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Beginning, middle, end.

All the while when I was growing up and going to school, I saw everything that needed to be done in the same way - as something that had a beginning, a middle and an end. Like the plot of a Scooby Doo episode, or a Dan Brown novel.

Sign up for a scholarship exam (beginning), look at the syllabus and exam templates and prepare well (middle), do well in the exam and win the scholarship (end). Make it to the school football team (beginning), devise strategy and train well accordingly (middle), win a tournament (end). You get the idea.

This used to be a good approach to life thirty years ago. That was when they used to ask questions like, "Where do you see yourself in ten years?" in job interviews. Because, it was possible to pick a company (beginning), take on the right assignments, put in the years and suck up to the right people (middle), and be promoted to a VP or some such respected title in ten years (end).

But no longer.

I wrote my first novel when I was thirteen years old. It wasn't much of a novel. It totaled a little over ten thousand words. Three months later, when I picked it up to read, I felt like throwing it in the dustbin after two pages. I started over a year later. This time, I just wrote two thousand words and I gave up.

This was the beginning.

I could have treated this in the traditional beginning - middle - end format and quit school or studied literature or journalism. Instead, I started writing my thoughts down in a blog. And then went on to study Computer Science.

This was another beginning.

I could have doubled down on getting good at Computer Science and gone on to work for a Microsoft or a Citrix (the place I actually had a job offer from), and got better at my job and put in the years and eventually make VP or something like that. But after graduating from University, I went on to do an MBA.

Another beginning.

I could have decided to work at a bank, made a lot of money, put in the years, eventually made VP or something like that. Or I could have joined a Consulting firm. Or any of those other things that people graduating with an MBA do these days. But I joined a little team starting off in Reliance Jio to build Internet products and met my mentor there.

Another beginning.

I have had several more beginnings since. And will likely have many more in the future.

But I have long since stopped looking at the middle and the end. If I hadn't, I would have probably still been perfecting that first novel, or working as a senior developer in Citrix or making my way up the corporate ladder at Bank of America.

Instead, I'm sitting in Amsterdam, working for Booking, and writing my second book.

It isn't better or worse, it's just different.

I have come across a lot of people that look at things with the beginning - middle - end mindset. People that don't want to write for TV shows because they think it distracts them from writing for cinema, while they don't have a contract yet to write a movie script. People that don't DJ at weddings and parties because they don't want to sully their music with popular remixes that they will be forced to play at these places. People that say no to something in their hand because they are holding onto the idea of something better that might come along, that they wish will come along.

One step at a time is better than beginning - middle - end.

Circumstances change all the time. The world changes all the time. If we root ourselves like a tree, there is a good chance we will wither and die, or be uprooted by a strong wind, or be chopped down by a landlord. Yes, there is also a chance that we will nurture and grow big. But all those other chances are equally (if not more) likely.

Instead, flowing like the river, nimble enough to change direction when necessary, without pride or strong opinions of flowing in a straight line, makes us mighty as we pick up nutrients all along the way and deposit them on the way, allowing for civilizations to grow.

What's the next best step that I can take right now, is a better approach than the steadfast and gritty beginning - middle - end. 

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