Project Phoenix Bird
5 min read

Project Phoenix Bird

Disclaimer: Longish post than usual because it has a life story.

Life 1.0: a fairy tale

It was June 2011. I retired from (corporate) work. I was financially independent. I lived and worked across the globe.  I was fit enough to trek to Himalayas. I could go around MacRitchie Reservoir (Singapore) in just an hour or so. I had two beautiful children and a loving husband. My profession was my passion 🥁. Absolutely supportive family. It felt like all checkboxes are checked.

That day my first to-do list reached it's finish line. I looked back and asked myself: Now what? The second list started brewing. A new chapter began in my life.

Life 2.0: the so-called retirement

We moved to India as a family. Sent our children to a Waldorf school as desired. I said bye-bye to working for paycheck and said hi to working for love. Built a lovely home to live my retirement life with a beautiful terrace garden and an orchard. Installed a beautiful swing in the living room for me to relax and rest. Built a lovely library with all my favorite books in it. I was ready to start living my boring retirement. The experimenter in me looked up that day.

My first experiment was entrepreneurship or lack thereof. My second experiement was building (or destroying) wealth. My third experiment was all about fidling with rules and breaking them (the late teen in me came alive). My fourth experiement was enjoying life (drinks, dinners and more) as it is ascribed. My fifth experiment was investment (or foolishness).

Experiment after experiment continued. It was like a boat moving in the direction of the wind without any sail. None of my plans came true this time. By then it was 2015 and I was 37 years old. I was overworked, under-slept, miserable, fat, stupid, and wild. I was a different beast altogether by then.

Life 3.0: the roller coaster

Slowly some difficult questions started cropping up inside me. The questions ranged from, what is life? Is this all? Am I going to die like this? What does dying well mean? What is not dying well? Does everyone die well? What is the purpose of this life? Well, what is life first of all? Should I explore more or should i deepen further? What am i chasing? What should I chase? What is happiness? Does the definition remain the same or change overtime? Why should I live? What if i live a not so impactful life? Do everyone live a meaningful life? Why is life so hard? Why can't I be blissed out at all time? + zillion more questions. I didn't know this is what my friends termed as mid-life crisis at that time.

I actually liked the questions. I loved the problem space. The designer in me was very excited to have some tough hazy hairy problems to solve. Just that I didn't know where to start and what to do.

This time I wanted to set the sail and steer the boat the way I wanted to. Like a designer, I started with some interesting experiments again.

My first heartful experiment was to answer the gazillion dollar question: what is the best diet for a human being (specifically for me)?

I had enough weight at that time (94kgs). I tried keto, paleo, raw diet, water fasting, intermittent fasting, indian vegeterian diet and a few more one after the other. Slowly I started understanding the pattern. At best I lost 26.5Kgs in 7 months.

Everytime I lost weight I added them back on to get ready for the next experiment (no human being in a right mind would be my guniea pig, so I had to be the subject and the researcher myself). I did them all out of curiosity. I noticed patterns and pitfalls. I started understanding more of behavioural science in action. Started figuring out neuroscience bits as well. This was exciting.

It felt like I was ready for Life 3.0. By now I was grappling all things human (human behavior, performance - productivity, nature and systems). There was a sense of clarity and confidence developing in me by then. I painfully understood enlightenment is not a human thing by default. Our systems are not programmed that way.

My greed knew no bounds by then. I wanted my 40th birthday to be a phenomenon for me. The problem was my list was getting expansive day by day. Understanding being human and human beings was fascinating. I was slowly wetting my feet into all areas of human wellbeing. I started cracking one by one. Slowly my experiments got bolder and better. My understanding also expanded. Life 3.0 was happening without any bells and whistles. It was not what I planned for my 40th birthday but life happened in its own beautiful ways.

My list then was this:

I called it many names but one name that stood inside me is project phoneix bird. That is how transformation felt inside me. Nothing of the past stayed. I explored new ways of living. Changed careers overnight (designer to educator+coach). Said no to a few toxic relationships of my life. I paid attention to long term and compounding. I started working with health beyond weight loss.

It felt like I was rising from the ashes and I was building a new being altogether. It was time for Life 4.0 by now.

Life 4.0: the wisdom seeker

The vision was huge. The understanding deepened. The frameworks rocked. I hacked some codes by then. I developed new perspectives. I was able to test the ideas. Above all I was living a mindful life everyday.

For a change this time I had no money, no career, no crutches (relationships), and no health but I was joyful. I found life finally. Like all profound things, it was damn simple. A face palm moment for me in the history of life. With Covid the awareness was getting better and my resilience was growing day by day. I became a better person inside. I was getting better in all aspects of life.

Life 5.0: a blank slate

While all this was brewing a friend of mine pushed me into "The Landmark Forum" (18 Fri - 20 Sun) this weekend. It was both a chaotic and a charismatic weekend. Something in me found freedom more deeply. The urge to write a grand new chapter in my book of life was super high. This time I did not want to not test or validate ideas but live ideas that I stand for and I trust in.

I wanted to live life  joyfully, mindfully and fully. For a change I want to do it with friends like you. I always longed for a teacher who can do assignments along with students and showed what could be done better, what could be done different and what not to focus. I didn't find a teacher like that so far so I decided to do this along with you in the play ground called Life.

Project Phoenix begins today and now. What a beautiful life it will be with a drop of design in it?  Using science, systems and sense let us design our lives.

Let’s do it people 🎉

Send me your hugs, cheers, love, good vibes, wishes, blessings and more 😍 We will rock the world using life design 🙌

🥂 to life!

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