(Journal entry written by Matt Cook on July 15, 2019)
After five years of visiting, living and working on a company of mine in India, having to deal with only 2-4 month entry visas granted at a time, this weekend I just arrived with a one-year unlimited entry visa. After all this time, my Indian brothers and their families here have now become some of my best friends, so it only made sense to me, naturally, to progress the relationship a step further. I can easily say that over the years we’ve worked extremely hard, played pretty hard (like last night in Delhi — dear God), and that our efforts ring true to the cumulative belief that we’re all doing it for our future generations, far more than we’re doing it for ourselves.
Some the biggest and best seeds we’ve already planted likely won’t even see a harvest in our lifetime, but rather our grandkids lives instead. And it will be up to them to steward what we’ve started. But we’re all just sort of cool with that and operating in good faith that we’re built a legacy worthwhile. Ultimately, I think that’s the reason why it all works so well together. Nobody wants to lay the railroad tracks down from one coast to another. But we do. We’ve found joy in the simple song and repetitive motion in unison. We also believe that when it comes to breaking time — whoever we eat with, it’s best to do it with the same people we’re willing to starve with.
Just for fun, check out five of us spending a week on a pirate ship for my 30th birthday in Bali, which was also two of my partners’ first trip ever out of their country (they refused to fly anywhere until they ‘made it’ onto an international flight). Glad to have helped make that happen — Travel by Dart [Ep. 4]: Indonesia – Best Pirate Ship Ride, video courtesy of our friend and partner on various projects, Sorin.
Throughout this entire process — I’ve been stuck and ashamed of one thing. I know and can only speak one language, English. And for someone who’s been to 40 countries for extended periods of time, that is insane. As a business, our language gaps have continually hurt our workflow and progress amongst our teams, greatly. Maybe not so in the partners’ realm, but in the now 60 staff and tech school students. In fact, learning Hindi, the main language of India (Bengali as another main one in our region) has intimidated me greatly. Despite me having seen their supreme efforts to learn English and yet so unequally yolked to me, to my favor, I’ve relentlessly and ignorantly prescribed to the notion that I’m actually helping them make better lives and opportunity for themselves, by speaking English-only and allowing them to learn. Ha. I now have finally snapped out of it and now realize a plethora of opportunity to grasp something new and conquer a challenge — as an ode to going above-and-beyond with excellence in the workplace.
Today (July 15, 2019 — India time), I begin officially learning Hindi! And in doing so, a very important egg will be cracked, which universally attaches, in my estimation, language learning to many other things in life. One is this: the expectation that the universe will just bend to our wills of comfort, such that we can float through life in our mother tongue of English, to which we’re entitled the master key of judgment and critique if anyone does not succumb to our form of communication while in our presence. Blasted fools! C’mon and speak English or remove yourselves!
No longer will I be forcing or expecting others to have to learn my native tongue to somehow get on my level, even if the person speaks 4+ other languages (like so many Europeans, Indians/Asians, Africans and more). The snakehead of entitlement that so easily slithers into other areas of life, will be stomped on and removed from the body. It is now time to get uncomfortable in a new way, once again, and get serious about helping my brothers out, in a way that’s real, lasting and that money can’t buy. So, I love you guys (if you’re reading). This one’s for you.
A little deeper: I’ve been preaching a lot to my business partners and staff, that when considering longevity, innovation and offering up services to clients, we must always “be valuable enough that we make ourselves in-expendable”. Basically… do things, make things and learn things, to become something that cannot be replaced or purchased elsewhere — then you’ll always win and can sleep easy. So in this light, I’m considering my new efforts to learn an entire language, as an ode to becoming more excellent and valuable in the workplace, and no matter how difficult or inconvenient, I’m eating a page out of my own book and innovating just enough to make myself unique and impossible to replace, thus backing up my theory in practice.
In theory and in practice: Through the strategies applied today of Impact Investing in India, with our company, “Kingdom Venture Capital Fund”, the next 25-50 years or so will prove a multi-billion dollar revenue stream available for both the companies we invest in and ourselves; each uniquely and corporately embodying the ability to harness and/or create radical impact through change. The finances are a bare necessity to make continual impact and betterment to the marginalized in India and around the world. It is much better to have the purity of heart to create impact along with a billion dollars than the purity of heart and a fundraising campaign to raise money for your next missionary trip while living on your friend’s couch scraping to eat burritos. While it is nearly impossible to predict the future (for most people), I feel success is inevitable if we just stick to our guns on the small decisions consistently over time, and trust ourselves and the process that we’re on the right track, and if we don’t change our degrees too many times, we’ll actually get pretty way further ahead by going in a straight line and not squiggling our way through. Nothing with any great order of magnitudes of scale started without huge sequences comprised of smaller sequences of singular steps all happening, over time.
Plans to conquer: Ultimately, being a “rich white guy” in a foreign land doesn’t quite cut it as a game plan anymore, to land opportunities and guarantee the maximum results. Though it’s treated me very well, eventually, I would become just as expendable as every other foreigner who arrived to find value with their checkbook, a modest insight for trends and a strategy to validate, evaluate, invest and expand. What makes me unique, and a positive reflection of our organization, KVCF, is the culmination of spirit, desire, and an ode to excellence that we all attain — economically, socially and spiritually (and now, relationally via linguistically).
Moreover, in this new light of a lifelong integration into a full-stack Indian society, sure I am working a little harder now, but it is also much smarter to cement my own fate, and to just make history rather than predicting it — and to proactively create irrefutable value to the people, culture, and ecosystem that I claim to believe in, so that every time I step foot into it I can now integrate and expand into it’s interlocked web of value, as I get closer to becoming one of its very own. How tremendous an act of love, respect and servitude it will be once the work is done. The value will fall so easily the tree-like fruit on the ground at harvest.
Conclusion: In the grandiose spirit of ‘winning’ and ‘living your best life’; in the unlocking of new convictions (today) that lead to knowledge of increase (tomorrow); and seeking of becoming more mindful and purposeful in our actions to ensure greater value to society; and through surrender to the callings we feel being placed on our lives in due seasons and time — I say to you now, universe, that “India will be a better place to live in the next 100 years in part because of this action that I’ve started today” — AND — I say to you, universe, on behalf of the readers and others, “those who spread their love through action, rather than words, may do so with tenacity, strength, and vigor, and be graced with just enough passion and fuel to sustain long enough, during pursuit to see and taste and experience with others in joyfulness, a good harvest”
What is a new conviction and action that you want to take today, to make a tremendous increase for yourself and others tomorrow? Tell me, and I encourage you to tell the world so you can be held more closely accountable to achieve it.
PS: main bhaarat se pyaar karata hoon. yah aapake lie hai. 🇮🇳 :))