KAIZEN CH.79 - The Tangible Fruits of Meditation

Thoughts on meditation, job applications and OKRs

Hey friend 👋,

Welcome to the 79th 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.

First of all, I just wanted to wish you all a happy new year! I'm still working on my personal annual review, but I'm still curious to know what are your goals/intentions are this year? Let me know in the comments or reply to the email!

On my end, I decided to start my new year with a bang and decided to enroll in my friend's writing cohort, ship30for30. For 30 days straight, I will be shipping one atomic essay (< 250 words) every day and will be sharing my best one here in the newsletter.

(if you got referred to this page by a friend or are simply visiting you can subscribe here👇)

Now, on to the newsletter.


Whenever you ask someone “how do I know if I’m getting better at meditation?” You’re often met with a response like “Don’t worry about that. Just concentrate on your breath and meditate 10-20 min a day and you’ll see the results.

But it was frustrating because I was on day 40 of meditating and I still didn’t see any tangible results.

In weightlifting, it’s easy to see. If you’re able to lift heavier or do more reps than last time you went to the gym, then it means that you’re stronger.

On day 44, I had a call with my friend James. And on calls, I normally have Twitter open because “I’m able to pull up tweets about the person and can then discuss it.” But in reality, it just gives me an excuse to scroll Twitter while I’m also talking.

And that’s what happened during the call. While James was speaking, I opened my Twitter tab and started looking at my notifications.

Normally, I just stop paying attention to the convo(yes, I know, RUDE), and whenever it’s my turn to speak, I tune back in, but this time something weird happened.

Instead of waiting for my turn to speak, I caught myself in the act of scrolling, I took a deep breath and then re-focused my attention on what James was saying.

For the first time, I was able to be aware of my scrolling and brought myself back to the present moment to focus on the conversation I was having.

I finally was able to reap the fruits of my meditation practice.

And although I still get distracted in some conversations, I notice that I’m able to be aware of it a lot more often.

The tangible fruit that meditation provides us is a space to notice what we’re doing and allows us to bring ourselves back to the present moment and focus on what we want to be doing.


🤔 Thoughts

Thoughts on Job Applications

This is a good example of what not to do when you want a job.

It's not a "bad" way to do it, but you basically have no chances of getting noticed by the person/company in a sea of 1,499 replies.

This is exactly the same thing as applying through Linkedin and giving your CV. You're going to be treated as a number and leave it to a software (that triages your CV) to determine your fate.

Instead, I would suggest an approach like this:

This is a spin on the briefcase technique, where the candidate reveals how much research they've done on the company and shows that they are the right person for the job by showing a plan of what they intend to do.

CVs are outdated because writing does not show that you would be able to do the job required.

Showing a portfolio of past or current projects is a much better way to show that you have the skills to do the job.

But the best way to show that you are the right person for the job is showing that you understand what the company is trying to accomplish, have a plan in mind on what your next 90 days would look like and actually show that you've already "started your job".

Here's one of my favourite examples of how Toby Howell got his job at Morning Brew.

He basically sent a cold email with an original idea (creating a sports newsletter) and attached a newsletter that he already wrote that they could use.

So next time you apply for a job you really want, think of how you can stand out of the crowd by applying the briefcase technique. Show that you’re able to do the work before you even get the job.

Read More

Thoughts on OKRs

For those who are unfamiliar, OKRs (Objectives and Key Results) are a framework popularized by Google that is used to manage individuals, teams and companies.

Each quarter individuals and teams document their objectives for the next 90 days and grade the goals they set 90 days earlier. In Q3 teams also set metagoals for the next year. - Hunter Walk

In his article, Hunter Walk posits the question: Why are we setting goals based on accounting cycles instead of how things actually get build?

So instead, he proposes a different way of setting OKRs, which he calls Maker OKRs.

One Month— “What are we building this month” is the key question. Team leads get together the morning of the Monday prior to month’s end and document the next month’s feature releases.

“N+12 Months” — “What will our product and business look like a year from now?” I like the idea of a rolling “one year out” vision, processing new learnings and opportunities.

And then minimize the quarterly and annual KPIs because they are more so for reporting purposes.

The reason why I love this idea is that I think this could be applied to our personal annual reviews as well.

Like why do we wait until December 31st of reviewing the year?

Shouldn't we continuously think of how our business (our life) will look like a year from now when we get new opportunities or major changes happen?

Read More

🐦 Tweets

Love this. Although I'm sure this doesn't apply for some things, I would say that if you truly wanted to work on something, you wouldn't need to have a tool to tell you to do it.

So AIs can now illustrate better than me... feelsbadman.jpg. But seriously this is so impressive and quite scary at the same time.

Talking about AIs. I'm not sure if dancing robots are cute or scary??

🙏 Shoutout

Shoutout to Sharath, Alex and James for the amazing convos last week! All of them got me energized for the new year ⚡️


👋 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 ✌️