Kobe's Biggest Lesson to the World

Find your Craft and Love it with all you've got.

I am not big on Basketball. I came to know about Kobe from the book Relentless, by Tim Grover. Tim mentions in the book how dedicated Kobe was to his game. I was in the middle of the book when the news about Kobe’s unfortunate death came in.

After Kobe’s death, people started posting stories about how hard Kobe used to work. From the book Relentless, and these stories, it seems he worked harder than most other players in the game.

In one of the interviews, Kobe explains: If I practice four sessions per day, and other competitors practice two sessions per day, after four years there’s no way the competitors will get a chance to cover that up, they will always stay behind.

But behind the glamours of his insane work ethic, something is getting buried beneath the surface. That thing is his LOVE for the game. Kobe loved Basketball with all his heart. His love shows up in his poem Dear Basketball. Here are the lines that struck me the most:

"I played through the sweat and hurt

Not because challenge called me

But because YOU called me.

I did everything for YOU

Because that’s what you do

When someone makes you feel as

Alive as you’ve made me feel."

The YOU in the poem is Basketball. You can feel his deep love for the game. He mentions in several interviews that he was lucky to find this love at an early age. Kobe also shared how he exposes his children to different activities so that they can find their love too. I think this is the most important message we should take from Kobe.

  1. Find your Craft

  2. Love it with ALL you’ve got

Kobe didn’t show us how to work the hardest; he showed us how to love the most. He showed us what true love for your craft looks like. Unfortunately, most people coming across the hustle-stories of Kobe will try to emulate that attitude (the Mamba Mentality, in Kobe’s words) to whatever they are working on. Most of them will fail for obvious reasons and end up adding unnecessary anxiety to their lives.

Don’t forget what Kobe said:

“Because that’s what you do

When someone makes you feel as

Alive as you’ve made me feel.”

Basketball made Kobe feel alive; what makes you feel alive?

Namaste 🙏


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PPS. Connect with me on Twitter at @CrazyPolymath.

Polymath Letters (29/01/2020)

No desire is going to make your life complete

Before starting the email, here’s a gift for you: Letters.PDF. I compiled all previous newsletter emails into this PDF file for your weekend reading.

Let’s get to today’s email.

Today I want to share a realization about desires that changed my life. Last year, in December, I visited Kerala with my best friend. It was a wonderful trip, and one of the best experiences was a stay in a mud-house in the middle of the Chinnar forest. Here’s the view outside the mud-house:

The picture doesn’t do justice to the layers of mountains peeking through clouds and the dense forest around us. But you get the idea. I got to spend two days in a jungle with the closest friend I have. A dream come true.

But.

Something was bothering me. I was feeling very excited on the surface, but deep down, I was feeling the same, as I always felt — a neutral feeling. Strange to describe. This feeling reminded me of the day I launched my first book Pursue your Passion. The book sold 100 copies within two days. I was awestruck. I couldn’t believe this is happening. The feeling of that high stayed for about a month, but after a month, everything was back to normal. All the days were once again the same as they always were.

No matter how big of an achievement you accomplish, the joy from that experience stays only for a couple of weeks. Right now, you might have some desires — some you are working on, and some you are procrastinating on. But the fact remains the same: when you fulfill these desires, your mind will find new ones — new worries, new anxieties, and new problems to solve.

When I tweet such realizations, people often ask what to do then? What’s the solution? Understand this: what I mentioned is just a pattern of the mind; it’s not a problem to be solved. However, there’s one thing you can do: don’t expect something from a desire that it can’t give you. No desire is ever going to make your life complete. Does this mean my life will always be incomplete? No, on the contrary, when you stop chasing completeness, the sense of incompleteness vanishes. You will see that the chase of completeness was creating the illusion of incompleteness in the first place.

Take a step back and recall all the desires you fulfilled in your life — small, big, easy, hard — any desire. Did any of those desires, when fulfilled, made you stop desiring more? Did achieving any of them made you think, this is it, my life is complete now. You still kept having new desires, right? Once a desire is fulfilled, you start looking for new things.

One caution before closing the email — don’t force to stop desiring. A desire to not desire is also a desire. As desires come and go in your life, keep observing the truth behind them; any change that has to occur will occur naturally.

Namaste 🙏

Polymath Letters (23/01/2020)

Mind, Mastery, and Desires.

You get a thought to pick up the phone and check Twitter. But then another thought comes to the mind telling you, “Hey, remember what CrazyPolymath said? You don’t have to do everything your mind says.” Now, even if you don’t pick up the phone, you are still basically listening to your mind’s order. What we say controlling the mind, is just preferring one thought over another. (But who is making this preference? “You,” which is again a creation of the mind. I am not talking about “you” as your body, but the concept of “I” that is inside your head. Let’s keep this topic for some other day.)

Controlling the Mind vs Mastering the Mind

A true master of art does not control his art; he understands his art. Not just an understanding on an intellectual level, but at such a level that the understanding becomes his intuition. When you truly understand something, you update your intuition, and intuition updates your instincts, and instincts naturally lead to action.

“When something serious is really understood, it naturally translates into action.”
- J. Krishnamurti

True mastery is more about understanding than controlling. But any understanding that isn’t paired with execution and observation is not a true understanding. For example, I may tell you that “thought indulgence only adds misery to your life.” But, if you don’t inspect your thoughts and observe how each one is leading you to the path of misery, then you understand the concept only on the intellectual level. Understanding, execution, and observation go hand in hand. This eventually leads to fusing the understanding into your intuition, and you act without thinking.

But what if we end up fusing a wrong understanding into our intuition? This is often observed in sports when an athlete trains an incorrect pattern, and that leads to hindrance in performance. It takes extra effort to correct the wrong form that has built up. This is exactly why execution and observation are essential to gain a true understanding.

Don’t just listen to the gurus; execute and observe for yourself to gain a deeper understanding. Repeat multiple times. In the journey to master your mind, the good thing is that all you need is already available to you — your mind, and the bad thing is you are your own coach.

Unnecessary Desires

I have a habit of sitting down, inactive, for 30 minutes after my meals. During these 30 minutes, I tend to turn my awareness inwards and listen to my body and mind. Last Sunday, I sat down as usual after taking lunch. A number of thoughts pop up, as usual, I acknowledged them and let them go. But one thought caught my attention, and I decided to indulge in it.

I mentioned in the previous email that I am writing a book on Goal Setting. Last Sunday morning, I was planning to speed up my work on that book. I planned out everything — how many words per day, what schedule to follow, and what promotion strategies to implement on launch. That afternoon, while contemplating after lunch, I realized that I’ve caught an unnecessary desire. My finances are good, and I don’t need to force myself into something unnatural. This is a typical example of a distracting desire.

But isn’t this laziness? You are free to call me lazy, but I don’t make any compromise with my writing. Not a word that comes unnaturally goes into my books and tweets. I can read a bunch of research and other authors on similar topics and fill pages with stories that entertain a reader without adding any real value. A big portion of writers write like this, but that’s not how I work. My writing mostly revolves around the insights I get on a topic, and you can’t force insights; they come naturally.

I shared this little experience with you to show you how I process desires. Desires pop up, sometimes I get carried away, but most of them are dropped after one or two introspection sessions. One must learn to analyze, and if necessary, drop his desires, else he remains a slave of them the entire life. Sometimes a desire might distract you from your main goal, or sometimes a desire might linger in your head without any accompanied action. Both add unnecessary anxiety to your life; it’s better to drop them.

Until next time.
Namaste. 🙏

Polymath Letters (14/01/2020)

I am no Guru.

My Twitter account (@CrazyPolymath) gives out vibes of an Internet Guru. I’ve mentioned it several times on Twitter that I am just a regular guy. I like learning, deep thinking, and sharing whatever insights I find. I am more of a Student than a Guru.

Twitter, by its nature, is directed more towards the idea of Influencers and Followers. But I can change that here, over Emails. So, from now on, instead of dropping Guru knowledge in emails, I’ll share my learning in a more personal format, as if sending letters to a friend.

I am also very irregular with emails, but I think I will be more regular using this personal format. If you’ve read my tweets, you know that I can quit this idea at any time. I don’t do anything forcefully; this frees up time in my day to do more of the things that are natural to me.

Current Projects

Before we jump into my current projects, I want to mention a couple of things:

  1. I put no deadlines on my projects

  2. I work on multiple projects simultaneously

  3. I frequently quit projects

Most gurus won't recommend this. The thing is, you should know your strengths and prioritize things in your life accordingly. The online gurus do not know your strengths and weaknesses; they don't have the full context.

But if you are not in touch with yourself, which is a common scenario, then you won't be able to pick your priorities. Probably that's why most people blindly follow the influencers.

Don't get me wrong; I experiment with various hacks that online gurus mention. But the last call to whether keep the hack, or tweak it, or drop it depends on my observation of how I am feeling. Unfortunately, most people are too busy to have a deep conversation with themselves. As a result, most people can't listen to their feelings well.

Back to the topic: what am I working on currently? I am working on a book on the common illusions that people live in. Most people don't live in reality, and that's the cause of most of their miseries. The goal of the book is to break these illusions and take the readers closer to reality.

I am also writing a small guide on Effective Goal Setting. Goal setting is the foundation to achieve anything in life. Before doing anything, you decide to do it. From my observation, most people don't fail because they lack the capability, but they fail because they make silly mistakes while setting their Goals. This actionable guide will help people avoid these common mistakes and increase their success rate. I was previously working on a book on Desires; I am merging the contents of that book into this guide to make it more insightful and actionable.

Speaking of books, in April 2019, I launched my first book Pursue your Passion in which I compressed all my knowledge from a decade of experience in different careers. The book is doing well. Many readers got in touch with me to show how they are implementing the ideas in the book. Some are on their way towards making a full-time living following their passion. If you've bought the book, I am curious to see your results. And if you haven't bought the book yet, you can buy it here.

Current Theme of my Life

A theme of your life is different from your projects or goals. You work on a project at specific times of the day, but you work on the theme throughout the day, 24x7, 365 days. A theme is closer to your life than a project.

Truth has been the theme of my life for a long time. I always seek what's hidden behind everything in life. But recently, my theme has shifted more towards Mastering the Mind. I think my mind will skew my search for the Truth if I don't master it first.

But what I actually mean by the word "Master" here? Most people will think mastering the mind means controlling it at will. But where does that will reside? In the mind, right? By the word "master", I mean how an artist masters his art. An artist doesn't control his art; he understands his art and executes his understanding perfectly.

We will continue our exploration from here in the next email. You can expect similar emails in the future. If you haven’t subscribed yet, click here to subscribe.

Namaste. 🙏

We spend the entire life chasing mirages

Someone is making okayish amount of money; he thinks a salary raise or switching the job will get him more money, and his life will be set.

Someone is in poor shape; he thinks he will join the gym, get in shape, and his life will be set.

Someone is single; he thinks once he gets his game on point, he will get girls, and his life will be set.

Everyone is chasing something in the hope that it will fill the void in their life and make it perfect. But the voids never end. The truth is, life is already perfect as it is. Your mind is hallucinating the voids in it.

The mind constantly picks things from your surroundings. Saw a video of a guy riding a luxury car? What does he do? Internet marketing. Damn, wouldn’t it be cool to start an Internet marketing business and live that kind of life? See how your mind hallucinated a void in your otherwise perfect life?

We are all chasing these mirages, and these mirages are the creation of the mind. Once you reach the mirage, you realize it’s not what it looked like. Then the mind shows you another one, and you start chasing it with the same hope - to make your life complete.

I am not saying that one should not have any desires in life. I am just saying know that they are just mirages. Keep your expectations straight. Don’t expect something that those mirages can’t give you.

Namaste.


PS. If one of your chases is to find your passion and build a career on it, then check out my book Pursue Your Passion. The book will give you practical frameworks to make money doing what you love.

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