The purpose of this
The website's purpose is to have a way to express myself & pass on whatever I have learnt, experienced or thought of. Having said that, most of the times I ponder upon a blog writen by an individual who has a one-line bio. While that's mostly sufficient for most authors, sometimes I like to discover the origins of the thought process or learnings of an individual. Most often ending up on a Wiki page or a YouTube interview. I thought of summarising my life in a 10-minute read that not only serves as a brief check on my value systems or principles, but also serves as an autobiography. Some day, this is all that will be left of me.
The jury's out on what's the purpose of life, and I believe it will remain so for as long as we are here. I find it a waste to lead a life believing that there's no purpose, although a lot of my thoughts tend to go towards Nihilism, but I believe in a strong theory that I have built for the existence of every human. I call it the Human Potential.
I believe that we are here to fulfil our human potential. I define human potential as the capability of a certain individual to achieve something in life with the resources at their disposal. Resources can be tangible or intangible, like knowledge and intellect against physical form and wealth. Now, there are a lot of factors that explain your capability or resources. Where you're born, what era you're born in, how you've been nurtured and what nature gave you, inter alia.
Let me give a few examples of major factors:
Bad: Any Jew born in the Pre-Nazi Germany and coming of age right around the time of the Holocaust would have very limited potential. Life was disrupted entirely. Good: Taking birth in Silicon Valley in the mid 1950's and coming of age right around the time of the Personal Computer revolution.
I believe that we possibly live in the most prosperous world human kind has ever witnessed. There is lesser civil unrest than ever before, lesser poverty, more equality, more opportunities, better access to resources & education, more safety etc.
Macro: What country you're born into. Even in the current era of prosperity, if you were a graduate student looking for opportunities in Syria, your potential was seriously limited until you found a way to flee the country. While, a post-liberalised India with 3 decades of entrepreneurial ecosystem build-up is the perfect setup for a 20 something graduate to pursue their entrepreneurial dreams.
Micro: What neighbourhood you're born into. A child is not under constant supervision of their family and the influence of community that they grow up in is significant. Neighbourhoods are defined on a macro level by the ideologies of the masses and on a micro level on the behaviourial patterns of the closest individuals.
Evolutionary/Nature: We are but a result of thousands of years of evolution. We have been evolving with every passing generation and you're a result of a lot that happened in your ancestor's lives. Take the Indian Caste System for example. A particular sub-type that was created by a civilisation that repeated actions that gradually built certain types of mental models/body types/features/IQ levels resulting into an off-spring being better off at a particular job than someone from a different caste. Subjective, yes, but true on a macro level. Even today. Here's an example from one of my own research: (upcoming article)
Nurture: How often do we see a child of Scientists excelling in Science? The kind of upbringing of an individual by Parents and society plays a huge role in their thinking process, conduct, attitude, way of life, principles, inter alia. The exposure to great parenting or education is considered to be a part of Nurture, although an individual has no control over the Parents that they are born to or the early education that they receive. Some schools of psychology believe that most of human psychological development happens by the age of 7(jury's out on this as well). Thus, I consider Parenting to be a part of Nature, only because the individual doesn't have control over it.
How rich is your family. Money opens up a lot of room for personal development & it's a resource to be utilised. If one were to maximise the utilisation of resouces at hand, money is one of the primary resource that opens up a lot of the doors in this world. Including a healthy lifestyle, safety net, stability, human networks, etc.
Macro eg: India was liberalised in 1991. Before that most jobs that were stable and worth pursuing were Government jobs. Millions of Indian parents had only learnt that, and eventually nudged their children into getting a Government job which gave them the financial stability that's allowing the current generation of children in India/Millennials to risk more and do more. It took three generations to give millions of Millennials in India the opportunity that they have today.
To quote Joe Rogan on this, "Some people have an unearned tyranny of sexual affection". While, Genes might give you good looks, the fact that you were not one of the 6% of the babies born with disabilities or 15% of the world population that lives with some form of disability, is in itself a great asset to have.
I was fortunate to be born to parents who could work hard, gather money, understand medical science and fund my then complicated & expensive procedure for correction of Clubfoot. A congenital disability that has your feet/foot turned inwards. This was at time when the Ponseti Method did not exist. While, even today, around 50,000 kids are born every year in India with Clubfeet. Request you to take a few minutes and donate for these kids through this NGO here: https://clubfootindia.in/donate/
Maybe one of them could even end up being an athlete!
Certain life events, positive or negative, shapes an individual's character. While their attitude towards anything determines how it shapes them and that's an area that I do not completely understand. Thus, I will give examples of a negative outcome shaping people possitively and vice versa.
Dr Viktor Frankl: An Austrian Neurologist & Psychiatrist who survived the Holocaust after 3 years of capitivity in the worst conditions imaginable. His negative experience led him to write a book that explored the deeper question that this entire topic began with, the purpose of life? The book is called Man's Search For Meaning and is one of the best-selling books of all times.
Winning a lottery: It is statistically proven that lottery winners end up in a miserable condition. This is one great generalised example that I could think of without putting down anyone.
1992: Independant India, post liberalisation, on the cusp of the Personal Computing & Internet wave. Spent entire early schooling life learning how to operate Computers and eventually tinkering with them through learnings from the internet.
Coming of age in a time when the start-up ecosystem is mature and the entire world is witnessing a massive transition in the automotive space is something that increases my human potential significantly.
Born in a small town in Rajasthan, our family shifted in 1997 to one of the most industrial & rapidly developing city in India, Ahmedabad, in the state of Gujarat. Fortunately living in a neighbourhood where families from 23 different ethnicities and multiple different dynamics lived together in shear harmony. Access to one of the best schools in Western India at a walking distance. Access to some of the finest institutions in India due to the efforts of a legendary businessman, Mr. Lalbhai.
Born to a Bank Manager & Businesswoman, who had both done Masters in their respective fields of studies, learnings of finance & business came naturally to me. While, exposure to my mother's business of computers gave me an edge towards understanding them very early-on. My mother came from a family of businessmen going back several generations. On both sides, the Guptas were known to be Merchants/Accountants/Traders in the by-gone Caste System. Finance, maths and commerce have been my strengths throughout my life.
While, the dynamics of a woman running a business and earning more than her husband were very unconventional and controversial for a conservative Indian Society. That exposure gave me the guts to follow unchartered career paths and their support for the same never faltered.
I was born in a Middle-class family which grew its wealth over time as the prosperity of India kept growing. My father had a stable job and ample security while my mother's income allowed us to splurge a tad bit. I live a life where financial freedom already exists, although, we never had enough to fund even 5% of an active Racing National Championship's budget. Thus, it was me pushing my luck and human potential while attempting to be a racecar driver very early-on; as described here.
Having said that, the financial freedom gives me the ability to currently puruse a risky entrepreneurial career rather than having to do a job.
I'd like to believe that I have great mental-models, because throughout childhood understanding deep concepts always came easy to me if I cared enough to look into them. While building a company, I keep noticing these mental models at work.
I am grateful for three major life experiences
1) Exposure to motorsport: One of the biggest factor in defining my value systems, building mental strength, resiliance, understanding team work, building a network, growing BD skills and most of all, understanding what it takes to be in the 0.01% in anything you do. The parallels are uncanny. The learnings apply almost everywhere. A detailed article on this coming soon.
2) Clubfoot: To have a congenital disability teaches you to appreciate the days when you can function well. My right leg had close to 20 rods inserted in it to gradually correct it in place because of the severity of the disability. This was when I was 2-years-old. After any type of surgery, your exposed body proprioception is lost. By the time I was 2, I had had 4 surgeries, 90+ stitches and 20 rods in my legs. It took me 23 years of work to get to a point where I could stand on one leg with my eyes closed for 15 seconds. The want to race cars pushed me further than I thought was possible in the last few years. Being born with Clubfoot made me mentally tougher, gave me the capacity to be grateful for what I have, the resilience to fight and the fundamental understanding of how small efforts put in consistently can transform your life.
3) Exposure to mother's business: I was coding by the time I was 9-years-old. By the time we started studying Computer Science in School, I had already learnt the entire course until 10th grade. I could assemble desktops, troubleshoot them, do basic accounting on Tally, write basic code in HTML and C.
The curiosity drove me towards understanding the fundamentals and the exposure to internet just kept multiplying that base frame of understanding. My mother's business was called Anything In Computers and she built it from ground-up with a background in literature. For most of her business career, I was an assistant to her.
At 16, I could have gotten into an IIT and increased my human potential multi-fold. In a civilised society that we have, the easiest thing to do is get a good educaiton and a great job. You'll be in the 1% of the population in terms of wealth & lifestyle. Don't believe me? Check for yourself: https://www.givingwhatwecan.org/get-involved/how-rich-am-i/
No matter how much I work now, that opportunity is gone. Thus, human potential is ever evolving. I'd like to believe that as we age, the potential keeps decreasing as we miss on the opportunities that we had. It keeps increasing as we capitalise on the opportunities. It was unfortunate for me to not understand how much I loved Science & Technology as the education system and the environment around never compelled me to look at the way I look at it now. It was fortunate that I took the opportunity of being a part of motorsport with open arms and increased my potential significantly.
At this point in life, with the start-up ecosystem at its peak and several years of my life ahead of me, running a company in automotive tech gives me ample of potential. How much? Only time will tell..