Singapore, circa 2013

Conversation with myself at 36

Dear Ravi,

I wanted to have an audience with you today just as I have been having with you since a few years now. I want to sit and have an introspection session with you on how are you faring in life and how has your 36th year been in particular.

I have a lot of angst and anger that you and I have not been talking often. And even when we do, the conversation is of low quality and you do not give me your full attention.

Do you remember you and I had agreed and committed sometime back to the Socrates’ quote that an unexamined life is not worth living.

I hope today, I will have your full attention and rekindle our old, deep and meaningful relationship.

I am going to ask you a few questions today and hope that you answer them sincerely.

But before that I want to present to you your life calendar on your 36th birthday:

Do you remember how unsettled this calendar would make you whenever you looked at it. It would push you to derive more out of your life. You haven’t had a look at it since long. Hence, I am sharing this to you again in the hope that it would spur your motivation again.

Alright, lets begin with these questions:

  • What kind of emotions the above calendar evoke in you today?

Ravi: It tells me that I am fast expending my prime years and it also tells me that there is not a lot much to show for in the years gone by. Again, I do not want to be harsh on myself. I think I took some brave steps in the last couple of years and they have been paying dividends and the immediate future is looking bright provided I retain my focus and hard work.

I also want to compliment myself for keeping laser focus on my career goals and achieving them in spite of herculean obstacles on the way. I was never as focussed in the first 9 years of my career but I was finally able to turn that around.

The graphic also evokes in me a sense of anxiety about the impermanence of my life. On the positive note, this will spur me to make each day count and make every approaching year truly meaningful.

  • What do you feel about yourself at this stage of your life today?

Ravi: At this stage, my self-esteem and confidence is at its peak. I have been able to be really good at my professional front for all the hard work put in in the last four years and I am upbeat about the near future.

I have been able to design my life to live in different parts of the world that has helped me grow as an individual, which is also an achievement I am proud of.

However, there are other aspects of life that still need to be improved like more meaningful relationships, friendships, better XYZ (cannot share in public).

  • How did your 36th year go? How would you evaluate it?

As I mentioned above it the best year of my 13 year long career — best in terms of contribution to work, growth, meaning and work satisfaction etc.

My confidence has grown leaps and bounds in the last year. Having moved to a German organization being the only non-German in the product management team and being able to build a lot of influence in a year is what I am truly proud of.

What are your focus areas for the next year?

Some of my important focus areas for next year are:

  • Push my learning goals 10x times and grow professionally.
  • Work towards improving immediate relationships and cementing strong friendships.
  • Practice Stoicism and mindfulness.
  • Build a valuable product on the side.

What are your goals for the next 3 years before you reach 40?

Professional: Become Chief Product Officer (CPO) for a mid-size startup.

Personal: Become a better human being on a set of parameters that I will share you sometime later in detail.

Ravi, I am happy that you are ambitious in your life. However, I also think you are being too pretentious. My advice would be to have deep conversations with your near and dear ones and seek their feedback on what kind of a person you come across to them. For all you know, you might be coming across as a complete asshole to the world. So, climb down from your ivory tower, stay humble and talk to others. You will be surprised with what they tell you and what they expect of you to become.

This is all I have for you. Lets do this evaluation again on your 37th birthday. But lets keep meeting every few weeks till then.

Thank you Ravi.

Links: What is Life Calendar?

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