The Kaizen Newsletter #19 (10/02/2019)

Your identity is killing you

Let's face it. Everyone has an identity, right? For example, I'm mostly known as being the late, shy/introverted and chill/relaxed person to my surroundings. Other people can be known as nerds, smokers, assholes, or athletes, etc.

But you know what?

Those identities are killing you.


Imagine if everyone you've known since high school knows you as the "late" guy?

Well, let me tell you that every time that you make it on time (not even early), they're all surprised (yes this is what happens to me).

And the more that time passes, the more you are stuck with that same identity even if you want to change it. The more that characteristic becomes one with you. And every time someone thinks of you, they associate you with THAT characteristic.

That sucks, no?

Imagine if you had the power to change that.

Imagine if I told you that it's possible to become the guy who was always on time?

No, it’s not a “FOLLOW THESE 4 SIMPLE STEPS” trap. It’s not easy at all, but it’s simple.

The trick?

Stop identifying yourself as the late guy and identify yourself as someone who is never late.

And what does a person who identifies themselves as never being late? Well, they're never late.

"But Alex, that seems WAY easier in theory than in practice!"

AND YOU'RE ABSOLUTELY RIGHT. It's definitely NOT easy, but pretty simple, no?

It just requires a simple mindset shift to tell yourself that you're not that type of person.

Take me for an example.

This weekend, I had another wedding to attend, but I didn't know the person that well (it was Nancy's friend). And at my table, the ONLY person I knew was Nancy. I'm typically a pretty shy person, so I knew that this wedding would potentially be VERY long since I wouldn't be talking to that many people and I'd be in my bubble for most of the time and just observing what's going on.

But I thought to myself: "Ok Alex, let's try and NOT be boring for once and just talking to random people?"

And that's what I did.

I decided to be an interesting person. And what does an interesting person do? Well, they start having fun and talking to people!

One thing that made it easier was that these people didn't know me. So it was a lot easier for me to just be "another person".

That's why that when suddenly one of your friends becomes vegan and they tell you for the first time and you're like. LOL!!!!! You're vegan!??! No way this is going to last. That's because, in your head, Larry is definitely NOT vegan. Larry is the meat-eating party boy and it'll likely stay like that forever.

If you meet new people for the first time and you say "Hey, I'm Larry. I like to party and I'm vegan", then you're definitely not going to be laughed at (unless they're assholes) because they have no choice but to accept that what you're telling them is true.

It's definitely not easy to break your identity, especially since some characteristics have been stuck with you for a very long time, but it's definitely something that can hold you back if you’re trying to be the best version of yourself.

The easiest/best way to break it is by being that new identity when around new people since they don't have any background of who you are.

Action Items

  • Try to identify one of your identities that you'd like to improve/change.

  • Next time you meet someone new, present yourself or act as that new person and see what happens.

Now, on to the newsletter.

Weekly Articles

📱 Product

  • The Secret to a Great Planning Process — Lessons from Airbnb and Eventbrite - I feel that it's very hard to effectively plan ahead, especially when you have multiple stakeholders and you're in a growing company. You often have different ideas from different departments, so sometimes it becomes chaotic. This article proposes a good way to solve this and effectively plan for the year ahead.

👨‍💻 Relationships

  • De-escalate any marital fight with this question - You know sometimes you have really stupid fights with your S.O. and it seems really stupid that you're arguing about that? Well, usually you're not REALLY arguing about that little thing, but more so about Big Issues. Example, trust, security, selfishness, money, etc. Well obviously, it would be good if you find out what these Big Issues are first (you can most likely find recurrent themes). And then whenever you're having a "stupid fight" ask yourselves: "Ok. What's the Big Issue here?"

👑 Wait But Why

  • The Thinking Ladder - I know it's getting repetitive, but if there's ONE thing you should be reading during your week, it's definitely these articles. I mean, even Tobi Lutke, CEO of Shopify agrees. This week he reviews that we have basically had two minds: 1) the primitive mind and 2) the higher mind. And that all of our beliefs and thoughts are scattered on what he calls the "Thinking Ladder". The thinking ladder goes behind the process of how we get to a certain belief or thought. And that each ladder is controlled by either the higher mind or the primitive mind. The more a thought or belief is controlled by the higher mind, the more open-minded you are to searching for the truth, where as the more it's controlled by the primitive mind, means that you are fixed on that idea and don't want to listen to others. The more you have a "growth mindset" the more your ideas should be processed by the higher mind and if you have a "fixed mindset" on some ideas, it means that you are letting your primitive mind take control of that thought.

Weekly Favourites

ℹ Infographic

  • It's funny cause I have no recollection when did I save this, but I was pretty happy that it was there. Sometimes you're just having a bad day and going through these questions can definitely help. My favourite activities to do when I'm having a bad day? Take a walk, put music on and dance like no one's watching, take a very long hot shower and sleep early.

🐦 Tweet

  • Cutest thing you'll see on Twitter and I'm not even a cat person 🙀.

  • I actually hope this doesn't happen. The best is when you're in a big organization and you have 20 emails going back-and-forth with people replying all telling people NOT to reply all 😂.

🎧 Music

Yeah not really surprised that Kanye delayed his new album AGAIN. Though we did finally get some new music.


  • KIRK - DaBaby - I was a bit disappointed by this album. Intro was AMAZING and I felt the rest was just okay. I also enjoyed GOSPEL with Chance and iPHONE with Nicki Minaj.


🙏 Shoutouts

  • Big birthday shoutouts to one of my best friends Kit, my brother Nicholas and Nancy’s cool cousin, Olivia (Orribia)!

👋 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 you next Tuesday!