I was thinking about motivation (what’s new…). I thought about how much I love to motivate people, I mean, I live for it, I give motivational speeches and obviously I write a lot of motivational content. The question popped in my mind, what motivated me to motivate people?
I came up with two answers. The first is that seeing people like Zig Ziglar, Seth Godin, or my interviewee today Karthik, motivate other people. If there weren’t people motivating other people, nothing would get done in the world, it would be void of accomplishments that matter. The second answer is that I am freaking amazed at us, at people, at human beings. Our abilities are out of this world, literally. I simply want to bring out more of these godlike abilities in people, I want to continue to be amazed at a higher level which means I need to motivate more.
This is an aspect of the Unlocking Potential series. To motivate these artists and to have these artists be motivated to motivate other artists. If you are just jumping in, you can catch Interview #1 here and Interview #2 here.
Without further do,
Interview: Karthik Puvvada
As you know from my “Pick Yourself” post, I attended Seth Godin’s Pick Yourself event in New York a couple of months ago. This interview, the third in my Unlocking Potential series, is with Karthik Puvvada, a friend who I met as a member of Seth’s tribe. Karthik’s blog is one I visit often for, not so much for information on how to fail, be free and break the status-quo (although it’s loaded with it), but for a reminder that there are other people like me that have a truly unbelievable spirit for progress, an unstoppable force for enjoying life and making the most out of it in every way possible. This is only touched on in Karthik’s introduction to the interview and provides great insight to the rest of the Q&A. -Enter Karthik-
I’m Karthik Puvvada and I hail from India. And like most Indians, I was brought up in a very conservative and struggling middle class family nudging and budging my childhood dreams with whatever little money we had. Since I was born into the era of “Great Indian Outsourcing Boom”, I was compelled to chose the well established path of becoming an engineer and to work at a software company that I disliked.
I was clearly unhappy with what I was doing with my life. Modifying bits and pieces of computer software written by some other engineers didn’t seem appealing to me. Especially when I loved building things. Especially when I believed I should be able to create things.
As a kid I dreamt about robotics, and that suddenly appeared to me as my next destination. Despite heavy peer pressure and uncertainty of how I’d manage the finances to afford such a costly technological degree, I gave all the entrance tests with full vigor and hope.
After a dramatic turn of events, and with help of some amazing people, here I am, in the USA, doing Masters majoring in Robotics with full scholarship. I started believing in dreams even more from then.
This phenomenal dream-come-true incident in my life changed my perspective totally. It gave me enormous CONFIDENCE to go get what I want in life. I started reviving my half-killed dreams from childhood.
Writing is one.
Q: What would you die without?
Fire in the belly. If there’s going to be a day when I feel sapless about my dreams, and give up on them, that day, you can proclaim me dead. Officially. I don’t see any reason to be called alive when I’ve killed my dreams. I am what my dreams are. The rest is just a piece of flesh.
Writing, film-making, advertising, technology startups, for now I’m in love with these. So badly that I can exchange going to heaven for a chance to live my dreams. This feeling, the feeling of otaku, the feeling of going any far to follow your passions in life is what I call “fire in the belly” and that is something I can’t afford to live without.
Q: How much time does following your passion consume each day? What is a typical day in your life’s conquest?
It’s an interesting question because the time it actually consumes to me is irrelevant. I rather count it based on whether I had done the task I intended to do for that day or not.
Consider blogging. Sometimes it takes 20 minutes to write a blogpost, and sometimes 3 full hours. The beauty of imagination is it’s without limits. All kinds of limits, including time.
But, yeah, if I look back and estimate an average number, I think I spend around 2hrs per day on writing. The rest of time I spend on my other passions. And on sleeping. And on eating. And wait, on bathing too.
Q: How do you go about searching and finding motivation/inspiration?
Two things. One, I go outwards into the huge sea of knowledge online and offline and try to find stuff that stimulates my thinking. Something that pushes me away from my comfort zone. Something that provokes my mind, into action.
Steve Jobs, Seth Godin, Malcolm Gladwell, Mahatma Gandhi, Ayn Rand, Friedrich Neithzche, Swami Vivekananda, Gautam Buddha, Pablo Picasso, Vincent Van Gogh, Randy Pausch ,Jon Goethe, Rabindranath Tagore, Aristotle, Michelangelo, David Ogilvy etc.
I read a lot about these incredible people. And their incredible faith in themselves that they can change the world.
Second, I go inwards into myself finding resonance for all that I read. There is a deeper level of consciousness in your own self that you can actually unleash if you poke it long enough.
It unravels an incredible urge that was within you all these years to do something in this world. To make your presence felt. To shake the world gently. Not for the heck of fame or money, but to leave a legacy in the world, to leave a story of yours, to write your own destiny. This motivates me frantically. Sometimes, the motivation stays for weeks and drives me nuts to do something I thought I couldn’t do earlier. I will elaborate on this in the further discussion.
Q: What two habits have you developed that produce the best results?
Over the past 2 ½ months, the greatest habit I have developed is the habit to develop a habit. Like I wrote here, it was extremely painful for me to write everyday initially.
Most amateur writers would know that, after a few days, the challenge of writing something original is by itself a challenge and to do it every single day makes it even more of a nightmare. But still I didn’t give up. There were days where I sat with my laptop for hours and yet couldn’t produce an interesting write-up. But still I didn’t give up. I tried just once more. That made the difference I think.
I once wrote, “The greatest thing about doing the greatest thing is actually doing it.”
So I knew there is no red button.
Though it didn’t look appealing to me initially, I realize how accurate Steve Pavlina was. He speaks about creating a habit, like a ritual everyday and doing it for 30days. Non stop. If you can pass this phase, most likely you are already enjoying what you are doing and you’ll want to continue. Makes total sense to me.
So, the two habits I’ve developed are a) develop a habit and b) develop a habit. Damn, that is the single most important thing.
Q: Do you plan on shipping a tangible product? Any ideas?
Yes. First, I want to finish up a new screenplay that I started last week. It’s a sci-fi mystery about a delusional scientist on a marooned island.
Second, I want to film an already existing script that I have. It’s going to be about fortune cookies in 3 different countries.
Third, I want to write an ebook, with illustrations, on my most favorite theme, “failing”. I love failing. I think that’s the best thing that happens to me everyday so that I wake up with a better game plan.
Fourth, I want to start up a new project on advertising this September online.
Q: How do you conquer the troubles that come with trying to write every day? (Time, Writers block, etc)
Simple. Have an iron will. I earlier had a plastic one I guess. It would always give up on my dreams. But this time around, I took the pains to form an iron will. The will to do it at any cost. Anyhow. Anywhere.
I remember writing a blog post borrowing a friend’s laptop after having a tiring day of paintball shooting. I wrote one in a vacation in Chattanooga. I wrote one while I was sick with a stomach bug. When I’m in my regular daily routine, taking time out for writing is easy because I would have planned the day accordingly. It was quite a challenge to do the same when I’m out on the roads travelling or camping etc. Still, the iron will to do what I wanted to do cleared the way for me.
I don’t do it for the count, I don’t do it for the world. I do it ‘coz I challenged the most important person in my life, Myself.
Writing block, well, here’s where the travelling inwards theory I spoke above helps me. Swami Vivekananda spoke volumes about the power of the mind. He says, the question is in the mind, and if you look deeply, and probe keenly, the answer too is in the same mind, just a few blocks away.
It was a fantastic eye-opener for me. All my frustration, disgust and restlessness vanish into thin air whenever I recall this, and I head straight into a peaceful self-questioning mode. And voila, it has worked magic so far.
Q: If you had to give one piece of advice what would it be?
“It’s not the deed; it’s the “doing” that you should attach yourself to.”
I wrote a post titled “Do you love the doing?”. I’d say it is by far the hardest advice anyone can ever follow. But ironically, it is the surest way to excellence according to me.
Q: I believe mottos are vitally important for motivation. Would you create a new motto right now for the readers, a motto they have likely never heard before?
Speaking about how important risk-taking in life, atleast once in a while is, I wrote, “Trust your guts, and remember it’s all about the journey, not the destination. No one jumps of a cliff to experience landing, but to experience flying.”
The favorite ones I wrote are:
“When your ideas, energy and focus are united by one, you become divided by zero, Mathematically they call it, THE INFINITE! Be that!”
“Be the king. But first, fight the war.”
Q: As you know, I am on a constant verge to learn new life lessons and share them with people. Do you have any crucially important life lessons you would like to share?
I only have one lesson in my life. The lesson of hope. The lesson of dreams.
Einstein once famously said, “There are two ways to live: you can live as if nothing is a miracle; or you can live as if everything is a miracle.” For me, everything has begun to appear miraculous once I started following my dreams. Once I opened my eyes and shunned my doubts. We want the perfect world. The perfect skills. The perfect people.
And hence we are eternally pissed off at what’s at hand. If you think about it, an email from a teenage artist in Europe telling you how much he loved your writing is a miracle. A subscriber asking you if you majored in English literature is a miracle. A counselor of anti-bullying campaign loving your blog you wrote from miles away is a miracle. What more you want?
Life opens up to the fullest when you are ready to see it positively.
I once wrote, the moon is the moon always, it depends on who you are to perceive it beautifully or full of scars.
Look at life differently. Be the most energetic person you have ever met. Surround yourself with tons of positivity. Make new friendships. With extremely positive people. Have the brightest glimmer of hope in your eye. Feel thrilled about little things. May be you’ll look delusional to your naysayers. But try new things. Fail at them. Fail often. Fail publicly. Have an extra coating to your chest called courage. Coz it takes just one time to get it right, and remember, you will never be the same person again.
Q: Where can people find you and your art?
I write my heart out at www.bethepurplecow.tumblr.com.
Stay Positive & Purple
Garth E. Beyer “moo”