Dear Steve,

A friend asked me, "if you were to write to Elon Musk about your aspirations and ambitions and what you want to do in life, how would you?"

This blogpost is in response to that. But before that, few caveats.
  • I will NOT write to Elon. Rather, I would email Steve. Thing is, the outcome and vision and purpose-driven approach of Elon is fascinating and exciting. But Steve, the legend, is what is inspiring. I love the fact that he was a hustler (compared to an Elon that is a tinkerer). 
  • I'd assume that ambition is personal, more tangible. And aspiration is little more altruist. Read more here
So, here's the letter. 

Dear Steve,

Thank you.

For being who you were are. And being an inspiration that makes me want to do more and make that dent. Or ding. Or whatever.

It is you who taught me that our actions must create consequences. Consequences that are larger than self. Larger than our imagination.

It's by following you (and your actions and your words) over the years that I have understood my limitations. And I have found ways and means to overcome those limitations. I still suck at getting things done but I am getting there. All thanks to you.

Thanks to you, I know that the only thing that limits us, is our imagination. You taught me how to think big. You taught me to take tiny steps and keep at it till you reach there. You showed me the power of setting lofty goals and challenging what we thought was possible. Thank you, Steve.

Steve, I write to you to seek a favour. Will you please indulge me? I want to talk about what my aspirations are. And I want to talk about my ambitions and what I want to do in life.

Steve, when I look at the world around me, I see so much potential getting wasted in frivolous things. Things that dont add up. Things that dont add value. Things that dont create. Lemme give you an example. Today, I was coming back from work in a train and I saw a young couple arguing about a mobile game. And they were stuck on the game for the 20 minutes it took the train to reach my destination. And they werent happy. What if they could use that time to learn a new thing (by seeing a TED talk, or by reading a book or by watching a tutorial or something). Or at least debate about how they's plan their finances!

The world would be such a better place if that happened.

You know that's what I want to work on. Make people more aware about our limited time here. You talked about in your Stanford address. I was lucky to have seen it. Someone needs to talk to them as well. And inspire them to do more with their time. Of course someone may argue that its all pointless (we die, our kids die, our kids's kids and the world will eventually come to an end and all that we stand for, all that we create will amount to nothing) but I know that while we are alive, when people are creating, they are lost in the work. They get in the flow and the flow is the closest that it comes to Nirvana. The little things that make life miserable cease to exist when you are creating. Reminds you to Carl's Pale Blue Dot.

Life suddenly starts looking so much better. No?

This, Steve, is my aspiration. This is what I really want to do. Its fuzzy AF. The fuzziest thing that I've ever thought about. But I believe that there's merit. 

And what is my ambition?

I want to push limits.

Physical, mental, emotional. And at other levels that us humans can experience.

I know that I am not sorted in the head. There are times when I am elated that I am jumping with joy for no reason and there are times when I so sad that I just want to sleep. But Steve, most days when I wake up, the world does look like a great, inspiring place. Life looks like a "journey" that is worth taking. There are so many people doing so many things that you thought humans were incapable of. Look at Elon. Wait. Look at Wright Brothers or whoever made the first aircraft. They allowed us to fly. Look at Elon. He will not rest till he has colonised Mars!

While I want to push limits, Steve, I know that I am a drifter. I've never had the clarity in terms of where I want to end up. I also know that I dont have one specific talent that I can dig at till I make that dent. I am a proverbial Jack of all trades and I am happy being one. Thing is, I love this drifting. I love that I can walk the surface of a lot of disciplines. I know this is best suited for someone with a lot of money. But its ok. I will make my money. Ok, I am drifting while writing the letter. Coming back. Steve I want to push limits and in the process, inspire others.

In fact, lately, I have started to realise that I get immense happiness and satisfaction and I sleep well at night when I am able to inspire others. And help others. And enable others. Enabling. Thats where the Gold is. Thats what I want to do. Enable.

Now enabling is too broad. If I were to put enabling in a box, I'd say I want to enable a billion people to live better lives.

Billion people. 
Better Lives. 

And how do I define better? Well, better means that if they are poor, I enable them to live in relative comfort and happiness. If they are unhappy, I put on the red ball on my nose and dance for them. If they need access to opportunities, I want to give them that. If they need  inspiration to do more, I want to inspire them.

I want to be the thing, the jester, the platform that enables people to be better. I hope you get the drift. 

One of the ways in which I can do this, is by doing amazing things and by doing em so well that I inspire people. To do more. To #bebetter. And to #livebetter, and #workbetter.

So, my second aspiration, if I may have more than one, is to make the world a better place. And do it by enabling people to be better versions of themselves. And while I become the enabler, my life (where I achieve a set of seemingly super-tough goals -- each goal must push human limits, such as, make a billion dollars, run a marathon in less than 4 hours, live till 120 and more) and my actions and my conduct become a source of inspiration. Just like your life was, Steve.

Thats about it I guess. Phew.

Thanks for reading.

Your's Faithfully,
Saurabh Garg

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