Every morning, my wife drops me at this lush green township called Malibu Towne (MT), on her way to school where she works as a teacher.
I then start my daily morning run on the circular arterial road of the township, covering 1.2 Kms of perimeter of every full circuit.
One of these days when we were on our way to MT, she told me something really interesting that got me thinking later in that day’s 45 mins run. It was actually a trivial stuff what she shared, yet got my imagination totally occupied.
On that eventful day, when she took out her brand new TVS Jupiter bike from the basement parking, what we bought just a month ago; her ex-bike TVS Scooty was still standing-by adjacently. She stopped for a few seconds to take a full glance at her 14 year old loyal companion.
We are yet to send it off to the junkyard for complete dismantling, the bike had done it’s full legal life in India where the law says 2 stroke bikes have to be discarded after 15 years of usage, as we were still looking for a trustworthy vendor to do the job.
When she kept looking at her old buddy, a thought stuck her from nowhere; Was this the bike I was riding for the last 14 years? Or was it me who was capable enough to put up with this rusty machine for 14 years?
Automobile technology has advanced so much between the early 2000s when 2 stroke bikes were hot picks to that of present day Activas and Jupiters of the world, a difference one cannot miss easily after riding the former for more than a decade.
She was clearly astonished, if I have to term that emotion that was running in her mind. Why wasn’t she feeling nostalgic instead? Or feeling satisfied to have switched to a smoother and noise free mode of commute?
This is precisely what I was thinking about in the next 45 mins when I was circling the township 3 – 4 times around. And in doing so, several parallels from various other aspects of life were crossing my mind.
Some events or incidents or situations bring astonishment as they catch us by surprise when we least expect them. On the other hand some bring fond memories of erstwhile hardships and with it a sense of satisfaction.
What is the difference here? And a bigger question to ask is, how many of such thoughts we are even fully aware of when they pass by?
By rewinding a bit into the past when I was pursuing entrepreneurship, I had to quit the day job to start-up and build a product that has no guarantee of succeeding. The household income was reduced to negligible levels as whatever my wife earned as a kindergarten teacher was barely meeting 10% of the monthly outflow.
And I was an entrepreneur for a good 24 months, so no salary credits in the bank account for these many months. And more importantly I was also investing some money for developing the mobile app, website, company incorporation, digital lead generation, etc.,
These were difficult times of our life (including my daughter who had no clue what’s going on) that made us go through so many adjustments we had never thought we would ever do. We also discarded a 8 year long habit of creating an excel sheet based monthly budget; what is the use of this sheet when there’s no incoming money!
However, in this period of time on many occasions I used to feel thankful or satisfied for one thing that I had been diligently doing in the early days of my career – forced investment in various instruments such as MF, ULIP, RD, etc.,
Things go back all the way to when I started the professional career right after graduation when on one eventful day I was witnessing an animated conversation happening between two senior colleagues. They were discussing on each other’s investment strategies, which mutual funds are returning what returns, which is the best asset allocation plan, etc., In this whole sequence, I was merely staring at them by being a mute spectator.
Later in that day, I was seriously wondering what am I doing with my own surplus and how do I become an investment savvy person. I was also equally disappointed that these guys are way ahead of the curve, when I didn’t even know the difference between Mutual funds and direct equity investment.
Next couple of years was marked with robust investment in a variety of asset classes, ranging across all risk levels. When we were blessed with a baby girl, I immediately started buying gold savings schemes at one of the Chennai’s popular shops to accumulate as much as I can for her future.
Back to the stage of an entrepreneur: When I am going through a lean patch, all the years of thoughtful actions come in handy to manage the cash flows while I go after the dream without having to worry about putting the food on the table.
Active investing and riding the Scooty happened for an equal length of period; but a look back at the the former gave a sense of satisfaction while with the later, it is more of an astonishment.
It all suddenly started making sense, when I lay stretched out on the park’s grass bed after another day of sweaty run.
Our actions whether it is saving up or self-development or investing in business etc., if done thoughtfully and persistently over a period of time will surely turn out to be something satisfying or fulfiling in the future. On the other hand simply going with the flow without any consistent action, such as punching in/out everyday at work will only lead to future astonishments of what life’s potential we just let slip by.
What is the key lesson I learnt from this incident?
- Things that we do mindfully and consistently over a period of time will always matter more than random (yet prolonged) acts.
- Choosing that 1 or 2 important elements is the key to sustained focus and efforts over a due course of time.
- Acknowledging such trivial thoughts (by being mindful) can often throw awesome insights into how we craft our own life.
Agree with me? Please leave a comment or share your story on same lines if any.