I’ve been writing and sharing here for 270 days in a row.
When I hit 100 days, I shared what I learned (and how you could write for 100 days).
Here was the reasons I was writing:
1. To help me articulate thought.
2. To exercise the creative muscle of writing.
3. I believe in sharing life.
Here were unexpected things I learned about myself:
When I started writing, no one asked. It was an experiment. A very large part of what I wrote about was around self-awareness, self-improvement, and personal growth. I’ve also shared about business and startups.
I have had the privilege of having coffee and lunch with several interesting people. People who read things I shared and wanted to meet up. I was privileged to be able to share time with others and learn more about their life.
Since I learn, then share, and then proof read what I share, I have found that I recall concepts and ideas much quicker. This memory and ability to articulate such things has helped when speaking at colleges or high schools or even in general conversation.
Concrete is being poured. My foundation is being laid. Learning, experiencing, writing, and reflecting on what I write, has helped me come to love the person I want to be. Being vulnerable through sharing and strengthening the person I want to be has been meaningful.
I wrote about my thoughts on careers and had great feedback (as well as dozens of other articles). I have also had dozens (if not hundreds) of people share back with me when I share my thoughts and I have really grown a lot from those conversations. It’s helped me to re-articulate thoughts or challenged me to even change my beliefs (which I have done).
I have been sharing random musings and it is time to focus. I have refined my writing muscle and I know what I enjoy and where I’m going to focus. I’m excited to be launching a new site soon that will encompass my writings with a greater focus and purpose.
I am stopping writing every day so that I can focus my writing and be more intentional about writing great pieces. I am shifting my writing from quantity to quality. My writing muscle is strengthened and I feel ready to channel it into a greater belief which I’m extremely excited about. It’s something that is closer to who I am at my core.
What will happen to this site?
I will use this site to aggregate all of my writings, guest posts, videos, etc. Everything I do across the internet will show up here.
If you’ve read this far, thank you. I appreciate every second of your time and look forward to sharing more. If you’re interested in my new project, drop a comment and I’ll notify you when it’s live.
I used to say that I’m a maximizer.
I maximize the odds of the game of life, or business.
Now, while this may be true in some instances, it’s not true in your personal life.
In a car, if you want to maximize how fast you get from point A to point B, you can go fast - but at what expense? Safety? Inefficient fuel consumption? More stress on a car’s engine?
Back in 2007, I maximized my time and the projects I was working on. I worked a lot, I kept myself very busy (and I enjoyed it). I maximized my potential in those moments.
This unsustainable life because obvious when I fell asleep at the wheel driving and drove into the intersection (more here).
Maximizing my usage of time negatively affected other areas of my life. My focus, my driving ability, and the like.
Optimize for impact without negatively affecting other areas of life.
To maximize is to make as large or great as possible.
To optimize is to make the most efficient use of.
Focus on optimization because optimization is sustainable.
For much of my life, I’ve spent time strengthening different areas.
I’ve spent thousands of dollars and thousands of hours investing into myself and my understanding of business, technology, and humanity.
This past week, I took 4 assessments on myself (which I shared yesterday).
One fundamental approach to these assessments is that they start with what you have and then focus on optimization.
For instance, the Strength Finders test identified 5 strengths that I possess: Strategic, Relator, Activator, Futuristic, and Connectedness. I am choosing to focus on activator and optimize that characteristic of myself.
Prior to this moment, I’ve looked at different areas in my life as lacking.
I was always lacking in understanding. This mentality is rooted in shame and the fear of not being enough.
The mentality of shame is a mentality that society feeds off of.
You’re not enough, so you need proper hygiene to be accepted.
You’re not enough, so you need the right beauty products to look enough.
You’re not enough, so you need to do well in school and go to college.
If you want growth, have a growth mindset. Take inventory of what you have and choose to focus on what you want to evolve.
Don’t focus on what’s lacking and try to make it “enough”.
That game doesn’t lead to fulfillment or happiness.
What are you focused on strengthening? Would love to hear from you.
I once led a group of people taking the Strength Finders test. There was about 6 of them. I was one of many leaders leading such a small group at the time.
And you know what? I hadn’t taken the Strength Finders test myself.
Matter of fact, I refused to take it.
"Why?" I would often ask myself.
At the time (~4 years ago), I didn’t believe I needed something to define me. I didn’t believe I need to learn more about myself… because hey, 4 years ago, I really knew myself.
My perspective was wrong.
This past week, I took 4 different assessments on myself.
I took the Fundamental Interpersonal Relations Orientation-Behavior (FIRO-B) assessment, MBTI (also known as Myers Briggs), EQ-i (assesses my emotional quotient and compares it to fortune 500 leaders), and the Strength Finders test. (I struggled on a Style Insights questionnaire so I didn’t take it)
I used to think that such assessments would define me and I used to think that I didn’t need that.
These assessments are simply assessments to help you better understand yourself.
They are guides.
They don’t define you or tell you about who you are.
You define yourself.
Focus in a specific area you want to strengthen and define that area of yourself.
The bigger question you must ask yourself:
How do you want to define yourself?
Who do you want to be?
Last year, I went on an unretreat with Freeman in Portland.
Freeman and I spent a week talking about life, business, where we’ve been, where we’re at, and where we want to go.
It was a time to stop, pause, and get life in sync.
We spend so much time focused in life that we sometimes forgot to focus on life. This is true in business and it’s true in our personal lives.
The problem occurs in life when who we are is not in sync with what we do.
Within this gap lies unhappiness, frustration, and it’s simply not sustainable.
Unretreat NYC is for entrepreneurs who want to align who they are with what they do, get inspired, and lay down a game plan going forward. (Among other things)
Check out Unretreats.com for more info.
Freeman and I also shared more on our latest Startup Riff:
Communication is the foundation of human connection.
The more we share, the more connection is formed.
Ideas are birthed.
Every opportunity to communicate with someone else is an opportunity for connection.
Maybe connection happens as soon as you share a thought.
Maybe it happens a year after-the-fact.
I have experienced both.
I’ve had moments where I’ve begin a dialog that lasted 5 hours. Depth in connection was created.
I’ve had a moment where I’ve recalled a phrase someone told me during a lunch that didn’t resonate until a year later.
If you’re seeking change, new relationships, or want to give yourself dots to connect, communicate more.
Photo credit: Taken during the recording of an episode for the untretreat in NYC. More info at unretreats.com (I’m a co-host).
When I was in college, I experienced a few moments of “friction”.
During one year, I took 54 units. 18 in the fall, 18 in the spring, 18 in the summer. Since this is not normal, I had to push my way through to make it happen.
I remember watching different departments and learning the schedules of staff so I could go back and ask (after they rotated shifts) if I can get into a class.
I heard no many times.
When it came to my graduation, I talked with multiple counsellors and advisors to make sure I would finish as I expected to.
In life, in discovering truths, I do the same thing.
I experience a truth many (many) times before I accept it as truth.
Too often, many want to grow up too quick.
When you’re young, you want to be an adult.
When you’re an adult, you want to be young again.
Don’t accelerate your understanding of truth simply to be “grown”.
Constantly question your foundation.
Challenge the things you believe.
The more you search for your truth, the deeper your conviction.
At the age of 9, I started web development.
When I wasn’t on the computer, I was thinking.
I never really understood the concept of “boredom” or “killing time”. If I was relaxing, that wasn’t killing time and I wasn’t bored, that was me relaxing. Or playing. Because we need that.
I want to put this into perspective: It’s not about killing time. It’s about intentionally disconnecting. It’s about bringing more play and relaxation into your life.
Think about it. We have 86,400 seconds in a day.
Some have only weeks to live. Or months.
Why would you want to kill time?
Sounds harmless, but it’s a mentality.
If you want to relax, do it, and do it with something you enjoy that inspires you… but simply killing time?
I don’t get it.
I disconnect by mountain biking, watching a good movie, having a meaningful conversation, or simply sitting on my couch and thinking.
I don’t do this to kill time. I do it because I need it. This is healthy and I enjoy every bit of it. It is about energy management.
Please, don’t kill time.
Value your time.
Maximize the impact of your time.
Photo credit: I took this.
I spend a lot to time in reflection.
When I reflect, I think about my life.
I think about my past, myself, and my future.
And I make connections.
Sometimes I connect the past to the present, or the future to the past. I simply make connections. In the midst of doing this, sometimes, I blow my mind.
I blow my mind because I have a jolt of insight that I didn’t realize.
This is sustainable growth. It is growth that comes from within.
A lot of people crave external experience.
Things like travel, a constant stream of “fun” moments, or experiences that would radically alter the way one thinks.
This is backwards. If you want to blow your mind, you must dive within.
Sure, external experience may provoke internal thought, but the sustainable experiences are experiences that you find within your own life.
It’s about facing your own truth.
It’s about discovering your own realities.
It’s about uncovering yourself and then exposing yourself.
Would love to hear any insights you’ve had into your own mind.
Some schools of thought say to live in the present.
They say that the ego is what lives in the past and in the future.
To overcome this, you must focus on being present in the moment.
I struggle with accepting this.
Understanding the past and your upbringing and making sense of it all helps you to move forward.
Until you do that, your past defines you.
It operates at a subconscious level.
Until you put intentional effort to understand your subconscious do you transcend it.
Would love to hear your thoughts on this.
That is, the potential you possess as a human.
When you maximize your potential, you do better.
That is, you’re better at what you do.
You focus on what matters.
You maximize the efficiency and effectiveness of everything you do.
You act with the intent of impact and you make the difference.
You possess strength because you’re maximized.
I’ve lately been reflecting on who I am. I’ve reflected on strengths and how certain strengths have weaknesses.
For instance, I am thoughtful. It’s great, I see a lot of things that most don’t see. However, it also hinders me at times because I overthink.
Let me give you a specific example.
This past week I went to the gym four times at 5am. I went to sleep around 9pm most days. The first day, I really didn’t want to get up.
I was so comfortable I didn’t want to go. I was in my place. I was warm. I was safe. I attempted to rationalize on why I didn’t want to go.
And then it dawned on me: going to the gym does not require my brain. It requires my body. Thus, I need to focus all of my energy not on my thoughts but on physical movement.
When this thought occurred, it was a no brainer. I quickly had a flashback from this scene:
I then physically moved myself to get ready and left my place.
The secret to maximizing your human potential is embrace your wild state.
Increase your awareness.
Know your strengths and weaknesses and act accordingly.
Execute your life’s work with great strength.
If this thought resonates with you, I’d love for you to leave a comment saying that it does. I aim to refocus all my writing around this belief soon.
(That photo above is from an unretreat I’m hosting in NYC with Freeman. See unretreats.com for more info)
I started web development at age 9. In web development, I have a vision for what I want to build and then I build it.
Sometimes there are problems, referred to as bugs in the code.
I have had problems take me anywhere from a few minutes to fix to months.
For as much as I don’t enjoy putting my vision on hold to fix a problem, I do it, and I figure it out because I know the growth and learning that will come from it will offset my time to pause.
I’ve applied the same thing to life: I like problems. I like problems because I understand the growth and understanding that result from them in every situation.
The question is: what problem do you want to solve?
Don’t think of problems in a negative light.
When you do this, it increases the time it takes you to conquer the problem. It causes procrastination.
If you loved what you were to do, you wouldn’t be procrastinating. Loving something can be a result of a change in perspective.
It’s not the problem you have to deal with. It’s you.
It’s how you view the “problem”.
I’m talking about all sorts of problems. Problems at work, problems from your past that you haven’t dealt with, or problems in relationships.
Think about problems as mysteries or a game.
If it’s a problem that involves others, bring in friendly competition.
Accept such challenges as part of the game of life or business.
And then, with unyielding force, handle it.
I used to obsess over being true to my word.
I cared about every word that left my mouth and I cared about me being true to those words.
I cared because I knew the importance of trust and how fragile it was and I wanted to do everything I could do keep the trust.
Now, to put things into perspective, I was rather extreme with this philosophy. I didn’t have to put in much work. It’s like breathing to me.
Let me give you an example. I was speaking several years ago in front of a group about some mobile technologyand I made a promise to someone in the audience. I said I’d help them with building something.
I grabbed their business card and said I’d follow up with them.
Over the course of months, I always had this person on the back of my mind. I never let it go and I never found (or made) the time to do what I said I would. I said I would do something and I intended to do it.
Several months passed.
At one point, over a year after that talk I gave, I sent an e-mail to that person and said I wouldn’t be able to help. He probably didn’t even remember what I said, but I did, because I cared. I also sent e-mails to several other people telling them I wouldn’t be able to deliver on my promises. (This was years ago)
As you can tell, I was deep. It was second nature to me to care about what I said and I made sure I remained true to what I said.
Words have the potential to become ropes tying you down if you let them. This chokes your growth.
These days, I don’t hold myself as accountable to my words as I once did. I evolve at a rapid pace and to have my words tie me down prevents me from growing.
This is the stuff that keeps you stuck in old patterns, old ways of thinking, and never growing.
I still care about what I say, and I’m very aware when I don’t deliver on what I say, but I put in effort on caring about what matters.
Do you spend your time focusing on what you say and what others think about you or do you focus on living true to yourself?
Photo credit: Daniela Bolzmann
I’ve lately been reflecting on the word intense.
Something that is intense is extreme, or strong, or powerful, or of a certain severity.
What makes something intense?
If you want to increase the intensity of your happiness, how do you do it?
The answer: conviction.
Conviction is depth of understanding. The more depth, and the more mindful you are of that depth, and the more you practice that mindfulness actively, the more intensity you have the potential to create.
I’m intensely happy. Most people that have spent time with me know I laugh a lot. They know I always seem positive.
This isn’t an accident. It’s not by coincidence. It’s that deep down, I am a happy person, and it is in the understanding of that reality, and my roots, that I share as I do on this blog.
I understand where my family came from. I can talk about my family village of peasants in Italy who came across the boat to America.
I can talk about the sacrifices my parents have made to give me the life that I have.
I can talk about the effort that I’ve put in to meet people, master my craft, and find clients who believe in what I bring to the table.
I can talk about my experiences in the third world and seeing others who may have less but are (very) happy because they are grateful for what they have.
The answer is simple: my conviction of happiness runs deep. This builds intensity of happiness.
If you want to be happy, you need to dig.
You need to find the happiness in your life.
You need to understand what sacrifices have been made for you to live like you do, whether it’s from parents, history for certain freedoms, or the like.
You need to spend time asking the question, “What was given up to have the life that I have?”
Start the journey.
The more intense your happiness and the deeper your conviction, the greater the odds are of you making a positive impact on others.
When you build intensity of your own happiness, you will truly be able to see the authentic happiness of others.
I would love to hear what you think about this concept.
Photo credit: I took this at a tribe in Northern Uganda as they were playing their native music.