“I commit myself to habit and not to the targets. I want to read, write, create, and meet smart people every day. But I don’t know where it is going to take me. All I know is, it helps me understand life more” – Ankur Warikoo.
Ankur Warikoo is one of the most successful entrepreneurs, an Angel Investor, and a business coach for many startups in India today. However, as a child, Ankur wanted to be an Astronaut, work for NASA and be the first person to land on Mars.
He kept his promise and went to the United States to study AstroPhysics. He aced his classes and did well but soon realized that he was not satisfied and happy with where he was.
So, he quit everything, came back to India, and began an inspiring entrepreneurial journey. He has worked for multiple startups, grew businesses like nearbuy.com from scratch, and turned his life around.
While our conversation began with a simple note on entrepreneurship and life, it soon turned into a series of mind-bending conversations about Aliens, Time Travel, his take on Relationships, Fatherhood, and the most interesting one amongst all, the Nature of Life.
ASTROPHYSICS, ANCIENT CIVILIZATION, AND ALIEN ENCOUNTERS
“I went to America to pursue my Ph.D. and become a space scientist, but very soon figured out that it was not for me. So I came back to India and started over. For the last 11 years, I have been an entrepreneur, and it’s been a fascinating life which I’m grateful for”, said Ankur Warikoo.
Ranveer: Why did you choose to come back from the US? What did you not like about it?
“I loved my life in the US. It’s a fantastic place to discover oneself. It gives you everything like money, entertainment, independence, and the opportunity to do anything you want in life. The only reason for coming back here is because I wasn’t enjoying what I was doing”.
Ranveer: What subject were you studying for your Ph.D.? Why did you choose that?
“I was doing my Ph.D. in AstroPhysics. Astrophysics deals with the study of motion applied to space, planets, and stars to explore how the universe works. Honestly, I was good at it but didn’t enjoy doing it”.
Ranveer: Do you believe in Aliens and extraterrestrial life?
To this, Ankur replied, “Absolutely yes! I do believe in them. ‘X Files’ was my only favorite show as a child, and I used to wait every week to watch it. I have read every conspiracy theory about aliens like, What happened in Roswell in 1947? I have a chunk of stories about aliens, and I do believe in them”.
Ranveer: I’ve read books by Graham Hancock where he mentions ancient civilizations and their interactions with Aliens. What do you think about all this?
“I firmly believe that we are not the first civilization of humans on this earth. I’ve read this book called ‘The Chariots of Gods’, which talks about how an extraterrestrial creature gives power to every ancient civilization to create things like the ancient pyramids and Iron Tower in Delhi. Even today, if you go to some backward tribal areas in Andaman, Africa, or Madhya Pradesh, and carry your iPad, internet or show them the helicopter, then it’s going to feel like an Alien invasion to them”.
Ranveer: This is the reason why I started indulging in spiritual texts a few years back. I have read this book called ‘An Autobiography of a Yogi’ talking heavily about faith and
God, but there is one chapter about the Astral world which mentions why human life exists and the free will of the soul.
The books that I would recommend to experience a deep dive into spirituality are:
- An Autobiography of a Yogi.
- Doorways to light.
- Channeled Knowledge from the Rishis.
LIFE AT 40, FATHERHOOD AND RELATIONSHIPS
Ranveer: I’ve read one interesting thread you wrote on Twitter about your thoughts at the age of 40. I want to ask you what do people generally feel when they hit 40?
Ankur: I feel the saddest part is at 40 when you look back and say, where did these many years go? You don’t believe that the time after your graduation passed so quickly that you never realized it. I have many friends who are in their 40’s and regret not knowing what they truly want from life. At 40, the only way to center yourself is through your relationships. You feel blessed if your parents are still around you, you have a blissful partner, and you see your kids growing up.
Ranveer: What drives you at 40?
Ankur: My curiosity is something that drives me. I describe myself as a dog who loves to chase a car but doesn’t know what to do after the car stops. Now, the car here is the habit of asking questions that I have. My curiosity to know things and ask questions makes me understand life more and clears my thoughts.
Ranveer: What changes does having kids bring in a man? What has fatherhood taught you?
Ankur: Honestly, I will be really happy on my death bed saying that I experienced fatherhood in my life. But I was terrified when my eldest child, my son, was born because it’s about bringing a new life to the world, and the way I behave or take decisions for him will be shaping his entire life.
I believe in 3 principles that my children should follow:
- Respect all.
- Have a sense of responsibility.
- Zero tolerance for mediocrity.
Later on, everything changed when our daughter was born. She is the reason I feel my life is blessed.
I will share an incident when in 2016, I made some bad decisions in business, and we had a huge loss where we had to cut off the salaries. I remember it was Vidur’s birthday, and he asked for a cycle, but we had no money to buy it. So, my wife had to sell her jewelry for it. My children and I have this memory of how happy we were back then as we are now just because we were together.
So this is the sense of realization that we carry within ourselves, that no matter what the situation is, we will still be happy if we are together.
Ranveer: Is raising kids in India today expensive?
Ankur: It depends on what you strive for, my son goes to an international school, and his annual fees is more than the salary of 30% of people in my startup earn. So I shouldn’t be complaining, but it is expensive.
Ranveer: For how many years are you married, and how does a relationship change within such a long span of time?
Ankur: We met 21 years ago and dated for 7 years, and now we have been married for 13 years.
Talking about the recent increasing divorce rate, if the growth rate of an individual in a relationship is different, then separation is inevitable. In an earlier period, it may not seem like a big deal. But after a few years, when one person is at a higher level in terms of career, health, or anything else than the other person, then the separation due to envy becomes unavoidable.
So, in a relationship, it becomes the responsibility of the person with a higher growth rate to pull up your partner with a slower growth rate.
Speaking of me, my wife is my best friend. Most of the time, we have the same taste. We have fun conversations and enjoy each other’s company. We have our independence, and at the same time, we have equal participation in our relationship.
I feel it’s a brilliant companionship and all of this happened because we dated for 7 years, in which 3 years was a long-distance relationship.
Ranveer: What happens when the kids are born?
Ankur: A child needs his mother for full time at least in the first 2 years. Then the father might feel like there is no spark left in a relationship. But he must make efforts towards the relationship because the mother has more responsibility for nurturing the child, and it’s all about partnership.
OLD AGE AND 30 YEARS FROM NOW
Ranveer: I have my 90-year-old grandfather living with us, and I spend time with him often. He is not that great in terms of health, but his spiritual awakening is too good. Sometimes I think about the nature of life and how it acts. What is your observation about older people and hyper old age?
Ankur: I think most older people are full of regret because they keep telling themselves “what if…” and it’s sad to see people dying of regret.
Most people regret it because they always did the right things for others and never did anything for themselves. As it is said, the tragedy of life is not death but what dies within you while you’re alive.
Talking about hyper old age, I feel everything we know about life is going to be proven wrong because the world is changing at a faster rate. In my childhood, we were taught to prepare for a single career, single partner, and 2 kids but today we need to develop multiple life skills, careers, and relationships. Today, we seek growth through all these things, and tomorrow all of this is going to change too.
Ranveer: What do you think is going to happen in the next 30 years? What will be the challenges humans face?
Ankur: The optimistic person in me believes that within the next 30 years, we will conquer our biological needs but face emotional problems. So, I feel getting old will get cliche, and becoming a lifelong student will be the thing.
I believe that 3 things are going to happen:
- We are going to meet with intelligent minds from outside the planet.
- Interplanetary travel is going to be possible.
- We will have machines inside us, like skills implanted within us.
If you go back to the 1970s and start jogging on the streets of New York, people will be amused knowing that you’re running for your health. Today, many people think meditation is just a fad, but I think it will be an important part of our life in the future. People will normalize meditation, mental health, and a lot of things.
Ranveer: What is your purpose on social media?
Ankur: My sole purpose on social media is creating awareness. When I was young, we made choices because we didn’t know what else to do. It was all done because of ignorance and lack of awareness about different aspects of the world. So I like to talk about things and share what I know on my social media to create awareness.
- Don’t follow somebody else’s definition of success.
- Work on your habits to achieve your goals.
- Learning is a lifelong process. Be a good learner, Be an excellent student of life.