Thoughts

New Year Reflections – Caesar, MBA and Seattle

“Cowards die many times before their deaths;
The valiant never taste of death but once.
Of all the wonders that I yet have heard,
It seems to me most strange that men should fear;
Seeing that death, a necessary end,
Will come when it will come.”
William Shakespeare, Julius Caesar

A good book teaches you many things and allows you to experience truth from other people’s eyes. The truth however remains hidden until one applies that knowledge in his/her own realm of existence and discovers the validity of that truth. The above words from Julius Caesar got stuck to my thoughts when I first read the entire play a few years back and then got reinforced when I watched the 1953 movie of the same name. (If you’re interested in fiery performances, then watch the movie to experience some of the brilliance of Marlon Brando). These words say that we fear death, which is the only inevitable truth in this world. We can never be sure of anything else, but we “know” that we will die someday. Now what you do with this knowledge is open to interpretation. Some people extrapolate this and say that life is too short so just do whatever you want to do, some say that since you will die anyway then killing others is not really a sin. What is right or wrong is once again subjective and indeed subject to one’s own sense of morality. To me, this just means that I must not fear anything. I know that I do fear many a thing and most of these things are things that impede my progress towards the accomplishment of great things!

Now this is a new year post and I wanted to start it off with a type of reflection that summarizes all that I tried to do in 2015 and also gives a hint of what I will continue to do in 2016. And I think that is precisely what I did. I worked a lot on being fearless in the past year. I must say that I got a lot of opportunities to do so. The Spring semester of my MBA course was quite intense with Prof Anurag Gupta’s Risk Management course being the highlight. That one course was quite an eyeopener! I finally understand how financial systems and economies work and how budding managers like me can make a difference by effectively managing uncertainties. And after a lot of struggle I got an internship offer. I had gone through to the final round of the Google PM-intern position and didn’t make it, but after 6 rounds of interviews I did get a PM-intern offer from Amazon. I went to Seattle for 3 months and swam the seas of fire populated by fire-breathing sea-dragons! Of course I’m talking only about my job and not Seattle – which was a beautiful city during summer time.

I came back in late August to start my 3rd semester, which was one hell of a ride. Such intensity, pressure and a constant lack of time was something I experienced for the first time in my life. I daresay, that was the time I battled most of my fears and I could see myself rising to the occasion at multiple occasions. This being said, there were numerous opportunities for me to turn the “good” to “excellent” and the “excellent” to “amazing”. I’m not beating myself up or being overly self-critical (which some might see as being the purpose of this post), rather I am trying to be more aware of the things that are stopping me from being the best I can be.

I have the love of some very special people that empowers me and keeps me going. My family and a few friends. I love them and I try to be the best for them. And I know there are some people that I cannot keep happy at this moment, and that again is something I must do. I hope in time both I and they will understand. Such are the sacrifices I must make for myself for the people I love. For if I was alone in this world, I would have been content to live in the Himalayas! To these people and to everyone else, I wish a very happy new year! Make your resolutions now or whenever you feel you are ready to start something new or change something old that has been bothering you. Just like Julius Caesar says, death is certain. But everything else is uncertain. This doesn’t mean you have no control over these things. On the contrary I like to think that most of these uncertain things can be brought under control simply by working hard for whatever goal you have and for whomever you want to do whatever. There are no accidents and there are no shortcuts. There are only choices and then there is procrastination – which is not a choice, it’s just nothing.

So, onward!

 

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