Many people think the five friends I have are the 1% of 1%. The truth is far away from that. But I get why they might have that notion over time by being around me; I avoid most people, I barely hang out, go out for drinks, or eat with them. So it’ easy to form a judgement that I think I am intellectually progressive than them. The truth is rarely pure and never simple.

I avoid sharing or talking about the few individuals because I care about these people more than just friends. It has taken a lifetime to earn them, and I will never let them away. Loyalty, maturity, patience, discipline are things that cannot be bought at a grocery store. The five friends I have did not study neuroscience, astrophysics, rocket science, or medicine. One did not even go to school, yet he is a gem for me. The accurate measure of a person is how well they succeed in who they are and how they treat everyone else. The common thing between every single one of them is that they have the purest of hearts. That’s it. That’s all they got. They’ve helped me when I had nothing and are still with me for all these years. For me, they cannot be measured in a %.

Judge a man not by the color of his skin, but by the content of his character.

Martin Luther King Jr.

I was a bit depressed after NASA put out the 10 astronauts few days back. Depressed not because I wasn’t happy for them; I think they are the best anyone could select to push the human race forward. I was a bit depressed because I didn’t think I was worthy of becoming one. Reading about every person and their prior contributions to the human race made the little hair on my arms stand erect. I talked to my mom, and she consoled me, saying I am barely in my mid 20’s and should ease up. There is still more I can contribute to humanity than just donating large chunks of money.

I don’t know.

Becoming an astronaut was never about pride/ego or just wearing a blue uniform. It means casting aside all selfish ambitions and pledging yourself for the good of humanity. And that begins by first being a decent human being. The odds are not even close to being in my favor. I am literally starting a marathon 10 miles before the start line. But from my years on this planet, I’ve known that it takes courage to choose a hard path. And it takes more courage to keep on that path for a long time. I have 100% of the control over the efforts I put in, but I have no control over the outcome. Me worrying about something not in my power will not help me continue living every day. I am willing to die for this. To either stop me, I should drop dead or be decapitated.

Nobody is trying to fix the problems we have on this planet. Everyone is trying to make enough money, so the problems don’t apply to them anymore. And so far, I am proud that I’m trying to do it in a way that is crazy enough for people to call me a psychopath. The science and research astronauts do; make lives for the creatures on the planet much more accessible.

At re:invent, I merely talked to for 7-8 hours in total in the entire week’s span, 7-8 different companies reached out on Linkedin to speak and interview directly with the hiring manager, VP’s, and VP’s director’s for a role. They liked my passion and ambition towards tech so much that they were willing to skip all the hoops and hurdles for interviewing. I felt humbled. But the truth is far away from it.

I don’t think any company I work for will have the same goals as me. At the end of the day, companies will always be trying to make as much money as possible. It would be foolish to assume that people who work there have a heart of gold, possesses high ethics, morals and are willing to jump on a grenade for someone. But that’s the truth with all and any company. They have no interest in pushing the boundaries of human knowledge, have no interest in human endeavor, or harnessing the true intent of human civilization, or answering questions like “Are we alone? / Why are we here?”. And why should they? They have no reason to.

So honestly, I don’t know if any company I work for in ANY tech has anything that it can offer me for my goals. I’d like to lead a team and work on projects that I can research, present, and publish. I want to be more than a person who saves millions of $, is reckless, containerizes everything, is aggressive in innovation, and is an advert of chaos. But what would that have any value if I cannot even be qualified enough in the top 10% to apply for candidacy? What’s the point of it all?

Weirdly, this reminds me of high school, undergrad, and grad school. Take grad school, for example; I was a broke student, I had no money for hardware for projects, to travel to different places for events. I begged money from the univ to fund me, not asked – begged. They showed me the door. I wiped my tears and built a team of misfits. We all had one thing in common; we had nothing to lose. We started going to local events and learning how to build and present stuff. We failed miserably at the beginning. The first time we won, the taste of glory and prestige was unmatched; we made some money, used that to invest in ourselves and buy better hardware, and traveled to much better locations with much higher cash prizes. We continued winning the cycle until our names were in the papers and websites. And that’s when my university took notice, writing about the team in college papers and websites. It was too late. I had already lost respect for it because I was a losing horse in their eyes. And similar events have occurred in undergrad and high school. It’s like history keeps on repeating over and over for me.

Nobody wants to be with and support someone who wants to make a change; UNTIL the person does it. A company can throw me to the wolves for all I care; I will come back leading the pack. I consider my spirit animal to be wolves; why? Because lions/tigers may rule the jungle, but you’ll never see a wolf performing in a circus. Wolves always act and are alone but hunt in packs. So yeah, a person who is okay with being alone is powerful than most.

Perhaps all of us 11-12 misfits who are preparing to be a part of “TMG” (The Martian Generation) batch of astronauts are wrong for what we stand for – that there is still hope to bring change. But then I look around me and see no one, nobody, family, heir, or kin. So if I am genuinely wrong about everything I stand for, I ask you this – what more could I possibly lose?

Being an ASCAN is more than just a glorified resume. It’s the highest amount of privilege anyone can have and the highest level of public service a person can contribute to.

So yeah, I don’t think I’m gifted or a prodigy and will never believe even if people yell it at me. But for one thing I’ve known for a long time is that I am stupid crazy.

Side note: I lost $100k in the market pull back this month, I didn’t even flinch. I’ve definitely become a lot calm and composed since last year. I’m proud of myself for that.