KAIZEN CH.88 - Stop Forgetting Your Ideas while Meditating

Thoughts on reputation vs personal brand and Paul Graham

Hey friend 👋,

Welcome to the 88th edition of the Kaizen Newsletter ⛩, a weekly newsletter where I share my thoughts, new ideas I learn and make weird connections between self-improvement, productivity, product, tech, sports, anime.

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I'm a bit scared to say it because I seem to be having lots of ups and downs recently, but fuck it: I think I have my swagger back.

I've been somewhat lost since the end of December and have been trying to find my way since. In February, I felt that I was moving closer to my goal of understanding what I wanted to do, but I felt that I still wasn't there. This past weekend, I felt that a bunch of thoughts and ideas got connected together and had a huge lightbulb moment.

I realized how much fun I was having with YouTube (especially with the feedback that I got from my last video), but noticed that I wasn't putting the effort to go with it. But now, I'm determined to JUST DO IT. I even started writing more as well, but we’ll see where that goes!

Now enough about me, on to the newsletter.

🤔 Thoughts

🎨 Thoughts on Reputation vs Personal Brand

Last week, I shared an article called Build a Business, Not an Audience, where the thesis is somewhat implied in the title.

Creators and entrepreneurs should focus on building products and pay less attention to building an audience.

In Cedric's article, The Gap Between Reputation and Personal Brand, he arrives to a similar conclusion, but with a different approach and arguments.

At the end of the article, Cedric concludes with the following statement:

From what I’ve read, I can say only the following with confidence: it is the rare person indeed who can keep a personal brand relevant for longer than a decade.

And I think it is easy to grok why: personal brand building takes continued effort, whereas reputation is simply the result of our actions over a long period of time.

As someone who's been a big proponent of building an online audience, was I wrong?

Thinking about it more, I think the answer is a lot more nuanced.

The reality is that I think it's possible to do both, but what you want is to put an emphasis on your reputation and building.

It's useless to build an audience if you have nothing to offer, but I still believe it's important to have an audience while building.

That's why I love the "build in public" movement going all around Twitter because it combines both together. You can't "build in public" if you are not actually doing anything, but why not build an audience while you're at it? Show your failures and wins while you are also building a business.

What I learned from this article is as follows: I've spent so much time on Twitter building an audience, yet I still feel that I don't have a lot to show for it. And that's why for the past month or so, I've been laying off Twitter to focus more on creating valuable assets such as my YouTube channel and working on lengthier essays.

Read More

✍️ Thoughts on Paul Graham

This was such an interesting read because Paul Graham wrote an essay exploring everything that he worked on until now and why he decided to work on them.

It's a bit of a meta-essay since the reason he wrote this piece was to understand how he chose what to work on in the past, so he decided to write this essay.

I think what surprised me the most was that he had no idea what he was doing in most of the projects that he started (ex: Viaweb and YC) and yet he was still super successful with both (YC a tad more than Viaweb). This is a good reminder that you don’t need to know what is the “best” way to do something. Sometimes you just need to throw yourself in there and find out what happens.

The other lesson that I learned was that Graham very rarely continued doing something if he was starting to get bored. This passage sums it up very nicely:

Up till that point I'd always been curious to see how the painting I was working on would turn out, but suddenly finishing this one seemed like a chore. So I stopped working on it and cleaned my brushes and haven't painted since. So far anyway. I realize that sounds rather wimpy. But attention is a zero sum game. If you can choose what to work on, and you choose a project that's not the best one (or at least a good one) for you, then it's getting in the way of another project that is.

It’s a long read, but definitely worth it as these are two of my favourite lessons, but there are many more gems throughout the essay.

Read More

🧠 Thoughts on Not Forgetting Ideas

This week, I made a short (< 1min) YouTube video on how you retain your ideas while meditating.

I feel that a lot of times, I think of an idea while meditating and you get in an awkward spot where you either have to decide to interrupt your session to write it down somewhere or you risk forgetting it.

In the video, I share how you can increase your chances of retaining your ideas using visualization (which I originally got from my friend Mike from MikeAndMatty).

Watch Video

🐦 Tweets

Danny's tweets always give me a boost of energy and this one is no exception.

The more I think about it, the more I believe that curiosity should be the main driver for your art.

Just really cool seeing two music greats working together.

🙏 Shoutout

Shoutout to Alessandra and Cullin for the great chats I had last week. It was great to catch up with both since it's been a while that I haven't chatted with them.

👋 End Note

If you want to know what I'm up to now, you can check it on my website here.

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See ya next Tuesday,

Alexander ✌️