KAIZEN CH.78 - Your word is a magic wand 🪄

Thoughts on keeping your word, decision making, the compound effect and eliminating assumptions

Hey friend 👋,

Welcome to the 78th 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.

This is the last newsletter of the year and I can’t believe that I’m sending this newsletter out to 471 amazing people. I set a goal to get 500 subscribers by 2021 and didn’t even think I would get close. So I just wanted to thank you all for giving me a small place in your busy inbox and I truly hope that I’m able to give you value week after week (and if I don’t feel free to unsubscribe and I won’t have any hard feelings).

I hope you enjoy the last edition of the year and expect to get an annual review edition in the next couple of weeks as well.

Last week I promised that I would upload a video by then, but I, unfortunately, did not uphold it. It’s super important to me to keep my word and honestly felt really bad about not keeping this promise. It bothered me so much, that I decided to write about it below.

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

Now, on to the newsletter.


Did you know that your word can be as powerful as a magic wand?

Try it now. Say out loud that you're going to clap your hands and then clap your hands.

See. Magic!

This might be a simple example, but you can truly make your word turn into a magic wand if you want.

You usually start small, but eventually, your mind and body will act upon anything that your mouth speaks.

You see, although I call it a "magic wand", it's actually not powered by anything magical.

Unlike other magic wands, this wand is powered by action. The more things you say and the more subsequent action that you take after saying it, the more powerful your wand becomes.

Now I know what you're thinking.

“There is no real magic happening here. This is just doing what you say you're going to do.”

Yes...but isn't that somewhat magical?

Imagine everything that you say you will do actually comes true. Wouldn't you say that it's magical?

But there's also a dark side to this magic. What happens when you start seeing the magic taking into effect is that you might get too cocky.

You might start thinking that whatever you say will magically appear, but you will stop doing any action.

The thing is, the less action that you take, the less power your wand will have and eventually... all the magic will be depleted.

That's what happened to me.

After completing 75 Hard in September, I was on top of the world. By telling myself every day, for 75 days, that I will exercise for 1.5h, that I will drink 4L of water, read 10 pages of a book and drink no alcohol day after day, my wand was completely powered up.

So for the next couple of weeks, I was able to do everything and anything I told myself I would do.

Until I got a bit greedy. I started saying things, but I stopped following them up with action.

And that's how I ended up promising that I will upload a video by the time I would send out my next newsletter... and ended up not keeping my end of the promise.

But thankfully, as with every battery, it can always be recharged.

This means it's time for me to start from scratch again and power it little by little. This means I have to say less and take more action until it’s fully powered once more.


🤔 Thoughts

🛑 Thoughts on Eliminating Assumptions

Although I've never played StarCraft, I've always believed that you can learn a lot from highly competitive games such as StarCraft, League of Legends, Street Fighter, to name a few.

In this 4-part video, former competitive player and caster, Day[9], goes through different assumptions a lot of players make and how you can eliminate them or correct them.

The best part is that all of these assumptions can also be applied in the game of life or business.

My favourite assumption that Day9 debunks is that people often think that there is a secret that will help them level up or become better.

The best example for this is that there are plenty of self-help info-products that sell you the dream of "get to 100K/year in only 3 months WITHOUT any skills." And then when you buy it, you're still at 0K/year.

And trust me, I've also fallen for that trap. But the correct way of thinking is that process is the key to building skill.

There is sadly no tricks or secrets to success. The only "trick" is to follow a process, do it consistently, fail often, learn from it and repeat.

Some other assumptions I really enjoyed hearing about were:

  • Broad Variety of Knowledge -> To be really good at something, it's better to have more depth than breadth

  • If it ain't broke, don't fix it -> You can probably improve what currently works

I definitely recommend watching the rest of the videos (in 2x speed so it's faster), as he explains all of these assumptions in detail and goes through many more as well.

Watch More

🧠 Thoughts on Decision Making

I'm not going to hide the fact that Tobi Lütke is one of my favourite CEO's ever. I admit, I'm biased because his company is Canadian, but he's just an overall awesome leader and thinker.

My favourite passage from his most recent interview is when he talks about decision making.

When you're discussing an idea or a decision, I want to know what has been considered. To be honest, I find myself more interested in the inputs of an idea than the actual decision.

To improve your decision making, you should pay less attention to the result of that decision, but more so to the fundamentals behind the idea.

If you don't have good fundamentals, then over time your decisions are not going to be as good.

Well, the implication of this choice means you've made the following assumptions. What inputs did you use to make these foundational assumptions?” Effectively, I'm trying to figure out if an idea is built on solid fundamentals. I find that shaky fundamentals tend to be where things often go wrong.

Read More

⏳ Thoughts on the Compound Effect

On Twitter, I shared lessons that I learned from the amazing conversation between Hellah Sidibe and Danny Miranda.

However, I didn't feel like 280 characters were enough to comment on the importance of volume control.

I wanted to expand this thought to apply it to something that is a lot broader than running.

People underestimate the compound effect of doing very small habits every single day.

Running just 1 mile per day becomes 365 miles by the end of the year. Which is the equivalent of running 14 marathons.

Reading just 10 pages per day of a book becomes 10 books.

Writing 750 words per day becomes the equivalent of writing 5 books.

On a day-to-day basis, it looks easy and almost useless to do, but imagine keeping that habit for multiple years?

Listen Here

🐦 Tweets

As a french speaker, I was surprised to learn this as an essay is translated to "dissertation" in French. Loved learning about the history of the word "essay."

The best way to improve is to constantly ask yourself questions. Loved these questions by my friend Dickie.

This is awesome 😂

🙏 Shoutout

Shoutout to my bro and his girlfriend Annie for preparing hot pot for our Christmas Eve dinner. It was definitely different this year, as we would normally be surrounded by my grandparents, uncles, aunts and cousins, but was still happy I got to celebrate with my close family.


👋 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 ✌️