Issue 25 - weekend newsletter
What thoughts you would want on your deathbed
|Prasant Naidu||May 30|
“The secret of life is to ‘die before you die’ - and find that there is no death,” says Eckhart Tolle in his widely popular book The Power of Now.
As a kid and while becoming an adult, I have been a scared guy. As a kid, I was shy, scared to talk and as I grew up I always had one question - “what is that one thing I am good at” other than running away from things. The other thing I have been scared of has been with the concept of Death. Forget death, I don’t do goodbyes and I never go to see off people.
On a Sunday morning in May 2017, I woke up at noon with a bad hangover and had 4 missed calls from my brother, 3 missed calls from my mother and messages saying “Call back urgently.” I knew it has to be my father. My father had a second heart attack. I borrowed money and by evening I was in Bangalore with my family.
My father was discharged in the evening. He was cool about it, my brother was handling everything and my mother was acting strong. Sitting in the long lobby of Ramaiah Hospital I suddenly realised what if I could have never seen my dad. The entire episode was also one of the strong reasons why I decided to stop chasing my startup madness. “What good is a passion if it can’t pay bills for my loved ones.” I had come to see my father by borrowing money.
A year later, my father called me from my brother’s place on a Sunday morning. This time I was in Bangalore and he told me to come to the hospital because he was feeling uneasy and wanted to get admitted. Everyone got anxious and here I was packing my bag with a book, charger, and things I would require to spend my entire day in the hospital. I exactly knew what I had to do, what needs to be told to the doctors and I knew the entire procedure to get him admitted.
By the time my brother came, I had done everything and was reading my book. Everything was under control and I had no fear. But the reality was that my father was lucky to survive this time. The doctor went one step ahead and said that it is a miracle how he is still living. He turns 68 today, doing good, spends a lot of time with Netflix, fighting with my mother, and wants to know about my work and digital.
A few months later, while I was spending time I asked myself why was I not worried. Why is there was no fear of death? Initially, I felt a bit ashamed but by now I had seen death in my life. The person with whom I was deeply attached or mad had already moved out of my life. Think of it I have died bit by bit every moment in the last 3 years.
Initially, for 2 years I felt so disgusted that I wanted to end my life but looking back now I realise that it was important. It taught me how I have been wrong my entire life about relationships and for the first time I started realising that I am the epicenter of my failed relationships. I died every day only to come out as a better human being.
“Failures are required - to break, heal, and transform into a better version.”
You might be thinking that it is easy to say for Prasant because he hardly has any large goals in life, no family, and nothing to be attached. Maybe you are right. Maybe I am training myself to be in NOW. I don’t know the future and with the present times I really don’t want to but I can decide how to respond.
So when I am on my deathbed, what kind of feelings should I have?
Should I have regrets or should I be happy the way I choose to live? Shane Parrish in a recent enlightening conversation with Rich Roll talks about this and how we should work backward to decide what kind of life we want to live.
Our lives truly are the sum of our decisions compounded. What we do and what we decide quite literally defines who we are.
I started loving Podcasts because Shane and I have been a regular consumer of his Podcast show The Knowledge Project. For more than a year I have been listening to his podcasts and it has helped me to be a better person. So do listen to the former spy who is now one of the biggest influencers across Wall Street, Silicon Valley, and professional sports. It is a goldmine so listen when you have time and thank me later.
On my last birthday while sitting alone in a bar drinking in utter hopelessness, I was thinking should I end my life or fight to be a better human being. I was 41 living with my parents in Bangalore because my startup or passion was dead, my marriage had fallen apart and when you are on roads your parents are the last hope. I had no job, I had no money, I was an alcoholic, I hated life, I hated people and was living in my past so that I can build a lovely future. I didn’t want to face the present because it was painful and I was running from it.
In other words, it was an utter disaster for me and obviously a shame for my parents. No parent wants to see their elder son coming every night at 2 or 3 PM completely drunk. Trust me if I had a son like myself, I would have killed him and gone to jail. My parents stood with me like a rock.
Sitting in the bar I was completely convinced that I had nothing to live for. I was an utter failure. But I thought if I die today what an unhappy soul I would be full of regrets.
Why not give Prasant one more chance. I have failed so many times in my life that I don’t fear failure and nothing could be more worst than sitting in a bar all by myself and thinking of death on my birthday.
It’s been 10 months and I am trying to live a life so that if tomorrow I die I should not have regrets. I am not saying that I am the newage life coach and happiness guru. I am just not living an unhealthy and toxic lifestyle. I have removed things or people from my life that made me unhappy, didn’t give me peace, and bring anxiety. Most importantly I don’t live in the past or future. Yes there is pain and my past will always be there but a time comes when it no more matters to the present.
Tomorrow when I am on my death bed, I am really not worried if I have a lot of money or house or material wealth. I am not saying that they are not important, yes everyone wants a comfortable life but when I leave this world I want to do so by being a better human being.
“Did I live a healthy life, did I pursue things that make me happy. And most importantly I want people to remember me as an okay human being.”
Obviously I have not added the relationship or family part because it is not in my hand and I am not chasing for it in dating apps. The way I look at relationships, family, and love today is very different. If you say you love someone, the question one needs to ask how is he or she helping their partner in being a better person or grow. I will talk about Love some other day.
Anyway, these are the simple things or thoughts I want to have on my death bed. Basically I want to leave this world as a better human being. And this is an ongoing process, where I fail every other day, get frustrated, go for a run, cook something interesting, sleep for a while, moaning for a while, watch a mad episode of 2 and a Half Men on Netflix, laugh like crazy, and then again I am back to my tracks. This is who I am.
So what kind of thoughts you want to have on your deathbed? Don’t have to tell me, just have a conversation with yourself.
Thank You! If you are still with me. Please find my three stories that I wrote this week, read them if you have missed them.
In 2015 Google was aiming for a faster web, it still wants you to aim for faster pages but it is also adding an additional signal of Page Experience. Why is Google looking for a better web?
Donation pages are the backbone of a fundraising initiative by any NGO so how can we make it more effective and avoid the frictions and common mistakes. Interestingly I happened to see the donation campaign run by Swiggy and I share my thoughts on the fundraising campaign.
That’s all for this week. I will see you next week with some more stories. Meanwhile, love yourself and your loved ones ❤️
By the way, if you think that my stories are giving value to your time then feel free to make a donation to my personal COVID-19 campaign. Did you observe today I haven’t used any cuss word? Now do the needful 😜
Peace and Happiness ❤️