Personal growth is all I care about (outside of my relationship with family and friends, of course).
Many others agree but spend little effort to maximize personal growth. Too often I meet people unhappy with their mundane 9-to-5, spending their weekends “playing” yet there are so many opportunities to learn, today more than ever.
Here’s how I maximize personal growth:
- Meet smart people - “If you’re the smartest person in the room, you’re in the wrong room." I try to surround myself around smart people. Fortunately for me, the Bay Area if filled with accomplished tech/startup professionals willing to meet strangers for coffee. Hell, Joel Gascoigne, CEO of Buffer, opens his calendar to the world.
- Get out of the office - it’s easy to use “busy” as an excuse for not attending events. The challenge is knowing which are worth going to but sometimes it only takes one to have a huge impact on how you think. Game Zichermann’s Gamificiation workshop and The Lean Startup Machine opened my eyes to new perspective in product design.
- Avoid music, listen to podcasts - I rarely listen to music on the bus, at the gym, or when I’m driving and instead I soak up 2+ hours of podcasts a day. This Week in Startups, This Week in Venture Capital, This Week in Tech, Mixergy, Walled Garden Weekly are a few of my favorites.
- Read (what’s useful) - I rarely read books. There just isn’t enough time in the day and most are full of fluff that should be shortened to a few dozen pages. Instead I regularly read blog posts and articles I discover through people I follow on Twitter, Quora, and my RSS feed (yeah, I still use one of those). I find this content has a much higher time-to-learn ROI.
- Build something - it’s easy to get consumed by work. Take a break and build something. I’ve created a few websites (Mobile Game Patterns and Mobile Game Videos - very much a work-in-progress) and looking for other interesting projects. This is a no-risk way to explore new ideas and practice different skill sets.
- Demand challenge - I’ve had an amazing opportunity to learn through PlayHaven’s growth as a small, struggling startup to the success it’s become today. Thank God it hasn’t been easy. Challenge, stress, and a little bit of fear are accelerants for learning. If you can’t describe your current company or role using these nouns, leave. Immediately.
How are you maximizing personal growth?