The philosophy of the 10X way

14 min read

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This blog focuses on laying foundation for an inspired 10X journey as an engineer. I want you to feel inspired that you have chosen a great profession and you can create a real meaningful value in the world through your skills of engineering. It will help you think what is your purpose and why you should be an engineer (or not)? It will also give some very basic fundamental practices to follow.

Hello friends,

I am happy to be back, and look forward to sharing this very important entry in our 10X series. I believe it is the actual foundation for our further journey because the 10X mindset is a way of life, which includes our work.

Let me start by first saying that I felt quite pleasantly surprised to almost 400 subscriptions happen on day one within the announcement. For me it is a promising sign and a confirmation of my long standing belief that engineers thirst for their Ikigai, their purpose, meaning and growth, and they want to make the world a better place. Something I have believed and want myself :-)

I am feeling great happiness to be part of this newly formed companionship and growing circle for excellence and growth. I believe engineers are going to be one of the core clans who will lead to shape a more humane world in 21st century. Hence for me you are very important and significant. Perhaps even more than what you may consider.

Similarly, I know you are yearning to proceed further with engineering related discussions. We are going to go through that in details you will love. But what is a building without a foundation? We need to get the foundation set right for our 10X journey.

When I took my first steps towards the life of growth, I started by focusing on my posture and breathing throughout the day. Similarly to embark on a great professional journey, we need to get our fundamentals (Aasana, Dharana) right. Then we are prepared to become one (meditation) with our work.

Hence I urge you to step out of normal work zone and flow for reading this one special blog of the 10X series, and think with me with an open mind, on some fundamental proposals I am going to share with you, which may shape your life and profession as an engineer, as they did for me.

Here we will lay down the philosophical underpinnings of Engineering and 10X mindset. And also share my own life journey and inspiration for the same.

What is the significance of an engineer?

Reminds me of the afternoon when I stood in front of Oracle office looking at the 14 floor building with 2000 colleagues and wondering what am I doing here and what is the purpose of my life! Our life?

Just now I asked a quick question to ChatGPT on "Meaning of Vishwakarma" - something I relate to very much as a purpose led engineer. And this is what came.

Vishwakarma is a term from Hindu mythology and culture. He is believed to be the creator of the universe's architecture. He is considered the divine architect, engineer, craftsman and also patron deity for these professions. The term "Vishwakarma" is derived from Sanskrit and can be translated to mean "all-accomplishing" or "all-doer.

I had a dream once where the supreme power of the universe came to me and asked me: "So, what do you have to offer to me?" I was perplexed. For years I wondered - what really do I have which could be valuable to the supreme power? After all what is the significance of my existence? Or of any of my possessions to this huge and infinite power? I am nothing! What is the best can I offer which is also valuable?

The answer came after few years - It is me! I can offer myself to the world's service!!

And that filled my heart with joy and my mind with purpose. Now came the second question - how? There started the journey of vision which I call Lifemaker. Few more years went by in the search where along with my professional journey, I tried few other things including including developing my own understanding of human resolution, and personal efforts in rural education and economy of the village I had chosen to live in. Today the Godspeed or my personal videos that you see are made by Saurabh who was one of my homeschooling students from the village I live in. He failed in his 10th but is now 12th pass and learning video editing, social media marketing, content design, photograph, English - all by himself. But there I felt limitations of what I could do in my personal capacity. And I had dreams at scale. Because now my mission is to create as much value as possible to offer to the world.

One of the ways was to use my strengths. And engineering is one of my core strengths. I can give back by creating tools which will help innovators shape a better world without the hurdles of tech, experience or knowledge coming in their way. I will empower the Vishwakarmas of the world. And hence was bornGodspeed.

I believe an engineer is here to contribute towards a world with better systems and services for social and environmental justice, economic and conscious upliftment - a world with happiness, peace, satisfaction and bliss. In short, work towards leaving a better world behind, than the one we was born into. And ofcourse this needs one's personal growth first. Do you feel a calling like this?

Further questioning on spiritual and philosophical connection of engineering and Vishwakarma reveals.

In summary, the spiritual and philosophical connection between Vishwakarma and engineering lies in these five principles

  1. Creator and Innovator: Engineers design and build structures, machines, systems, and technologies that shape the world around us. (What is going to be your service?)

  2. Skill and Expertise: Engineers possess specialised knowledge, craftsmanship and expertise in various fields, enabling them to design and construct intricate and functional systems. (Do you aim for marvels or just try to make the code work?)

  3. Problem Solving: Engineers are problem solvers who identify challenges and develop solutions to address them, while encountering various obstacles (design, integrations and bugs) on the way. (Do you love challenges bigger than yourself or do you avoid them?)

  4. Harmony and Balance: Engineers often strive to design structures and systems that are not only usable, efficient and maintainable but also environmentally sustainable and aesthetically pleasing. (How efficient or futureproof is your machine? Can it stay useful for at least a decade?)

  5. Service to Society: Engineers have a responsibility to use their skills and knowledge for the betterment of humanity, whether it's by designing infrastructure to improve quality of life, developing medical technologies to save lives, or creating sustainable solutions to address environmental, educational or social challenges. (How are you going to serve the society?)

Engineering is not about building any random stuff that makes money. It is about making lives and living better. Its about contributing to making Earth a better place to live. But all that starts with making your own life better first. To have visions and become a visionary of own life first. From there rest will emerge. And for building your own life and professional excellence, you need the 10X mindset of growth.

Are you inspired to learn more about engineering and the 10X engineer's way of life? To be inspired about being not just an amazing professional but a visionary leveraging the power of tech to make the world a better place?

Let us now explore the mindset of 10X. What is this mindset like?

An engineer is first a thinker and philosopher

Philosophy opens our mind for reason and experience based scientific inquiry and learning - something that we engineers have to do everyday - question, think, experiment, see proof, confirm. Also philosophy helps us understand the important phenomenons of existence as co-existence - for ex. laws of nature, the values that matter, purpose of human life and the way to live. Once we understand these things better, we actually start to enjoy the real elixir of life. The All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) is doing a wonderful step in this direction. Check their courses called the human values and professional ethics. They are giving great pointers to college students on contemplating on meaning of successful life and profession.

In times where the purpose of human life is commonly viewed as being limited to making money and investing all energy into ensuring "survival in old age", even if it costs us our happiness, our relationships, social and natural environment, engineers need to question - how true is that? Is all my life and existence on this magical planet Earth with this amazing body and rest of co-existence, limited to simply focusing on survival and material comforts? What am I really, why am I here, what do I actually want? A fact check.

When I stepped out of the blind race 12 years ago to think afresh, observe and grow meaningfully with my direct knowledge, life made some wonderful things happen - for example building Infinity the world's first hackerbase in Himalayas and Hillhacks - a unique community based annual event for hackers & makers for 16 days in Himalayas. This is was just the tip of iceberg, of some unimaginably life changing and enjoyable experiences and connections which I will keep sharing. It has transformed me into a satisfied man.

And trust me, a peaceful, curious, focused & intelligent mind is required to be a 10X engineer as well :-)

Forever thirsty

The one who is not thirsty will not drink from the cup of life. No matter how amazing the drink, they don't feel the need for it. They don't desire it. And rightly enough, they will not take it.

10X folks are those who feel a seemingly never ending thirst for growth & excellence. A thirst for expanding their horizons and pushing the boundaries of their limits. A mind full of questions. A mind seeking solution to problems.

And to be a 10X in engineering (or any profession) there needs to be a thirst for the bigger things in life. And also a thirst to become a master in that profession.

Do you learn when you give job interviews or for a problem statement at work? Or are you learning something everyday on your own?

An open mind

Disclaimer: In this series I will be sharing proposals (not claims)*and I encourage you to take my words with pinch of salt. I recommend to consider them sincerely, and check whether they appear sensible and naturally acceptable to you. If they don't, please share your point of view, so that an integral POV can emerge and different views can benefit others.*

A different view is not seen by a 10X aspirant as a conflict, but an opportunity for growth. Either you learn or the other learns, or both learn. For example, two engineers differing on the choice of REST or Graphql for their new project, and having in depth discussion of their pros and cons. Two immature folks will fight or play politics for their egos or be close-minded in protecting their existing beliefs. Two mature folks will be actually interested in exploring the facts and benefits of both worlds and seeing what approach practically suits their business or team's goals, as per their situation.

The mindset of scientific inquiry

To be a great engineer, you need a scientific mindset. I believe, the biggest problem we humans have is having those beliefs which are not based on true understanding (knowing) of facts. Such beliefs are based on faith in some external source, fear, superstition or wanton imagination.

Know what you believe. Believe what you know.

A 10X mindset questions all notions - whether theirs or someone else's.

A scientific mind employs reason, natural acceptance and experiential validation to discover knowledge or debunk myths. For example, only after playing enough with both Unix and Windows, Vim and Emacs, Java and Rust, they will comment which one in their experience is better suited for software development under what circumstances.

Back in 2012, when I was contemplating moving my life and startup to the mountains, and remote working, away from the Gurgaon, Bangalore race, everyone told me what about the infrastructure? Who will give you work remotely? I answered to myself - there is power and internet where I am going. That should be enough.

What is scientific inquiry? It is a methodical approach to verify any proposal as a fact or myth, after

  1. The first filter is pure reasoning and natural acceptance. If any doesn't make sense or feel right. Reject and move forward in life. For ex. is feeling of relationship naturally acceptable or conflict? Is Javascript best suited for image processing algorithms? Should I stay in the job I don't love or should I take a break and think afresh? Should I spend rest of my life in Gurgaon as everyone suggests? Or should I follow my natural acceptance which points to a more beautiful life (for me) doing something else? Question. Think.

  2. The second filter is living (playing) it out. When something makes sense, you apply it in living and gather experiential evidence. You look for repetitive and definitive proof, and also data from external world to confirm that what you felt could be true or real is indeed real or not. For ex. Comparing two tools or approaches to making your next product or migration. A scientific mind wants and enjoys using, benchmarking and researching both the tools before making a final conclusion. Another ex. Today there is a booming industry of remote working all across the world and many folks are moving to native towns and villages for greater quality of life and less expenses. And ofcourse there is my own experience which confirmed my step was in right direction. Now, after 12 years my friends who challenged my decision also yearn to follow the same path. They say we are just looking for the right moment. I say to them - "You have a space in the Himalays. Come anytime."

Once both filters are passed "knowledge" is clearly staring at your face as obvious as the sun rising daily in the east.

Scientific inquiry is based on own reasoning, direct experience and data to conclude whether a proposal (statement) is A. Valid for you personally or B. Valid universally (for everyone) or C. Absolutely invalid and bogus

Inculcating the worthy habits

Once a useful fact is discovered as per the scientific method, for example being a power user of keyboard shortcuts and unix commands enhance productivity, or for example, read error logs or read google results slowly with curiousity to understand what is happening in detail. If this fits in your reasoning and experience as discussed before, I suggest to make them your habits by including in your moment to moment awareness and applying them consistently in the right situation at the right time. With persistence, habits transform into our being itself! When that happens, you don't even consciously think of that anymore. It is just happening. It has become inseparable part of your being.

So bring awareness and apply the habits you want to inculcate. And be consistent.

They live for their Ikigai

Is tech your Ikigai?

If you are into tech (or any profession), just because it gets you livelihood or because your parents want you to do so but it is not naturally acceptable to you or it doesn't spark your imagination, and not because you love it and it serves your life purpose, then you are letting go the opportunity called life. Means, you are alive but not living.

So have the courage to walk the path less walked, because that is often the path you should be on. This beautiful poetry by Robert Frost summarises this feelign very well.

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

So the big questions to ask yourself are

  • What do I want from life?

  • Am I adopting the right mindset for growth?

  • Is or can engineering be my Ikigai?

  • And if yes, do I deserve mediocrity? Or does my life and profession deserve excellence?

While this list can go on and will definitely continue to evolve with time. For now, we end this chapter of philosophical underpinnings of a 10X engineer. It will continue to be enriched and shared in our future online sessions and blogs.

You can subscribe to our newsletter, youtube channel, With this you can proceed to the next chapter on foundational preparation for 10X Engineering when you are ready.

Thanks for your patience. It starts getting more technical from here :-) Touching the basics!