Ashdin’s Birthday!

A brother is a cool thing to have.  Especially when you get to pick on him when he’s little, then compliment him when he’s older ;-)

Mine is turning 26 today, so HAPPY BIRTHDAY ASHDIN!

Here’s a few things I’ve learned from my little brother: 

1.)
I started playing the guitar in 8th grade, he started playing in 5th grade….

I took private lessons, and got my instructor to teach me songs instead of music theory (which as an 8th grader is totally lame).

Well whaddya know….APPPAARRAANNNTLY learning the foundations of music early on help you learn to play much better.

Within the next few years my musical ability was playing 10 songs on the guitar….whereas my brother could now freely play ANY style of music quickly because he had the foundations down.

This inspired me to start taking lessons and learn actual music theory and basics when I was 26.  After 10+ years of “knowing how” to play the guitar…..I finally learned chords and scales.

Till this day he remains an order of magnitude better than me at guitar, and picks up other instruments with remarkable speed.

Me & Ashdin practicing on some big-ass rented amplifiers to play at a friends wedding:

2.)
I’m always impressed by his questioning of morals.

He went vegetarian for a while in college, on the basis that if we could farm food, why eat animals.

This isn’t necessarily the view of our meat-eating family, but he stuck to his guns and rolled with it until his mind changed.

During this time my mom would cook different food for him (usually healthier food), and slowly this impact started spreading to the rest of us.

I remember him talking to a family friend about his decision, and she was giving back counter-arguments about eating animals.  He asked her this one question:

“How would you feel if we ate Trudy?” (their family dog).

She got super upset at the question and repulsed by the idea.  While I don’t think that ever changed her mind, hearing her reaction made me laugh….and I’ll never forget how much that single question rocked her mentality.

3.)
He could possibly be God.

At 25 years old on this trip to India he looked SHOCKINGLY LIKE Zarathustra!!  (he’s like the Zoroastrian version of Jesus).

ashdin-zarathustra

I remember us having a hilarious conversation about our religion with some older family, and Ashdin said (paraphrased from memory):

“So 5,000 years ago this guy goes into the desert, says he saw God, and now we worship him.  But if I went into the desert, and came back saying I saw God, people would think I’m crazy.”

BAHAHAHA!!  It’s true.

If you look at that picture above, Ashdin could’ve easily dressed in some robes, occasionally said some wise shit, and been the guy we worship 5,000 years later.

Anyhow, HAPPY BIRTHDAY ASHDIN!!

Wish my brother a happy birthday in the comments, and I’ll select 5 people to send a NevBox!

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    August 2013 – Day 6

    Oye ve…..today was exhausting and very productive!

    The trick is to make a schedule that pushes you to get stuff done before you’re comfortable with the final result.  Otherwise nothing gets done.

    Here is a scratched off to-do list (and partial calories tracked for the day):

    photo (2)

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      doing dumb crap is good for you

      I used to do a lot of dumb crap that ended up becoming useful later on in life.

      I did these things just for fun.

      Maybe I was a nerd.
      Maybe I had too much free time.
      But they almost always translated into useful skills SOMEWHERE down the line.

      In high school I started to learn Photoshop for fun.  I illegally downloaded it and tinkered around.  Since I was a high school student around the year 2000, there wasn’t much use for it, so I used it for dumb things.

      I used to do crap like take pictures of my first car (a 1992 Mercury Sable) shown here:

      ….and I would Photoshop different rims and graphics onto the car like this:OOhhhhhh yeeeaaa Pimp My Ride!!!

      ….OK, clearly this was stupid, but by accident I started teaching myself Photoshop.

      Now I use Photoshop on a daily basis for….
      –Friends ask for images to be modified.
      –I can mockup spec-sheets for outsourcing really well (like this and this).
      –I can make website elements really quick.
      –I can make stuff for my blog and business instantly.
      –I can show a developer exactly what I want on a webpage.

      Through “stupid things” I also learned to:
      –Make webpages.
      –Make & use blogs and eCommerce systems.
      –Started to write.
      –Do handstands and backflips.
      ….and way more.

      So if there’s a dumb hobby you have, stupid thing you wanna learn….  GO DO IT and don’t worry if it’s “useful”!

      There’s always some useful application for it in the future!
      Sincerely,
      Neville Medhora

       
      P.S.  I still remember this picture being the favorite thing I ever Photoshopped in high school!

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        August 2013 Goals

        Here’s my goals for August 2013:

        August 2013 Goals

         

        I’ve been a little on the un-productive side last month, so to keep me on track, I’ll be trying to post my daily to-do list’s all scratched out on this blog.

        Hope you’ve got YOUR August goals set!

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          about alcohol

          I wanna talk about alcohol.   

          I recently had a small “discovery” about myself which has drastically cut down on my alcohol consumption.

          And just for fun, I’m going to write this email, whilst drinking a beer!
          Cheers:
          ——————————————

          So here’s how I’d normally drink alcohol:

          IF I’m at a party….
          –and–
          IF they are serving alcohol…

          I will normally drink.  

          There’s no real rhyme or reason to this.  I’ll simply have a cocktail or beer out of habit.

          Now my problem is I drink FAST.
          If I have a drink in my hand (whether it’s a beer, martini, or CocaCola), I’ll keep taking sips until it’s finished.

          When I’m done, I’ll get another.

          I could finish three drinks before someone else finishes one, and not even realize it till it “hits me.”

          I went to 9 weddings in 2012 alone, and I want to share with you a common theme:

          1….) I would show up to the wedding reception where there’s always an open-bar starting around 7pm till dinner starts.

          2….) I would load up on free drinks, and by dinner time, be kind of buzzed (let’s not use euphemistic words to hide the truth here ….I’d be kinda drunk by this time).

          3….) Every drink I take lowers my ability to keep up conversation and be “sharp”…..so I’d be bit dull by the time dinner starts.

          4….) Since I’ve been drinking, I’m SUPER hungry by dinner time, and I scarf down the meal and whatever leftovers I can get from others.

          5….) So now I’m at a wedding, can barely stand up, feel bloated, have to take a huge dump, feeling cranky, and can no longer make witty conversation.  I just wanna leave at this point.

          OK……so by the end of a wedding I’m feeling like crap all because I had too many drinks too fast in the beginning.

          This was shockingly apparent to me when I was at a wedding in Cancun (the 4th wedding of that year).  I drank before the dinner started, then scarfed down three plates of food (they flew in a chef from Goa and the food was incredible)….and I felt so bloated and full that I had to go back to my hotel room to throw up.

          I ate SO much food I literally couldn’t keep it down.

          This was my body’s way of saying, “OK YOU DUMBASS YOU NEED TO SLOW THE FUCK DOWN.”

          I don’t think I’ve ever told anyone that story until now.
          It’s incredibly embarrassing.

          SOoooo I ended up making a “Wedding routine” I started following with great success for the next round of weddings.  Perhaps you can use this advice for parties you go to:

          1.) I would not have any drinks till AFTER dinner.  Because of this I could keep up great conversation and have a good time without an impending crash.

          2.) I would only eat HALF the dinner portioned to me (to avoid feeling so full).

          3.) Sometime late into the dinner or after, only if I felt like it, I would start having drinks with friends.  Having a few drinks helped me have more fun on the dance floor.  Several times I simply didn’t feel like drinking at this point because I was having a lot of fun and didn’t want/need any drinks.  It was liberating.

          THAT’S IT.  That simple change of “only drinking after dinner” completely changed the outcome!!

          Such a stupid little hack changed everything!!

          Now that routine worked well for events like weddings, but I frequently go to tech meetups and events, and they’re often held at bars.

          The WHOLE point of these is to meet other nerds and have cool conversations.  But with every drink I have, my intelligence goes down.

          So one day I was talking with a shy-yet-incredibly-intelligent friend *cough cough* STEVE *cough cough*

          ….and we were talking about drinking habits.  He asked me one question which till this day I cannot get out of my mind.

          This is almost verbatim what he said:

          “I don’t understand why you drink.  You’re already outgoing, so why do you need alcohol?  I’m super quiet and nervous at parties, so if I have 1 or 2 drinks, it actually loosens me up and I have a better time.  So the alcohol serves a purpose for me.  But for you it doesn’t.”

          –my friend Steve

          HOLY FREAKIN CRAP.

          I had never ONCE in my life asked the simple question:
          Will this drink make my time here better or worse? 

          This led me down this path of thinking about all the other hidden invisible scripts I (and others) follow in life.

          Go to party with drinks —> You drink. 

          Go to college —> Then get job. 

          Party is invite only —> You can’t go

          It seems that we all follow these invisible scripts for seemingly small things.

          So remember in the beginning of this article I said “I’m going to write this email, whilst drinking a beer!”

          That wasn’t a joke.
          I am sitting on my couch with my Macbook Air and a Blue Moon beer on the table.

          But here’s the thing…..
          I was feeling lazy and un-creative before.  I was tickled by the idea of drinking a beer WHILE writing an article about drinking, so I did it.  And the beer served me.

          Actually the beer isn’t near me anymore.  I only drank half and put it back in the fridge.  Because instead of following the script of “Have open beer —> Drink it”….I’m asking if the beer is serving me or not.

          It served me when I started.  And now that I’m done, I don’t want anymore.

          I’d like for you to identify one invisible script you do on your own, and how you’ve changed that behavior (or plan to).

          I love hearing stories that have TINY changes that product BIG results (so I can emulate them).

          I’m particularly interested to hear about changes in your relationship, work, or habits.

          Leave a comment on my blog about them (you can remain anonymous or change your name if you’d like).  I will be selecting 5 commenters to send a NevBox to in the mail (anywhere in the world)! (remember each NevBox cost $97 and I have to physically ship it to you via snail mail…..and I’m no longer selling them).

          So go comment with a SMALL change that’s produced BIG results for you, and I might be contacting you to send you a NevBox!!!

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            Baby steps

            So for the longest time (3 1/2 months now) I’ve been trying to buy a rug for my apartment.  

            I can already hear you say: “Ok Neville, I really don’t give a shit about the status of your apartment decoration… ::eye roll::”

            Shut up.

            So when I got my previous apartment, I had zero furniture, and zero idea how to decorate.  I hate decorating.  It’s not something I’m good at.
            And I’m not good at it, because I put no effort into it.  

            Since we can trade people our money, to do things for us….. I hired some designer friends, gave them a $5,000 budget (including their fees) and told them to just “do the whole damn thing for me.”

            In less than a week I had a fully furnished apartment that looked like someone in semi-adulthood lived there:

            A while later I moved from that place for a few reasons

            • I had lived there for 2 years.
            • The apartment got robbed and someone stole all my Apple products (this really jacked with my head and made me resent the location a bit).
            • It was EVER SO SLIGHTLY on the ghetto side of town (just found out the 4 people got mugged outside my door this past weekend….so I made a good decision).

            So now that I’ve moved to a new place, I had to move around a lot of the furniture and get rid of certain things that didn’t look right.  But one new thing was hardwood floors.

            So APPPAARRENNTTLLYY for your living room, you gotta get a big-ass rug to indicate “this is the living room area.”

            Whatever…. how hard could this be??  I decided to try doing this myself in order to learn SOME design skills.

            Well I never realized what a hard decision this was.

            My previous crowning achievement in the decoration department was this black & white Homer Simpson poster that followed me for years through 2 dorm rooms and 3 apartments (I’m not kidding):

            So clearly my interior decorating skills are on the poor side.

            But like I said before (and this is important):

            I’m not good at it, because I put no effort into it.  

             A few YouTube searches for “How to design a living room” and asking some people about design (aka my mom), and it was pretty clear this whole “decoration” process was kinda of logical and formulaic.  

            The people I knew who were “good” at design spent lots of time reading magazines about design, watching tv shows about design, keeping an eye out for cool decor, and practicing it themselves.

            But they all started somewhere. 

            Basically if you want to learn something….there’s always small baby steps you can take to get started.  Here’s a couple examples:  The reason I suggest baby steps is from experience of watching people “want to do something” ….and then HATE it when they start doing it.  

            THING TO LEARN: BABY STEPS TO TAKE:

            If you wanna learn to decorate:
            –Try re-arranging your own living space.
            –Go through decorating magazines or pick up an Ikea catalog for ideas.

            If you want to start a blog:
            –Start a free blog on Blogger.com and start writing something. ANYTHING. Stories from your life. Advice you’ve learned. Just write.

            If you want to start an ecommerce website and sell stuff online:
            –1st get familiar with how to sell things online. Signup for BigCommerce or Shopify and build test stores.
            –Don’t worry about exactly WHAT to sell first….just get the technical side down and keep writing down ideas.

            If you want to learn a specific skill like woodcarving (I couldn’t think of anything better):
            –Start by Google’ing “How to woodcarve”
            –Grab a piece of wood and your mom’s best knife and start carving.

            If you want to become a copywriter:
            –Google it.
            –Watch copywriting advice for newbies.
            –Go to Amazon and buy books about copywriting or get my KopywritingKourse

            If you want to start making apps:
            –Big surprise: Google “how to design an app”
            –Go to Udemy and take a free or paid course on how to make an app.
            –Download some app templates and start tinkering with them.

            If you want to learn ANYTHING:
            –Google “how to (insert thing you wanna do).”
            –Go to Amazon buy books about it.
            –Start doing a ghetto version of it. Just “tinker”.

            I wanted to be a doctor when I was in high school (I mean…I AM Indian), so in high school I joined a program where I got to shadow 10 different doctors.  By the end, I realized I HATTTEDD what the doctors had to do!

            I quickly realized the environment and the work of a doctor were not my cup of tea.

            Likewise…..taking a baby step towards something will show your true passion for it quickly.  Either you’ll start off and soon your brain will become obsessed with it…..or your interest will quickly fizzle.

            Have a happy Monday….and if you’re looking to start something new, try some baby steps for it.  Lemme know what you’re trying to learn in the comments here, and I’ll answer with some baby steps on how you could get started!

            Sincerely,
            Neville

            P.S.  As for the rug decision?  I went to the rug store yesterday with the mindset of walking out with a rug.  By the time I made a purchase, I was still unsure about it…..but at least I dove into it, and within 5 days it’ll be delivered.  At that point I’ll quickly realize if it looks awesome, or sucks….but at least I’ll learn something from the decision!

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              Success Strikes Temporarily

              Well shit.  

              I had made it.

              Sometime in the summer of 2012 Noah and I rented a furnished condo in Manhattan.  East Village to be precise.  It was three bedrooms, and only two of us.  Having an extra bedroom in Manhattan is baller.

              I was 29, also had a nice apartment in Austin, TX, could work from anywhere in the world with an internet connection, renting a condo in semi-arguably one of the coolest cities in the world, and made something in the neighborhood of $40,000 that month.

              Life was going well.  

              But here’s the part that’s a total mind-fuck:
              We sat down at a coffee shop for a sip, and started discussing life.  And this….what we were doing in that moment ….THIS was it.
              THIS was “the American Dream” we were living.  

              Working from wherever, making good money, travelling, being young/healthy/ridiculously-good-looking, the world is your oyster!  Oddly enough, that realization only brought a slight grin to my face for a few seconds….then faded.

              I wanted to get back to work soon.
              I wanted to produce something else.
              I wanted to work on myself some more.
              I wanted to improve/go-further/learn-new-stuff.

              STOPPING AND RESTING at this point was a frightening and boring option.

              It reminded me of all the times my parents took us to some breathtaking place somewhere in the world.  We’d travel long-n-far, make several stops, encounter several obstacles, and when we were finally there, it was pretty neat-o for a second……but as I saw it and took it in for a moment, it was then time to move on.

              The journey was fun.
              The stories along the way were fun.
              The stresses of being with the same people for weeks-on-end was fun.
              Working towards some common goal was fun.  

              The journey of getting to a point is what made you grow.  Simply “being there” was relatively insignificant compared to “getting there”.

              That was an odd realization.

              Goddamn it.  I’ll just admit, the old cliche:

              “The journey is better than the inn”

              …pretty much summed it up long before my dumbass figured this out.

               

              Ok, so what’s the takeaway here?  I’ll tell you:

              You will always be working hard, so you may as well WANT to….and make it fun for yourself. 

              I’ve met a ridiculous amount of people who’ve said to me, “I just want to have a business on auto-pilot where I don’t have to do any work, and it spits out a lot of money.”

              Those people never go anywhere. I’ve never seen one of them succeed.  They’re dweebs who want SOMETHING for NOTHING.

              They want the world to give them something, without giving the world something back first.

              It never happens that way.  So before you ask yourself how to get something you want……maybe reverse the question and ask how YOU can give something to others first.

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