Karma

To be honest, I never liked what I heard or read about karma before, because it sounded like a lot of scare tactics to try and scare people into “being good”.  Which, ever since I was a kid, never made sense to me. Because if my parents are right, and God is love, then why the heck is all this fear around this concept? So essentially I just stopped listening to whatever people would say and that was that.  At a high level, the idea of karma made sense to me, but I didn’t like the way anyone explained it- it just put me off all together.

But I finally heard a definition I like, or at least an interpretation I like, in Anita Moorjani’s book, Dying To Be Me.  Well, she kind of talked about her thoughts on the topic, which made me come to my own definition of it.  I think Karma is just the sum of all the things your soul needs to learn.  I do believe we are all here on this earth to learn different things, and that’s the whole reason karma exists- it’s not good or bad, it’s just simply, this is what my soul needs to learn in this life.

I also think there are things that help the soul learn, and things that move the soul towards what it needs to be doing and there are things that move the soul away from what it needs to be doing.  I feel like that is what people currently term “good” karma and “bad” karma.  I don’t think it’s an absolute at all, because in other realms I don’t think judgement exists, it’s a completely human term that helps us…I don’t actually know yet, but I don’t think it’s quite productive.  And for everyone it’s different.  But if the goal of soul realization has to do with love and compassion, then things moving towards that would be something we should probably strive for and things moving away from that are things that aren’t so great.

But I think the kicker is that we shouldn’t do anything based on fear, whatever it is.  Intention is important. Because at the end of the day, we’re going to learn what we need to learn, in whatever shape or form that is.  Which is pretty neat, actually.  It may take the form of crazy things, it may take the form of normal things, but I don’t think I’d like to use the term “good” karma or “bad” karma, just…stuff I need to learn to reach a higher state of consciousness.  

That is all. 

My Greatest Anxieties

So recently, I’ve sort of decided that the regular stuff, like having enough food to eat, shelter, clothing, etc…will sort itself out.  Yes money has always been an issue and is slightly worrisome especially working at a startup, but I’ve actually realized it tends to work itself out.  I mean it’s not like I’m going to be driving a Beamer anytime soon, but then again, I’m fine by that too.  Point is, general day to day things, I feel like they’re going to be fine.

I’ve moved on to different anxieties, which currently include the fact that no matter what I do, I can’t shake the fact that I’m not satisfied with myself.  Let me rephrase that: I choose not to be happy with myself.  I choose to be unsatisfied with most things about myself, which then makes me think that other people have this same perception about me.  The dangerous part about this, I’ve realized recently, is that it changes the way you interact with other people.  

Lets pretend you are completely satisfied with yourself: you know you’re not perfect but you’re pretty happy with who you are and where you’re at.  Someone says something to you- it can be as simple as telling you about their day.  If you have no real agenda except listening to what they’re saying (because hey, you’re pretty happy and content right now, bring it on world) you’re probably going to react in the appropriate way to what they’re saying.  Because you’re not viewing it through any lens other than…I’m just listening to what you’re saying.

For Example

Person 1: “Hey Anu, how’s it going? Oh man I went for this amazing run today- it was so great! I haven’t run like that in ages”

In My Head: Oh wow, that sounds so cool! I am so happy for her- she sounds so excited!

Anu: “Wow, that is amazing! Where did you run? How far did you go? I’m so excited for you- it sounds like you’re really getting into it!”

Person 1: “Totally! I feel so good about it, I forgot how much I love it, I just ran around the block a few times but it was so beautiful and I forgot how much I loved the morning when nobody was there.  Oh hey, you should come next time, it would be fun!”

In my head: Now that she mentions it, yeah, I HAVE been looking to start running with a buddy…what a pleasant coincidence!

Anu: “Oh man that would be rad! Lets do it! SO COOL!”

Now lets pretend you’re NOT completely satisfied with yourself- how does that change things? It means that whatever you hear, no matter what it is, will be warped by your perception of it.  Lets say someone is really just talking about what they did today.  Immediately, because you’re not satisfied with yourself, you start thinking about that persons day in relation to you, and if it’s really bad, you may ASSUME he or she is actually TAKING A JAB AT YOU.  Which, when I write that out, sounds absolutely crazy, but I realize that totally happens to me sometimes. It’s so embarrassing but also incredibly true.  

For example:

Person 1: “Hey Anu, how’s it going? Oh man I went for this amazing run today- it was so great! I haven’t run like that in ages”

In my head: Oh my god, I don’t exercise, I’m so fat, and now everyone knows I’m fat and everyone is getting thinner while I’m getting fatter and I can’t help it because I have work and I have all these other obligations and WHERE CAN I MAKE TIME TO EXERCISE OH GOD STOP MAKING ME FEEL LIKE SHIT JESUS

Anu: “Oh man, I wish I could run like that, it sounds amazing. I used to run and now I can’t and now I’m fat and terrible and I hate everything.”

Person 1: “oh. no…uhhh….ok yeah…I mean no…I mean…Ok I just remembered I have to do this thing so I’ll talk to you later ok bye.”

Isn’t it INSANE how your own head screws with you like that.  Man. It be crazy up in there.

The Future of Happiness

So this morning me and my roommate were talking about happiness, because that’s usually the sort of ish we like to discuss at 8:00am.  But I think we decided it has a lot to do with perspective. Looking at the big picture and see how far you’ve come in life.  Because otherwise you’re just thinking about how you’re not as good as you could be, which will always be true, but is also quite untrue, or at least really unproductive to obsess over.  I mean really though, what’s the point of thinking about all the ways in which you suck? Ok I can see how that would be productive for some time, but I feel like there needs to be this switch, maybe an automatic sensor, that switches over from the whole this is all the ways in which you can be better, to all the ways in which you’ve really come far in life and really you should be happy.

You know what the sad bit of it is? That I’m terrified that if I am not obsessing over how much I suck, I will start being happy and then I’ll stop caring that I can get better at things and then I’ll never get better at anything and then….I’ll stop being…successful? But you know what? How do we define success anyway? I’m tired of the conventional definition.  I think from henceforth, I am going to define success as being happy.  Which means that I am currently failing miserably. Ok ok ok not failing miserably, but I’m not acing this ish yet.

That’s right, more studying and practicing to do y’all.

Travelog: Volume I

Apparently now that I’ve turned 28, I need to start loads and loads of traveling.  I don’t know why, it has just sort of happened all of a sudden actually.  A lot of it is work related, but more of it is just genuine curiosity for the unknown (and more disposable income + friends to do cool things with :) Maybe my first 27 years were just getting my bearings (yes, it has taken me that long to figure things out) and I think now I can really start understanding other things, besides my own life.  I don’t know if that makes much sense at all, but that’s sort of the way I feel about it.  Dawn of a new era, I suppose.

Past Logs That I Still Need to Update:

  • Road Trip through Kashmir (June 12th-21st)
  • Sri Lanka (July 18th-21st)

The future:

  • Copenhagen: August 8th-13th
  • Southern California: August 14th-18th
  • San Francisco: August 19th-24th
  • Stockholm: August 25th-27th
  • Colombo, Sri Lanka : TBD
  • Manilla: TBD in September
  • Goa: December 23rd-27th

Lots of stuff ahead

#TheDatingDiaries: Reasons Why You Should Never Make A Man Checklist and Other Realizations

So since I’m getting serious about this whole finding a life parter thing I figured well, lets sit down and really THINK about what I’d want in someone.  It sounded like a logical thing to do.  Except, let me just say it quickly turned into the worst idea ever.  Because as I started listing things down I realized…I AM LISTING DOWN THE MALE VERSION OF MYSELF.  Literally.  Down to: likes hip hop and plays basketball. WTF. Which made me realize that either a) I’m incredibly narcissistic (quite possible) or b) THESE THINGS CAN’T BE LOGIC-ED YOUR WAY INTO BY GOD.  And now that I think about all my friends that made these lists, and I remember the people they ended up with (very happily I may add), I realize that very few lists actually matched.  Which, now, makes sense.

So chucking that idea.

Also.  I realized that I am a professional third wheel.  Like SO GOOD at just tagging along to things/inviting myself to things.  Having some skill in this is always useful, but when that is the majority of your social life…maybe not so much.

Conversation with my friend:

Sid: Anu, you said you were going to try and be more social, what are you doing RIGHT NOW- FRIDAY NIGHT? I’m checking in.

Anu: I am TOTALLY being social!  You should be so proud of me! I’m with my roommate and her boyfriend at her boyfriend’s house and we’re watching a movie and…

Sid: Wait, it’s just the 3 of you?

Anu: Yeah! They’re so cool!

Sid: So…how are you meeting new people? Isn’t THAT the point of being social?

Anu:….

Sid: Hello?

Anu: oh yeah. damn. this is harder than i thought.

Cycles of Horrible Oatmeal Eating

Oatmeal is my go to food when I wish I had a pill that I could pop which would supply me with all the nutrients I need so I fulfill my caloric and nutritional intake for the day and then I could do other things like…sleep.  Because I didn’t eat enough calories for dinner the night before and so I got up at 5am, thinking about the million things that need to happen.  Actually it’s not a million things, just more like one thing.  I COME UP WITH INVESTOR PITCHES WHILE I SUPPOSEDLY SLEEP IT IS RIDICULOUS I HATE IT SHOULDN’T I BE DREAMING ABOUT PUPPIES AND FAIRIES OR SOMETHING?!

I feel like we’re caught in this perilous cycle of awful, the trifecta of terrible.  Sleep deprived, power outage, no exercise.  Which throws off my culinary usualness that includes cooking for myself.  Now I have a double negative leading to an oatmeal. That seems safe. Oatmeal is like the Switzerland of food. Me and food have been on rocky terms ever since I got back from vacation on Tuesday. I can’t believe I was just on vacation Monday.  I feel so tired.  HOW HAS TIME EXPANDED SO 3 DAYS FEELS LIKE 3 MONTHS?!

Dear Time,

If you can hear me, this is Anu. Can you please resend me the instruction manual because you’re confusing the crap out of me right now.  I want to be able to speed you up and slow you down, at will. Not arbitrarily like it is now.  I think I have a defective system. Do I get a refund or something? A credit card refund should be fine.

Love,

Anu.

The Truth About Raising Money from Venture Capitalists

I feel like nobody talks about what it’s like to ACTUALLY raise a seed round from a VC. I mean what does it really FEEL like to raise money.  Everyone thinks about how awesome it would be to do it, but nobody really talks about what happens afterwards.

Let me give you the low down. It’s just as amazing as it sounds.  For about 30 minutes.  No actually, it’s amazing for 45 minutes: the exact time it takes to fly from San Francisco to Las Vegas, because that’s what I was doing right after our investors said yes.  (Ironically, the trip had been planned a while ago to visit my mom and dad.) But I got on the plane, and I remember seeing this couple who looked like they had just been married and they were insanely in love and I remember thinking hmmm…who do I think is happier at this moment. And I cast the vote for myself.

And then we landed.

And reality started to set in.  And the only feeling I had was…ABSOLUTE TERROR.  Because I started to realize, HOLY SHIT.  I JUST GOT MORE MONEY THAN I HAVE SEEN IN MY LIFE TO DO THIS THING I SAID I WAS GOING TO DO. OH GOD. NOW I ACTUALLY HAVE TO DO IT.  It is, by far, one of the most terrifying things to experience.  Because it’s not your money.  It’s someone else’s.  So you can’t mess up on someone else’s dime, that’s just not ok man. And then you start to do the math:

Ok so I need to make these guys 10x over the next 10 years, which means that my company at some point, needs to be worth about $30M for this to be called a success.  Ok fine, no big.  I just need to…CREATE A $30M DOLLAR COMPANY (AT LEAST).  Let me just say, for the record, that’s my than my entire family lineage for the last 100 years, COMBINED.  And that’s just for a seed round.  If you’re doing a Series A, you’re committing to at least $1B nowadays.  WHICH IS NUTS.  HAVE YOU SEEN A BILLION OF ANYTHING?!

Yes, investors know what they are getting into, that really there’s a very very slim chance of you actually succeeding.  But that’s not the point- that doesn’t help me, the entrepreneur, feel any better.  Because as an entrepreneur, all you have is your track record, and self respect.  That’s really it.  You have to cocky and crazy, at the same time.  And that fear/responsibility of delivering on that promise of building, essentially, an empire, never really goes away.  I talked to a lot of my friends who have raised money and they have said similar things.  I think over time you just get better with reducing the negative side effects of that fear.  Sometimes you get a huge does of it in the morning, and you have to stop yourself from hyperventilating/morning nausea.  Sometimes you have a hard time sleeping, going over all the ways you really could screw this up.  And then, somehow, it just happens less and less. Until it doesn’t happen very much at all. And then for maybe a few days, you forget about it.

Until you have to raise money again.

And then that fear, it starts ALL OVER.

That’s pretty much what it feels like to raise money from a VC.