Interview #4 with Srinivas Rao, Online Entrepreneur and Personal Development Blogger

For today we have a special guest here at Lifestyle Updated, someone who really walks the walk in terms of personal development and self-actualization, and one of the best personal development bloggers in the world.

Interview with Srinivas Rao

A published author, blogger, entrepreneur, avid surfer, and overall a great guy I feel like there is no need for further introduction – we have with us Srinivas Rao, the author of The Skool of Life. I heard about Srini probably somewhat less than a year ago, even before I engaged with blogging, and have been reading him ever since. How this very blog looks like and what range of subjects it covers is partially due to me being amazed by all the great content that Srini and others like him have created.

Aside of being one of the best personal development bloggers in the world, Srini is unique in the sense of working hard on the things that he love, as well as enjoying life full time – the two things which he advocates the most.

He is not only talking about comprising these two aspects of fulfillment and happiness into our lives, but serves as a living example by incorporating them as much as he can into his own life as well.

Spending his time equally between work that he loves and people he enjoys being with, as well as surfing, a great passion of his, he indeed has a lot to talk about, as he likes to say, the things that we should have learned in school but never did.

1. Hi Srini and welcome to Lifestyle Updated, we are really glad having you here.
You are, as I already said, one of the best personal development bloggers in the world as well as a much respected online marketer. I want to start with the obvious question right away – How did everything start?

Like many stories of this type, it was somewhat serendipitous. I had graduated from business school without a job and no real skills. It was April 2009 and the employment market was terrible. I needed something that would allow me to stand out in the job market.

I had been a social media intern at Intuit the summer before and I knew I wanted to work in social media. But I had no tangible evidence of my skills. I had dabbled with many blogs. But I decided to finally get serious, and that’s how the Skool of Life started.

I definitely didn’t dream or plan on doing this. I guess what made me fall in love with it was that I got to see the impact of my work every day. It was something I created with my own two hands

2. Adopting things on the go, learning and falling in love with them, is something you’ve had a lot of experience with. Same goes for your passion, the surfing. I understand that you started surfing as a way to shift your energy from only focusing on looking for a job. Later on, you became captivated by it, so much so that you sold a bunch of stuff and took a 6 months surfing trip to Costa Rica.
Is this true? Please tell us more about your love for surfing.

Srinivas RaoI could write a book about it. Obsession would be putting it lightly. It was an escape from the pressures of my job search when I started. But it turned into so much more. In surfing I found a joy that I’d never experienced. Every time I got out of the water, I felt light, happy, and like I could do anything. We refer to that as being “stoked“.

It’s been kind of the driving force of my life. It gives me perspective, inspiration and more. I’ve learned more about life and business from surfing than from any book.

When my hours got cut at my day job, I decided to push the limits of what was possible. I asked my boss if I could relocate since there was no need for me to be in the office. When my boss asked where I said “how about Costa Rica.” The place is known for world class waves. The rest is history.

3. You speak a lot about fulfillment back at The Skool of Life, and regard that as the ultimate currency. Some of the things that you advocate as for how to have a fulfilled life are balancing things out, adding diversity and living full time both in terms of work as well as the rest of the time.
How much energy do you invest into work, how important do you consider having fun and being with the people that you love is?

I definitely put time into my work. But the truth is most of what you see is not large chunks of work over accomplished a short period of time. It’s small chunks of work over a really extended period of time.

Having fun and being happy are the most important things in my opinion. Those things infuse and inform every aspect of your work.

When I’m surfing frequently I do some of my best work. It’s not that it’s effortless. But it feels effortless. I know that’s hard concept for people to grasp. In terms of friends and loved ones, the point of all this is that you get more time with them.

That’s my take on it. I didn’t start this so I could spend as much time as possible in front of a computer.

4. Blogging and internet marketing always start as a way to communicate your message through, but personal development junkies like us know better than just learning the basics. You started to learn them on the side, but transformed into one of the blogging gurus. Do you apply the same principles in anything that you start with? Do you always try to improve upon things that seem not worthy at the time?

I’m flattered that you would call me a guru. But I think it’s a bit inaccurate. I’m a student that never wants to graduate from the school of life.

I can’t remember who it was. Somebody told me approach everything with a learning posture. In terms of improvement it goes back to doing small things consistently over an extended period of time. Unfortunately this is not how we’re trained early in life:

  • A paycheck at the end of two weeks
  • A good grade on a test

We’re not trained to look at long term rewards, with rare exceptions.

5. As far as work goes you’ve made a great career already. Host and co-founder at Blogcast.Fm where you regularly interview bloggers and entrepreneurs, the guy behind the Skool of Life, once again one of the best personal development blogs, Amazon published author.
How do you manage to do all that and still enjoy freedom and being able to do the things that you love? Or are these things connected in a way?

They are very connected. One drives the other. I know for example if I finish a ton of work today and the waves are good tomorrow, I won’t be sitting in front of the computer.

I don’t think anybody is dealing with a lack of time. I think they’re lousy at managing it and making a dent in a dream is not a high enough priority. That’s ok. It’s not for everybody. But you can’t do nothing and expect amazing experiences to fall from the sky.

6. Even without adding to your work you’ve already made something of great value, and that’s a lot of success judging by any standards. But what are your plans for the upcoming years? Is there something that we forgot to mention?

I haven’t talked about this in a while. But most of this all was driven by a dream to spend a full year traveling the world and surfing. I think what will be a part of that is writing a book.

7. “Where you see yourself 5 years from now” is probably as dumb question as any other hypothetical one to ask in an interview, but I will ask you this by pointing from a slightly different angle – in the sense of, what journeys do you plan to take over the next 5 years? Since you and I both know that it’s never about the destination, but rather about the journey that shapes the results, and looking in retrospect all we see are our experiences and our actions.

It’s hard to predict. I think really every journey is one of self discovery. I’m not sure I have a concrete answer. But I can say that I still feel like I’ve got plenty to learn about myself.

8. Tell us more about your lifestyle. Try and describe your average day or things that you do during the weak that encapsulate you.

Srinivas Rao interviewSo I actually don’t work well in long stretches. I don’t have the attention span for it. I tend to work in short bursts. The first thing I do in the morning is brew some coffee, open up my journalist software and write something. Most of it is garbage. The rest ends up on my blog.

But what I’ve found is that things will come together like puzzle pieces , a week or month down the road. If the surf is good, I’ll be out the door as early as 5am and do most of my work when I come back.

In terms of BlogcastFM interviews, I try to be efficient and do things early in the morning or evening. I try to avoid any major commitments in the middle of the day. My creative juices are usually shot by 10am.

9. Being a personal development blogger we are not letting you go without asking you what is your perfect formula, if there is a definite one, for success.

Stop searching for the formula.

10. Tomorrow being Christmas, and a new year being ahead, what will you say to our readers as to wish them the best time and one of the best years in their life?

This is an interesting time of year. For some we look back and think about what was amazing. If you’re lucky enough to do that be grateful.

But for others, this time of year amplifies what’s already bad. The good news is we’re about to push the reset button. It’s up to you to start the game over.

Thanks for finding the time my friend, it was a real pleasure for both me as well as our readers I believe. Have a great holiday season, a lot of luck with your future projects, and a lot of great waves ahead.

If you are really into blogging and online marketing visit Blogcast.Fm where you can find some of the best podcasts on the net. Also don’t forget to visit The Skool of Life and grab a free copy of The Extraordinary Achiever’s manifesto – a book for anybody who wants to be inspired to accomplish their personal version of extraordinary.

You can leave your comments below, I believe that Srinivas will be glad to answer them. As for me, see you on Friday with another article where I will share my 12 favorite posts from around the net for 2012 . For all of you who celebrate the holidays, have a Merry Christmas and enjoy the time with your loved ones. This time of the year is great for contemplation, gratitude, and setting up new priorities for the year ahead. If getting into shape is on your priority list, don’t forget to read our inspirational workout quotes, or maybe even try something like the PIYO workout. Remember, incremental progress always piles up, but you gotta start from somewhere.

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