background
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18Y
Corporate Experience
Gautam Srikrishna

Here is my story:

I come from a middle-class family where money and wealth were never discussed in front of children. The only investments I was aware of were Fixed Deposits and Recurring Deposits. I was told that stock markets were risky, and I believed it. The topic of Real Estate never surfaced. The closest I got to understanding insurance was through an uncle who visited our home and pushed some policies, which we purchased without thinking much. As if this was not enough, I was conditioned with limiting beliefs about wealth and wealthy people. I presumed that “Wealthy people are greedy and corrupt”, “It is not spiritual to desire wealth,” “We need to be content with what we have,” and so on.

My schooling was no different. Most teachers were primarily interested in only covering the syllabus. I do not blame them either. They were following an education system that the British imposed on us when they ruled India after destroying the Gurukul system. The British education system was meant to create loyal, obedient workers who did what they were tasked with, without asking questions. It was designed to create followers, not leaders.

Overall, I did not learn about wealth either at home or at school. In addition, I grew up believing that being ‘money-minded’ was a crime. The movies did their bit by showing rich people as corrupt, greedy, and arrogant.

I followed the middle-class program – study hard, get good grades, get a job, get married, and settle down. 

Another trap I had fallen into was set by the elders at home, who would say, “Study hard for six years (college education), and you will be happy for 60 years (job + retirement).”

I interpreted it as: once my formal education was over, I could live a comfortable life without upskilling or reinventing myself.

I did not have clarity on what my strengths were or what exactly I wanted to do in life. All I knew during my childhood was that I wanted to become an automobile engineer. However, the college that I wanted to study at did not have automobile engineering, therefore I chose mechanical engineering since I felt it was closer to what I wanted to study. Towards the end of my graduation, I got a campus placement in a software company. Though this was a complete switch from what I studied, I accepted it, thinking that having a job was better than none. The next couple of years were about learning software engineering. The only skills I learned were the technical skills that were required at work. I never thought about my life’s purpose or career development from a long-term perspective. 

During my early career days, the thought of wealth creation never crossed my mind. It was as if I had unconsciously accepted that a monthly salary was the only way to make money. Interestingly, the topic of wealth creation hardly came up in my circle of friends and colleagues. The closest we got to it was the topic of hikes and the salary package a person got when they moved to another company. I missed realizing that the world is not the same as our parents and grandparents lived in.

The Turning Point

This went on until January 2015, when I was almost 32, married, and had close to a decade of experience in the software industry. 

While talking to a close relative, the topic of stock markets came up. In the past, I did not try to gain knowledge about it since I considered it very risky. He convinced me by saying that I had a better risk appetite as I was young and could invest in high-risk, high-return investments. He provided resources for me to understand more about stock market investments, mutual funds, and so on. And this was when I looked at my investments and realized I hardly had any. Most of the money I had ‘saved’ from almost a decade of working was either in a couple of non-performing traditional investments or was just lying in my savings account, which generated a negative return considering inflation. I realized I had close to zero financial literacy even after 32 years on this planet.

This massive jolt was my financial awakening. I decided to take action by reading several financial self-help books and investing in various asset classes. I also learned about insurance and bought term and health insurance policies.

In addition, since mid-2015, questions about my life and career choices began to haunt my mind. Questions like, “Do I want to keep working in an IT job and keep firefighting my entire life? What is the purpose of my life? Do I want to continue investing whatever little I was managing to invest, or should I look for another company and get a better salary so that I can invest more? How long can I continue living a life of mediocrity?” and many more…

 

The next five years were very challenging from a personal and career perspective. I took up technical and soft skills courses and certifications to upskill myself, switched to another company, experimented with stock market trading as a career (in vain), and kept learning about investments in addition to handling demands at work and home, all while constantly having the thoughts of the existential crisis in my mind. 

Though I kept learning about investments during these five years, my learning was limited only to strategies, tools, and techniques. I never spent time understanding what money is, as well as the psychological, behavioral, and mindset aspects of wealth creation. While I did take action, it however did nothing to answer questions about life/career choices or ease my turmoil. But I did not give up. 2020 was the year that I intensified my pursuit and started investing in mentors for my self-development. This was when I realized what I had been missing all my life. I understood the true meaning of money and how it worked. I also focused on overcoming limiting beliefs about money, wealth, and wealthy people. 2020 was also the year that I discovered my purpose. Though it took me more than five years to find answers, this painful journey made me realize what I did not want to do.

  • I did not want to live a life of mediocrity.
  • I did not want to live a life of fear.
  • I did not want to live a life where I only lived for myself and my family.
  • I did not want to live a life that someone else had designed for me.
  • I did not want to waste precious time that wasn’t going to come back.
  • I did not want to live a purposeless and directionless life. 

I understood that many people were living a mediocre life and suffering without understanding what wealth was and how to create it. Their deep-rooted limiting beliefs held them back from living a life of abundance. Their suffering affected all major areas of their lives: emotional, financial, relationships, health, freedom, and inner peace.

Through this, I realized my purpose is to help people live a life of meaning, prosperity, and freedom.

Meaning, Prosperity, and Freedom are the values I treasure the most.

I spent the next two years researching on coming up with a framework that anyone, irrespective of their current situation in life, can get started with their journey of holistic wealth acceleration. This research took me back to the ancient Indian tradition as well as the latest practices in the field of business and entrepreneurship. The VIBGYOR Wealth Acceleration Framework that I developed in 2022 is an outcome of this research, as well as my key experiential learnings over the last nine years.

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Highlights
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The VIBGYOR Wealth Acceleration Framework
It enables anyone, irrespective of their current situation, to get started with their journey of holistic wealth acceleration. Based on ancient Indian tradition as well as the latest practices in business and entrepreneurship, it equips you with the right mindset, skills, and actions.
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