Om Malik is the founder of Gigaom, a technology blog and media company, and a partner at True Ventures, a firm dedicated to investing in tech startups. Om also writes his own blog and is a photographer. After a near death experience and getting a second chance at life, Om now lives a mindful life focused on living in the present. Whether it’s how he views his place in the world, what he chooses to photograph, or how he lives his life, Om appreciates the power of perspective.
Putting Things into Perspective
Like many people in today’s busy world, Om was putting his work before himself and his health. Working long hours and in a constant state of busyness, Om didn’t put emphasis on the importance of taking a break and being mindful of your body, mind and soul. Then, his life was turned upside down.
Ten years ago, Om Malik suffered a heart attack placing him in the ICU for weeks. Having to fight for his life, and realizing that he can’t control what happens in his life, changed his entire perspective and outlook. Om now lives in the present, focusing on the now and planning for the next few days, rather than the far future. “If you want to piss off God,” he joked, “You make plans.”
“Forget about the past and focus on the present and the near future. I’m really happy with that approach to life.”
Photographing a Feeling
With a new gained perspective on life, and the desire to experience the beauty there is in the world around him while living in the present, Om turned to photography. Going on photography trips began as a way to take a break from the world of tech, and is now an extension of him, his thoughts and feelings.
When you look at Om’s photography, it is clear that his work is full of both powerful emotions and a calm sense of peace. “I find photography a way of capturing what I’m feeling and sharing it with others.” Om visits different locations across the world and tries to capture the essence of a place as well as how he is feeling in that spot. For him, photography allows him to convey how he feels with others, while checking in with how he feels himself.
“I’m trying to capture a feeling.”
In the Grand Scheme of Things
Visiting places like the Arctic for his photography trips really puts into perspective how small we are in the grand scheme of things, reminding him to remain mindful and present. Om understands how easy it is to get lost in your day-to-day work life. To combat this, he suggests to take a step back and ask yourself, “Are you living your life by a set of rules and regulations set by society?” Too often, people get wrapped up in their own lives without paying attention to the bigger picture.
After Om’s life altering, near death experience, and through gaining a more balanced outlook on life with photography, he explained that his biggest life lesson was to learn how to lower his expectations – of himself and of everything – because we only have the present. Rather than worrying about what is coming next for him, he lives his life one step at a time, remaining grateful for what he has.
“What matters to me is enjoying what we have.”
When asked what he is specifically grateful for, he eloquently responded: Everything. A second chance at life, my family, my friends. The gift to see and the gift to be alive.
Om’s Questions for KYŌ (App):
- What are my expectations for myself?
- What am I going to do for the next 3 days?
- Am I living life by my own set of rules?
Photography by Om Malik