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Q: Do you consider yourself lucky?
On November 21st 2021, a few weeks after we published our first post on Disco Dialogues I sent an email to Mitali about sharing our dialogues unfiltered on DD.
Maybe what we write doesn’t need to be this very well thought out, edited final copy. And instead they should be dialogues. Between us. Back and forth. Wouldn’t that be interesting and really true to what we have been doing?
She's been in India for the last two weeks and I'm here in San Francisco wrapping up work and getting ready to start maternity leave. We've gotten into the habit of writing long emails to each other during the summer when we travel. We've both found it as much fun to write as to receive these little missives. So today we're doing something different. We're sharing a slice of our recent emails to each other. This is really how Disco Dialogues started with us corresponding with each other in the summer of 2021. Drop us a message whether you liked this format or found it boring - either way we'd love to know.
Correspondence: From India to San Francisco - Summer 2023
I have been thinking about this comment "how lucky/you are so lucky!" that I have heard said to me in the past few months by others including you. And the difference between luck and hard work. I don't consider myself lucky. Just sometimes the results I get are pay off from many years of slogging/putting in time and effort.
The quote below from a newsletter by Ryan Holiday is interesting coz on the surface he looks like he has made it, publishing his 14th book. A lot of the Twitter bros and creator gurus look like they made it happen fast but this quote below serves as a reminder that it probably took a long long long time to get there.
"...I started blogging in 2005. My first book came out in 2012. The Obstacle is the Way came out in 2014…and took six years for it to hit any bestseller list. I didn’t hit the New York Times Bestseller list until 2019, on my 13th book.
If you had told me that’s how long it would have taken, I might have been able to endure it. But Tom Petty was wrong. Waiting is not the hardest part. It’s the not knowing when the waiting is going to end.
But that’s life. That’s how success works."
- Ryan Holiday
Getting perspective is helpful for me since I have recently started to wonder...."It's been almost 4 years since I left Google and what do I really have to show for it but 50+ posts on DD?" And then I start to worry if it's all of any use. But I remind myself - one post at a time. Just keep chipping away. You are learning and having fun with each one. Maybe one day something will happen. But I am doing it today coz I enjoy it *now* - not for some future payoff (that will be icing on the cake if something happens). And when I don't enjoy it then I talk to you about it and we figure it out. So thanks for helping me stay accountable and consistent. Even through all the breaks I am glad we have continued to pursue this creative project.
Correspondence: From San Francisco to India - Summer 2023
First about luck.
Second about time.
Luck. I know exactly when I said it to you recently - right before you left...something about how lucky you were to be going to India. I think this falls in the same vein of people saying - "oh she's so lucky to have such a great body", "oh he's so lucky to be so loaded", "she's so lucky to have so much time". What appears as luck to a passerby is actually years of perseverance, making good, often difficult choices, being intentional and willing to take risks. Witnessing your life first hand I'm of course aware of all that you've put in to get to a place of security for your family and the continued internal struggles to take this much deserved break. I know when people say - oh you are so lucky - it might seem unfair because it lacks the recognition of all you put in to get here…but remind yourself they don't need to know as long as you do. So continue to fight that guilt when it shows up. You don't need to have anything to show for yourself for the past four years. This is the time you've earned for all that past effort (even though "time" doesn't really need to be earned!) Is there some amount of privilege involved? Of course there is…but all those people saying “oh how lucky” are probably as privileged. On the other hand it's actually a good thing to consider yourself lucky. Take it from someone who has always believed that. I'm pretty sure feeling lucky attracts more of it.
Time. Thanks for forwarding this post about time. I love it. I'm not sure if I mentioned this thought that I had about time about a month ago. Recently this song by Thom Yorke came on. The instant memory that popped up in my head was me in a car with a friend driving down the coast in the Algarve in the summer of 2010 listening to that song. I had been feeling anxious about being 30 and nowhere close to marriage, wondering if I was ever going to find love and have children. And then I heard Thom singing "You have all the time in the world…" and that line back then made me feel better, a bit more at peace. Fast forward to 2023, 13 years later - I married someone I love, little A arrived and I am on my way to welcoming another little one. So the realization was that things, the good things - big shifts - they take time. And it's important to be patient. I think for a while now, several years I've been asking/struggling with the "why have I not made a change in my career?" question. This pregnancy has made me realize that the timing is right - first the home and then work. And that meaningful change takes time. So just buckle down and keep chipping away. So your entire email and Ryan's post are reinforcing that. I love this bit in his newsletter:
Which means you’re going to have to buckle up.
You’re going to have to learn patience, humility, perseverance.
You’re going to have to find other ways to measure your progress and your success.
You’re going to have to put that energy into getting better, into understanding the game better.
You’re going to have to wait, and then wait some more…and then wait more after that.