My Life is a Startup: How I’m Hacking My Personal Growth

Us startup guys like to talk a lot about “metric-driven success” and “growth drivers”.

My 5+ years in college are coming to an end, and I’ve been spending a great deal of time reflecting on how to apply the insights I’ve gained to the next 5 years of my career. The themes that comes to mind most often are growth and time management, both of which I’ve learned are not mutually exclusive.

For the most part, I’ve had a pretty well rounded college career; I’ve served as the Vice President of our $7m student government, founded a company, and explored Europe and Asia. But did I do everything I could have? Could I have done more?

When you manage a company, especially a startup, its not about how many things you do, its about figuring out which are the most important things to do (growth drivers) and optimizing around those activities.

What if we approached personal growth the same way?

There’s a lot of pressure in college to do a lot of stuff, if only for your resume’s sake. Personally, I spent a great deal of my time doing a lot of random things in the hopes of growing in the right direction. Some of it was highly valuable, some of it was arguably a waste of time.

I’ve become cognizant of two things throughout my busy college career:

  1. There is an opportunity cost to everything.
  2. Time is a scarce resource.

With these two things in mind, I’ve learned that it’s important to be intentional about how I spend my time. Therefore, I’ve decided to boil my personal goals for the next 5 years down to 5 daily activities that I know will help me grow in the right direction (growth drivers). They are as follows:

  1. Praying/meditating
  2. Exercising 30–60 minutes
  3. Reading a book
  4. Journaling

My hypothesis is that if I can build a habit of the above activities, by the end of the next 5 years I will have grown significantly in the areas that matter most to me.

(Side note: I’m only talking about personal growth; professionally, I still have a long list of other things to do on a daily basis. That said, it’s also important to note that professional growth is a byproduct of personal growth, not the other way around. I think a lot of people get that backwards.)

They say it takes 2 weeks to build a habit, so I’m going to take it one step further and take the Seinfeld approach to tracking my consistency, only instead of using a calendar, I’ll be using a worksheet like this.

Let’s see how this goes.

TL;DR: Don’t waste your time doing things that aren’t providing any real value. Figure out where you want to be, what activities will get you there, and cultivate those habits. At least thats my approach.

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