Venky Ganesan

Managing Director, Menlo Ventures


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What are your three best tips on how to lead a fulfilling life?

I am looking for short actionable suggestions people have that can lead to a more fulfilling life. We have all heard and experienced numerous abstract bromides on what makes a fulfilled life. I am seeking a more Buddhist-like practical tips that anyone can do starting NOW that can add fulfillment to ones life. My three best tips are:

a. Make sure to call a friend or family member every day and ask them how their day was
b. Listen three times more than you talk i.e. 3 words listened for every word spoken
c. Write a journal noting things you are grateful for and things you have questions on

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    Feb 21 2011: Talk to people and, more importantly, listen to them. We are social animals. Jane Chin's number one of spending time with important people in your life is excellent, but we need to find new important people as well.
    Syd Nash's number one is interesting because I feel the exact opposite. Maybe this is because I usually have too much planned so I feel I need more unplanned, spontaneous time. Perhaps we should be looking for balance here: goals and sense of accomplishment are important, but too much planning leaves us less open to the new and interesting, and less able to react to what we learn as we go.
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    Feb 21 2011: Here are three of my favorites:

    1. spend at minimum 15 minutes of complete, unadulterated attention with an important person in your life - your child/ children, your spouse, parents etc. Be *fully* present for them and allowing them to simply be. You don't need to fill it up with activity or chatter.

    2. take at least 15 minutes a day for self reflection, however you wish to do so. You can meditate or if you're like me, you can write/journal. Same principle as above - you don't need to "complete" a certain task, it doesn't have to be a certain way - but what is required is full engagement, full presence for yourself.

    3. this one I have a hard time with, discipline-wise. take at least 15 minutes a day for some type of physical activity that takes your mind off your thoughts and yourself. gardening, yoga, kungfu, cleaning, sculpting, finger painting - whatever!
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      Feb 27 2011: Wow, such a great list. I also agree that (3) is hard for me. I cannot find an activity that allows me to take my mind off my thoughts easily. What has worked for you?
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    Feb 20 2011: No one wants to be the first so I will get this party started by giving three more tips I use:

    a. Practice mindfulness by staying in the present
    b. Take 15 minutes to reflect on every day and your actions
    c. Do a random act of kindness every day