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Nirmal's Blog

Nirmal's Blog

The billion dollar idea (in your head)

Ideas are great. A lot of times that big startup idea might just be in your head. You feel that your idea will change everything. It could be the next big thing out there. The temptation is to hold on to the idea and not tell it to everyone because then they might go and execute it. It’s your idea and you hold on to it tightly.

I was in a similar situation many years ago and had one of those “ideas.” I debated within myself whether sharing that idea in a startup competition would be good or bad. After a while, I decided that the benefits of sharing the idea and “get it tested” was far more important than just holding on to it.

When I shared my idea at the startup competition, many people got excited about it. It gave me confidence that the idea itself was good. However, there were so many things to consider for the idea to be executed properly. I would not have been able to see the idea from different angles had I not shared it at the competition. Also we won 2nd place in that first ever Startup Weekend Competition 2013 in Kathmandu, Nepal.

Book summary of The Sixth Man: A Memoir

I had put the book The Sixth Man: A Memoir by Andre Iguodala of the NBA champions Golden State Warriors on my book bucket list last year. I’m thrilled to have just finished reading it.

The Sixth Man is a beautifully written memoir. The book chronicles Andre’s upbringing in Springfield, Illinois, his high school and college basketball careers and eventually his journey in the NBA. Having always been interested in the stories of ball players and the NBA for a long time, the memoir gave me a glimpse into the life of one of the game’s smartest players. I highly recommend this book if you are interested in Andre, NBA, professional black athletes, Golden State Warriors, or just love to read a great story. Enjoy.

The Vision

Vision is a powerful thing.

A big and meaningful vision has a gravitational pull. It attracts people and can motivate them at a deeper level. In this blog, Why You Need to Create Visions (Not Just Goals) it states that Vision is your why. Vision gives something direction. It’s your desired future. 

Although words like vision, goals, and purpose are commonly used these days, having a vision and following through it can work wonders. When you write down your vision in a notebook (I prefer notebooks over notepads), it becomes real, motivating and reinforcing.

What’s your vision?

Some good podcasts…

I love podcasts.

There are thousands of podcasts out there covering every topic that one can imagine. Some of the good podcasts that I listen to on a regular basis are:

Akimbo – https://www.akimbo.link

The Tim Ferriss Show – https://tim.blog/podcast/

The Knowledge Project – https://fs.blog/the-knowledge-project/

If you’re looking for a wider selection of podcasts, here are more:

The 50 Best Podcasts to Listen to Right Now
34 of the best podcasts in tech, culture, politics and more
The Best Podcasts Of The Year (So Far)

Learning about money

I was born in Nepal and grew up in the Nepalese culture. Growing up, most of our conversations about money focused on saving money and keeping some money aside for those “rainy” days. We didn’t talk much about investing, assets, credit, debt, credit cards etc. Schools and colleges didn’t teach us about money management either. In educational institutions, we learned about business, how to make money, how to get a good job among other things but learning about money itself was left to ourselves.

Looking back, I believe we should talk about money around the dinner table, in the classrooms and around the workplace. As an individual, learning about money should come before we get credit and debit cards. We should know how credit cards work, how to build an excellent credit score and why it’s important to build a credit history. Similarly, a credit course or even a non-credit course on personal financial management in schools and colleges will make students more smarter on managing their money. The sooner we learn about money, how to earn money, and manage money, the better for everyone.

Getting back to the human experience

There’s a stat that I recently came across: Over 60 billion online messages are sent on digital platforms every day, With the volume and frequency we are communicating these days, whether this leading us to become closer or farther is a separate conversation.

The precious moments in today’s context are being present in the conversation (not being on the phone/laptop when someone is talking/around you), being empathetic (not just sharing emojis and icons on a smart device), being alive and actually living (not measuring our worth through likes/comments/other notifications). Times have changed- yet the most valuable and precious moments are shared and lived when we are just being humans.

Making a small difference

The vision needs to be big. However, the start and continuous progress needs to be small.

To achieve anything monumental, having a big vision is crucial. If it’s not challenging enough or interesting enough, we’ll probably get bored quickly or lose interest easily. That grand vision alone will not mean anything if the action is not there. Taking small steps towards that vision will help build momentum, keep us on track, and most probably lead to a better result.

What’s the smallest possible unit that you can work on towards the vision today?

What’s guaranteed after college?

Nothing.

Nothing is guaranteed after college. For current college students, preparing for the chapter after college is crucial and the planning should start as early as possible. The job market is dynamic and keeping abreast to the demands of various industries/job openings is important.

To prepare for the job market, college students should start early to look for internships and jobs. Internships will help you get your foot in the door as well as keep you ahead of other job applicants. It’s also helpful to have mentor(s) who can guide you over the course of your college career and beyond.

Is the bike worth it?

Getting a bike (or any vehicle or any big purchase) has two sides. The benefits are easier mobility from point A to point B, saved time and money over a long period of time. The costs are its regular maintenance, fuel, insurance and tax.

For any big purchase, the benefits comes with the costs. An important thing to consider is the opportunity cost. What’s the opportunity cost to having or not having a bike? Are you investing in an asset? If the bike can save you lots of time, create other income generating opportunities from it and give you a better quality of life, why not get the bike?

Adapting to change

The only constant in life is change.

We’ve heard the age old adage many times. We’ve even given the same advice to others at times. Yet many of us have a hard time adapting to change. We’re wired for staying in our comfort zones and with what we know and who we know. Sometimes the cost to not adapting to change is minimal while other times it can have a big impact.

Does that mean we should be constantly changing? Not really. I believe we should be really aware of what is happening around us and evolve accordingly. For example, if you work at a startup, there could be changes in roles or functions often, and the more adaptable you are, the better. If you resist the changes happening around you, then the company or the people might just let you go since you’re not adapting to the changing environments. You have to learn to cope with the changing environment – personal or professional and evolve. It’s better for your own personal and professional growth.

Are you visible?

There are leaders, innovators, creators, change makers and artists all around the organization. Do you have an environment where those people get noticed or do they feel like the work is not a place to showcase their skills/talent?

The initiative to create a platform can come from the organization’s side or the individual or group can start one. When the workplace welcomes people to start something based on interests, passion or impact, it’s a good sign. When a project starts internally, you will notice the leaders, managers and change agents.

What you build

What you build, you can be proud of it.

What you build, you put your sweat in it.

What you build, you can live with the results.

What you build, you can have no excuses.

What you build, you are the best person for it.

What are you building today?

Morning routines for success

If you flip the pages of Tools of Titans by Tim Ferriss, you will find many stories of successful people describing their habits, routines and what they do on a daily basis. The book is labeled as Tools of Titans The Tactics, Routines, and Habits of Billionaires, Icons and World-class performers.

One main takeaway for me from reading many of the habits of the uber successful people was that there’s no one particular routine that works for everyone. You create the routine and habits that works best for you. It’s not just the morning routine that guarantees your success, there’s plenty of other things that are equally or even more important. I took the book as an excellent reference to know what successful people do, what made them successful in the first place, and how they stay successful.