Beginnings, Beliefs, Intention, Direction & Destination
The two factors that will determine where and how you reach where you want to be in life and Zed Letter Day's origins and path.
With several countries actively testing 4-day work weeks, wishing you guys a happy weekend on Fridays is getting tricksy. Fortunately or otherwise, we’ll be sticking to 5-day work weeks to deliver newsletters to your inbox and improve your lives by just 1% every other day.
A Story For You
We’ve been writing stories on Zed Letter Day, producing a podcast called ‘It’s That Easy!’, which is focused solely on startups, their founders and the hurdles they have to face; and working tirelessly to bring you the Zed Medium video podcast very soon.
We believe that efforts lead to results, however, this belief is not patented by us. There are millions, maybe even billions of people who share the same motto. But there’s so much more to this saying than the aforementioned four words, that are capriciously thrown around in a wasted effort to sound motivational by managers and team leaders.
There are two factors that are overlooked when putting in efforts in order to achieve said results.
Intention - a determination to act in a certain way.
Direction - a guiding, governing, or motivating purpose.
Results are a result of several factors, internal and external, aligning for a very brief moment to give you the push that will propel you in the direction you have chosen to move forward in. External factors are never in your control, so it’s best to leave that in the hands of a more powerful being. Internal factors, on the other hand, are variables that can be controlled. Planning for several months to get these variables in order will save you years of lost effort.
Let’s take us - Zed Medium, as an example. Zed Medium is the company that brings you Zed Letter Day and It’s That Easy! Our intention of storytelling hasn’t changed since our inception, however, we knew that our direction had to be tweaked every now and then to find the path that we really ought to be on.
Zed Letter Day started off as a newsletter that delivered short stories to your inbox every single day of the workweek. Here’s an example:
Ever made vows with your nonage buddy?
My alter ego and I did manage to stay tightly knit, up until graduation, right before the ‘real world’ took over. She began her residency as a doctor while... well, I was a muddlehead who worked odd jobs to figure out my burning desire in life. I was appalled by her though. She was a textbook planner, mapping every inch of her life for the next 5 years waiting for someone to ask her, “Where do you see yourself in five years?” Boy, did she have an answer. Meanwhile, I had an amazing relationship with the infamous student syndrome.
Our startling, noticeable difference may have contributed to the uniqueness of our friendship. Opposites attract and whatnot (that’s so true, by the way).
Her vision fixated on launching her own clinic, expanding it to new locations while diving deep, and in turn revolutionizing the homeopathic field. Her one and only truly love. My interest, on the other hand, peaked in digital marketing and I took my prized possessions and head happily in that direction. This story is no different, a majority of us all lose touch and so did we.
Unlike a horse, I never intended to remove my blinders. My own startup was the light that slowly manifested itself as I inched closer towards it from the ends of the tunnel I crawled.
One day, my planner of a friend contacted me. I had returned from my voyage of studying and working abroad and her getting in touch was the boost I needed! She told me she was expecting her second child! I didn’t waste a second and we decided to get together over coffee.
At the risk of being blunt, I couldn’t recognize the person I met. Everyone looks different during pregnancy so I made an effort to cut her some slack and tap into my emotional side. God, what was wrong with me? ‘Ankisha, you’re the one who has changed, relax. Not everyone has to undergo similar transformations. Anyway, she had this ginormous head start when you two began. Don’t gloat now.’ I humbled myself.
But something else had changed too. The topics of discussion were limited to her first child, how she very entrepreneurially redid her kitchen and garden, t he curt ains bringing out t he charm of her house, our classmates’ marriages and how wonderful it is to be a parent. “I can’t wait for us to do all of this together,” she said as I waited for her to ask me how I was doing.
In the midst of her monologue, I casually slipped in my ideas, my work, and that I was starting my own business, achingly hoping that she would be happy for me. She overlooked it and without batting an eye asked me, “So, are you dating someone to get married?”
What? No. Was this the same person I had idolized? Was she the person who made me want to get better in life? With all the planning and the ambition?
The fire, the fervor, the ambition she had, had all gone. We had taken a vow to do bigger things in life, or at least try to! That day, I made another vow. To never let the fire inside me die out.
As beautiful as this story was, it wasn’t the best of what we could offer. We were, as we are now, honing our skills and finding our direction to ultimately become what we were always supposed to become.
Our offerings have narrowed down from the wide spectrum of stories we used to write, to value-added newsletter issues that make a difference in your life. Keep in mind, we’re not discussing quality, we’re discussing direction - a motivating purpose.
We moved from writing random stories with hidden lessons to writing about businesses, different cultures, people and events that our shaping all our futures at the moment. As a matter of fact, the style of writing and the content that we’re focusing on has defined our target audience as well. Be it knowledge, personal growth or general awareness, our subscriber base is looking to improve themselves on the daily and we’re enjoying the fact that we’re a part of their lives.
On that note, if you’ve received this a forward:
You can stumble your way to your destination if you’re pointed in the right direction, but you’ll have a hard time getting there, no matter how intentional you are, if you’re headed the other way. (Credits: Impossible)
That’s the significance direction holds when you’re trying to make it big in life. Everything you do today, should be just 1% better than what you did yesterday, but in the right direction.
The point we’re trying to make is, we began our journey with a plan that slowly went to s*** as time passed. That’s not negative. That’s something that has worked in our favor. The more you work on something, the more you identify with what works and what doesn't. Ultimately, with efforts, intention and direction, nature takes over and guides you, in a funny yet calming manner, to your destination.
If you’re rigid with your plans, you might just reach where you want to be, but you risk missing out on what the universe had in store for you all this while. And it just might have been bigger than what you had planned.
This too shall pass.
Life is indeed too short for us to worry about the future. Do what you can and give it your best. If it works out, that’s great. If it doesn’t, even better. Several successful people have failed multiple times so let us ask you this… why compare yourself with other people’s successes when you can’t compare yourself with their failures?
A Story From Someone Else
A tale by Persian Sufi poets Rumi and Fariddudun Attar.
A young, poor scholar is wandering the Maranjab desert and has no place to sleep and eat. A well-off farmer offers this young man shelter and food, but on the day of his departure when the young man asks about the farmer's kindness and hospitality his response is, "This too shall pass."
Years pass and the scholar visits the farmer, only to find him poor and disheveled, working as a low-grade servant. Floods had come and destroyed his prosperous lands, but not to fret, he tells the scholar for, "This too shall pass."
The scholar ages and becomes famous and well-renowned in the area and moves back to the Maranjab desert. The king of the time had recently lost his wife and son during childbirth and was thoroughly depressed, crying himself to sleep every night. He sought out a ring that would cheer his spirits, appease his suffering.
People from all over tried to help, but nothing of importance resonated with with king. Then, the scholar, now not so young, was sought out to advise the king and perhaps suggest a phrase. Shortly thereafter, a ring appeared from the scholar with a phrase inscribed inside of the gold and ruby ring:
This too shall pass.
(Credits: Alef Bet by Paula)
A Story From You
We’d rather ask you whether you agree with us or not than ask for a story from you. If you want to answer with a story of your own, that’s combining two of our most favorite things. We await your comments, positive or negative!
Until next time,