The Kaizen Newsletter #30 (01/21/2020): Why I don't believe in having a "why"

👋 Had a crazy time with my friends in Morocco. Relaxed, ate good food and explored the Sahara Desert, which was definitely a once in a lifetime experience!

But now that I'm back, it's time to get to work 💪


Why I don't believe in having a "why"

One of the first things I discovered when getting into the self-improvement space was the importance of having a "why", which was then popularized by Simon Sinek in his book "Start with Why".

Although it made sense and that I understood it, I've always struggled with the concept.

And the reason is simply that I never really had a "why".

From my understanding, having a "why" is kinda having a raison d'être of doing something. A driving force that will guide you even when things are going bad. Something to remind you to keep going no matter what. But I would never be able to trace back to something I always wanted to do, or something that I was passionate about. I mean I've always wanted to be a Pokemon master or a Power Ranger, but I don't really think it's realistic, right?

So because of that, I always felt that I was two steps behind everyone else since I just didn't have a strong why.

So when I wrote down my goals for the year and my Dad asked me "What exactly is your why for wanting 500 subscribers", I got triggered, since I didn't actually have a good “why".

After thinking about it, I concluded that it was okay to not have a why.

The reason why I don’t believe in having a “why” anymore is that it only helps you when you know what to do or what to work on.

But what if you’re like me and you don’t?

I mean I enjoy a LOT of things, but am I super passionate about something in particular? Well ask me tomorrow and it'll be product management, but ask me in a year and it could be hockey or design or music.

I just can't decide what I like.

So instead of spending time trying to find my passion or what is driving me, I decided that it would be a lot more useful to just take action and build something. I don’t care if I’m going in the wrong direction, or if this is not my “why”, but at least I’m writing and creating an audience along the way.

Now, I want to clarify that I'm not against people that have a "why". If you have a strong why and you know exactly what you should be working on, then please ignore this whole text that you just read and continue building whatever you’re working on!

BUT if you can relate to this, then I just want to say that it's OKAY. And that as long as you're taking action and developing "High-ROI" skills such as writing, selling, coding, marketing, etc. then continue doing that and develop an audience or a product along the way.

Now, on to the newsletter.


Weekly Favourites

📃 Article

  • Superhuman & the Productivity Meta-Layer - I'm a productivity nerd, so I really enjoyed this article. This essay explores the idea of email (in this case specifically Superhuman) being the center of productivity and shows what we can currently do in Superhuman and how we can improve the product to make it a reality Imagine being able to go to just one place and creating calendar events, responding to JIRA tickets, saving articles into Instapaper, etc. Would definitely be interested to see if Superhuman will take any of these ideas and implement it in their product.

  • How to Get to Inbox Zero in Gmail, Once and for All - This is related to the above article, but I finally implemented my own version of split inboxes and achieved inbox zero. I've only been using it for a little while, but I already see how much of a game-changer this is. Definitely would recommend if you're like me and are not cool enough to get a Superhuman invite. I attached a screenshot of my setup if anyone is interested (basically the default setup).

🗞 Newsletter

  • Lenny's Newsletter - Definitely a must subscribe if you're interested in product. Every week, Lenny sends a newsletter and gives advice on 2-3 product related questions. I particularly enjoyed this week's newsletter, since it tackled what should we be focusing on early in our career as a PM.

📺 Video

🎙 Podcast

  • Keith Rabois on the What Got You There Podcast - Keith Rabois is probably one of the smartest people I follow on Twitter, so I already knew that this podcast would be good. In this podcast, he talks a lot more about his transition from lawyer to VC and what are the advantages and disadvantages of doing that. I think an insight I enjoyed a lot from this was regarding creating a good culture to allow your employees to be proficient in what they do best. To do that, Rabois suggests giving them a degree of freedom to do what they do best, but also allowing them to make mistakes. Another framework he mentions is telling your employees that your main goal is to make sure that your direct report (so the person you are reporting to) doesn't make a mistake - which gives "power" to the reportee and encourages them to challenge their direct report.

🐦 Tweets

  • I mean not exactly the same, but definitely toxic. I re-installed Twitter for the duration of my Morocco trip (yes bad idea), but immediately deleted it when I came back.

  • Love this way of thinking for writing essays.

  • A cat petting koi fishes. How wholesome is this?

🎧 Music

Albums

Songs

🙏 Shoutouts

  • Shoutout once again to my Morocco crew. I came back super inspired and energized and ready to hustle for the next couple of months 💪


👋 End Note

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

If you enjoyed the Kaizen Newsletter, then it'd be cool if you can share it with your friends. They can sign up here.

Feedback is always appreciated, so let me know what you liked and what I can improve on by replying to this email.

If you see any cool articles, links, tweets, stories or podcasts that you think are interesting, feel free to share as well at alex@alexhughsam.com