Reflecting on the Past 18 Years of my Life

TL;DR

  1. I’m probably the luckiest person on earth.
  2. Knowing what you want in life and going after it is the single most important thing for anyone to discover.
  3. I am working towards finding and solving a problems that will impact the higher good of humanity.

I’ve been blessed with,

  • amazing parents
  • great health and genetics
  • able mind and body
  • access to resources I need to survive
  • having opportunities that have exponentially accelerated my growth
  • being around smart people

My life is not normal because I live in the top 1% of the world and probably less that 1% of that number have had the same experiences as me.

As I reflect on my journey over the past 2 years I can’t help but feel grateful for life and all the gifts I’ve gotten from it.

And as I realize how lucky I’ve been there is a sense of duty almost, to take my gifts and help impact the billions of people who weren’t as lucky as me.

My end goal in life is to help impact a billions people’s lives, make the world actionably a better place.

Who is Tanisha?

Celebrating my 16th birthday!

I was an average student sitting in my classes in high school but all my life I never quite felt like I was the same as everyone around me.

I was curious about things others didn’t care about and I had bigger dreams than most of my friends.

Let me share a little bit more about my life growing up to help contextualize why I may have been shaped by my experiences to become a more driven and ambitious person.

The moment I realized I wanted to change the world.

I was born in India and lived there until I was 7 years old. As a young girl growing up in India the world was very different than life in North America. I first hand saw the disparity between the very rich and the very poor.

My family owned a factory that developed metal parts for certain machines so I grew up in a family of running businesses for our main source of income.

This is somewhat similar to our old factory

I went to private schools and had many amazing maids who looked after me to the point that I didn’t have to do anything for myself because other people would look after all my needs.

***Please don’t spoil your children like this, the outcome most times turns out to be bad***

Here 7 year old me (I think haha)

I would love to visit our factory and play with all the workers who worked on the facility to make their source of income.

The differences between me and them were huge. They could never afford the luxury I was growing up with.

I remember once when I talked to one of my favourite employees and realized he couldn’t afford to buy new shoes for himself because money was so tight and he had a family back home to provide for.

To 7 year old Tanisha that didn’t make sense, if I needed shoes I would just get someone to buy them for me. So I asked my parents to help buy the worker new shoes because that’s just what made sense to me.

That small act made him so unbelievably happy and I was suddenly starting to see what was happening around me.

I was living a privileged life but most people had to work day and night to bring food home while not even being able to afford new shoes.

Seasons changed and our family business wasn’t doing so well hence my parents decided to find new opportunities by moving to Canada. I was suddenly ripped out of a very luxurious environment to now a struggling immigrant in a totally new country.

I think this was the moment I convinced myself as a young girl that I wanted to do something big in the world.

People live horrible lives and I’ve honestly just been extremely lucky all my life. It only makes sense to me to take all the gifts life has given me and work towards helping humanity in some way. It’s my duty because I’ve been awarded with so much leverage and opportunities that most people will never see in all their lifetimes.

Someone who can’t afford to buy shoes cannot help change the world no matter if they are the most capable person, it’s people like me and most of the people reading this article that have that capability and opportunity.

But as I started growing up, school started shaping me into another “typical” student. All the drive and ambition was suddenly channelled into getting the best grades and excelling at school because that’s how I thought I could become successful and help people.

Life becomes extremely confusing as a teenager and it's so easy to lose track of what’s important to you.

To continue excelling in school I even changed myself in many ways to “fit in” but that never made me happy.

I felt as empty as this classroom :(

A lot of these decisions were related to insecurities, wanting a sense of belonging or just the environment I was influenced by.

So I continued to coast through life until one day I decided that I didn’t want to be like everyone else. I wanted to remember 7 year old Tanisha and the crazy dreams she had of wanting to change the world.

I wanted to find opportunities that could help me discover who I really am and what I should spend my time doing.

Again I got super lucky because I learnt about TKS, a program that was made for people like myself.

Kids who want to do something big and aren’t just satisfied with what we learn in school.

The mission statement:

“We develop ambitious young people to impact billions using emerging technologies. Our goal is to solve the world’s biggest problems by unlocking human potential.”

SIGN. ME. UP.

And now 2 years later I have a new family of people who think just like me and help me become a better person everyday :)

All the awesome people I’m surrounded by ❤

My journey over the past 2 years.

Me and a quantum computer ❤

I’ve developed a deep passion for trying to understand the most complicated things in the world.

From trying to become an expert in quantum computing or understanding fundamental problems like the origins of consciousness, chaos theory, complex systems, etc.

But I didn’t know what I truly wanted in life.

For a long time I’ve been in a state of wantlessness and couldn’t figure out a mission that makes me internally motivated.

Even though I know I want to do something impactful in the world, it’s very hard to commit to what that vision is and how you are going to achieve it.

So this state has been the scariest and lowest points in my journey so far but I think having more experiences and figuring out what makes me happy has helped me define my ambition.

Some ways I felt really unmotivated that maybe others can relate to are:

  • Feeling like there is so much work to be done and letting that “feeling” stress me out
  • Afraid to decide and choose for myself a single vision I want to dedicate my life towards (the paradox of choice)
  • Having no clarity over how I’m going to achieve my mission in life and then deciding to waste time instead of investing it in my future self
  • Letting other people’s thoughts and opinions hold me back by allowing their words to affect me emotionally
  • Overthinking too much and not doing enough work
  • Getting distracted by things like social media, entertainment, etc.

While I was unmotivated I had the lowest self-esteem.

I didn’t feel confident in myself and it showed, so I decided that enough is enough. I needed to get out of my small pity party and face the world head on. Get harsh feedback on all the things I’m doing wrong and work towards the person I want to be in the next 10 years.

Knowing what you want in life has to be the single most important thing anyone can discover for themselves.

If you don’t know where you are going, any road will get you there.

Meaning, if you have no greater goal in life then anything can steer you away from achieving what's truly important to you.

I’m more of an altruist, seeing people be happy because of me gives me the kind of happiness that elevates my soul.

The interesting part is that genuine altruism goes against evolutionary theory, its incompatible with the notion of increasing someone’s fitness performance of survival.

Basically people who are selfless would be the first to die.

I can be too selfless to a fault and I have to learn to control that but my sources of happiness derive from seeing others become happy because of me.

So my trajectory should always align with “Am I working on things that will bring happiness to other people’s lives?” If the answer is no then I’m doing something wrong.

My ideas will continue to evolve, all I know is that I know nothing and I’m not going to attach myself to one identity. I’ll do what makes me happy and my hypothesis so far is that my happiness comes from making others happy so I’ll stick to that for now.

I’m 18 now and the road is unclear but I’m surrounded by amazing people and friends who I know will be monumental in helping me shape my destiny. Because so much has changed I want to document all the lessons I’ve learnt and or continuing to learn as I’m on my journey to change the world.

And in the end, the path I’ve chosen for myself will help me reach self-actualization and maximize my potential.

So what am I actually working towards?

Here is where I am today:

  • Currently in my gap year before university
  • Working at a quantum computing startup called Zapata Computing
  • Part of TKS now but as a staff member :)
  • Living on my own in downtown Toronto with 3 other amazing friends who are as ambitious as me

Crazy life experiences I’ve had over the past 2 years:

Because I’ve been part of TKS, I’ve had access to opportunities that my 16 year self would have never thought possible.

I often forget to be grateful for my unique experiences and remain humbled to more in the future.

Over the past 2 years I’ve been able to travel places all over the world.

Places I’ve traveled to:

  • San Francisco X 2
  • Dubai
  • Las Vegas
  • NYC
  • Vermont
  • Spain
  • Boston

Places I’ve spoken at:

  • Google Go North
  • Google Think Telecom
  • Microsoft Future Now
  • CES 2019
  • Tribalscale Takeover Dubai
  • Future Trends Forum in Spain
  • Perimeter Institute
  • Women in Payments 2019

Experience I’ve had:

  • Consulting challenges for places like TD, Wealthsimple, Interac, etc.
  • Interning at Microsoft and Interac over the summer
  • Winning CES Young Innovators to Watch Award in Las Vegas
  • Doing a hackathon in snowy cabins in Vermont
  • Traveling to Spain and getting stranded in a small village in the middle of nowhere
  • Meeting really interesting people over the past 2 years, like hanging out with physics profs at Waterloo all day or running into Spain’s youngest and most renowned bull-fighter or meeting Jack Dorsey, the founder of twitter and Square!
  • Getting published in Globe and Mail articles
  • Writing for a magazine in Hong Kong
  • Attending some of the best tech conferences in the world

This is INSANE, never did I think this would be possible at 16. But it happened and they’re all experiences which have helped me grow into a better person.

I’ve learnt and grew more as a person in the past 2 years than in all my life.

The interesting experiences only help me learn more about how the world works and give me external validation for the work I’m doing.

I really resonate with the quote “everything you think is impossible is waiting to be completed by someone else.”

I think as you grow up it’s so easy to become more settled around grounding ideas that are safe and structured.

For example, I want to graduate university and find a job that pays me $100k per year. There is nothing wrong with that, everyone has different aspirations but the problem lies in when people who have the potential to change the world settle for such ideas.

The concept of “impossible ideas” is that they are unpolluted by other people’s thoughts / perception. If you’re thinking in the “impossible” then you’re not held back by what society demands of you.

Which is why I want to be intentional about always thinking of impossible ideas as I grow up so I never lose myself to “safe ideas” that won’t help me actualize my mission.

And when I say impossible ideas I imply that I become competent enough to know how to execute on the impossible or else it’s all just fantasy and does not add any value to the world.

Hence my mission is being defined as finding problems that seem impossible today and work towards solving them while helping humanity.

A quote that I read in a book that changed my life is:

“Engage in action, do your work but with full control of your mind and senses. And be aware that the work you do should contribute in some way directly or indirectly to the higher good of humanity.” ~ Bhagavad Gita

This just gives everyone a simple answer on what you should spend your time working on in life to reach the ultimate higher goal of self-actualization.

Advice I would give myself:

Summing up most of learnings from the past 2 years in 3 lessons.

  1. Please love yourself more, a lot of unnecessary feelings and troubles most often occur when you don’t treat yourself with respect and honor.
  2. Don’t let your mind punish you, take control over toxic emotions and channel them towards work that makes you happy rather than other outlets.
  3. Bias to action is a major mindset to just adopt right away, overthinking in disastrous and will not add any value to your life.

My life is a blessing and I should treat it as one and share my abundance with the world I live in.

I hope to just grow into a person who is kind and focused on bringing joy to others, the future Tanisha should look back and be proud of the decisions I’m making today.

I’m excited for the future because I know I will help create it :)

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