Vivek Ravisankar

The title might sound sober but ironically these two are strongly tied to happiness and achieving goals at a later stage. I’m reading an amazing book on psychology of humans, love, etc. which also somewhat states the above. Here’s an interesting snippet from the book

“A 30-year old financial analyst complained she’s procrastinating a lot despite the fact that she gets a good pay, perks, etc. Analyzing, there was no particular problem with the work environment/family, etc. On one particular meeting, the psychologist casually observed the way she eats a cake. She firsts eats the frosting and then the others. Digging further, he examined her work-habits. As expected, on a given day she’d devote the 1st hour to the more gratifying work and the remaining to the objectionable reminder. Consequently, nothing in the remaining hours would get done and the work gets postponed. He suggested instead of 1 hour of pleasure and remaining hours of pain, she can try 1 hour of pain and remaining hours of pleasure. Being a strong-willed person, she switched modes and no longer procrastinates”

This is so much like a startup mode. The cake, procrastination, etc. are all parameters that can be substituted. The overall idea is – suffer pain now for a greater pleasure later. I’m sure you’d have seen the marshmallow experiment performed on young kids, the kid with the highest resistance (consequently greatest pain) gets to eat two marshmallows at the end.

When I look back, it’s the deprivation (money, lifestyle and many more) that has helped us survive and led us to the current stage. The thought process has always been ‘let’s undergo the pain now, there’s something big waiting‘. We were even approached by top MNC’s for an above the market salary during our early startup days. It’s so easy to ‘eat the frosting’ but we resisted for something bigger.

I think this is either a born quality or happens when you have an extremely ambitious goal, something close to conquering the world. After a while, when the internal functioning is built to accept pain, you enjoy it, sometimes even induce it, the goals get grander and bigger and consequently you become very powerful. Being deprived of something at every stage always keep you up to achieve something big. It’s probably the only way to rule the world.

I used to wonder how a funded startup can ever lose a battle with a bootstrapped one. More money, more resources, backing, etc. seems logical that they’d beat them, but no. One reason can be loss of focus after investment, but I tend to think it’s got to do more with not having the deprived feeling anymore. The moment you think you’re safe and comfortable, the aspiration drops down and you gradually shift to the losing side.

Even though you might be more comfortable, real animals would induce pain because they’ve not conquered the world yet. They continue to do this in search of a much bigger vision and goal and a true leader rises.