Starting from college, I have built too many prototypes to count. I have been very good at getting a basic proof of concept out. So many different projects or products, but so far I have never been successful in commercializing any of them. Sometimes I feel the number of failures is soo much that I just don’t even want to think about it.
All these 8 years, I was always been short-term minded. I had always expected to get things working in 6 months. The answer to “How much time will it take” was always 6 months. When I quit postman, I really wanted to convert one of my products to become a business. I joined Ather as software-consultant expecting myself to not stay there for more than 6 months. Why? Because I would have built a product of my own by that time. This coming Jan(2019) will mark my 3 years at Ather as a consultant. I still have not build a business.
Objectively compared to my original intentions, that looks like a failure. I have changed attitudes now. I am thinking long-term now. I think I am starting to understand what Naval Ravikanth, Warren Buffet, Charlie Munger etc mean by compounding. They are not referring to compounding in the context of money alone. Everything in your life can compound if you stop looking for short-term results. Your skills compound, your knowledge compounds, your wealth compounds(obviously), your relationship compounds. For the sake of short-term goals, I did sacrifice lots of things. I called my parents less. I spoke to my grandparents even less. I am starting to realize that I will deeply regret not calling them when they are no more.
I am starting to realize that the definition of success that I set for my projects was very never really my own. I want 1000 users to my saas product. Why? because that is how success looks like. How do I know? That is what the tech press seems to be covering. Or, that is what my friend circle seems to value.
Naval Ravikanth in one of his podcasts mentions that “Success and Happiness are at odds” or something along that lines. Success is usually defined from a global perspective. You could say being a CEO of a company means success. Having a 100 million dollar company is success. Being happy is relative. It is possible that the person on the street could be way more happier than you are.
My new perspective on goals is certainly not unique nor is it something that I invented. Its an amalgamation of what I have learned by reading stuff from DHH & Jason Fried from Basecamp, stories of founders from Indie Hackers, Tim Ferris, Naval Ravikant etc.
The new perspective:
- I don’t want to chase someone else’s definition of success. I don’t want to be in the 40 under 40. I don’t want to be the wealthiest person. I don’t want to be popular
- I want to identify things that I genuinely want to compound in my life. And every year I make sure that it compounds by x%. I would like my food habits to compound. I would like my relationships with key people to compound. I would like my skills to compound. I would like my financial prudence to compound. I would like my cycling to compound. I would like to teach. I would like that to compound. These are things that I genuinely like to do. They make me happy. Some of these things will make adequately wealthy in the future as well.
- I want to look at things from a long enough horizon. I want to look at things from a 3 year perspective. I want to stop sacrificing unnecessary things for the sake of someone else’s definition of success.
This is what my next 3 years look like:
- Build a side-revenue from a product
- Teach people what I know (blog is part of that strategy)
- Get fit – Get to 10% body fat(always put this aside as this goal is not possible in 6 months)
- Go cycling – a lot.
- Re-read books that I read earlier. Compound my wisdom on a strong foundation.
The big difference
After adopting this mindset, I have noticed myself to a lot more calm and composed. I am much less affected by tunnel vision. Since I am comparing the results to my past self, I am much happier. In general, I am also happier because I am focusing on things that I like to compound. I am also more focused on what matters. I am starting to understand how basecamp works. They really don’t care about someone else’s definition of success and over a long enough time, wealth will come to you.