I took quite a bit of time to write this. I have been meaning to get back to regular blogging for a very long time. Not that I don’t do it. I am writing tech every single day from last 10 years, I truly enjoy curating the tech news, adding my thoughts to it and putting it out in the world. At one point in life, I would love to work on building my personal brand for the content. It’s a bit complicated in 2017. The audience is following vloggers over bloggers, thanks to penetration of high-speed, unlimited internet and YouTube.
One thing that started bothering me quite late in my life is my physical outlook. Being a 5-feet in height with tallest ambitions was something socially not-so-well-accepted. I never realized this early in life. In fact, I had no clue about it till 2015. I was at the peak of the KPI-driven success in everything that I ever did. It started bothering me when my dearest one pointed it out, it has been consistently bothering me ever since. Losing confidence at work, at public speeching, at social gatherings just because of how you look is the worst nightmare that can ever happen to you. In events like this, the only person that can regain your confidence is you, yourself.
An attempt of Gym-ing
Something that I did later this year is I joined the gym. I never imagined myself crushing heavyweights to the ground. But I did it for the heck of it. Did it well for six months, built some muscles around the arms and chest. One thing that I did not like about gyming is, one week’s break and you are back to the same skinny little young look. And not like I was going slow on lifting weights. In fact, if I had been consistent towards gym-ing, I would have been a powerlifter by now. What I realized is that the masculinity is like a make-up, you put it on every day. Six months in and I realized that this is not my thing. Having an entrepreneurial outlook towards life has completely changed me. I prefer investing my efforts in things that leave behind the legacy.
Something in the month of August, me and Ms Sil decided to take an adventures motorbike trip. She had an event to attend in Chennai and I had to satisfy my adrenaline rush. A trip was also sort of an act to regain the confidence in my physical abilities. Ms Sil preferred flying down to Chennai. She loves being in the clouds, watching the sunrise from the aircraft. I prefer being the feel of a tarmac, riding through the dust and dusks, watching sunrise during the coffee-sutta break. Apart from two hours of catching up with a friend in Bangalore, I did not stop till I saw the signboard of Chennai (CCD breaks are excluded).
Riding Pune to Chennai solo, without a good night’s sleep was a real physical challenge. The ride itself was full of challenges, near-death experiences, rash drivers, unfriendly weather, hailstorm, lost roads, crazy traffic etc. Something that I realized as soon as I reached Chennai is my passion to choose the difficult path. The latter part of the journey too was full of adventures, challenges, crazy rain but I had Ms Sil to share all those challenges with. Having done 2200 km in 4 days on road, in crazy weather situations re-gained a better part of confidence in my physical abilities.
Ms Sil signed me up for a 10K race. She herself participated in a half marathon at the same event. This was my first attempt at long-distance running. Having done just one practice run few days before the race day, I was not very sure about finishing the race. I always believed that Marathons are overrated. I had created a persona of a marathon runner in my head. A dude or a girl with an obsession for running in a crowd of 100s and flaunting the finisher’s medal as they finish along with the same crowd. Now few of them stand first and win a prize, the others enjoy the accomplishment of the act with their finisher’s medal.
Now what really happened on the race day is an opposite of the picture that I had painted in my head. The start of the race seemed like an over glorified version of promoting an event. As I began to run, I could strongly sense the positive energy in the environment that shattered the mental picture that I had created in my head. As I reached towards the last kilometer, I was filled with the same sense of achievement that I once thought was foolish. And as I saw Ms Sil at the finish line for 21KM, my heart was filled with a sense of pride and eyes were full of tears of happiness. One thing that I realized is that running in a race is a challenge that you need to overcome by pushing yourself to the limit. It’s similar to long-distance motorcycle travel, after 600 km, your body asks you to give up but the passion to cover an extra mile keeps you motivated.
I have to come to believe that marathon has a potential to teach certain life-skills that are necessary for an entrepreneurial journey. If you look at any successful entrepreneur, there are three things that are common in them: persistence, determination, and grit. All these life-skills can be acquired and mastered through the power of marathon running. When you start running, you don’t care about if you hop, if you walk, if you jump or skip, you just gotta reach the finish line. Same is in the entrepreneurial career. If you started something, regardless of all odds, you just gotta keep moving and reach the next milestone.
There is an old riddle: how do you eat an elephant? ‘One bite at a time’. Same goes for the marathon training and entrepreneurial career. The power of consistency is essential. Now if we were to establish those marathon runners possess all the life skills that are needed for a successful entrepreneurial career, why are they not successful in life? Well, in my opinion, there are two factors to it.
1. You need to be aware of your learnings, abilities, skills and how to apply it in real-life situations. Basically, keeping sports limited to the playground is not going to get you anywhere in life.
2. Obsession. It’s good that you have acquired these essential life skills through marathon training, but do you run a marathon or two and get back to the real world? Or are you so obsessed with it that your annual calendar is full of marathons around the country? I personally am very much interested in marathon training to learn the three essential life skills that I mentioned and not to collect 10 different finisher’s medals each year.
2600km road trip
Right after the 10K race, I set out on a crazy road trip with a colleague from work. This road trip helped me understand my mental strength. Well, there is a difference between motorcycle riding and car driving. The latter is not as much about having fun. Long-distance car driving is not really about pleasure or enjoying each km milestone on the road. It’s more about covering the distance, adding those kms on your odo and reaching the next ‘tourist’ destination.
Ms Sil and her girl gang joined us towards the end of the trip. Driving through the traffucked roads of Bangalore, taking a not-so-mountain-like road to Mysuru and Coorg was fun. The return journey was a true physical test for somebody like me. Driving 800 km non-stop with little to no sleep was a toll on the body. I always wanted to try this to test my persistence. The day of the return journey, I took the wheel at 11am in the morning, traveled around Coorg to visit ‘tourist’ destinations, drove all the way back home and gave up the charge of the wheel only at 8 am next day, completing 21 hours of consistent driving through bad patches, ghat sections, narrow roads and pitch-dark road sections.
Did I enjoy driving? if compared to riding, Nope.
Did I enjoy munching kilometers? Hell yeah.
I must say that last few months have been great months in adding all the lost confidence in my own physical abilities. I wish to improve, I wish to push myself to the next level, I wish to use this confidence in facing challenges in my entrepreneurial journey. Until I come across the next idea of doing it!
– Mr Sil