I wanted to talk about some of the people that have inspired/enriched my life and attach a lesson to each one of them that hopefully, you can learn from as well.
My father – Ram Laut Shukla: loyalty, hard work and responsibility
My dad has taught me many things. ‘Happy wife, happy life’ is one of the things he often used to say and I’d laugh when I heard it. Yet he does everything within his power to make my mum happy.
And I see it’s a mantra that I bring into not only my intimate relationships – but all the important ones in my life.
Even when there might be a simpler/easier conclusion to things (such as my father still had an Indian passport with a permanent residency visa Vs a British passport) – my father has been astute in recognising that Sita (my mum) is the woman he will spend the rest of his life with
So if she wakes up each day, happy, feeling secure and loved – it’ll help him in every other aspect of his life. And as I’ve stabilised my relationship troubles and placed Daniela at the centre of my love – my business and life success these last three years has soared.
My dad has worked his 40-100 hour weeks for as long as I can remember. He has also wakes up every day for the last decade and exercises for one hour a day. He even works hard when he prays as he’ll spends one to three hours praying daily.
I’m happy to have been around my dad who has physically shown me ‘this is what hard work looks like’. And he doesn’t treat it like it’s hard work – he just gets on with it.
It’s given me the desire to consistently spend Saturday and Sunday mornings sat in Costa like so:
Working on something or the other.
I think that sometimes some understand that hard work is not something you do for set periods of time but rather it’s a way of life like it has been for my father
Going above and beyond for the people you care for – even if you don’t receive as much back is important as a component of your own moral compass, happiness and financial success.
My father does so much for my mum. My mum (and I love her with all my heart but get frustrated with her paycheck) doesn’t earn much more than £15,000 a year so can’t do much with what she takes home.
But my dad works hard and saves and still drives a Vauxhall Cavalier that’s 20 years old and never buys anything for himself but would rather see my mum happy.
Success isn’t material trappings but rather about building security, happiness and opportunities for the people around you.
For me, that means ultimately paying off all the collective bills in my family and transforming Daniela’s life into the life she dreams about. With this in mind – I have so much more I need to do. I’ve barely made a dent.
My uncle – Murly Tiwari – industriousness and self-belief
My uncle was the first entrepreneur in my immediate family. He risked everything when he switched from being a successful salesman in the advertising world to running his own agency.
It’s an incredible thing to do when you have three children, a wife and you’re the main breadwinner. And then soon after launching his agency, his house burned down after rats chewed some wiring.
Despite all of these setbacks – he made it work.
And the energy and focus with which he built his £2 million agency was great. I learnt really from just having him in my family and knowing that something like that was possible.
To do it you need to have a certain level of self-belief in your own ability – and that was something my uncle passed on to me.
My lack of self-belief is something that has plagued me for as long as I can remember. I’m sure it’ll be with me as one of the last things I remember.
I’ll always remember two poignant moments with my uncle that helped me make some life-changing decisions.
The first was when I was looking for someone to go to South America with me, and I was somewhat scared about it in 2009. I had friends who said they would consider it but ultimately there wasn’t someone around me who I could rely upon to go with
This was making me second-guess the whole trip. I felt that South America would be a much more intense and dangerous experience than the ones I’d been on previously.
‘Never let someone else get in the way of you doing the things you want to do. And if you want to travel, then be prepared to do so alone.’
These are the words my uncle spoke when I was 23 and wanted to travel through South America. And so travel I did. Here’s my blog of the whole journey
He also served up advice to me when I was worried about trying to win this game of ‘entrepreneurship’ after he’d given me my first ‘seed’ raise (or rather ‘friends and family raise of £5,000) for Studiobookers.
‘Deepak do you know Stig from Top Gear?’
Yeh sure why?
‘Well, no one knows who Stig is because he’s always got his helmet on. But what’s amazing about Stig is that every week he’s on the show – and it doesn’t matter what car they put him in. Stig is a sure-fire-bet – whether Prias, Polo or Porsche.
So when you line up at the start lines of entrepreneurship you’re going to come across cars with better engines, horsepower, power steering, and all-around better cars than yours.
But the best driver always determines the race. So don’t worry about having the best; car. Just be like Stig’
This has been some of the most poignant entrepreneurial and life advice I have had
My best buddy – Robin Luc Oppenheim: friendship, compassion and laughter
Friendship is something that CAN be measured. There are many kinds of friends. Friends in business, friends in sports, friends in a particular context and then extremely few (if any) break out into ‘all-around friends’.
The former many of us are fortunate to have in abundance, the latter is extremely rare.
I’m a sociable guy (if you’ve met me) and finding friends that you can confide in, learn from, grow with and journey together is extremely rare.
I know this because I’ve had and still have many wonderful friends today. But having someone who will listen to you when you’re depressed, be present when you’re going through your personal battles, and make clear acts of friendship by welcoming you into their home, and their family home more rarely happens.
I’ve learnt a lot about being present in relationships, being emotionally tough and coming out a strong person through Luc – and it makes sense – he had tons of therapy before we ever met as well
Particularly during my issues with Daniela – Luc remained my friend throughout the entire period (as did his partner Amy) and listened to my repetitive problems and struggles.
He has always been there to offer advice and insights which I continue to learn today
My great friends Ashley Chanakira and Adrian Wellard – Effort
Ashley has been my friend for around a decade I guess the way I got to know him was the way it continued. He was looking for work experience when I was running a recording studio at my mum’s place.
So he came down from Cheltenham to stay at my mum’s and do work experience in my studio
Recently he caught a bus from Nottingham to come and see me. I was meant to meet him, and he would stay at my place. I went out, partied, lost my phone and never met him, and he waited around for 9 hours in total before catching a bus home because he couldn’t reach me.
The next day he caught a train down and came to see me anyway and forgave me in spite of me being an absolute idiot.
Adrian, I’ve known him for around 5 years now and since then he’s driven from Cambridge maybe a dozen times to see me in London whereas I’ve been to Cambridge only 2x.
Both Ashley and Adrian have been away on various trips I’ve organised to Rio, Madrid, Malta, Riga, Amsterdam and probably more.
If you find friends or people that do things like that because of your friendship – cherish them and do good by them.
These are the people I’ve met with whom I’ve really learnt things and who have left a mark on me.
If you know me and you’re reading this don’t be insulted by the way 🙂 I love you too ha!
But when it comes to life lessons, heroes, gratitude and more than there seems to be a 5-year minimum for which anyone who made this list :p
Right, that’s all for this letter – catch you in the next one 🙂