The Maths of Life

When a man marries his girlfriend, he immediately creates a vacancy.

Okay, this is not my quote. It is from James Goldsmith. But it doesn’t matter whose quote is it because the point is – it highlights an unpleasantly interesting truth.

The truth is, you like something when there are no strings attached. When strings get attached, you start disliking the same thing!

We observe it all the time, but we don’t pay attention to this pattern much. Here is a story that affirms this observation.

In 1999, I met with a person called Milan (name changed for privacy).

He had a clerical/administrative job in a school. His work hours were 8:00 am to 1:00 pm and his salary were more than enough to take care of his needs.

But Milan hated his job. His passion was teaching maths to children.

Milan was excellent with academic maths and loved teaching. A lot of students used to come to him to learn maths.

Frustrated with his boring job, he quit his job. Soon he rented a space, ordered some furniture, and open his maths coaching classes.

He got the first batch within just a week of opening the classes.

Within just 3 months, he was running about 4 batches in a day. He was happy with his work and he rented more space, partnered with a couple of other teachers and hired a few more teachers.

They were four people running their coaching classes and gaining a good name amongst young children and their parents because of their quality maths coaching.

More and more students started joining his maths classes. And he was almost compelled to start more batches.

Now, apart from teaching maths, he also had to look after the administrative and operational aspects of running a coaching class business.

It turned out that he just loved teaching maths, not running a coaching class business.

His operational costs were increasing day by day – and the revenues he was generating through fees was not enough to take care of the costs.

His “hobby” shifted from teaching maths to share-market day trading. He started hating maths and started spending more time at a sharebroker’s office.

To make a long story short, after a few months, he shut his classes down because he could not sustain it and got an administrative job again with some organization.

His life went on but certainly, it was not something that Milan and his near ones would have wished for him.

The Math of Life Utpal Vaishnav


  1. Don’t turn your hobby into a business (especially if you are not up for understanding the business aspects of converting your hobby into a business).
  2. Your boring looking job gives you time and money to pursue your hobby, be aware of that and find peace with it.
  3. In business, there are a lot of things that you do which you may not personally like but you still need to do. That’s normal. If you don’t know how to lead yourself on the face of unpleasant yet important activities of your business, you will be out of business soon.
  4. The maths of life is not 1+1 = 2. Its answer could be different in different situations. What people do not get is that both the digits (1) are defined passively – by a lot of external factors. In other words, in business, 1 does not represent a constant, it is a variable!

Your relationship with the hobby will remain healthy if you don’t try to convert it into a job – or a business.

Fulfilling My Destiny – A Zen Story

In not so ancient times, there lived a master.

He came from a humble background and led his way to wisdom through hard work, perseverance, and ability to solve complex problems.

He was appreciated for not only his wisdom but also for his unique + unusual + interesting way of teaching.

Everyone Liked the Master

A lot of people not only liked him but also used seek his help for solving diverse problems related to business, relationships, and life.

His preferred way of teaching was fire and forget. He’d  teach a concept, provide vivid examples and relevant stories around the concept and that’s it.

He never seemed to worry much about the outcomes and used to teach all kind of students with equal focus.

A New Disciple Comes

One day, a new student enrolled in master’s self-development class.

The new student was young but curious, inexperienced but determined, not super talented but had super-clarity of thoughts.

The fees for the class was  100% participation of the student. If a student takes any session for granted, s/he would not make to the next class.

The young student was working hard, participating wholeheartedly, and expressing himself fully.

He got enough attention and guidance from the master.

This student started acquiring more skills and started being more aware of the fabric of self-development and what it means to be a lifelong learner.

While the class was about to end, the student said to the master:

“Oh master, I have been observing you since you accepted me in your class.

You don’t worry much whether your students will learn what they need to or not.

You just teach and let your students learn. If they don’t, you don’t say anything to them. If they do, then also you don’t say anything to them.

But when it comes to me, I think you make sure that I learn it.

You are helping me to fulfill my dreams. Thank you, master!”

Master Fulfills His Destiny

“I’m not here to fulfill your dreams; I’m here to fulfill my destiny.” replied the master.

“What’s your destiny?” asked the student.

“My destiny is what I make of it,” the master said calmly.

“But I think you help me to fulfill my dreams, you go beyond what a master would do normally,” the student affirmed his thought.

“Well,” said the master, “I’m just fulfilling my destiny. If it means anything else in your world then it is your version of what it is.”

What to Learn from the Story

#1. Your destiny is to serve. When  you serve, you rule. Rule the hearts. 💚

#2. Like the master, we all are here to fulfill our destiny. And our destiny is what we make of it. If it means anything else to anyone, it is not our lookout, it is their lookout. 🙂

#3. Fulfilling your destiny means nothing but celebrating your existence and doing what you feel is right in the moment of choice.

What if fulfilling your destiny becomes your life work?

PS: It’s okay if you’re not doing your life work but at least now you know that it is possible to do that sooner than later.

The Tao of Understanding

The Tao of Understanding

When you understand kindness as kindness, mercilessness arises
When you understand love as love, hatred arises

Thus Happiness and Unhappiness produce each other
Right and Wrong bring about each other
Light and Dark reveal each other
Health and Illness reflect each other

The words have limitations
The written things have limitations
The said things have limitations
The understanding has limitations

Therefore the key
is not to “understand” such things

But to “experience” them …

Understanding goes away; experiences do not.

The Tao of Understanding is
not to try to understand the things,
but to experience them.

Concept Inspiration: Lao Tzu

On Unacceptance

A Lion is a Lion, there is no question of him being anything other than a Lion.

And the potato is a potato. Neither does the Lion ever try to become a potato nor does the potato ever try to become a Lion.


Hence, there is no anxiety between Lions and the potatoes. They don’t need an Arbiter to resolve their internal problems if there are any.

A Lion respects the potato and the potato respects the Lion. They respect each other so much that they even do not eat each other.

The whole world seems to have a clear understanding of the distinction between a Lion and the potato except men.

Men have their insistence: “You must be doing this particular thing (because I think it is right)!”

Men want other people to behave in a particular way –  in the name of society, in the name of tradition, in the name of relationship, or in the name of love …

And the struggle begins: you are torn between who you are and what you must be doing according to the other human beings.

The MUSTS don’t enjoy a good relationship with ‘is’ (being).

If you think about the Lion and Potato example, it’ll become obvious that you cannot be anything other than who you are.

Once this is clear, there is no fight. There is no stress. Nothing is to be proved. Nothing more is to be accepted. What remains is pure YOU and your reality, no matter how beautiful or ugly that is.

So, can a Lion learn from the Potato?

Sure, it can if he wants to but it is not a must for the Potato to learn from the Lion. Potato does not become inferior or unimportant if it learns nothing from the Lion.

Same is the case with Lions. Did you get it?

Unfortunately the MUSTS of the past have taught us to ignore the simple things like this distinction and we try to turn others into something they are not.

The result?

Certainly, something that is not natural.

Will such results make you feel accomplished, happy or loved?


Then why practice MUSTS?

The Wait of the Peacock

Spotted a beautiful peacock waiting for the rain.

wait of a peacock

Observed him for a few mins: apparently, he had no reasons to be unhappy but like most human beings, he was not at its happiest.

The reason?

The rain hadn’t come yet.

He was waiting for the rain to come. He was waiting to dance with all his craziness. He was waiting for his peahen to notice him and talk to him at the earliest.

But there was no rain. And there was no peahen.

When the peacock opens his feathers, he becomes vulnerable. Scary animals such as Tigers can target him easily when he is vulnerable … but he’s okay with it. All he wants is the rain so he can dance and bring his head, heart, and soul together in the moment.

The peacock is not only waiting for the rain, he’s waiting to express himself fully and show his true self to someone who matters to him the most.

The wait of the peacock reminds me that no matter what beauty one possesses or what credentials one has acquired in his life, he always wants something else to include in his being.

Like the peacock needs the rain and a peahen to participate in the experience he wants to create, humans too need others to participate in the experiences they want to create.

The best way to deal with it is to accept it that it is okay to be vulnerable.

Being vulnerable does not make a man (or a woman) weak, in fact, it makes them strong and opens them to newer possibilities.

Vulnerability attracts.Vulnerability connects. Vulnerability creates.

Vulnerability creates new life experiences.

Sometimes, it is okay to wait. Sometimes, it is okay to be vulnerable. Sometimes, it is okay to let things happen … but it is not okay to stop doing your part.

The peacock waits for the rain but does not stop singing to call the rain. This is very important. When you’re waiting for an external circumstance to turn favorable, you should not stop doing your efforts.

That’s one thing we can learn from the wait of the peacock – depend on others, but continue doing your part.

And one day, you’ll find your rain … and your peahen!

The Hiking Journey

On that day, I decided to hike.

I went to an unknown mountain and started my hiking journey. The landscape was rough with steep hills and intense rocks.

I climbed over aged trees and dabbled through wild waters.

The Obstacles

Often times, I was hurt, discolored and bruised.

It felt like I was trapped and blocked by the giant rocks.

During the journey, many times, this thought tried to take me over: Give Up, Give up, Give up!

The Contemplation

I contemplated and heard a voice from within: “Oh my dear hiker, I’m with you. Keep hiking!”

And I kept hiking.

The obstacles became more and more trivial as I continued forward.

Then out of nowhere, came a meadow. The stream of light enlightened the path and it highlighted a rivulet surrounded by the greenest grass, tasty fruits,  fresh flowers, and shelter.


May the hiking journey continue …

If you’re a hiker like me, and you haven’t seen a light yet, believe that it will come.

Don’t give up. Keep faith in your ability to climb an uncertain next peak of the mountain you’ve chosen to climb.

Let your dreams, not your fears lead your way.

May the hiking journey continue …

The Sun, the Lake and the Celebration – A Photo Story

It was a fine morning when the Sun and Lake were talking with each other.

Using a strange language. The language without the words.

It was a pure language of enthusiasm, discovery and love.

It was a language that every mindful creature knew how to speak.

It was a language that every mindful creature knew how to interpret.

It was a language that every mindful creature knew how to celebrate. So here goes the celebration, between the Sun and the Lake:

The Sun and The Lake

“I’m seeing the beginning of me within you,” The Sun said to the Lake.

“I’m the one who always had you,” replied the Lake,

“But you’re seeing me this morning :p.”

“But nonetheless, it’s a good omen (y),” added the Lake.

“Oh, you’re very much like me, little Lake,” said the Sun.

“Nope, you’re somewhat like me,” replied the Lake, “Don’t you see my reflection within you?”

And the wise Sun was speechless.

The little Lake was speaking the language he knew well.

It was the language of the soul.

It was the language that radiated the ambition and the enthusiasm, of things being created with love and purpose, and as part of a search for something believed in, desired and being achieved.

“All things are one,” whispered the Lake, “Celebrating the warmth of the Sun within it.”

“All things are one,” received the Sun, “Celebrating the beginning of the Lake within him.”