Who inspires me?

Published on Dec 9, 20214 min read67 views

Lately I've been getting asked by many people, "Who in the venture ecosystem inspires me?" or "Who do I consider a mentor?". My answers to those questions were pretty vague and not true or honest. I've usually not liked following people as it leads to disappointment. I even don't like idolising people - not the alive not the dead. I don't know why that is. Maybe it's arrogance, maybe people aren't really that inspiring, maybe there's always something hidden by a PR machinery and so on. Who's to say.

Those questions made me think deeper as I was not satisfied with those answers. In that process, I've realised I'm not the kind of person to like anyone or anything wholly. I'll like certain traits of people and things but not the whole thing. It's the same reason why I don't like football clubs, cricket clubs, Steve Jobs, Virat Kohli or anyone.

Do I not get inspired at all? That's a very uninspiring life. Oh the irony.

I laid that thought to rest and was watching 14 Peaks on Netflix - a documentary following a Nepali mountaineer Nims Dai on the 14, 8,000+ meter, mountains in the Himalayas. It's not an easy task - especially as one crosses the "Death Zone" above 8,000+ meters in height.

What I realised through that documentary was that I draw huge inspiration from people that perform at their peaks. Peak performance on the way to the peak of their careers. It is in those peak performance periods that these atheletes, artists, professionals are in a zen mode. They excel at whatever they do and are almost invincible - nothing can stop them.

The pattern I've noticed among all these peak performers is that they're at the height of their careers, have fun doing what they do, are humble AF and are in complete zen at the time to perform. But most importantly, all of them have one thing in common - they're fully aware that beyond a certain point, it's only "mind over matter". Everything else, is fluff.

It seems, these peak performers are not at their peak because they're born talented or because they train more than anyone else. Yes, it's all that, but most importantly peak performance comes from having an agile mind and using it when everyone's fails beyond a certain point. Mind. Over. Matter.

These performers - Steph Curry, Michael Schumacher, Virat Kohli, Dave Chappelle, Nims Dai and more, performing at the peak of their careers, are inspiring to me. It's usually sports people and very rare to find folks from other fields but if you look closely, there are these people across fields.

Why are these people a cut above the rest? I think it's because they've developed such a strong muscle memory of their craft that it becomes easy to put mind over matter, especially when others flounder. They practice for days on end, more than anyone else, because who wants to practice the same forearm punch 10,000 times? After maybe a thousand repetitions, everyone thinks they've learned it. That's where these greats push through.

In the work I do, the challenge is the long validation cycle to even know what I'm wrong or right. By the time I course correct it could take too long. There are proxies to learn in real time, but I'm constantly evolving my thinking around that. I'll be honest, I struggle with this, I give up more often than not.

In my craft i.e. venture investing, I only hope and wish I can inculcate that muscle memory to be able to put mind over matter.

Update: Found this incredibly apt story of Kobe Bryant and why he's the best at what he did.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rw7u8XckImc

Note: All blogs posts till 2022 were migrated to this platform (react+next+tailwind). While all efforts were made to migrate wihtout any loss, the migration lost some images and broke a bunch of links in old posts. If you spot anything amiss, please notify me?