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What is important to you? (#SoGv2 - 04)

Good afternoon. Time for a coffee. And a SoGv2. This one is probably one of the most important letters that I'll ever send. 

So, last week, I met this young person (let's call him AR) who manages private wealth (which means, he is a stock market investor) and rather than trading, he is one of those long-term, patient, deep-thinking people. This means that while he earns on the basis of returns that he generates for people, his day job is to read! And think. And create mental frameworks for taking decisions. Which, if you ask me, is the best kind of life.

Now that I am in that zone where I am enjoying the wordplay and the typing and all that, allow me to indulge. I read this quote by Seth Godin that sort of resonates with me at so many levels. He says, "I want to be judged not by my work, but by what the people who learned from me taught other people." I think I want to spend my life chasing this very thing! What people who learn from me teach other people. Wow! 

Ok. Deep breath. 

So, coming back. This letter is written on the shoulders of AR.

AR told me that he has realised that in life you must have two kinds of things that guide your decisions. For want of better words, let's call these things A and B. 

A are those things that you WANT to have / own / achieve / conquer / etc. And more you have of those, happier you are. However, in case you don't have any, you may get sad but you are NOT miserable. You can continue to live. You are not stifled. Your inability to get to your wants do not dent your happiness. You probably get sad once in a while when you are in a party with other rich people. But that's about it. In one line, the presence of these things may make your life marginally better but absence will NOT make your life any worse

For example, cars. You want a Jag, an Audi, a Bentley, a Lamberghini et al. You'd love to have these cars. However, if you don't get to own these cars, you would probably not die on the inside. Of course, you will need to work hard and be extremely lucky and have these on your priority. 

Another example? The cherry on the cake. Cherry makes the cake-eating experience better and sweeter and all that. But that's that. In case the Cherry is missing, you are ok to eat a bland cake. You will not die. You'd still have the cake.


B are the things that you MUST have if you DON'T want to be miserable. There is no measure to this. This is binary. You don't have, you are miserable (and in some cases, you'd rather die). You have, you are ok. That simple. In one line, the absence of these things will make your life miserable. 

For example, you want respect in life. If people are rude to you, you'd not be able to operate. You know, how angry you get when someone speaks to you rudely? That! 

Another example (on lines of the Cherry on the cake) could be the availability of water. You HAVE to have water to survive. 

I can give more examples. Let me talk about myself. In my case, things that are type B for me are... 
  • Freedom. Of time, speech and decision making. I want to be able to choose what I do at any given point in time. I may be sleeping and daydreaming for all I care. But I want to be able to choose what to work on. I don't want to be bound by a clock imposed by a third party. Of course, I run a business and I am involved in multiple projects and I have to deliver things on time decided by clients but like other things, I can choose to work on them as per my wish. In an ideal world, I would be an artist - my art making enough money for me to be able to remain independent. But because I am not, I am a close second - self-employed. 
  • Rowing my own boat. This translates into the fact that if I were to become an employee, I would be miserable af. And thus I try to avoid that. I want to work on things where the outcome comes back to me. Right now, my boat is like a dingy. At some point in time, it will be a Knock Nevis (or whatever is the biggest ship is at the point).
  • Respect. I want to live in a world where everyone is nice to everyone else. And thus, I can't be at a place where I am not treated with respect. 
  • Ability to talk to people, connect and learn. 

How does this apply to decision making?
Imagine I am offered a job that will pay me 10 lakhs a month (that's the number I want to reach in terms of what I want to make). But the job will require me to report to the office every day at 9 AM and stay there till 6 PM and suck up to the person I report to. I don't know about sucking up but I will not be able to breathe if I have this clock hanging on my head. Plus, I want to row my own boat. So, unless the money offered to me is 10x is what I need, I will not take it up. Unless, its a project that, say, 3 months long. That allows me to make money and not worry about work for the rest of the year. 

On the other hand, once I realise that taking up a decision will make me compromise on a type B thing, I would rather find ways of removing the things that cause the friction and then get a deal that helps. For example, in the said gig, can I talk to the employer and ask for lesser pay and more freedom of time / place? Can I then ask that my compensation is linked to my performance and I get a percentage of things that I work on? At least I am the master of my fate! 

So that. Makes sense?


And with that, here's a question for you. 
What are your type A and type B things? What do you think could be other examples of type A and type B things? In case you want to reply anonymously, use this anonymous form.

Oh and finally, while I was editing this piece, I realised that a better way to explain this could be by talking about "wants vs Needs" and "good to have vs Must have". Just that the nuance of "absence making life miserable" and "presence hardly making any difference" is not captured in the want vs need debate. 

That's it for the day! 
Thank you for your time! 
With gratitude, 
@saurabh

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TAGS: Decision Making, Ambition, Life, People.

STREAK: 11

Please note that with SoGv2, I have split my letters in three,

1. SoGv2. Sent every Tuesday and Thursday (unless I am on the road). In each SoGv2, I try to touch upon a thing that I believe can make us better. By standing on the shoulder of giants. Like today's letter was written when AR allowed me to stand on his shoulders. Also, I am thinking I will move these to Monday and Thursday (and not Tuesday). Maybe from next week. 

2. #5onFriday. Weekend read. Sent every Friday evening for your weekend reading pleasure. This is a compendium of the best of what I saw, what I read, what I recommend et al during the week gone by. This will have things from various disciplines that I am interested in - sports, poker, crypto, travel, fashion, films, writing, events, branding, Apple, entrepreneurship, philosophy, futurism, investing, wisdom, longevity and a million other things. 

3. #1KWAD. 1000 words. Sent on the other 4 days of the week. More like a blog post that I would ideally make on my personal blog. Sent to only those who choose to subscribe. You will have to explicitly tell me to add you to this list (hit reply).

You can, of course, unsubscribe at any time you like.

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And, in the end, in case you have some extra lying around, I am at 1ABmUxhpbaXpBDrxtkpH8zFMBWSLCbK3sr. 
Copyright © 2019 Saurabh Garg, All rights reserved.


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