Tag: self

Confidence is the first step to having a life you need

I read a story of Richard Branson buying Necker Island for a mere $180,000, despite its $6 million asking price. You might think it’s all due to his negotiation skills, and I agree he must be quite the negotiator to reach such heights in business. But what struck me most was his confidence in making that first call.

Imagine seeing a $6 million price tag when you can only afford $100,000. Instead of walking away, he picked up the phone, arranged a visit to the island, and boldly offered his limited budget.

I wish I had that kind of confidence.

For example, I run a podcast and sometimes spot the perfect guest. Yet, I lack the courage to reach out to them on Twitter, LinkedIn, or email. But Branson’s story teaches me the value of taking that first step.

Coming back to Branson’s story, a year later, the island’s owner hadn’t received any better offers and called Branson again. This time he could offer more – $180,000 – and sealed the deal. The lesson here is clear: have the confidence to act even when there’s a gaping chasm between what you can give and what’s asked for.

I want to embrace this boldness in my own life. Maybe I won’t always succeed in negotiating, but at least I’ll have given it my best shot. So I’ll start with my podcast and reach out to potential guests with newfound courage.

Path to Genuine Fulfillment: Small goals, uniquely mine, finely executed

When I first stumbled upon the idea of Big Hairy Audacious Goals, I wanted to chase dreams that made my spine tingle and my heart race. So, I aimed big: buying an apartment in Long Island, traveling the world, and so much more. But soon, I realized these goals didn’t fit who I was; they felt hollow and unfulfilling. Even though I traveled, the thrill of exploring alone faded quickly.

Years later, I decided to start a company as my new audacious goal. But again, it wasn’t for me. As an introvert who struggles with crowds and constant social interaction, running a startup drained me.

So, I took a step back and focused on smaller goals that resonated with my true self: building a close-knit family, investing in stocks, and enjoying quality time with loved ones. These goals may not seem grand to others, but they brought me genuine happiness.

Nowadays, I homeschool my boys and cherish every moment spent with my wife. We explore different cuisines together—Italian, North Indian, Thai—savoring each bite and bonding over shared meals. My podcast allows me to have intimate one-on-one conversations about life’s many facets.

In coffee shops or quiet corners, I meet people one-to-one, face-to-face, to discuss everything from current events to our personal philosophies. And from the comfort of my desk, I invest in stocks, relishing the challenge of analyzing companies and watching them grow.

I write not for fame or recognition but as a way to think deeply and seek answers. My life may not be filled with grand adventures or massive accomplishments in the eyes of others. But these small goals have led me down a path of genuine fulfillment—a path uniquely mine.

Over the past ten years, I’ve focused on simple goals, executed with precision. And as I look back, I see that this time has been far more fulfilling than any grand ambition I once pursued. I find joy in the small things, not chasing grand dreams.

The lesson I’ve learned is that our goals must align with who we are at our core. If you’re a starry-eyed dreamer, let that be your guide. But if love for your family or the thrill of a good book fuels your spirit, embrace those desires and build a life around them. That’s what works for me, and it’s what makes my heart sing.

Retirement is a relic concept

Retirement, an old relic from the manufacturing age, no longer holds true in our information era. As long as your mind is sharp and you can contribute positively with your intellect, there’s no need to step back.

In the past, physical mobility dictated productivity, and as age slowed us down, retirement became necessary for safety. But now, if you can maintain mental agility and build a personal brand, retirement becomes a choice rather than a requirement. Opportunities abound for those who stay mentally active, gaining and sharing experiences.

Charlie Munger serves as a prime example – sharing his wisdom on podcasts until nearly his last breath.

To remain relevant in this ever-changing landscape, you must adapt to new technologies and workforce patterns.

  • Be a learning machine
  • Cultivate a network of peers, mentees, and influencers
  • Gain social proof through your work and network

First and foremost, embrace learning. Much like software, if you are not updated, you’ll quickly get outdated. Learning includes learning how to communicate with younger generations so you can create content they’ll love. Don’t just create content; make it valuable.

Next, cultivate a network of peers, mentees, and influencers who can vouch for your abilities. Building connections allows you to stay active in learning, sharing, and creating value – all while earning from it.

Lastly, get social proof for helping others. Testimonials are good. It could also be having a lot of trafficked blog posts, the most watched videos, or the most popular books. Success is the most convincing social proof.

I’ve been walking this path for 8 years. I consult three days a week. On the other days, I do podcasts, blogs, meet people, research investments, and so on.

I don’t intend to retire. I plan to do this until I can.

Improving your worst-case scenarios

I constantly work on improving my worst-case scenarios, pondering the darkest possibilities in various aspects of life and seeking ways to better manage them.

There are two ways to tackle this daunting topic.

  • Dodge worst-case scenarios altogether
  • Improve your worst-case scenario


In many cases, sidestepping disaster is a wiser approach than attempting to minimize its impact. Gather information on what could go wrong and determine if you can avoid it entirely.

Take, for example, the damage alcohol can do to your liver over time. Avoiding alcohol is a better choice than wrestling with liver damage. Likewise, if you’re drowning in debt with loan repayments devouring more than 30 to 40 percent of your income, you’re teetering on financial instability. Avoid over-leveraging yourself; debt isn’t inherently bad, but too much can be lethal.

Now, consider a job that demands hours of sitting, like mine in computers. Practicing yoga or another form of exercise helps prevent potential health issues from a sedentary lifestyle. Strive to avoid as many worst-case scenarios as possible across all aspects of life.


But life is unpredictable; even when cautious, misfortune may still strike. In these instances, it’s crucial to improve your worst-case scenarios. This involves a few steps.

  1. Identify weakness & risks: Pinpoint weaknesses and risks in areas like finances, social life, health, and income generation. Gather data and knowledge to identify potential hazards. For example, assess the risk of annual flooding in your area or the threat of a recession impacting your job.
  2. Buy “insurances“: Can you protect yourself with insurance for unforeseen events like health issues, fires, or accidents? These events will affect you psychologically, but at least you’ll have a financial safety net. Try to cover as many areas as possible with insurance-like systems.
  3. Set up signals & Alerts: Set up early-warning signals to alert you when things go downhill. If you invest in stocks and their prices drop by 10% or 15%, can you track that and act quickly? Being informed early about potential worst-case scenarios gives you enough time to react.
  4. Seek professional help: Instead of trying to keep track of everything, why not seek professional help? For example, if you’re dealing with financial accounting and filing, consider hiring a chartered accountant; for managing money, turn to non-commissioned financial advisors; for weight loss, a certified nutritionist can guide you. Professionals who have a stake in your success (those who are not working for commissions) can help you avoid most cases of damages and injuries.
  5. Enhance your skills: Throughout life, you’ll gain new abilities and improve upon them. However, there will also be times when skills degrade with age. Continually upgrade yourself to better handle tough situations.
  6. Be Prepared & practice: Shit happens. Have a system in place to deal with it. If you live near an earthquake zone, have a bag packed with money and clothes so you can grab it and run out if it strikes. Have all your financial details in a ready-to-access manner for your family. To be prepared, think ahead, create a plan, and practice. Companies have fire drills for this very reason. Likewise, discuss with your family, worst-case scenarios and point to them how to handle these scenarios.

You can’t avoid all worst-case scenarios. But when you have capability to deal with most situations, it increases the possibility for you to survive with minimal impact.

How are you improving your worst-case scenario?

My Life Motto

My life’s motto: Run my race and finish with delight.

Just seven words. Easy to remember. Keeps me focused. Helps me enrich my life.

Too often, we chase others’ dreams, running races not meant for us. This leaves us dissatisfied, disillusioned, and dismissive of life.

My motto focuses on running my unique race – one suited to my talents, skills, and experiences. It’s a race only I can run, impacting people in ways only I can. But it’s not just about running; it’s about finishing with delight. To do this, I must constantly ask myself: is this race mine? Does it amplify my unique abilities? Is it in line with my potential?

As a Christian, I draw inspiration from Saint Paul but have made this motto my own. For the past 15 years, it has positively shaped my life.

Here is how I go about achieving this motto.

Systematically build skills to generate and exploit options.

Build. Generate. Exploit. I’m not waiting for destiny to push me forward. Though I believe in luck, I do what I can by honing my skills, meeting new people, and exploring various paths. I take initiative. When I act, the world around me helps me. Until I do, the world stands still. Newton’s law of motion applied to personal life.

I approach this systematically—a methodical, intentional way of building things. It’s not left to chance, but rather a thoughtful process of considering my current skills, potential opportunities, and what skills will be useful in the future.

Having multiple options is good. Say you are looking for a job. If you have only one offer, you’ll take it out of desperation. But if you have many offers, you can negotiate and pick the best one for you. Whether it’s hobbies or job offers, generating options gives you leverage.

But having options alone aren’t enough—you must seize them before they expire. By taking advantage of each opportunity, you get the capability to generate more options. If not, they fade away and progress stalls.

As I methodically build skills to generate options and take advantage of them, I develop talents that help me run my unique race. With acquired skills and experiences under my belt, I find joy in pursuing my own path.

I have been running such a race for the past 15 years. I enjoy this race. I’m sure I’m going to run this until the day I die.