I called my 2022 recap blogpost a reflection. I think it was less of a reflection than a recap of my wins. Yes, I do reflect a lot, not just at the end of the year, but a lot of these are too personal to share on my blog. This means I will use this blogpost to share mostly highlights from the year, some learnings, recommendations, and a few parting thoughts.
I will start by sharing what I wrote as my focus areas at the beginning of the year.
All the things I am doing in 2023: What’s next after Gojek? Gojek Stretching Football Gym Yoga Photography Poker Master leadership communication Work on charisma Hygge home
2023 is the year to become a true HOP, become the fittest I have ever been, and treat life as an opportunity to have adventures. Year to upgrade myself.
So how did I fare?
- What’s next after Gojek?: I wanted to figure out what’s next for my career. I had completed 4 years at Gojek and felt my future growth was a function of mostly macro factors beyond my control than something I could achieve by grinding more. It was a very weird position to be in. After a lot of discussions with my manager I decided to commit to another year. I was pretty close to even moving to Jakarta at one point. Finally decided to commit to Gojek, but stay put in Bengaluru, while splitting my time between Bengaluru and Jakarta mostly.
- Gojek: Focusing on work and delivering a lot of key projects meant I got to expand my role. I am grateful for all the opportunities I have got here and it has been an immense learning experience.
- Stretching: I used to focus a lot on mobility, had a 5 min desk stretch routine and all that, but I started neglecting it over time. I was pretty consistent over the last few months though.
- Football: Played a lot of football, especially in H1. In H2 got a personal trainer for strength training and focus became that instead of football. From 3 times a week to barely once a month, I consciously moved away from this sport.
- Gym: Big win. You will see a lot of updates related to this in the highlights section below.
- Yoga: Miss.
- Photography: Did a lot of it in H1, but had to deprioritise and I was juggling too many things.
- Poker: Started hosting biweekly poker sessions at my home and improved a lot in higher stakes. Check my year end update on poker blogpost.
- Master leadership communication: Inspite of growing to quite a senior position in my company, I had not leveled up in terms of how I communicate. I worked a lot on it. A sample learning is shared in the selling to execs post.
- Work on charisma: Charisma is probably not the right word. The thing I was looking for was more executive presence. Inspite of all my growth in my career, I still acted like a fresh grad. I wore the same hoodies that I wore as a dev 10 years back. I look very young too. A lot of people think I am still in college. This is the reason I started dressing my age.
At some point in the year I came up with more detailed goals. I never tracked them. I am actually rereading these as I write this blogpost. Let’s see again how these went.
Body (divided into mobility, cardio, and strength, and mental health)
- Football 1X / week: I probably would average close to this inspite of cutting down on football in the 2nd half of the year.
- Sub 20% body fat: Definitely failed.
- 66 kgs body weight: I actually went up to 72 from 69ish instead of cutting to 66.
- 5K run atleast once: See how I wanted to just push myself and complete 1 run of 5Ks. I ran a lot of 5Ks. I consider it a win.
- 2x/ week workouts: I am training 3/4X days a week.
- Trainer for a month: I wanted to train with a trainer for a month. Ended up signing up for life.
- Skin and teeth care: Fail.
- Knees over toes routine mastery: I wanted to rebuild my knees after a couple of years of intense football. I wanted to complete the knees over toes progam, but failed.
- Deadlift bodyweight: Passed this spectacularly. I can deadlift 110 kgs now.
- Start 1 side hustle: Focus on career and poker meant I had no time for this. I tried angel investing last year, this year I did not try anything new.
- Reach ideal portfolio split by EOY: Not sure if I reached my ideal money portfolio. I wish I had put far more money in equity.
- Kashmir: Miss. I have never experienced snowfall. Wanted to go to Kashmir. Maybe I will do next year.
- UK: I wanted to do UK this year. Instead ended up travelling across Japan.
- Watch Liverpool match live in UK: Miss.
- One train journey: Had been a long time since I travelled by train. I did both Mangalore and Mysore by train.
- Dubai: Miss.
- First Bangalore bus trip: Yes! I took public bus once. And travelled a lot by metro.
- Cocktails: We had got a cocktail making kit. I planned to host a lot of parties. Failed. Instead I hosted a lot of poker nights.
- Baking: Miss.
- Story telling: A lot of leadership is story telling and selling up. I became quite good at this.
- Optics: Ship stuff, get results, and shout from the rooftop. I always did first two. Never the last. This year I shared all our wins on Slack. And also maintained the POW page on this blog.
- 3 small coding projects: Miss.
- Sam Parr hour: This was supposed to be me spending an hour researching interesting spaces. Being curious about businesses. I did quite a bit of it, but I could have done far more here.
- Get US visa: As I was travelling almost every month, especially in H2, it was hard to apply for visa and lock my passport with the embassy.
- Movie nights with my new big ass TV: Did quite a few of these.
- Cocktail parties: Miss.
What I am willing to cut down on to achieve my goals?
- Angel investing: Yes, 0 investments this year.
- Twitter: Tweeted far less. Went of Twitter for months.
- Writing: Wrote far fewer blogposts.
- No double day misses: This means I was allowed to skip one gym session, but not two in succession.
- Reduce scope but stick to schedule: The days I was not feeling it I still ran, maybe not 5K but 2K. The days I did not feel strong I still worked out. Maybe not an hour, but 20 mins. Consistency is everything for long term gains.
- More apple watch competitions: I competed with friends regarding fitness goals. It was quite fun.
- Continuous walking habit: Developed a habit to walk more. My average steps this year was far higher compared to previous years.
- Restarted Football: I had hurt my knee and was out for 3 months. Restarted regular football.
- Inlaws came home: I think for the first time they visited our house in Bengaluru.
- Cosy house setup: Set up my ideal hygge home.
- OLED tv: I got a new LG C2 65 inch TV.
- Hosted a couple of house parties: This was fun, but I did not continue with this. I read the 2 hour cocktail party book too. It is a great book.
- Went to the new Lulu mall in Bengaluru: My wife is mallu. Self explanatory.
- Loaded up on FDs: I got spooked about the markets and invested a lot on FDs as the returns were decent.
- Binging shows on new TV: Watched a lot of shows. White Lotus Season 2 looks amazing on new TV.
- Paused art and photography: Just not a priority.
- Morning affirmation habit: I started writing morning affirmations, especially around the kind of leader I wanted to be at work. I later started just tracking leadership habits on my Streaks app and stopped with this.
- Got into sneakers: Bought a bunch of sneakers. I wanted to stop wearing slippers to work.
- Wife’s Geneva work trip: I wanted to join her too, but could not.
- Went home: Visited my parents in Guwahati and went to see my brother who was posted as a magistrate at a border district.
- Exercised Gojek stock: I ended up exercising and selling some of my stocks. I would have expected a far more outcome from my stint at a company that grew 10X since I joined in terms of valuation, but post IPO the stock went down a lot, and I took some money off the table.
- Joined my society gym: Started working out once a week.
- Iftar at Frazer town: It was fun.
- First time taking public bus in Bangalore: I wanted to take more public transit.
- Played a bit of cash poker on adda52 and MPL and got back to reading poker theory: Mostly lost all my deposits.
- Poker downswing continues: Started the year down bad and it only got worse as the year progressed.
- Shaved my head: An yearly ritual.
- First 5k run in agara: A mix of walking and running with a friend.
- Biggest cash loss in poker: As I said the downswing would get worse. I think I lost 75/80K in one home game.
- Jakarta travel: Travelled to Jakarta for work.
- Japan: Japan was good. Here is the itinarary
- Shopping: I am not a big shopper, but I got mad in Japan and bought a shitload of things.
- New watch purchase: I bought a fancy watch and gifted it to my brother for his engagement this year.
- Mumbai: Visited Mumbai after years. It was my wife’s first time in Mumbai.
- Sold stock: This was the stocks I exercised in March.
- Personal trainer: Got a personal trainer. I pay him 10K a month for 12 sessions. One of the best investments I have made in my life.
- Got the Head Of Product title: No matter how much Gokul Rajaram says Title does not matter, it actually does. Your comp as well as the next role you get is based on your current title and role.
- Highest poker win: I won 20K. First time I won 20K in a cash home game.
- Poker downswing continues: Took a short Poker break.
- First continuous 5K: Instead of walking and running, I complete my first non stop run.
- Bodyweight training: Started bodyweight training along with traditional strength training.
- SAFF final: I went to see India win. First big live football game I attended. The atmosphere was electric.
- Deadlifted body weight: 70 kgs.
- 15 5 30 threadmill routine: I started a new threadmill routine in my society gym. 15 incline & 5 km/hr for 30 mins. You will burn a lot of calories.
- Nutrition: Started taking supplements.
- 2nd hand weights: Got 100 kgs worth of second hand plates from some warehouse in Narasapura.
- Jakarta travel: This was a constant for the year.
- Got a few inguries back to back in football: Realised that the downside of permanently injuring my knee or tearing my ACL is not worth it. Cut on football.
- Back stretch routine thanks to my trainer: Weight lifting and back stretches helped get rid of my back pain.
- Lost 9-1 in fifa: Deleted fifa after a series of losses. I hate losing in things I care about. Fifa was not a priority for this year, and I hated not having time to improve in Fifa.
- Jakarta travel: Continued spending more time in Indonesia.
- Futsal in jakarta: It was my first time playing football outside India. Courts in Jakarta are pretty good.
- Brother’s engagement: My brother got engaged.
- House decoration: I spent quite a bit of money in redecorating our house in Guwahati.
- I gifted presents to everyone in my family: A new 65 inch TV to my dad, a new watch to my brother, a new leather bag to my mom, amongst other things.
- Completed one year of food tracking: Had been tracking my calorie intake on Loseit.
- Jakarta: Spent more time in Jakarta.
- Bekasi field trip: Went to Bekasi, another city in Indonesia.
- Water tracking: Started tracking my water intake using Waterllama.
- New bench: Got Decathlon’s Bench 900.
- Started taking creatine: Stopped as it made me feel bloated.
- Quit a major bad habit: Something I had quit years back and started again just before joining Gojek.
- Coimbatore: Went to Coimbatore and spent some quality time with my inlaws. I know there are a lot of inlaws jokes on the internet, but I love my inlaws. They are amazing.
- Jakarta trip: Back in Jakarta.
- Airfryer: Another amazing purchase. I am not sure why I did not buy it earlier.
- Moka pot: Wife loves coffee. I got her a special edition Bialetti moka pot.
- Squat, deadlift, bench, and leg, extensions, kettlebell swings PRs: 100 kgs deadlift, 60 kgs squat, ~80 kgs leg extensions, and started doing 100+ swings with my kettlebell.
- 5k runs: Did more runs. Started running regularly.
- New poker set: Bought a new poker set.
- Big loss in poker home game: Yes, I just could not maintain a winning streak. Would win in one home game and lose in the next.
- New squat rack and a completely new home gym setup: Got a new gym setup from Siege fitness. Turned one room in my 3BHK house into a home gym.
- Cubbon park run: Ran at Cubbon park. I started running in various parks in Q4.
- Monitored my expenses for the first time and created a budget: Have shared a post on this.
- Biggest poker loss during Diwali party at home: Lost 85K.
- Visited Mangalore and Udupi: Took a Vistadome train ride. Had a lot of sea food. Mangalore food scene is amazing.
- Malaysia trip: A quick trip to Malaysia.
- Nike run app guided coaching: Started using NRC app’s guided runs.
- Visited Mysore: Took a Bande Bharat train.
- 1 hour indoor cycling: Cycling PR.
- Got promoted to Head of Product for Transport, Customer Logistics, and Gocorp (our B2B products): Came in the same month that I completed my 5 years here at Gojek.
- Deadlifted 110 kg: 1RM for deadlift, Benched 60 kgs: 1RM.
- 5K run PR at a park near Vidyarthi Bhavan: Before this I never cracked sub 40 min for a 5K run. Yes, I know I am slow. I ended up finishing in 34 mins.
- Finished 2nd in an offline poker tourney in Indiranagar: It was my first offline tournament.
- Highest win in a home game: Won 55K.
- Longest winning streak poker: November and December was quite good. I recovered a lot of money that I had lost in H1.
- Ran Phonepe organised 5K race: Finished in 32.4 min. Was a PR.
- Highest home game win: Won 1 lakh in a home game. I cut my losses to just 30K for the year.
- Pub quiz: Attended my first pub quiz. Narrowly missed out on top 3 finish.
- Travelled to Sarjapur for just an hour of poker: Maybe I have become a gambling addict.
- Invited 11 people for a home game: Had to host 2 tables. Was super fun.
- Played 4/5 days in the wellness week. Had a big loss in one of the sessions. Down 84K for the year.
- Hosted friends for a board games night: Was super fun. We played Loveletters, Coup, and Splendor, and Exploding Kittens.
- Non fiction (mostly introspective ones)
- Reboot by Jerry Colonna (cheapest therapy)
- Courage to be disliked (life changing)
- The art of making memories (perfect book to make your Vietnam trip memorable)
- Lonesome Dove (if you liked red dead redemption)
- 3 body problem (sci-fi)
- Stoner (you either absolutely love stoner, or you will leave after 20 pages)
- One day
- True Detective Season 1 (best crime series)
- Master of None Season 2 (italy)
- Ramy Season 2 (immigrant tale)
- Death Note (I gave up on my college exams to binge watch this)
- Before sunrise (you will end up watching the other two in the series)
- The secret life of Walter Mitty (feel good)
Midnight in Paris (such an underrated movie)
- Witcher 3 (expansion packs are as good as the main game)
- Red Dead Redemption 2 (i wish i had played this one slowly)
- God of War (everyone must have played this already, but still)
- Habits compound. Tracking my food intake led to working out. Working out led to eating more protein. More protein meant I had to drink more water. I started running. I am probably the healthiest I have ever been.
- Travelling a lot is brutal. For a student, the life of a management consultant seems amazing. When you are in your 30s, you just want to sleep in the same bed every night. It was not easy for me and my wife, but we did it for my career. And I got what I expected. Ultimately, it comes down to compromises.
- I want to spend more time doing things that I can see myself doing in my old age. And yes, things that are cheap and that I can afford even if I lose half my net worth. Working out is one of them. You can even do it alone. You don’t need to spend more once you’ve got your equipment. Running is another.
- Food/coffee is a great way to make friends. I used to feel very lonely in the Jakarta office. Language barrier. Also, all my good office friends are here in Bengaluru. I started asking people out for coffee. And ended up making some good friends in this office too. Okay, maybe friend is a strong word. But at least I don’t feel lonely now.
- I spent the end of the year in the same way as the rest of the year: reading, working out, playing poker and eating good thindi. I can’t imagine spending three times the cost of a normal hotel and paying all the bills just because I want people to know I’m having fun. You can travel in February.
- I have read far less this year than in previous years. Goodreads says I read 59 books. And I also wrote far less. 38 posts, including this one. That is ok. I wanted to concentrate on my work, my health and poker. 3 things is a lot.
- Scaled a football whatsapp group to 400+ members. Probably the most active footballing community in Bengaluru.
- Hosted my weekly home poker game consistently for more than a year.
- Giving feels good. I never cared enough to participate in Secret Santa and whatnot. I just give things to people I like. Without expecting anything in return. It is one of the privileges of having a well paid job.
- One filter I have for meeting people: I have to like them enough to pay for the food bill. I rarely let others pay. I don’t meet a lot of people, so that few times I do I want to foot the bill. Unless we are going to a very expensive place because of the other person’s preference. Then we might split.
- There is no budget for my health. I am willing to spend whatever it takes to live a healthy life.
- There is no upside to arguing with people online. It is easier to block them.
- As you grow older you will have to make peace with a lot of things. I am not particularly close with my family. I rarely go visit my relatives. On the other hand, I am very close to my inlaws. You have to choose your tribe. I can’t go back in time and fix all my childhood issues, but I can choose who and how I want to spend my time with.
- If you really care about someone, you will make time. A 10 mins call? A 10 secs whatsapp message? No one is busy enough to not find 10 secs. Same with your goals. Want to read more? Just find 10 mins to read a few pages.
- Highly recommend getting an airfryer if you want to eat healthy.
- I read the book Reboot every year. It is my version of Therapy.
- Trolling people on Twitter, subtweeting is just a short term dopamine fix. There are far better ways to spend time. I regret everytime I have subtweeted people. I know I am a far better than the person that shits on others on Twitter.
- We will all grow old and die in some old age home. Instead of living a life that looks good in the eyes of others, focus on things you really care about. My grandparents are dead. No one talks about them anymore. Same will happen to you.
- For me every month counts. I want to live a good rich (in expriences) life so that when I am sitting in the old age home waiting to die I don’t have a lot of regrets. Atleast the regrets will be part of the tradeoffs I make in this life.
- I optimise mostly for time well spent. A lot of people talk about money games and status games. Very few talk about how to spend the hours you have well. It is not about being the most productive person in the world. It is about living with intention.
- This is the youngest I will ever be.
- My wife is my rock. I have no idea what I did in my life to earn enough karma to deserve her. I get to spend time with one of the kindest, sweetest person in this world, but I lucked out in this department. I never share a lot about our relationship to prevent nazar.
- Sometimes it is the paani puri at the nearby paani puri stall with your wife that fixes a shitty day.
- Ego helps you achieve big things in life. Ego also stops you from making things right with people you care about. I mended relationships with a lot of people in my life by just curbing my ego and reaching out. As you grow older everyone gets busy. Everyone feels it is the other person who should reach out. And do more. I am okay doing more. Not for everyone, but for the people I genuinely care about.
- You decide the game you want to play. And the limits you set. I still have not learned the art of throwing people under the bus for my career advancement, but I do have learned the shouting from the rooftop about your achivements game.
- Mentoring people and sharing my learnings is my way of giving back to the world.
- Running is painful when you start. Once you are done with the first couple of kms, you start feeling good. What feels even better? Knowing you did not need to run, but you still did. People talk about discipline all the time. What matters far more is consistency and showing up when you don’t feel like.
- I am far too conservative when it comes to most people when it comes to money. I know I gamble a lot, but when it comes to asset allocation I have a disproportionate amount of my networth in debt (FDs, PF, PPF). I guess I want to protect my downside first, and then optimise my networth.
- Track your expenses. You are probably spending the double the amount you have in your head.
- Knowing I can cut my spend by 1/3rd tomorrow without sacrificing quality of my life gives me a lot of confidence. In really tough times I can even cut to 1/2. For me freedom is knowing I will be good no matter the economic climate.
- I reward myself on my runs by listening to podcasts (generally a waste of time) and then post-run tindi. Running is also a great way to discover new parks in Bengaluru.
- Does more money make one happier? I think Morgan Housel said it best in one recent podcast I listened to: money leads to happiness, but not as much as you would think. It does reduce your anxiety about money stuff. I find myself far at peace now with the savings I have.
- Keep 12 months worth of expenses as savings for emergency.
- The only way to run a community, especially on Whatsapp, is by being a dictator and enforcing strict community guidelines.
- Link to the list of books I read this year: Goodreads.
- Japan is actually worth the hype.