Bravery Manifesto

To have my chin up even when I don’t know where I’m going
To listen because I’m heard
To help because I’m able
To be excited for others because together, we’re powerful
To share because I’m privileged
To laugh at myself because sometimes things just happen
To be okay with maybes and I don’t knows
To more quickly adapt because this is the quickest path to growth

A Framework for Accelerated Learning

I’ve been really interested in maximizing learning over the past year and a half. I’ve studied and tested learning principles by Tim Ferris and Josh Waitzkin. Now, I’m on a quest to develop a learning framework that helps me learn any skill in the shortest amount of time.

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Solo Travel Learnings: Bravery and Honesty

I just came back from a 5-day solo trip in Beijing. I learned a lot about myself during this trip. Most remarkably, I learned the importance of bravery and honesty.

Traveling alone, I quickly realized how tough it is to make one’s own decisions. I had to determine if people were trustworthy, restaurants were clean, and areas were safe. Back home, these decisions are far less complex as I have access to varying perspectives from family, friends and mentors.

I began to use my senses and emotions to guide me in my decision making.

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Maximizing Productivity: Learnings from Bullet Chess

Over the past 3 months, I’ve been playing Bullet Chess to relieve stress. I’ve found that Bullet Chess offers a handful of effective tools/philosophies for maximizing productivity.

Background

Bullet Chess is an iteration of Chess where each player gets 1 minute of playing time. When it’s a player’s turn, the clock starts counting down. As soon as the player makes a move, the clock is stopped. The count-down is resumed when it’s the player’s turn again. Players win when they checkmate their opponent or their opponent runs out of time.

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Dreaming Large Thought Exercises

Background

In Junior High, I dreamed of being in the NBA. I was probably the shortest kid in the entire school but that didn’t stop me from dreaming large.

I carried my basketball with me everywhere I went. I even practiced dribbling while in the bathroom. I showed up on the court every day and improved very quickly. I remember going from last picked always to first picked 80% of the time within 3 months.

This dream faded early on in my teenage years. The societal pressure of “choosing something practical” drowned my vision.

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Real Leadership is Built on Trust

Being positive all the time doesn’t work

If you think always having a smile on your face will boost or maintain team morale, you’re wrong. It will work for some time, however, when cracks begin to show you’ll find yourself on the receiving end of really tough questions like “were you aware of this?” and “why didn’t you let us know sooner?”

This puts you in a worse place than you would be in if you just spoke up about the issues at hand. It’s not easy to open up about problems because you don’t want your team to get discouraged. However, having your team temporarily upset is so much better than having your team distrust you.
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Rapid Growth

For every single observation there are an infinite number of explanations.

Through rapid testing we can discover the minimum effective dose for continuous growth. We have to:

1. Select the best possible hypothesis. It’s too early to presume failure. Our intuition is driving us towards a single explanation for a reason. Our best bet is to run with it. It’s detrimental to demand 100% certainty now.

2. Test this hypothesis. A lot of the work lies in this stage. It’s a series of experiments tying back to the principle validator, the hypothesis. If we discover the hypothesis to be falsey, we have not lost. We’ve eliminated a bad apple.

3. Rinse and repeat. The chunk of the work is here. Through every previous experiment, we’ve opened new doors of perception that empower us to make even better hypotheses. How can we grow?

Four Minutes of Gratitude Challenge

I challenge you to take 4 minutes of your day to say thanks. I guarantee it will set a positive foundation for the rest of your day. Close your eyes and look inwards or write in a journal.

Be thankful for your health, the love that surrounds you, your support figures. Food, warmth, lodging. The hardships you’ve faced and conquered. The task you recently completed.

When we take something for granted, we’re devastated when we lose it. When we can count our blessings we appreciate the smell, taste and texture of every moment.

Stress Management on Freelance Projects

For the past 4 years, I have freelanced as a Product Manager/UX Designer. More specifically, I’ve partnered with designers and developers to ship software for Clients. I’ve also defined the experiences and interfaces for the software we’ve shipped.

Over these years, I’ve made a lot of mistakes. I’ve screamed, slammed tables and sulked in a corner of my dark room.

Now, my freelance career is far less stressful. I look back and laugh at those moments in embarrassment. I’ve acquired a core set of beliefs that have helped me significantly reduce stress and focus more on the eustress that comes with my work.
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Entity vs Incremental Intelligence

What you believe about intelligence has a huge impact on how you deal with failure.

Turns out that if you believe intelligence evolves with hard work, you’re more likely to have a desire to learn. You’ll persist in the face of failure, embrace challenges and listen to criticism. This is called incremental intelligence.

By believing that intelligence is fixed and unchangeable, you’re more likely to have a desire to look smart. You’ll avoid challenges, give up quickly, see effort as useless and ignore feedback. This is called entity intelligence.

Doesn’t incremental intelligence sound a lot like what every successful person says in an interview? That’s because those that hold this view are more resilient.

It’s your civic duty to adopt the incremental theory and share it liberally. Praise yourself, your loved ones and colleagues on their effort. Entrust in them the importance of hard work so they can develop perseverance. Your creative voice and theirs is needed.