Tag: goals

Path to Genuine Fulfillment: Small goals, uniquely mine, finely executed

When I first stumbled upon the idea of Big Hairy Audacious Goals, I wanted to chase dreams that made my spine tingle and my heart race. So, I aimed big: buying an apartment in Long Island, traveling the world, and so much more. But soon, I realized these goals didn’t fit who I was; they felt hollow and unfulfilling. Even though I traveled, the thrill of exploring alone faded quickly.

Years later, I decided to start a company as my new audacious goal. But again, it wasn’t for me. As an introvert who struggles with crowds and constant social interaction, running a startup drained me.

So, I took a step back and focused on smaller goals that resonated with my true self: building a close-knit family, investing in stocks, and enjoying quality time with loved ones. These goals may not seem grand to others, but they brought me genuine happiness.

Nowadays, I homeschool my boys and cherish every moment spent with my wife. We explore different cuisines together—Italian, North Indian, Thai—savoring each bite and bonding over shared meals. My podcast allows me to have intimate one-on-one conversations about life’s many facets.

In coffee shops or quiet corners, I meet people one-to-one, face-to-face, to discuss everything from current events to our personal philosophies. And from the comfort of my desk, I invest in stocks, relishing the challenge of analyzing companies and watching them grow.

I write not for fame or recognition but as a way to think deeply and seek answers. My life may not be filled with grand adventures or massive accomplishments in the eyes of others. But these small goals have led me down a path of genuine fulfillment—a path uniquely mine.

Over the past ten years, I’ve focused on simple goals, executed with precision. And as I look back, I see that this time has been far more fulfilling than any grand ambition I once pursued. I find joy in the small things, not chasing grand dreams.

The lesson I’ve learned is that our goals must align with who we are at our core. If you’re a starry-eyed dreamer, let that be your guide. But if love for your family or the thrill of a good book fuels your spirit, embrace those desires and build a life around them. That’s what works for me, and it’s what makes my heart sing.

Hierarchy of tasks

Hierarchy of tasks

You can sort any task into three categories:

  • routine, low-level tasks;
  • time-based, deadline-driven tasks; and
  • creative tasks.

The more time you dedicate to creative tasks, the better your output will be. For that to happen, you need to keep low-level tasks as frictionless as possible.

Podcast Example

Take my podcast for example. Tasks for the podcast involves finding guests, crafting questions, conducting interviews, editing, creating video thumbnails, and sharing on social media. The podcast focuses on leadership rather than design, so I’ve simplified my thumbnails to just two colors and one font in three sizes. This makes it a low-level task that can be done quickly. I also have templates for guest communications that are easily copied and pasted. These routine tasks are now automated or streamlined.

Time-based tasks include scheduling interviews on specific dates and releasing episodes every Tuesday at 6 a.m. These deadlines keep me focused.

My creative work lies in discovering the theme or perspective to shape the interview and its questions. That’s where I want to spend most of my time—thinking and framing the questions. If I spend too much time on thumbnails and social media sharing, I’ll have less time for this vital creative work.

Of course, your priorities may vary. If you’re a designer, you might want to spend more time on thumbnail design. So, depending on your focus, adjust your task hierarchy accordingly.

Take writing and publishing a blog post as another example. For me, writing is thinking and seeking answers. I want as little friction as possible to focus on my writing. That’s why I’ve made hosting platforms, color themes, fonts, dictation tools, and editing low-level tasks. This way, I can spend more time pondering what to write about and actually writing instead of fiddling with design details.

Creativity depends on routinized low-level activities

The more tasks you can turn into routine, low-level duties, the more time and energy you’ll have for creative work. This doesn’t mean low-level tasks aren’t important; they are. But streamlining them frees up your cognitive power for creativity.

Imagine your day as a series of tasks in different buckets. The better you can sort these tasks, the smoother your day will flow. By turning many daily activities into low-level tasks, you’ll reduce friction and save energy for what truly matters. For example, my morning routine is filled with streamlined tasks, from fitness to learning new things.

Knowing the hierarchy of tasks will help you boost your creativity and output. So, focus on making routine tasks as efficient as possible to free up your mind for the creative work that truly makes a difference.

There is no single factor for success

• What’s the one thing you need to be fit?
• Which one thing should a CEO focus on?
• What is one single leadership quality?
• Who is more important – customers or employees?

I’ve heard such questions often.

There’s no silver bullet, but we’re all looking for it. We hope we’ll find a magic genie to clear all our confusions.

Seeking a single factor is magical thinking. Inexperienced people gets stuck onto one idea. Content marketers love titles that highlight one thing over everything else. Yet seasoned people offer balanced views.

Imagine brewing the most delicious coffee. Quality beans matter, but so does roasting, water, and blending. To create that delicious coffee, you need all the ingredients.

Consider the question, what should a CEO focus solely on? CEOs must juggle capital, customers, and employees. Is it possible to run a business without any of these?

Fitness requires balance too. Mix up your diet, strength training, and cardio! Oh, don’t forget 8 hours of sound sleep. If you mess up one, you mess up your health.

That doesn’t mean you have to do everything at once. By planning your approach, you can start by improving one factor, then move to the next knowing that one by one you’ll improve everything.

Writing tool stack

Digital Tool Stack

On day 50 of my writing journey, I thought I’d share the tools that help me maintain this creative flow.

An idea can hit at any time, sometimes in the form of a few sentences or a big idea. Even while reading something else, they might pop up. I use two frictionless tools to capture these thoughts.

One tool is the voice recorder on my Apple Watch. Always on my wrist, it’s ready to capture any sudden idea. The recordings are stored in iCloud, so I can transcribe and process them later on my Mac. Second is Drafts, which opens lightning fast for quick notes. Drafts lets me type immediately, unlike other apps.

On designated days, like Saturdays or Mondays, I sit down and process these thoughts from the week. The ideas may have grown and developed by then. It’s not always easy for me to star at a blank screen and type. That’s when the AudioPen comes in handy.

Despite the friction – it’s not as quick to open a website and start recording – AudioPen captures my rambling, letting my ideas flow freely, and creating an initial draft.

WordTune is my go-to editor. I use it to polish and refine my work. Once it’s ready, I go to WordPress, where my common log entries live. With just a few clicks, I can schedule posts quickly and effortlessly.

Buffer is my go-to hub for distribution. The app sends my words to LinkedIn, Twitter, and Mastodon. I tailor the text to each platform.

Finally, I use Substack to send those words as a newsletter.

I love these tools, they make writing easy.

My Life Motto

My life’s motto: Run my race and finish with delight.

Just seven words. Easy to remember. Keeps me focused. Helps me enrich my life.

Too often, we chase others’ dreams, running races not meant for us. This leaves us dissatisfied, disillusioned, and dismissive of life.

My motto focuses on running my unique race – one suited to my talents, skills, and experiences. It’s a race only I can run, impacting people in ways only I can. But it’s not just about running; it’s about finishing with delight. To do this, I must constantly ask myself: is this race mine? Does it amplify my unique abilities? Is it in line with my potential?

As a Christian, I draw inspiration from Saint Paul but have made this motto my own. For the past 15 years, it has positively shaped my life.

Here is how I go about achieving this motto.

Systematically build skills to generate and exploit options.

Build. Generate. Exploit. I’m not waiting for destiny to push me forward. Though I believe in luck, I do what I can by honing my skills, meeting new people, and exploring various paths. I take initiative. When I act, the world around me helps me. Until I do, the world stands still. Newton’s law of motion applied to personal life.

I approach this systematically—a methodical, intentional way of building things. It’s not left to chance, but rather a thoughtful process of considering my current skills, potential opportunities, and what skills will be useful in the future.

Having multiple options is good. Say you are looking for a job. If you have only one offer, you’ll take it out of desperation. But if you have many offers, you can negotiate and pick the best one for you. Whether it’s hobbies or job offers, generating options gives you leverage.

But having options alone aren’t enough—you must seize them before they expire. By taking advantage of each opportunity, you get the capability to generate more options. If not, they fade away and progress stalls.

As I methodically build skills to generate options and take advantage of them, I develop talents that help me run my unique race. With acquired skills and experiences under my belt, I find joy in pursuing my own path.

I have been running such a race for the past 15 years. I enjoy this race. I’m sure I’m going to run this until the day I die.