Time to Susegad (Goan art of contentment)
It is that time of the year
This is Utkarsh, the founder of Network Capital, writing to you from Goa. As some of you may know, I recently got married and am here (Goa) to introduce my wife to the wonders of India. Some of our close friends and fellow Network Capital subscribers like Kartik and Narayani are around. We will be meeting them later today.
I love how intimately connected my life has become with Network Capital subscribers. I meet, partner, consult, hang out, learn, teach, invest with all of you no matter where I am - New York or New Delhi, Lucknow or London. This started happening organically and to me, it speaks most powerfully about the strength of our community — the meta network of interesting and kind professionals around the world.
Kartik is a Goan pro and Narayani is a local. Both have created wonderful masterclasses on NC and have generally led by example when it comes to embodying our core values of kindness and generosity.
I am lucky to have a job that allows me to work and chill with the people whose values I respect and admire. In a way, that’s what I want every single NC subscriber to have in the medium to long run. Life is too short to be wasted as a checklist. Life-deferment plans don’t work. Moments matter - at work and at play.
At this time of the year Goa is bustling with energy. People from around the world come to this part of India to enjoy the weather, beaches, food and the relaxed vibe of the state. For me, this is the time to reflect and decompress.
Since the start of the pandemic, I quit my job, made my passion project into a fast growing venture, moved geographies, published a book, bought a new house, got married and redesigned my life from scratch. I learned to succeed and fail with enthusiasm. It was exhilarating, challenging, exhausting and confusing.
This is what Network Capital did in 2021. I think you will celebrate (after all we did this together) how far we have come since the time I published my first Harvard Business Review article focused on building your category of one.
That said, highlights don’t capture the entire story. There has been inordinate struggle, existential crises, growing up pangs personally and professionally. That is what adulting means, perhaps. That’s why we will be focusing on exploring the back of our resumes in the NC Learning Retreat.
P.S. My wife, a data scientist in a big tech company, will be conducting a workshop on standup comedy.
Refuge in Philosophy
Remember our newsletter “How Aristotle is Relevant for Startups”
“Essentially Aristotle saw theory as practice. His questions didn’t have preordained answers, they had to be explored through micro-experiments and deliberate analysis. In this regard he was a lot more of a scientist or a startup founder trying to validate or negate his hypothesis.”
These are the 4 terms I stumbled upon as I spent more time in Goa. True to the Aristotelian spirit, I see these theories as practice.
Niksen (Dutch): Practice of doing nothing
Hygge (Danish): a quality of cosiness and comfortable conviviality that engenders a feeling of contentment or well-being (defining characteristic of Danish culture)
Ikigai (Japanese): Reason for being
Susegad (Goan): Art of Contentment
Susegad: The Subtle Art of Contentment
As an entrepreneur, writer, son, brother, husband, friend, teacher should I be content or should I strive more more? The answer isn’t straightforward. I interpret Susegad as contentment with the present, detachment with the past and hunger for the future.
Susegad comes from the Portuguese word sossagado, meaning quiet. When irritated, Goans often say in Konkani ‘Maka suseg di’ (give me peace or quiet). In other words, peace is what they are optimizing for. That’s their ultimate destination and the most treasured journey.
As we conclude 2021 and embark upon a new year, it is time to reflect, seek quiet, detox digitally and spend a few moments in deep gratitude. The Susegad mindset of compassionate contentment is my wish for all of you. Quietism is the need of the hour. It is a pre-condition for clarity and clarity is power. Let’s spend the last few hours of this year celebrating silence and comfort with our own selves. We may or may not have rocked the year and achived instragrammable things but we live to see another day. I hope that you the times ahead with adventure and possibility. Jaded pessimism is easy. The best way to avoid that is by taking time off in silence. Just a few hours will do.
As I type my final words of the year, I want to take a moment to thank all of you for your love and support. Building Network Capital has never been just about business. It is so much more than revenues and costs. In my own way I wanted to shape a new world on the internet where kindness and connection would be the norm, not the exception. With a click of a button, I wanted to enable people to find all the support they need to build a career they truly care about. While we built the technology and figured out a viable business model, I found deep connection, care and empathy from all of you. You made tough times seem meaningful and I always had this conviction that we are in this mission together. I cherish every handshake, every call and every discussion along the way.
Please disconnect (I will as well) and celebrate the Susegad mindset.
P.S. This new year, if you want to gift something meaningful to someone you love, consider gifting a Network Capital subscription
P.P.S. I will be training the next cohort of public speaking fellows starting Jan 15.