Rajesh Kumar

Optimizing life, one day after the next

The Cat is Out of the Bag

07 Sep 2009

People are always confused by my actions. They say it makes no sense. That there doesn't seem like there's any sane rationale for half the stuff I do or half the stuff I say. Under normal circumstances I'd love this. Under normal circumstaces, I'd like them to think that I'm ever-puzzling and enigmatic, because that way I can catch them by suprise whenever I want. But the truth is pretty much who I am and what I do everyday is simply a mesh of the works of the following three people:

1. A. R. Rahman's musical compositions

2. Paul Graham's essays

3. Steve Pavlina's blog entries

That my life is only a mesh of the works of 3 other people is perhaps one of my best-kept secrets. But I wasn't really trying hard to keep it a secret because if you dig deep enough, you'll see references to these 3 people all over my blog and essays and even on Twitter.

I've been paying close attention to the works of these 3 "artists" from anywhere between 4 and 8 years. I think I'd be safe to say that I'm an almost perfect hybrid between the stories that have resulted from the works of these 3 people. These people are so ingrained in me that I refer to them as my #1, #2 and #3 respectively. Take anything, anything at all, that's odd about me and I can provably attribute it to one or more of the works of one or more of these 3 people. It's almost like these guys tell me what to do and how, and all I have to do is execute it.

So there you go, the cat is out of the bag. It's kinda sad though, because it means there is nothing original about my personality. It's all just a copy of 3 other peoples'! But I pride myself for having chosen the 3 right people. If I had chosen wrong, the consequences could've been disastrous.

Now you might think these 3 people are what a lot of people call mentors or role models. But I actually don't know any of these 3 people personally! Sure, you could argue, you don't need to know a person personally to consider him a mentor or a role model. But there's a subtle difference here. It's almost like the famous difference between catching a man a fish and teaching him how to fish. These 3 guys tell me how to think, when and where, but at the end, I'm the one who has to go do the thinking. These 3 people never tell me what to do, but instead establish the right framework and the right mindset to enable me to think and do what I consider is the right thing. So it would almost certainly be wrong to consider these 3 people as mentors or role models. I don't copy them per se, I just take all their works, mesh them together, and use that to figure out what I should do and how I should go about doing them.

Michael Jackson may make a good role model. Bill Clinton may make a good role model. But Paul Graham? Now I don't know how he leads his life, but even if I did, he probably wouldn't make that great of a role model. But his depth of thinking and writing ability, now I'd certainly love to copy that!

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