I was meditating one morning recently and this thought kept coming to mind. So I decided to explore it.
Why do this, why continue on this particular journey and not others? With all its trials and travails, with all the easier paths around, with less issues or social or economic pressures. Why keep at it? I wanted to explore an elegant answer, from deep within, preferably in a single word.
For me that is – Discover
The path less taken helps me discover who I really am, to discover the purpose of it all. To discover what the future beholds, to discover new hitchhikers. To discover new experiences. There are many things that I may not discover, money being one . But ultimately, to discover the most profound question of them all – what if?
Whats your word?
At GSF, we have an open culture of communication and sharing, so I posed the question to the Family, asking what keeps them on the road less travelled. And an interesting discussion ensued.
Suneet Choudhary, of Gingr said his word is “Happiness”, adding– “It makes me happy when I build a product/service/feature. When I write some code and watch it turn into a beautiful product, it makes me happy. When someone uses that application/product, it makes me happy. When I receive a positive feedback from a user, I feel like the most prosperous person on earth. That’s why I keep at it… ignoring all the easier paths around.” Devashish Sharma, EiR in GSF Global said his words are “Curiosity and Regret” adding – “I am curious about learning different things, curious about meeting new people, curious about learning about myself in a particular environment. It is curiosity that has helped me being creative with the limited resources I have to produce a bigger outcome. When I tried to do things that I was not curious about, I could feel the cognitive numbness. Regret is kind of a negative word, however I have realized that it is quite powerful, and if used well, it can definitely lead to positive outcomes. In a gist, I don’t want to regret not doing something just because it is different and not many people do it. It’s a bit different from FOMO (Fear of missing out) as I don’t regret doing trendy/in fashion stuff, however I do regret not taking chances when I have to and could have.”
And the thoughts kept pouring in, apparently all of us constantly think about this, but few publicly share it. Lovnish Bhatia, co-founder of Timsaverz replied, “We are doing this because honestly we are MAD (Making A Difference). Making a difference to our customers, service providers and to all the people we work with.” Next, Bharat Sethi, co-founder of Postergully added, “For me the word is commitment. Commitment to myself, my family & friends, my colleagues, my vendors, my partners & above all else my customers. Being wholeheartedly dedicated to something comes fully equipped with some invisible ultra force, I think! Magical things have happened with me when I’ve committed myself to doing whatever it takes to get somewhere.”
Clearly, it’s the passion that drives us, in one shape or another. A friend shared a blog post recently by Peter Diamandis where he talks about the concept of “flow”.
Flow is an optimal state of consciousness, a peak state where we feel our best and perform our best. Researchers now believe flow sits at the heart of almost every athletic championship, underpins major scientific breakthroughs and accounts for significant progress in the arts. From a quality of life perspective, psychologists have found that the people who have the most flow in their lives are the happiest people on Earth. Most of us have at least passing familiarity with flow. If you’ve ever lost an afternoon to a great conversation or gotten so involved in a work project that all else is forgotten, you’ve tasted the experience. In flow, we focus so intensely on the task at hand that action and awareness merge. Time flies. Self vanishes. Performance, both mental and physical, goes through the roof.
Most of us have seen this at work. Startups are incredibly high-flow environments. Flow has driven my career – passion and creativity triggered in a project for one business becomes an “inspiration generator” that catalyzes new breakthroughs in another entrepreneurial venture, and so on. Startups that don’t generate large amounts of flow are startups doomed to eventually fail.
So what is this “flow” that startups need to generate? It is the energy that needs to permeate from the founder’s vision, to the team’s execution, to delighting the customers and eventually making money to keep the investors happy. Everything needs to reverberate in sync and continually build momentum. Every day or week or month there should be new milestones being scaled: a product feature, a new customer(s) or progress on raising funds and maximizing positive outcomes. Unless there is constant flow, sooner of later lethargy and self-doubt will start to creep in and the startup will be at risk of going into a downward negative spiral.
Srav Purunam, EiR Batch 2, shared a line is by Pulitzer winning author, Junot Diaz on the the secret behind being able to capture the essence of life into writing – “In the story of your life, you are but a minor character.” She added, “It is this idea that your life, your story is not about what you accomplish and what you fail at. Rather it is part of a larger, everlasting story that really has nothing to do with you, and yet, you think it is all about you”. In the end, Talvinder Singh, co-founder of Tushky summed it up best, we do this – “To Discover our curiosity and avoid the regret of not being MAD enough towards our commitment to be in the flow of being a minor player, in the story of our life.”
This is our DNA, the GSF Family – open in outlook and also close knit, audacious but grounded in reality, humble and yet ambitious. As one of the greatest entrepreneurs, Steve Jobs said,
You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them, about the only thing you can’t do is – ignore them” … “because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do