T. Teach.

This is a part of the April A to Z Challenge. My theme is my Bucket List. Read about it here

Next is T. T for Teach.

Teaching, they say, is the noblest of all professions. They say that a teacher has the opportunity to shape the future of individuals and communities. And the teachers have the responsibility to shape the future of individuals and communities.

A teacher can inspire, can change the way a pupil thinks and works. In fact most great men became great because they had access to great teachers. Look at history. There is Arjuna and Eklayva and Guru Drona. Look at modern times. There is Warren Buffett and Ben Graham. Examples are plenty. So many that I can write a whole book about teacher / pupil success stories.

So, I am very sure that before I die, I want to take up the opportunity of being a teacher. And the responsibility of being a teacher. There are ifs and buts. And I know I would find answers.

Prof. Sanjay Bakshi
Ifs are, what if I am not a good teacher? What if I fail? What if I cant communicate well? What if I am redundant?

Buts are, but why would someone want to learn from you? But what would I teach? But is what I teach relevant in the modern world?

Tough questions. Tough to answer. I have a few years to find answers. And I will. I have to teach. There is no two ways about it. Thing is, when you teach, you are defending what you proclaim to be an expert at, in front of so many curious brains with their respective individual perspectives. Each interaction, each conversation, each defense, each objection, each rebuttal, is like a lesson. Its like a sentence, its like an execution and its like a new life.

More than responsibility and the opportunity, teaching is a brilliant way to improve yourself. Try it and you'd know. I have done some bits of it and I am dying to get back in front of a class and share what I know and learn from others.

Thats it. Bucket List item starting with T is Teach!

Oh, this post about teaching would be incomplete without a few words about Prof. Bakshi. He's one amongst the multiple giants who've kindly given me their shoulders to stand on. I am very fortunate that I took his course on behavioral finance at MDI. It has changed me for good.

To be honest, I was a really poor student and he may not even remember me. But whatever limited I know in life, whatever little that I am proud of, Prof. Bakshi has played a large part in helping me achieve it. Thank you Sir.

Do read Prof Sanjay Bakshi's Story. This has to be one of the most inspiring stories that I've ever read.

Onwards to U tomorrow!

Other posts in the A to Z ChallengeAncient RuinsBookCoffee ShopDate a SupermodelEntrepreneurship(Be a) FinisherGive Away my WealthHandle a BabyInspireJack of all tradesKeep my shirt onMake a lot of moneyNoOff the GridPokerQuestion EverythingRun a Marathon, Settle in the mountains

S. Settle in the mountains.

This is a part of the April A to Z Challenge. My theme is my Bucket List. Read about it here

Next is S. S for Settle in the mountains.

I am too young to retire. Too young to even think of it. And yet I am too old. Too old to not have planned for retirement. And the only plan I have, is to go live in the mountains. Not the Himalayas but may be Panchgani. Low hills, away from tourists. Where weather is fine the year around, I am ok with cold but hate garmi. Where I can go for long walks on the ups and downs and think about things. Where when I sit and write, I can stare into distance and look at the birds floating in the mid air.

Some random mountain town
I have a question. Are you a hills kind of a person? Or a beach, sea, ocean kinds of person? I am told that this answer reveals a lot about your personality. I am a hills kind. I dont mind beaches but I dont want to live next to an water body. But would love to live in the mountains.

To me, mountains are infinite. They present an intriguing case. You want to know whats on the other side and yet you are glued to the side you are on. You imagine wonderful things that the elevation is blocking. You think of those faint trails that were created by people walking up and down and wonder why did they make it. Mountains are challenging. You need certain amount of effort etc to be able to walk on the long tough windings roads. And while you walk, you can think and wonder about those little things that Mother Nature has created around us.

Ok! I sound like a failed romantic. Time to cut it short. So, the next thing on my bucket list is settle down in the mountains. Let me tangibilize it. Within the next five years. Ideally somewhere in western ghats. If not that, somewhere in Himalayas. If not even that, may be Nepal ;P

Other posts in the A to Z ChallengeAncient RuinsBookCoffee ShopDate a SupermodelEntrepreneurship(Be a) FinisherGive Away my WealthHandle a BabyInspireJack of all tradesKeep my shirt onMake a lot of moneyNoOff the GridPokerQuestion Everything, Run a Marathon

R. Run a Marathon.

This is a part of the April A to Z Challenge. My theme is my Bucket List. Read about it here

Next is R. The first thing that comes to my head when I think on character R is Reacher. Of the Jack Reacher fame. And the next is Run. And this is what the thing on my bucket list is. Run. Run a Marathon. And finish it.

R is Run a Marathon. Not just run, but finish a marathon.

There is nothing else I want to do more than running a marathon. To me its like the ultimate test of human spirit and grit. Its where you push yourself so much that every part, every muscle of your body is stretched to the extreme. So much so that you cant go anymore. Plus its not a one time thing. You cant just wake up one morning and decide that you want to run a marathon. You gotta train hard for it. Like shit. For years. And even then you aren’t sure how you’d perform on the D day. That is marathon. And that's what I really really want to do.

Run Forrest Run!
Thing is, as a kid I was very active physically. I could run, jump, duck, walk, play, roll, squat, dive, shove, push, move with ease. I had great reflexes and I took pride in my extremely amazing reaction time. As I grew old and fat, I started to lag behind.

Now, when I am past my useful age, I can hardly move a muscle. I cant run ten inches without panting and heaving. I am that unhealthy. I can feature in those late night informercials where men complain that no one wants to talk to them because they are fat and all that. That!

Like other feedback loops, I am trapped in this one. Since I am unhealthy, I cant run and since I cant run, I am getting more unhealthy. And it sucks.

From that, fat, I want to be someone who can run marathons. All 42 KMs of it. Its not about the time. Its not about records. Its about a personal battle and its about finishing. Its about reaching the end. Its about finishing. See F.

There is just one way out. To go out and run. Run a meter today. And two tomorrow. Three the day after and so on and so forth. Its very simple. No? But to someone like me, who wants ACs and shoes and tracks and inspiration and all that, its a mammoth task. So huge that I always finds an excuse to not run. In fact to end this non-running bit, I have given myself a simple goal. If by the end of the year, I am not 30", I would get a brand new iPhone to Neo. And if I am less than 30, he would get me one. And a large part of my inch-loss will have to come from running. If not running, then may be yoga or swimming.

Ok, I am digressing.

Coming back, I really really want to run a marathon and finish it. There are people (Fauja Singh) who take up running at 80 and are still running marathons at the age of 100. If they can, why cant I? Its such a simple sport. All you need to do is step out and go do it. Go run. Nothing else. All the damn world is the track and everything is an obstacle.

Damn! I want to run. A marathon!

P.S.: While I am at it, do see this ad by Nike. Has to be one of the best running ads that I have seen ever. And maybe this one as well.

Other posts in the A to Z ChallengeAncient RuinsBookCoffee ShopDate a SupermodelEntrepreneurship(Be a) FinisherGive Away my WealthHandle a BabyInspireJack of all tradesKeep my shirt onMake a lot of moneyNoOff the GridPoker, Question Everything.

Q. Question Everything.

This is a part of the April A to Z Challenge. My theme is my Bucket List. Read more about the project here. The other things on my bucket list are Ancient RuinsBookCoffee ShopDate a SupermodelEntrepreneurship(Be a) FinisherGive Away my WealthHandle a BabyInspireJack of all tradesKeep my shirt onMake a lot of moneyNoOff the Grid and Poker.

Next is Q. Q as in Queen. Q as in Quit. Q as in Queue. Q as in Question. Question Everything. Yeah, Q is for Question Everything.

One of the biggest gifts that I've received when I was sent here, is the innate curiosity. I think this sets me apart from everyone else. Its my secret weapon. Its my magic wand. Just that I need to start using it. I'd come back to it. Right now, its about Q. Q for question everything.

From this xkcd
So, thing with questions is, it opens doors. So many and so often. Most relationships, business or personal, start with innocent questions. If you are trying to break ice with that cute girl sitting across the aisle in the local Starbucks, a question is the easiest way to do so. If you want to get new business from a tough client, ask questions that would help him do his job better. If you want a raise, ask a question. If you want to quit, ask a question. In fact all the wisdom of the world is contained in just six words. Why, What, When, Where, Who and How.

Thanks to my curious mind, I keep asking questions all the time. It worked just fine till I was a child. But now that I've grown up, it often lands me in trouble. I am dismissed as an over-enthusiastic, pesky companion and am left alone. Serves well because when I ask a question, I am called dumb once but if I dont ask that question, I remain dumb for life. This is an age old quote. Even has a wikipedia page. Other times the other side is patient and even enjoys while answering but such people are few and far between. But then these people make the entire thing about asking questions worth the effort.

But all said and done, its one of the best weapons that I have in my arsenal. And I need to sharpen it. To a point where it becomes my personal weapon of mass destruction. Ok, I am sorry for all the hyperbole. 

So yeah, the thing for my bucket list and another mantra for life, is that I want to retain my ability to ask questions even when I am ridiculed and am dismissed.

P.S.: Not too happy with this post. I would try to rewrite this as some other date. 

P. Poker Professional.

This is a part of the April A to Z Challenge. My theme is my Bucket List. Read more about the project here. The other things on my bucket list are Ancient RuinsBookCoffee ShopDate a SupermodelEntrepreneurship(Be a) FinisherGive Away my WealthHandle a BabyInspireJack of all tradesKeep my shirt onMake a lot of moneyNo and Off the Grid

Next is P. P for Play at a professional level. Poker. 

P is pretty simple. So simple that if I had to list just three things for my bucket list, I would have chosen B, M and P. Book, Money and Poker. In that order.

Poker for me is No limit Texas Hold Em.

Professional for me is make enough money with it that I don't need a day job. Professional also means that it becomes my day job. Like Sachin Tendulkar is a professional cricket player, Roger Federer is a professional tennis player, Amitabh Bachchan is a professional actor, Jeffery Archer is a professional writer, I want to be a professional poker player.

Like I said, Its pretty high on my bucket list. Right after book and money.

Stu Ungar - The greatest poker player IMHO
So, my first encounter with Poker happened almost ten years ago when I went on a trek and someone taught me the game there. I dismissed it as too mathematical and complex at that point and moved on. And then I played it off and on when I went to Goa (the only state in India where gambling is legal).

However in last three or four years I started to think more about it. I started to go to home games and played with a lot of friends and strangers. I made some money. I lost more than I made. I read whatever material I could find and I could comprehend very little. But I realized that I loved the feeling of sitting on a table and making decisions that can change fortunes at the drop of a card. True with all forms of gambling. But with poker, it has been proved beyond doubt that its a game of skill (whereas all other forms of gambling are more dependent on chance). And unlike other sports or games, poker requires you to have like a million weapons in your arsenal. You need to know maths, psychology, probability, opponents and so on and so forth. Challenging. Aint it?

When I took the break to work on the book, I had some free time on my hands. I used that time to get regular with poker. I now play once every week. If not that, twice every month for sure. I know its tiny if I am to get serious about poker but its a start. Its my honeymoon period. Life looks rosy on the other side. I just need to do the grind and get there. But, I have started keeping scores and I have started to treat it like a serious sport than a mere form of recreation. Hopefully one of these days, things fall in place and I get the practice going. And then who knows what.

Thing with poker is, if you are good with it, it opens so many doors that are otherwise closed to you. You get to travel. Get to make money. Get to make or lose a fortune in a hand. There is this element of luck. There is risk and there are rewards. There is rush. There is the element of capability. There is psychology. There is science and there is art. There is people-watching. There is trash-talk. There is competition. There is individual confrontations and there are skirmishes. Its something that I can work on and improve. This is a skill that I can develop. Its independent of age (unlike tennis, swimming, cricket). Its an individual sport. There is that element of unknown. The thing that makes it exciting and addictive. Its everything that an adrenaline addict may want in life.

Oh... I can talk about it forever. Its beautiful. Its frustrating. Its liberating. Its exhilarating. It takes time to master. And even when you've mastered it, you can never tame it. Its like that illicit affair that adds spice to your life. Its like that out of control mistress, the temptress that you cant live with or without.

I sincerely wish I knew about the game when I was younger. I knew about it 10 years ago and I should've spotted it back then. I don't know why I did not. Its ok. You get better with it as you age. I may be ready for it. Just need to decide and take a plunge. One of the easier things on the bucket list. Assuming you are good with it. I know I am an average player. And I know that I can get better as I play. The question is, do I have the balls and galls to take it up?

I dont know. Time shall tell. In the meanwhile, lemme go find a game. Do wish me luck with the hole cards. And more importantly with the river. And do try the game. Trust me, nothing like it.

P.S.: If poker excites you even an iota, do read about the glorious life of Stu Ungar. And see this.

O. Off the grid.

This is a part of the April A to Z Challenge. My theme is my Bucket List. Read more about the project here. The other things on my bucket list are Ancient RuinsBookCoffee ShopDate a SupermodelEntrepreneurship(Be a) FinisherGive Away my WealthHandle a BabyInspireJack of all tradesKeep my shirt onMake a lot of money and No.

Next is O. O for Off the Grid.

Off the grid is when you are living a life that no one is aware of. Its the life Osama was living when he was hiding from the US of A. Or all such dictators live when they run from their adversaries.

In my case, I dont have someone to hide from, but I would want to go off the grid atleast once in life. If I had my way, I'd escape once every year. I do try around my birthday but I dont really succeed. Why would I do it? Because I want to know how it feels to get detached from the world that we all love so dearly.

The epitome of an off the grid life this guy (Chris McCandless) who went Into the Wild. First time I read the book, I was appalled to know that there are people who are strong enough to be able to do that.

I cant. Not in this life, not in a million lives. Not for a billion bucks. I, however, want to go off the grid for a few days. In fact come to think of it, Vipassana comes close.

A quote from Into The Wild
Ofcourse we live in a connected world and there is a constant barrage of tweets, likes, pokes, emails, notifications, alerts, reminders that comes our way. Its really easy to let go and go with the flow of these interruptions. Most say its good. We move forward and we get work done. Some say its bad, its shortening our attention span. I dont have a side that I can take. I like both perspectives. But there is something that I want to do about this constant connectivity. And that is, go off the grid. At least once in this life time.

Vipassana is close. For 9 days you live life like a pauper and you practice serious moderation of air, water and food that you intake. You moderate your thoughts and you try to peel off layers from your conscience. Its close to being off the grid because you dont talk and you dont know anyone else. But then you are confined to a small area. 

However, If I could go someplace without anyone knowing about me, it would be off the grid. I dont want to use a phone or email or ATM card or anything that leaves a trail. I dont want people to know who I am. I want to hide. Hide in the open. They may be looking for me but since they dont know who I am, I could be in front of their eyes all the time and yet remain hidden. I would even go underground if required. The way most assassins go after they've committed a crime. Mafia called it going to the mattresses. Actually mattresses is about preparing for the war, but its about a safe house where no one can track where you are.

And not because I want to hide. But because I want to live life without a worry. Without fear. Without lure of these notifications that make us social. In fact if all goes well, this year on, I would be able to go off the grid for two months every year. Keeping my fingers crossed. In the meanwhile do hear this song by Veder, from the movie Into The Wild.


Finally, the big question. Would you go off the grid? Do you have the balls?

N. No.

This is a part of the April A to Z Challenge. My theme is my Bucket List. Read more about the project here. The other things on my bucket list are Ancient RuinsBookCoffee ShopDate a SupermodelEntrepreneurship(Be a) FinisherGive Away my WealthHandle a BabyInspireJack of all tradesKeep my shirt on and Make a lot of money.

Next is N. N for (Learn to say) No.

I really really want to learn to say no. They say its one of the biggest qualities that a leader has. And I suck at it. I try saying no but cant help it most times. And I end up losing time, losing money, losing face. In the events industry parlance, we call it "udta teer lena". No, I cant translate that in Hindi. And no I cant explain that to junta from non-events background. Btw, do see this collection that I started sometime back. I called it the confessions of an ex-event manager.

Read this post. From Oct 2013.
So the thing with saying yes all the time is that you lose your mojo. This quote by Kristin Armstrong is probably the best example.
... learn to say no, so your yes has some oomph...
Brilliant.

Just because I say yes to everything, there are times when I am taken for granted and I end up in a spot. There are times when people dont even ask me because they know that my default answer is going to be yes. And hence I have to start saying no. No, I dont mean I would say no all the time, for fuck sake. But I would get selective about things that I say yes to. And that's all.

Thing is, I know that its tough to say no. I also know evolutionary biology makes it tough for people to do something that puts them in a spot. I know we have that fight or flight gene. I know odds are stacked against me in terms of what I am hoping to achieve. But how hard could it be? Its just a word, made up of two simple alphabets. N. O. No.

No?

Hang on. I have a question. How about sharing this post with all and sundry on all networks that you guys know of? Yes? #no?

M. Make money. A lot of it.

This is a part of the April A to Z Challenge. My theme is my Bucket List. Read more about the project here. The other things on my bucket list are Ancient RuinsBookCoffee ShopDate a SupermodelEntrepreneurship(Be a) FinisherGive Away my WealthHandle a BabyInspireJack of all trades and Keep my shirt on.

Next is M. M for Mint money like its nobody's business. Make money. A lot of it. Make wealth. I have spoken about money and wealth in a previous post (G) and hence I wont talk about em too much.

But one of the things on my bucket list is to get insanely rich. Insanely rich as reach the levels of Bill and Warren.

Forbes Top 3, as on Apr 15, 2014
Its no secret that I want to be successful. So successful that its nobody's business. So, I need an indicator for it. Could money be that indicator?

Money, as an indicator, is tangible, comparable and is easy to comprehend. Everything else, happiness, impact, job creation, satisfaction, learning, fame etc have some degree of intangibility. In fact look at the top three in the list above. 2 of those 3 are my heroes. Not a bad number. And if all goes well, someday I'd end up near the top of that list. Probably in the top three. If I can do that, I would have done a lot of things from my bucket list. A, C, D, E, F, G, I and K. 8 of 11. Again not a bad number. 

Both "not a bad number"s indicate that money may be a worthy proxy for success. And thus, the next thing on my bucket list is, make money. A lot of it. 

Unless someone points at a better alternative. Can you?

While writing this, I realized that words aren't flowing as smooth as they ought to. Writer's block? I dont know! I am planning a four hour writing/editing marathon for #tnks tomorrow morning. Lets see how it goes. 

K. Keep my shirt on.

This is a part of the April A to Z Challenge. My theme is my Bucket List. Read more about the project here. The other things on my bucket list are Ancient RuinsBookCoffee ShopDate a SupermodelEntrepreneurship(Be a) FinisherGive Away my WealthHandle a BabyInspire and Jack of all trades

Next is K. K for Keep my shirt on.

Keep my shirt on loosely translates into "staying patient under adversity or otherwise." Here, check this UD page for more definitions and other things.

The Hulk Rip!
As a kid, I used to trip on WWF (as it was known those days) and I was a big big fan of a few superstars. Its been ages but I still remember a few. There was Stone Cold Steve Austin, there was Bret the Hitman Hart and ofcourse there was the mighty Hulk Hogan.

I was not much of a fan of the fights that happened in the ring but I loved the non-aggressive shenanigans such as opening moves, rivalry and complex plots. I am sure all of you would remember the badass thing about Steve Austin. The way he'd flip the bird, the way he'd catch those beer cans deftly and then smash against each other and pour it down his throat. Show business I tell you!

But nothing came close to Hulk Hogan tearing his shirt and screaming at the top of his lungs. Those days, if someone asked me what would I want to do when I grew up, I would say I want to grow up to be Hulk Hogan.

I thought that being a wrestler was the coolest thing that anyone could do. And to be one, you ought o have temper. I worked towards it. Really hard. Even if I wasn't angry I would fake it. And over the years, I dont know how, as I grew up, I became a rude, impatient and a short-tempered man. No, I am not blaming Vince McMohan or WWF or other wrestling shows for my behavior but it definitely is one of those things that would have contributed.

And to be honest, I am not proud of it. In fact, in the last few months I have realized that I need to flip completely. And I needed to change. And the change would happen if I could try and keep my shirt on.

The idea is to become calm and serene (if the word is valid here). I want to be as stable as a Banyan Tree, so that when the ship rocks, I know how to handle it. Its a toughie but what is life without a few challenges? I am going to take it and crack it. And hopefully inspire some people!

Lets start action right now! Can you try and keep your shirt on? Bet?

P.S.: Come to think of it, this is more of a "mantra for life" than an "item on the bucket list". But I want it. And I want to put this on paper even if this does not conform to any definitions.

J. Jack. Of All Trades.

This is a part of the April A to Z Challenge. My theme is my Bucket List. Read more about the project here. The other things on my bucket list are Ancient RuinsBookCoffee ShopDate a SupermodelEntrepreneurship(Be a) FinisherGive Away my WealthHandle a Baby and Inspire

Next is J. Tenth post in the series. To be honest I quite liked working on this. Guess its because it made me write everyday. Or may be because I luckily chose my theme as Bucket List.

Anyhow, next is J. J for Jack. Jack of all trades. 

Jack of all trades is someone who knows about a lot of things and yet has a hard time getting adept at any one. Most knowledge is superficial. Most of it is academic and would not stand serious scrutiny by any expert. But then, since Jack knows about a lot of things, he is uniquely positioned to do well. Before I launch into an enquiry about other pros and cons, do read this wikipedia page about Jacks.

Jack of Spades ;)

So let me list the good things. For starters, Jack can create connections among multiple disciplines that he is aware of and can create something that any expert in any discipline will never even imagine. Since Jack does not knows the boundaries as well as an expert knows, he is more likely to challenge em. And ofcourse there is a very thin line that separates a Jack and a polymath. Jack also is comfortable in new settings because by definition Jack is innately curious and looks at everything as a challenge.

In term of bad things, the very nature makes Jack a scatterbrain. And Jack keeps chasing the next shiny thing that would catch his fancy. Jack is quick to grasp new things but is often bored when it comes to real work. Jack loves to procrastinate. Jack takes forever to take decisions. Jack can never reach high-up in a corporate hierarchy. Jack will always live in the shadows of experts. Jack can never be a creator but will always be a manager. So on and so forth.

Its a long list and the arguments may never cease.

For me, I decided long back, unknowingly ofcouse, that I want to be a Jack of all trades. And thankfully, I have spent time becoming one.

To be honest, I think I am almost one. In fact, once I learn a few more skills, few more vocations, few more tricks I would become the Jack that I've always wanted to be. In terms of self-evaluation, I believe that I would the Jack I want to be, if in a room, I can engage more than 90% people in a one to one conversation about their respective worlds. Because I would know more than average on almost 90% things that are important to people. Thats it. Simple.

Simple. And yet, its a big deal. Most people can talk about just 10% to 20% things in a place full of strangers. But Jack can easily score a 90%. Its a big deal. A big fucking deal. And I want to be one before I die. A big fucking deal. And a Jack of all trades.