Ponzi Schemes of Your Mind

Narratives are the Ponzi schemes of your mind. And once you understand narratives deeply, you discover a key insight into learning almost anything and everything.

One of the biggest learnings I discovered, thanks to a decade of blogging, is the power of narratives. It's almost like the Inception movie.

Once you create a powerful narrative, you start invading others' subliminal space where their deepest thoughts and emotions reside.

Of course, it's not so easy.

The lead character Dominick Cobb, played by Leonardo Dicaprio, in Inception explains why it’s so difficult: “If you're going to perform inception, you need imagination. You need the simplest version of the idea – the one that will grow naturally in the subject's mind. A subtle art.”

And that's exactly what happens when you plant narratives into the world out there. You start putting the simplest version of it, and to watch it sprouting in others' minds is incredibly fascinating.

If you don't watch out, you can get consumed by your narratives.

The key to learn is to first put out the simplest version of your idea and watch the convexity of social media play out. Sooner enough, you stumble upon something that will debunk this Ponzi scheme.

And then inception continues. You learn infinitely.

Left-Over Products

Time for an Indian Food quiz.

What connects Locho, a Gujarati fast food originating from Surat, with Pav Bhaji, a well-known popular fast food originating from Mumbai?

Let me give you a clue. It is the same thread which connects Flickr and Slack.

Both are fast food items which originated from the left-overs of cooking experiments which went awry. If you dig the name deeper, the answer is a give-away.

Locho comes from Locha, meaning problem. Locho is made from the gram flour, originally meant for Khaman and Bhaji, using he left-overs of vegetables left unused Likewise in the product world, for the uninitiated, Flickr came from a tool which was originally built for a shelved multiplayer game called "Game Neverending" and Slack came from an internal tool that was built for another defunct game called Glitch. If you are an enterprising cook or a tenacious product chef, the moral of this tale is simple.

Always have an inquisitive eye for the left-overs. You never know what you can cook from them.

Unmessify Your Life

For the longest time, those who lived around me had reasons to complain about how I kept the stuff around me messy. "Creativity thrives on chaos. And I thrive on chaos" was my stock answer. It was my last line of defence. I must admit in all honesty, my defence has been weakening.

Ever since I came into "gig" life, I have begun seeing the power of organizing things both in my digital home where my representations live and my meatspace home where the city of my body(Kabir calls it Kaya Nagari) lives- and begun "unmessying" stuff around me.

I remember reading a powerful line recently from Gandhi's diaries: "Dirt is matter displaced". Haven't you observed that particular instinct to organize your shelf whenever you feel your mind is all over the place?

Once you "see" how the mind is influenced by displaced matter, you discover the power of organizing.

Let's face it- We live in our minds more than houses. It's our permanent residence. No constraints of square-feet. Vast space with unlimited area. And no matter how well-organized your stuff is, it all makes sense only when it is sorted in your mind.

It is natural for life to turn messy – regrets piling up in the corner, expectations stuffed in a closet, secrets brushed under the carpet, worries littered everywhere, comparisons spilt on the table, egos leaking from your wares, and grudges stinking from socks unwashed.

You can't outsource this housekeeping to someone else!
You have no one other than yourself to get your house in order. !