Reflections on Year 40

Neel Suresh Sus
4 min readAug 19, 2018

Yesterday was the last day of the 40th year of my life. Needless to say, I’m feeling quite reflective.

Time surely flies — 1 year ago almost to the day I was in Satara, India — walking up these stairs, well, limping really. I still vividly remember how the physical pain in my knees was exceeded only by the emotional pain in my heart.

It was a moment of shear terror — “I can’t believe I’m about to be 39 years old and yet I can’t sleep properly, 90 lbs overweight, smoking over a pack a day, and working 70+ hours a week. At this rate, am I just going to die tomorrow of a heart attack?”.

Man, it gives me the shivers just thinking about it. Tony Robbins has a great saying — “Change happens when the pain of staying the same is greater than the pain of change.” He’s so right — it’s when you’re at the breaking point that you wake up.

So I went on a journey I’ve been on many times in the past, which was to change my behaviors to get better outcomes and feel better about myself. So after getting back from India I quit smoking, went on an aggressive keto diet, and limited my work to a more reasonable range (45–55 hrs/wk), determined to make myself a more effective leader at work and at home, rather than just grinding it out constantly.

While I made great progress on the outside it didn’t change the normal dramas of life: the feeling of annoyance when a coworker didn’t follow clear direction, feelings of frustration when I didn’t feel appreciated at home, or feeling inadequate possibly when at the gym and I had a plateau.

I couldn’t put my finger on it but I knew there had to be a better way to live, to feel, to think…

One fine day in December I was on an elliptical in a gym watching House of Cards when I realized something really important — I was using HoC to escape the monotony of working out. But why was I escaping? What was I escaping from? Is this any better than playing video games 4 hours / night because you’re trying to escape your real relationships?

It was in that moment I decided to try to really guard my mind and start feeding it better material. From that point on I only listened to motivational music videos on YouTube when working out. These are really amazing and I found that I really wanted to read the…

Neel Suresh Sus

Believer in Conscious Leadership | CEO at Susco | We enable people to lead more fulfilling lives by creating intuitive software for innovative organizations.