 24 hours. Let's see how it goes. I also plan to donate to a children's  charity the amount I would have spent on eating for that day. I know it might not be much but it is something. My biggest take away from this experiment is to find out 

- how can fasting be helpful and also 
- how do kids and people pushed into unfortunate situations cope with it and survive.

I am very thankful I am alive, can afford to eat and drink and have a roof on my head. This is my empathetic attempt and an experiment and challenge to myself for being healthy.


Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Hero To Zero - Zero To Hero

In this world of social media and many apps and platforms to express feelings and opinions, everyone and anyone can do it. While that is amazing and opens up lots of possibilities, it also opens up lot of casual and reckless comments. Meaning every Tom, Dick and Harry has an opinion even if they have no clue what they are talking about.

Hence we now have new hashtag memes like #ThanksObama. People blaming Obama for everything as they have no clue what is the cause of the issue and they need a scape goat.

My toaster is not working. Thanks Obama

It is too hot today. Thanks Obama.

In this New Internet Age. It is very easy and doesn't take much time for someone to become a zero from Hero. The fame and all the credibility can easily vanish.  The tables can turn every quickly.

Why ? Because not many have the time to research or make informed decisions and they rely on media which could twist and highlight things for TRP ratings and other publicity and attention tactics.

This reminds me of the following 

Also today I came across another issue where a famous celebrity from India, a movie super star from Bollywood  known for his involvement in social causes through his movies and has been known far talking and standing up for social causes has expressed how he and wife felt about incidents happening in the recent past and the media blew up criticizing him and unfortunately well educated folks also fall for the media trap and make the "Hero" a "Zero". 

When in fact he said everything to unite 
India, the media reported it otherwise.

You can watch the video for yourself. The media  criticized him for being unpatriotic, creating fear in community and not greateful for his fans, which is definitely not the case. Seems Not many people even watched this video and went on a troll based on media frenzy. 

In this world of social media noise, it is hard to hear the music and it is our responsibility to be well informed citizens 

Monday, November 23, 2015

Movies - To Explore and Be Entertained

Movies are one of my favorite pastimes. They also can take you to a different world or help us connect with the characters on the screen. The movies could entertain or help us explore or it could just be spending time with our favorite people.

Although I need to check myself as I tend to binge watch movies especially on Netflix.

Based on my Netflix history, it seems I finished watching atleast 48+ movies, complete all seasons and episodes of 4 shows in 2015. 

The 4 shows being 
- Breaking Bad
- House of Cards
- Orange Is The New Black
- Master of None 

Some of the movies I watched in 2015 that are worth mentioning 

- I am
- Listen To Your Heart
- Comet 
- Barefoot
- 180 South

Wow too much of Netflix I guess. Also some of the movies I watched are during my trips on the plane. 

For this Christmas I recommend watching this movie :) 

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Boston Qualification - Olympics for Runners

I started running as a challenge and as an accident. But once I got into it I was inspired by many. Bill Rodgers was one among them. He is also called "Boston Billy" as he won it 4 times and well known for his NYC wins as well.

There were many running legends like Bart Yasso, Steven Prefontaine, etc who inspired me and made this sport cool and sexy ;) and something worth pursuing

Qualifying for Boston was one of my first goal then after that came the running a marathon in all 50 states and then I added running a marathon in all 7 continents as the other goal. I have been doing everything but training for Boston.

This year I wanted to change that and had been paying little more attention to training, nutrition and recovery. It paid off this year. As I almost cut down 10 mts from last year.

Sydney Marathon was kind of a surprise for me in terms of time as I didn't go into it thinking of PR as I finished a marathon In Jackson Hole, WY just 2 weeks prior and also I summited Mt. Shasta just a week prior to running Sydney Marathon. I felt psychologically tired and little but physically tired as well. But I was glad it was a PR and I almost cut down 7 minutes. Today I felt good and wanted to push it and was doing really well until mile 24 and all of a sudden I cramped which kind of added 3 minutes or so. I was feeling really good and was in-track for sub-3:15 but ended up doing 3:18. I am still happy with my result. Very thankful and grateful that I finished almost 4 mts faster than Sydney which was my PR just 8 weeks back.. 

I got my PR today running the Route 66 marathon in Tulsa, OK. It was relatively hilly course but the weather was nice and it helped me accomplish this feat.

This made me come little closer to my dream of qualifying for Boston. Hopefully I will be able to accomplish it by November 2016, next year.

BostonQualification is no joke. It requires some good training. We need to be focused and committed to do whatever it takes to run fast and run fast for long distance 

I am glad I made some good progress over the years and especially this year I cut down almost 10 minutes making me a sub 3:20 marathoner. I have 14 more minutes to cut down and I hope to put in the effort to qualify for Boston. 

Boston has got me started and made me committed to running and I got bit by the travel bug  meanwhile which made me do lot of traveling while making progress on 50 states and 7 continents. But I will focus on the BQ which is almost like getting placed/qualified  to participate  in Olympics. 

PR by Year 
2011 - 3:31
2012 - 3:30
2013 - 3:35
2014 - 3:28
2015 - 3:18

Hopefully in 2016 it will be sub 3:04 and will give me the Medal for perseverance

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Sleep - One of the Best Creations

I wonder if there are any living beings that can survive without sleeping or atleast not sleep for the longest time at a time and still live for 100 years or so.

I love sleeping, all though I might not get much of it when I want to because I am too distracted by Internet - FaceBook, Netflix etc etc.

But when I do get it, it's amazing. So amazing that I don't want to get out of my bed.

Sleeping is one of the best things that happen to us. It reminds us no matter what happens we need to relax, take it easy to get back and do what we want to do more efficiently. 

I have been trying to focus on getting more sleep. I have decently become a good early riser but need to work on sleeping early so I can get good amount of sleep where I can wake up fresh with full of energy and ready to take on the world. We can notice it and feel it in our moods when we have enough  sleep and when we don't.

FitBit has been kind of helping me keep track of how much sleep I am getting and in a way reminding me to get more sleep when I feel like slacking or say to myself "this feels like a drag". Yes that is my body telling me go get some rest and also Fitbit has become a proof of that.

Sleep scientists say 7-9 hrs of sleep and my body tends to agree. Although power naps are amazing. Resting the body through out the day whenever we can but ideally at the same times of the day helps. Creating that sleep routine works wonders. Now I automagically wake up by 5-5:30a.m in the morning unless I had a long day and didn't sleep late in the night, sometimes being awake until 2a.m

I am glad I recognized the importance of sleep and kind of consciously paying attention to it. It is as important as having fresh air to breathe, clean water to drink, nutritious food to eat. I am grateful and thankful that I can sleep peacefully.

It is now time to go to bed and wake up early in the morning for my state 39 marathon in Tulsa, OK.


Friday, November 20, 2015

Be Bold And The Future Is Abundant

I am bullish about the future. Besides all the media hype and attention to all the violence and issues happening around the world, I feel very good about the future. One of the other reason for my confidence in the future is because I am standing on the shoulders of Peter Diamandis.

I recently read two inspiring and motivating books 

-- Abundance and 
-- Bold

Peter Diamandis and Steven Kotler did some incredible research, studied history partnered with great futurists like Ray Kurzweil whose known for his predictions  to be correct.

Peter talks about exponential technologies and tools being leveraged to create exponential organizations which need exponential thinking 

Exponential Characteristics   - six D's
- [ ] Digitalization 
- [ ] Deception 
- [ ] Disruption 
- [ ] Demonetization 
- [ ] Dematerialization
- [ ] Democratization 

Exponential Organizations requires
- [ ] Exponential Technologies
- [ ] Exponential Tools

Exponential technologies 

- [ ] Infinite computing (Ubiquitous Computing)
- [ ] Networks and Sensors
- [ ] 3D printing 
- [ ] Artificial intelligence 
- [ ] Robotics
- [ ] Synthetic biology   

Exponential organizational tools
- [ ] Crowdfunding 
- [ ] Crowdsourcing 
- [ ] Incentive competitions 
- [ ] Engaging Communities/Social Networks 

Being Small and Nimble - Exponential Organizations can have the world dominance.

 By 2035 the basic needs like food, water  and shelter of the then 9 billion people can be met.

The future is bright and abundant and it is for the bold.

Traveling into Outer Space

Not sure if I am someone who would be excited to go on a trip to Mars or explore outer space, but I am someone who loves traveling.

Running has become my excuse to travel and as such I took upon goals like 

-- running a marathon in all the 7 continents.
-- running a marathon in all the 50 states and DC

I am enjoying my journey and as of this writing I am done with 6 continents and 38 states. I will be running state 39 marathon this weekend in Tulsa, OK and will soon be doing my 7th continent marathon in Antarctica.

As such eventually my hope is to complete 
-- running a marathon in all the countries in the world (atleast the 195 U.N recognized, if possible all the 206 countries).

I love traveling. Going places, meeting different people, experiencing their cultures, enjoying the amazing local food.

Traveling helps me to go to places I have never been before, experience things I have never experienced before. It has become  my way of adventuring and exploring things.

Variety is the Spice of Life.

Traveling gives me the variety I need in my life. 

Don't get me wrong, traveling is not sexy all the time. It is stressful. It involves lot of planning and preparation and lack of it could make it expensive. 

As in life everything has a trade off and traveling is one that is worth all the trade offs. Experiences are all that matters.

Yes I love the people I have met, the memories I made along the way. So not sure  a space where there are no people like Mars, atleast that we know of, would be exciting. Yeah the exploration and the adventure might be exciting and I need the 7 billion people we have here. May be once Mars becomes as exciting place as Earth, I might consider it. Until then no to the blank space. Now let's enjoy some Blank space from Taylor Swift ;)

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Burritos World: Not Perfect But Better

Recently we have heard and seen on the internet about the attacks in Paris, Syria, Beirut, Bhagdad, Nigeria. There are many more places we haven't heard of, doesn't mean it is not happening.

It is easily possible to think that the world is a messy and violent place with people killing each other, people dying of hunger, water pollution, malnutrition and many other diseases. One might think things are getting worse day-by-day and there might be less hope for future generations. But in reality, we are much better. Not perfect but much better.

I love burritos. You might be thinking what kind of a f'ing transition is that ? Jeez Sandy talks in too many tangents. How the hell did he go from talking about world and it's problems to burritos.

Yes I love burritos, they are one of the greatest inventions of the world. Mission burritos are the best. Before I discovered mission burritos I was a frequent visitor to Chipotle. I still love Chipotle burritos.

One day as I was enjoying my delicious burrito I happened to pay attention to their to-go bag which had an essay written on them. As part of "Cultivating Thought", Steve Pinker wrote an excellent piece.



It’s easy to get discouraged by the ceaseless news of violence, poverty, and disease. But the news presents a distorted view of the world. News is about things that happen, not things that don’t happen. You never see a TV crew reporting that a country isn’t at war, or that a city hasn’t had a mass shooting that day, or that millions of 80-year-olds are alive and well.

The only way to appreciate that state of the world is to count. How many incidents of violence, or starvation, or disease are there as a proportion of the number of people in the world? And the only way to know whether things are getting better or worse is to compare those numbers at different times: over the centuries and decades, do the trend lines go up or down?
We will never have a perfect world, but it’s not romantic or naïve to work toward a better one.
As it happens, the numbers tell a surprisingly happy story. Violent crime has fallen by half since 1992, and fiftyfold since the Middle Ages. Over the past 60 years the number of wars and number of people killed in wars have plummeted. Worldwide, fewer babies die, more children go to school, more people live in democracies, more can afford simple luxuries, fewer get sick, and more live to old age.
“Better” does not mean “perfect.” Too many people still live in misery and die prematurely, and new challenges, such as climate change, confront us. But measuring the progress we’ve made in the past emboldens us to strive for more in the future. Problems that look hopeless may not be; human ingenuity can chip away at them. We will never have a perfect world, but it’s not romantic or naïve to work toward a better one.

Some more good information with facts

Don't let traditional and attention and TRP ratings  seeking media influence you into thinking, things are getting worse. The world is becoming violent day-by-day. It's a matter of perspective. With the 24/7 and real time access to information there might be lot of noise some times but it is our responsibility to be informed and listen to the music out of all the chaos and noise. May be sometimes it's not a bad idea to get out of that noisy place and just go have a burrito :)

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Not Giving a Fuck

To all the challenges and naysayers. Is that what the modern linguists call "Perseverance"

There seems to be a fine line between being cocky and confident. It's an art, may be science. What ever it is I have been perceived to be on the cocky side all the while I was thinking I am confident.

My intent is to be confident in my effort and build the skills and abilities and make progress in what I am trying to accomplish. Sometimes when you stand up for something people can take it as being cocky. Anyways I am still learning the verbal and non-verbal cues of not coming across as cocky as that's not my intent but hey there will be a saturation point for everything after which the mode might be "Fuck It" mode. You be You is what I tell myself but with all the humbleness and confidence.

Confidence is sexy. Confidence changes lives, makes a difference in this world. It is something that most of us need in our lives.

I believe confidence comes with self awareness, knowing why we are doing something and what we want from this life. It comes from self awareness and self acceptance. It comes from loving ourself.

I understand it is easily said than done and I have many examples in my life how hard it is to be confident when the world is falling part. I am not saying don't be vulnerable or pretend. If we are, then we are lying to ourself. Confidence comes with integrity and honesty. 

Integrity is doing what you said and Honesty is saying what you did.

Confidence comes with perseverance. The will to persevere and not give a fuck about the challenges we come across. Not give a fuck about naysayers and energy suckers. It is hard. It is hard to identify these fuckers who suck the confidence out of you. They might be in the disguise of a friend, a close relationship etc in multitude of roles. The goal is to ask ourself "Why do I entertain such behavior ?" "Do I need this in my life ?" It is time to confront the situation, deal with it. Sometimes time will heal things but if it is not happening and the energy suck is still happening. It is time to deal with it. It might not be beautiful and confronting could be ugly. But atleast you will know if you have space for this person or his/her bull shit.

It is not what happens to us that matters  but how we react and handle a situation is what matters. 

Yes it is hard not to give a fuck about people and things that we might care or don't care but we can't play the role of a victim. This is our life and we are the creators of our destiny. We are RESPONSIBLE for our lives. Besides things that you are born into or born with everything can be changed, even how we perceive what we are born into or born with can be changed.

Time to take responsibility. Persevere a.k.a Don't give a fuck. Be confident. This world needs more confident people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world. Confident doesn't mean we are not scared or vulnerable. It means besides all our fears and insecurities we keep moving. We persevere. Hello to the other side. The confident side of you. Now enjoy some Adele ;)

Monday, November 16, 2015

Curiosity : The Recipe for Growing Adventurously

No matter where we are in life, we always try to make things better, do things efficiently. Simplify life further, make it easy or try something even harder. We optimize. We take up new challenges.

Is this  the circle of life ? or a pyramid that we are trying to climb to the top.

Why do we do what we do ? What is the driving factor ? May be it's the human evolution and thinking.

What ever it is, two words  come to my mind while I am writing this 

  • Growth and
  • Adventure 

I personally like to push myself, adventure and explore in the hopes that I am growing as a person. Experiencing personal growth in all aspects of mind, body and spirit.

Even though most things I did, didn't start with growth in mind but it started as an adventure. Growth was me connecting the dots. Growth was the side effect or bi-product of me dabbling adventurously. I was adventurously growing. Growth was me exploring curiously. 

I always believed and still believe, the curiosity in me is what is keeping me alive, keeping me moving, driving me to adventure and explore. Curiosity is making me wake up in the morning and driving me to do things to explore what is possible ?

Curiosity has led me take up many challenges. With the challenges came the adventure and exploration. 

The curiosity allowed me to dabble and led  me to take up many challenges. Challenges like 
  • running marathons 
  • traveling around the world 
  • Taking up the challenge of summits involving mountaineering, rock climbing, 
  • Take up swimming to try snorkeling, scuba diving, kayaking, white water rafting
  • It made me take up public speaking, is making me try improv and stand up comedy.
  • It is making me capture some of the best moments of my life as they are happening. It is making me write about them.

I can keep going on and on and write about all the challenges but the point is, it is this simple curious mind that is  making the ordinary day to day things extraordinary in the grand scheme of the things.

We might not know  if we are doing anything worthwhile, while we are doing it, that is why I like the steve jobs speech where he talks about "Connecting the Dots". We never know what it will lead to. We only can connect the dots backwards.

The other way to look at it is, it might not be that significant in the grand scheme of the things but we still need to do it. 

To put in Gandhi's Words "What ever you do will be insignificant, but it is very important that you do it".

May be insignificant when looked at in the context of the pale blue dot.

Significance is a relative term. Significant compared to what ? yes if we look at from the prism of this galaxy, this universe, yes our contribution might be insignificant. For a minutes let not get over ourselves and it also helps to keep us humble. But if we take into consideration our physical earth, our day-to-day physical environment we might not how much of a great impact we are having on others.

Either way it is not about the significance or the bi-product. It is about "Doing" and "Being" something.

Curiosity - for that I owe you my life. Thank you for making me do something and be something. 

Sunday, November 15, 2015

The Language of Unconditional Love

I wonder how would a language of "Unconditional Love" be ? would it have words or just signs ? Or just some sounds. I guess, how it sounds or what words it has doesn't matter much, what matters is what is it trying to convey ?

Today I went on a run with Chanel (the pitbull), it didn't care if I was brown or white, Christian or Hindu, male or female, straight or gay, speaking English or Mandarin. It didn't matter. All "Chanel" cared was was going out on a run from her cage. She was enjoying her freedom. She was fast and a great running partner. She was little scared to see the outside world but was happy to go outside of the cage in those close doors and what I can only assume is she trusted me to take care of her and NOT abuse her or leave her as a stray dog which she has experienced in the past. Today's experience touched me.

If only we human beings can speak the language of the "Unconditional Love"
like these dogs and not judge others or discriminate others. If only if we can coexist and spread the joy like these l dogs do to us. 

I am not sure how much comfort I gave to Chanel but Chanel changed my stereotypical thinking about "pitbulls" and made me think more about Paris, Beirut, Syria, Baghdad and all the places in the world where the human thinking has been distracted and the hate has taken the place of LOVE.

We can learn more from these pups to share "unconditional love". Spread the Love.

I am very happy that we have organizations like Family Dog Resuce which make this happen. I was very happy to run with Chanel today and miss her and felt bad when she didn't want to go into the cage again. Chanel I wish I could take you home and give you the freedom you need but I am praying and hoping it will happen soon. Will miss you.

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Is Winning Everything ?

I keep asking myself that question repeatedly ? Also what does Winning mean ? Can you be Winning if you didn't "Win" ?

Yeah I know more questions than answers and my life has been exploring the answers. I wouldn't say found answers to all of them but I made progress on few and in the direction of finding answers.

Let's say I wanted to finish a marathon under 3:05 but I cramp and finish at around 3:28. Does that mean I didn't win ? 

The way I look at winning is making progress, yes I technically might not have "won" the race by running under 2:03 to be the winner of the marathon. I didn't even finish the marathon in the time goal I set myself. So did I not win ? Dependid on who you ask ? If you ask my "Always pushing and A-type brain". Yes I didn't win or I failed but the reality is "I am not a couch potato", I am not a slow runner.

I finished the race and I finished the race under 3:30. The fact that less than 1% run a marathon in this world and the fact that I might be in the top 0.5 % of the fastest runners in the world gives me perspective. I might not have won the race but I think I am winning at life. I am winning at making progress towards my goal. Is it enough ? May be not but I think it is even worse if we don't move forward and rice up because of the thought process of "I won't win, why even try ? What's the point ?"

Winning doesn't necessary need to be this crow cheering , applauding and being recognized by everyone. It could be the silent voice saying "Glad you didn't give up, glad you finished besides all the challenges."

But is winning everything ? Sometimes people do what ever it takes to "win" even if it means compromising their principles, values or beliefs. Is "winning" that important ? Should you try to please the crowd or stick to your principles even that means you won't win ?

I have come to admire people and politicians who challenge the status quo but might not be the "winning" candidates..

But they play a very important role in  making people think differently, challenging the existing beliefs and even setting the tone for future generations. . They are catalysts of human thinking and progress. But do they win ? May be not as our "herd" mentality might not be ready for this new type of thinking and this new ideology. New ideas need some time and it takes a different mind set to get into this new type of thinking. Also these people believe in what they say and live a life of integrity. They don't say because it gets them recognition or it makes them win. They redefine "winning". From my perspective they are "Winning" at life and even challenge us to ask the question "Is winning everything ?" Also in relationships you might think you have won the argument or made your point, but did you really "win" that person ? Is Winning everything ? Did your winning argument make that relationship better ? which reminds me of the song "Am I wrong ?" where the lyrics  goes 

"If you tell me I'm wrong, I don't wanna be right"

Do We Need The Human Labels ?

Like grocery stories and things do we humans need labels discriminating and differentiating us ? Do we need these wars, attacks and all the things that make us question the intelligence and behavior of the humans ?

I say NO. We are All One and we need to keep it that way. remove these social layers and labels.

I can only think of what someone put it best.

Paris I wish I could say prayers for Paris but that doesn't bring back the people we already lost, I am sorry you are going through what many countries have gone through in the recent past and are still going through and I am sorry we still haven't learnt the lesson.

In the hope it changes for better and yes I am praying for the "hated minds and hearts" to be filled with love.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Connected World of Homo Sapiens

What if we human beings all lived in an isolated world in our own boxes or places and none of us were connected or could see or communicate with each other. That would be a boring world with less scope for evolution.

The Network Effect is amazing and the driver for evolution and lot of innovation. 

You might have heard "You are the average of the 5 people who you most spend time with"

I am personally grateful and thankful to have met some amazing people in my life and continue to meet them. I am not sure about my 5 people but I keep meeting very interesting and accomplished folks.

Runners, travelers, writers, dancers, swimmers, rock climbers, adventure thrill seekers, mountaineers, entrepreneurs , photographers and many more. People with all sorts of interests, careers and from different lifestyles.

It's amazing  all these human minds can connect, communicate and innovate and make progress  in human evolution.

Some of the best moments are when I am with people doing the things I love. What makes it interesting and what makes me love the things and those moments are the people I share it with.

Without the people and the connections we make, this world would be a boring place full of robots.

I keep reminding myself I need to connect with people more. One-on-one instead of just hiding through these screens on my phone. I love meeting people in person and having a heart-to-heart talk. It is one of the most natural thing we human beings can do. We can communicate. We can talk. We can CONNECT.

Let's stay Connected. Like we are supposed to. Like Human Beings. 

Looking forward to the world full of amazing and meaningful connections.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Freedom from Paper

The green paper. The money. Could we live in a world where we didn't need money ? Or have any currency ? We just exchanged things or bartered for things or luxuries and everyone had access to their basic necessities as they are abundant in the utopian world. It's almost like water, air, sand, fire, we will have our basic needs taken care of.

I always thought why do we need money ? why do we need to sacrifice our lives trying to earn the money ? Or trying to buy stuff with the money ? why do we need to create the inequalities with money ? Are we the only beings that deal with money ? Can we have all the human intelligence but operate more like social animals ? 

I came to peace with this man-made creation which lead me to seek freedom from it. Financial freedom.

I am personally lucky enough and thankful to come across few great books like

  • "Rich Dad, Poor Dad" by Robert Kiyosaki 
  • the 7 steps by Dave Ramsey.

They were like a omen. Came to me at the right time of my career. I graduated and was trying to clear of my student loans and was also on a high to buy a brand new Audi car as I started to make my own money which is not an hourly pay but a monthly salary which is bigger than I ever earned until that point.

Luckily the "Rich Dad, Poor Dad" book taught me about 

  • Assets 
  • Liabilities and 
  • How to identify if something is an Asset or a Liability 

That changed my perspective and the most profound thing that had an impact on me was that 

  • "Money should buy your luxuries, not your blood and sweat" and
  • "Money should make you Money"

Rich Dad changed my thinking and inspired me to think differently. I loved the cash flow quadrant and the clear distinguish  of Employee, Self-employed, Investor, Business owner. Trying to move from one quadrant to the other.

and immediately after that  I found Dave Ramsey's 7 baby steps, it gave me direction on how to act differently.  It gave me goals to start with.

I cleared off my student loans and even paid for my sisters wedding which was as expensive as my student loans (Yes Indian weddings are huge and that's a topic for another post)

I am glad I diligently followed the 7 steps and kept checking one thing after the other.

Then I found Ramit Sethi's "I will teach you to be Rich".

Ramits style is more of an offensive player and his style comes across as cocky but he convinces you that there is a method to his madness. Not sure I followed much of his tips besides calling "Credit card companies and getting my fees waived"

He focused on making money through "pay raise" and "building online businesses"

Making peace with money and why we need it has helped a lot in my life. 

Somewhere I heard money is the life energy we trade in exchange for it. You get how much you put in. Other perspective of Money is - the value you created 

Essentially money is the value you created and the life energy you put into creating it.

Money is the value you created in this world. In an ideal world, if you create lot of value you should have lot of money may be not the other way around. It is also the life energy you exchange to create that value. The energy, be it physiological or psychological, you put  the energy to create more value in exchange for more money.

Anyways what this brought me to the conclusion is : I need to be adding and creative lot of value in this world and spend less life energy in exchange for it.

Less life energy exchanged while  creating tremendous value.

Money = Value Created / Life Energy Spent.

Create lot of value and save your life energy while creating tremendous value.

Financial freedom is when we DONT NEED to be in a soul sucking job where we spend all our life energy creating very or minimal value and get paid nominal salary or where we don't need to exist paycheck to paycheck.

We need the freedom from the paper to spend our life energy on things we love and are passionate about.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Are We What We Eat ?


"You are What you Eat" that's one thing we all might have heard atleast once.

Eat. It's one of the things we all do.

Typically there seems to be a pattern on how food might influence our lives 

  • What we eat and 
  • How much of it we eat 

I love food. Yes I really do.  If you ask me,  if I 

  • "Eat to live ?" Or 
  • "Live to Eat ?

I will chose "Eat to Live" although there are days where I feel like I am living to eat.

The reason I say "Eat to Live" is eating doesn't take most of my attention or I don't think of food all the time. Although I have to admit running makes me really hungry and I kind of have high metabolism and I am always hungry. 

But that doesn't make my day surround around food all the time and that might be a bad thing. I binge eat big meals. But I hear eating small portions through out the day is good.

The reason I have been thinking about it is: eating can mean different things for different people.

For some eating could be a 

  • Social event - communal meal or
  • Something to pass the time by or  you eat when you are bored
  • Pleasurable thing 
  • A way to stay highly energetic 
  • A way to forget about other things

The more I have been running the more I am realizing nutrition is big part of training and running. It makes a huge difference 

There is a saying that could apply for all athletes. As example I am using runners 

"Runners are made in the kitchen not on the track"  it could also be

"body builders are made in the kitchen and not the gym"

Definitely what we are eating and how much we are eating plays a crucial role and it's one of the tasks that we spend a lot of time on. Why not be little bit more diligent of what we put in.

"You get what you put in." Obviously we can't put junk in and expect to be healthy. Do we pour $&@% into the the car engine and expect it to work ?

These days because of running and my desire to stay healthy and active, I have been paying little bit  more attention to what I am eating and how much I am eating 

Luckily I never had an affinity to soda or sugary drinks, so not much problem or addiction there.

But my vice could be chips with salsa, quests dip , nuts, chipotle burritos.....Yummmmm and the biggest challenge of all is the  portion control.

Even though I don't think of food a lot, I eat a lot. I have NO portion control. I have been known to eat two big chipotle burritos with tortilla back to back in one sitting. They are HUGE but I ate them all. I have been known to finish the whole large chips bag with queso dip in one sitting. I am not saying all this, to tell you that I eat like a pig or that I can eat like a pig. All I am saying is "I have no portion control".

But I am getting better. I have become little bit more conscious of my food intake and slowly working on the portion control.

I recently read a book called "Body For Life" which reminded me of some the good points I kind of already knew but never cared to follow.Again it's easy to read about stuff but hard to follow them. "Easily said than done"

 I learnt 

"Let food be your medicine, and let medicine be your food." 

The book mainly focuses on exercise and nutrition the two factors for a healthy life and contribute for our well being 

Facts shared in that book 

  • 1. Must train with weights 
  • 2. Pay attention to what you eat.
  • 3. Resistance exercise helps create lean, toned bodies
  • 4. Weight training is for all bodies 
  • 5. Muscles grow while you are testing and recuperating 
  • 6. High Intensity effort produces the best results 
  • 7. Eat six nutritious meals a day
  • 8. Overeating is a natural instinct 
  • 9. You become fat from "carb overdose". Balance of Carbs and nutrients 
  • 10. Count the portions and not calories 
  • 11. Take Supplements 
  • 12. Drink more water not just when you are thirsty 
  • 13. There is no such thing as eating 

It's about Quality, Not Quantity 

Important things in terms of exercise 

  • Resistance Training 
  • Aerobics Workout 

Drink Water daily in the morning - WATER is IMPORTANT 

Exercise is the spark, Nutrition is the fuel. Without both, there can be no flame - no results.

"Life the ultimate challenge, is not a race to the finish but rather a process of continual growth."

Not sure if I have been following what I learnt diligently but I stopped eating out all the time. That made me plan what food I eat and avoid some of my impulsive eating habits when I am hangry.

Until recently all my grocery shopping was limited to Walgreens and I are out a lot. Yes I was already ridiculed by my friend saying "Walgreens Is not even a grocery store" so recently I found out Trade Joes and I love it. They say Whole Foods is also good and I might have to try it.

Glad I stopped eating out, planning some of the food I am eating, still working on my portion control but would love to get to the state where eating the kinds of foods that will help you stay active and with energy through out the day.

I do believe that the food we take has an influence on our mood for the day. Hopefully I will figure out the kinds of food that will make me stay active and feel alive.

Until then I will try NOT to eat when I am bored ;)

Monday, November 9, 2015

Experiences are the Spice of Life

Experiences or things ? The things that are our stuff ?

What do we spend most of our time, energy or money on ? Buying gadgets ? Paying the mortgage or rent ? Paying off our student loans ? Paying our car loans ? Paying off the credit card debt ? Or buying more stuff and existing paycheck to paycheck worrying about when our next penny is going to come or where it is going to come from ? or  about all the stuff we have, hoarding and cluttering ourself, worrying about how to manage the stuff and feeling overwhelmed all the time.

In the name of “abundance” are we hoarding ourself with stuff ? Why do we need to clutter our houses ? Why do we need 2-4 cars per household ? Why do we need so much stuff ? Is our happiness all in this stuff ?

For me personally I am lucky and grateful that I am not that into stuff. I was very excited to graduate and not knowingly took the first step in the stereotypical “living the american dream” 
  • Getting a Job
  • Buying a Car
  • Getting married, have children, provide for their education
  • Having a house with white picket fence

Even before I knew what American Dream was I checked the first one off the list. I got a 9-5 job and I was very excited to get the biggest pay check until then. Until then I just made nominal hourly wages working as a webmaster in college working part-time and as a Graduate Teaching Assistant. For the first time I made relatively good money that I never made before and my “stereotypical” brain was already looking to check off the next one on the list by buying one of my favorite cars “Audi” Coupe or “Infiniti” Sports edition.

Luckily I came across blogs like Zenhabits and minimalists talking about simple living and minimalism. I was never a guy that was into stuff. Even though I am a fanboy I never stood in line to buy the iPhone or even understood why people stand in crazy lines for “buying stuff” during thanksgiving. I guess since I wasn’t into stuff I never could understand buying “stuff” if you don’t need it but just buying it because “you are getting a good deal”.  I also happened to read books on simple living and entrepreneurship that made a lot of difference and let me to take a different route. I also got better with my finances and life in general.

In the spirit of “Simple living” and being as minimal as possible I took up a challenge this year . The  challenge of having less than 100 items including books and clothes which I have too many of them. I wouldn’t say I made much progress but I definitely became conscious of my buying patterns and my habit of buying a physical copy of the books. I started going to the library more instead of buying physical copies of the books or the kindle version either.

So what do I do with all the time I have and the stuff I don’t need to worry about ? I enjoy my experiences

  • I run. 
  • I travel. 
  • I experience different cultures
  • Meet people and eat food from across the world to where ever I travel.
  • I build things that I am passionate about
  • I write
  • I dabble and explore
  • I constantly find out what makes me and others happy 

Is my lifestyle an accident ? I wish it was :) and I could say “I woke up like this” ;). But it is far from that. My lifestyle is a series of choices. The choice to splurge or to make sacrifices and only spend on the necessities and not luxuries. The choice to hoard my apartment with expensive gadgets  or spend that money on a race bib. The choice to buy a car or to spend that money on buying a plane ticket.

So many of my friends and people I meet have said to me “What you are doing is amazing. I wish I could do that”. My immediate reaction would be to say “yes you can do it too” but I calm myself, try to think from their perspective and tell myself “Until recently you didn’t even know you could do all this, enjoy the life experiences, so it is entirely normal if your friends don’t know it. We don't know what we don't know."

After that self-calming speech to myself, I turn into preach mode and say ““yada yada…blah blah blah yes you could do it but it could mean NOT spending on the luxuries of having a car blah blah…., spending only on necessities, yada… yada… blah… blah, being conscious of where each one of your penny is going blah blah”

Anyways, I will see how my the challenge of “simple living”  will happen turn out this year. One other reason I took up that challenge is when I was moving from DC to SF I spent almost $1000 bucks to “Move the Stuff” only to realize after that most of that stuff was useless and I threw them away. If only I knew or spent time thinking or asking myself “Do I need that stuff ?” I would not only have saved a grand but also didn’t have to go through lot of stress trying to move the stuff across the country, trying to store them and all that drama. Getting rid of stuff is liberating. It is Freedom. Freedom from stuff should become our human right and be part of the first amendment ;)

I am glad, I learnt very early in my life “experiences are all that matters and everything else is a distraction” and the more I read about happiness the more it was assuring “to experience the things I want to, when I am young”. Delayed gratification is for luxuries and stuff and not experiences.  Luckily people who have been here on this physical world much longer than me and way before me and have lot more “experience” or have asked similar questions of what I am asking now have concluded “Spend on Experiences and not stuff”

For which I say
“Simple Living is Living Free of all the unnecessary distractions and baggage while experiencing and spending time on the things you Love” ~ Sandy.