Landmark Forum Learning and Teaching – What I learnt in 3 Days

I did landmark forum at Sri Satya Sai Sadan in Bangalore on 4th, 5th, 6th April and evening of 9th April 2014. A really good friend got me enrolled/registered to it and I did Landmark Forum without any notion of what it is. Me not having any knowledge turned out to be a blessing in disguise as I listened to so many people, made lot of friends, found and learnt about new way of looking at life without having any preconceived notion and bias.

I was leaving at 8:30 in the morning and was coming back at 11:45 in night and somehow I never felt tired sitting for 14 hours every day which is nothing short of a miracle! During breaks and after coming back to my home every night I tried to write what I learnt so I don’t forget the teachings.

Through this post, I am sharing it with others as I know many have forgotten what they learnt and are probably searching for it on Internet :) Here are my learning of landmark forum (or should I say here are the teachings of Landmark Education).

I am putting it as word by word what I wrote on those 3 and a half day without adding or subtracting anything. 

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Stories vs Facts – we make stories from facts. Facts are true, stories are meaningless.

In life you want power, freedom, self expression and peace of mind.

Always be present and stop talking to yourself.

Look for context and learn to distinguish and look differently.

Acceptance and Acknowledgement of Parents.

Go to the source, what is causing the problem. Avoid blind beliefs.

Be fearless. I am the most dangerous guy. I am not scared of anything or person.

Do not put past in future, put your past where it belongs, in the past.

Learn self expression. complete things which are ended but not completed.

Do not have any rackets and complaints with anyone. Declare your rackets. They are just like monkey holding peanuts.

Nothing happens to you, you don’t get hurt, it is the meaning which we give to it. View become reality.

Opportunity and identity are conflicting.

Paradigm shift from I to nobody.

Not the talk but who spoke.

Honour the word if you can’t keep it.

Strong suit give you success. Strong suit comes from background.

What am I doing ? surviving

Constraints come from context and background.

You decide your future.

No conditions are needed to change yourself.

Life has no meaning. You are just a meaning making machine.

You never get what you want. This isn’t it. It goes on, stop chasing.

The meaning we give to life causes problem

You are unique expression on this planet.

Life is empty and meaningless and it is empty and meaningless that it is empty and meaningless.

Don’t give meaning to anything.

Declare declaration, not description

Nothing — Create – Action – Complete – Nothing

You chose your circumstances.

Keep this alive forever. More, Better and Different.

Knowing doesn’t make any difference.

Present is shaped by future we are living into, stop doing this.

Last 75 Days of my life – Journey of a lifetime

I posted this on facebook and thought to put it on my blog too.

Last 75 days have been hell of a ride! I decided to change the way I was living life and doing things. I have done more in last 75 days than what I did in last 3 years. I got a new car, upgraded life style and wardrobe and improving my fitness too, I am learning guitar and hip hop dance, danced with lot of cute girls as part of dance performance, got new dslr camera, got a new macbook too. I have talked to hundreds of people and tried to know more about their life. I have also worked heavily on my social and communication skills and trying to be more involved. I have also participated in various groups, acted as leader and listened and looked at life like I never did before.

I have also taken an office, finished building my product and have hit decent number of users and paying customers. Life is Going Great and I am just Staring to Rock … :)

I will be publishing a post about inBoundio and how I took it to 1000+ users and 80+ paying customers in next 48 hours. I will also be writing more about my startup journey and how I am bootstrapping a business as a single founder.

Animals Live, you want to be Alive

Animals Live, you want to be Alive – This was told me to be someone exactly one month back. I have read 50+ books in last 12 months on life and philosophy and for some reason, I couldn’t get it what this one line made me realize and felt.

One month back, I listened to few people who shared their problems and their struggle with life, people and their environment and it made me realize how great life I had till now.

I have got great upbringing even though I comes from middle class background, parents always gave me more that what I wanted and needed, had good education and I am doing really well professionally.

My problem was, I was just trying to over analyze life and trying to find meaning of something which was not there. It turns out, life is empty and meaningless and this is a good thing! Now it is your job to give meaning to it.

In last 30 days, I have 

  1. Joined guitar classes
  2. Joined dance classes
  3. Throw away most of the unused clothes and bought new once.
  4. been working heavily on my social and communication skills. I have made lot of friends through the network and group I am part of.
  5. been heavily working out to gain weight and be in shape
  6. Have spent heavily on personal care and hygiene.
  7. Got a new music system, new glasses and if needed, will get new DSLR and a new car too. Though I won’t buy anything, unless I am really going to use it.
  8. Become leader of Koramangala group and discuss and listen to others life
  9. Got more clarity about business and what I want to do. Most importantly, I don’t think much about work and money. I am running a one man company which is growing organically and I am already getting mails of partnership and acquisitions, I think I am doing OK.

I know this blog post won’t be read by many but if you think you need help or need someone to discuss your problems in life, feel free to mail me.

You want to live in Present

I was discussing this with a friend yesterday about why we think too much about past mistakes and why future makes us nervous and anxious. The conclusion of the discussion came as – We have to live in Present.

This is an excellent article on How to live in present which I will highly advice everyone to read. Here is the first paragraph

What does it mean to live fully in the present moment? It means that your awareness is completely centered on the here and now. You are not worrying about the future or thinking about the past. When you live in the present, you are living where life is happening. The past and future are illusions, they don’t exist. As the saying goes “tomorrow never comes”. Tomorrow is only a concept, tomorrow is always waiting to come around the corner, but around that corner are shadows, never to have light shed upon, because time is always now.

Build Software for Lazy People, You will Make Money

I feels what ever that can be built on Internet has already been built as far as “need” and “wants” are concerned. It is almost impossible to find niches which are big enough to build a decent size business as well as to solve a pain point for which people are willing to pay. In short, Internet is very saturated.

So now this is what you can do if you are looking to build a business and make money – Build Software for Lazy People.

People want to simplify their life and don’t want to do things which they don’t like but have to do. So build software for such people. For example, I built inBoundio as I myself was not enjoying few marketing things to do manually and the other software were too complicate and I wasn’t feeling like using them.

I am going back to living a minimalist life

This is not a new year resolution since I don’t believe in them (nor they make any sense to me anyway) but more of an going back to who I am, what I believe in and what was working for me.

I had spent a big part of my life living in single room, sleeping on floor or on a small cot with a working laptop and some basic stuff and I totally enjoyed that kind of life. After formally starting a company in 2011, somehow life took me to a different path and I start imitating others in terms of how they were doing things and how they were living life. So after two years I can safely say that that kind of lifestyle is not for me, I don’t enjoy having too many materialistic things around me nor want to live a very luxurious life so I have decided to go back to again living a minimalist life. In the last few days I have sold and throw away some of my stuff and will sell the rest unused/unwanted stuff in next few more days. I just want what I need to live a minimalist life, a laptop, a table, a bed, that’s it.

My 2013 Review and Plans for 2014

I do this every year, on 31st of December I write a blog post summarizing the whole year and to write plans for next year. Here are my posts for 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012 in case you are interested to follow my journey.

OK so I started the year on a bad note, 2012 was a disaster, I had a nightmarish experience with my startup workmonk, I made huge judgemental errors, couldn’t really understood the depth and my limitations and paid a heavy price for it. Though I don’t have any regrets, I had promised to myself that I will fix those mistakes in 2013 and will get back on track as I want to align everything in life. So I spent whole year focusing on learning rather than on buidling a business or making money. I have finished reading over 30+ books and have spent lot of time on improving my technical skill set, having better social and communication skills, working on my cognitive disorders and being a better decision maker etc. I do feel satisfied with the way I spent the year and its results and I will keep on working on these in the coming year too.

I have also built Inboundio, though the development is slow and is still in progress, I feels I am in right direction as I feel confident about it and I do have some users/paying customers for it. I will be making it more polished in coming months and do have some big plans with it, I am also offering inbound marketing services from tomorrow which will add another stream of revenue.

Unfortunately working alone from a single room do have its own set of problems, I am somewhat tired and lonely but luckily have one really close friend now in Bangalore so can hang out with him during weekends. I will be changing this way of working now and will again start interacting with old startup friends.

From tomorrow onwards (1st Jan 2014), after taking a break for one year, I will be again focussing on building a business and will get back to the way I used to work.

Wishing you a very happy new year to anyone who read the post till here. Cheers.

Read this post if you are looking for a House or Office on rent in Bangalore

I am writing this post to help people who are moving or have recently moved to Bangalore and looking for house/flats on rent or people who are running startups/small companies. My sole intention is to inform people since there is no such article on the web and to help people to make sure they don’t make the same mistakes which I and many other made when they moved in here first.

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I moved to Bangalore in June 2010 so it has been 3.5 years now. It has been a good ride so far with few minor hiccups. Since Bangalore has huge influx of outsiders who are completely new to it, I thought to share my experience and knowledge with people who are looking for house and offices on rent as people learn these things which I am writing after burning their fingers and losing lot of money.

Bangalore has got extremely over crowded and since the city was not built for 8 million people, its infrastructure is collapsing. Those who moved here before 2005 probably got the best deals in terms of place and experience but for those who are moving now or have recently moved, get ready to pay ridiculous amount of money for rental spaces.

The reality about the realty of Bangalore rental spaces –

1. Brokers have inflated the whole market and unfortunately for someone who is new, you will be taken for a nice ride by them. Brokers inflate every flat/house by 20% since they get commission from both sides and often lie about locality, surroundings and the house. Do not trust them and do your own due diligence. Ask local friends about the locality and see if there is power backup as most of the power backups don’t work in old apartment buildings.

2. Broker ask for 1 month as fees which is standard but do try to negotiate it, for example you can pay 18k for a 21k per month flat. Make sure you get this clear the first time.

3. Don’t rush for a place, it will at least take you 6 weeks to find a decent place.

4. The agreement/transactions happens between 2 people – the owner and you with broker as middle man and it will always be you who is taking all the risk. The rest of the parties have figured out the modus operandi and after 11 months when the agreement gets expired, you will come to know how only you lost money. Do not trust the agreement and take it home, read it thoroughly and only then sign it.

5. The 10 month advance is almost a scam and the owners keep this money in fixed deposits and often return you after months (this happened with me once), normaly when new tenant moves. Ideally you should always negotiate the 10 month advance and get it to 6 or 7 months. Most of the owners will do it, if he is not, then some times walking about is the best option.

6. Owner deduct one months advance in the name of repair (the cost of the repair is often just few thousand), this is another way to mint money. Get this specifically in the agreement that the expenses will be shared by both of you or better just deduct a fixed amount from advance. Make sure you get this in agreement.

7. Koramangala is overpriced and over crowded, explore other options. I have lived there for 1 year so telling this from personal experience. There are of course people who work in office and need just a place to sleep and party, for them it works out well but honestly, for my liking the place is too noisy and cramped up.

8. Koramangala and Indra Nagar are two “posh” areas, they are crowded because of north Indian food joints and if you are a first timer, you probably want to stay at these places too but look for places near to them too like BTM layout, HSR etc (for Koramangala), you can find places 30% cheaper.

9. If you are first timer, always find a partner to give you local knowledge. This will also help you to cut down the expenses and avoid overpaying for bad areas. You can find flatmates at rentals section of sulekha.com.

If you are looking for office space

1. If you are a startup or a small business, do not look for office space but look for nice flat or a nice house, they will be much cheaper as IT office space is very costly.

2. Bangalore has 4-5 places where office space is given on terminals/seats. You can explore that option (search in Google) though personally I feels you should avoid it. Paying 3.5k for small seat looks to be too costly to me with not much freedom but if it works out for you, go ahead.

3. Most of the startups are based out of Koramangala and Indra Nagar, it happened because the earlier once (2004 to 2010) started from here so the rest just followed them. If you are a bootstrapper you probably want to avoid these places. If you need help, try to read older threads in OCC (open coffee club) and headstart google groups mailing list and see where other offices are located, try to talk to them and see if they can help you with local knowledge. You can also post in comments here and I will try to help you too.

I will update this post as I remember more points but this looks to be good enough, most likely you will find this post through social media and Google search so if you can add to what I have listed and can share useful info, please do it in comments since we need to make sure the entropy of the universe increases.