Latent Human Potential pisses me off
I couldn’t possibly write down all the lessons I learned in 2012, but as the new year starts, there a three that stand out in my mind.
First, watching Simon Sinek’s TEDx talk for the nth time helped me understand something about the goal I discovered for my life a couple years ago. Simon talks about getting to the “Why” of what we do.
On this, my nth viewing of Simon’s talk, it occurred to me that my life goal was a “How”, rather than a “Why”. So I asked myself, why do I want to decentralize education? Why? Oh, it’s obvious! To Unleash Latent Human Potential! Being able to write down this core value has been priceless for expediting my decision-making in 2012.
Second, I found myself letting my ego get far too wrapped up in this goal. As if it was actually my goal that I alone was responsible for. I made a series of seemingly unrelated yet escalating mistakes toward the end of the year that forced me to take a hard look at myself. It didn’t take long to realize that I had let my desire to unleash latent human potential to occupy too big of a space in my identity and my life. I had become possessive of it, and felt ownership over it. I shifted this unhelpful thinking by re-establishing myself as just another servant of this mission. If I fail, the mission will go on, served by the thousands of other people working toward the same end. If I can contribute something to this goal, I will be thankful. It’s hard to describe this inner conflict, but suffice to say, framing myself as a servant of this mission has been incredibly helpful.
Finally, I learned the power of going all-in. I would not have learned this without watching Shereef Bishay, his staff, and his students at Dev Bootcamp in San Francisco. When I left Groupon in August, I thought it would be a good idea to spread myself around to a lot of different startups on a part-time basis. It was an interesting, brief, but ultimately unsatisfactory season of my life. I learned about the non-linear progression of one’s focus, and the power of the tipping point that happens when you’ve allowed yourself to “go all-in” on one venture.
Since “latent human potential pisses me off” it was relatively easy for me to pare down my spread-too-thin workload to the single startup that I felt gave me the best chance of unleashing the most latent human potential: Dev Bootcamp. It’s hard for me to describe what I mean by “all-in”. In the context of the student’s bootcamp experience, I’ll just say that the difference between 10 hours, 20 hours, 40 hours, and 80 hours is not 10, 20, and 40. At some point between 40 and 80, something multiplicative happens, and the experience becomes fundamentally different. The necessity of on-site therapists and integrated yoga sessions are some of the visible side effects of this “all-in” phenomenon at Dev Bootcamp.
2013 should be a very different year than 2012 for me. I couldn’t be more all-in on Dev Bootcamp Chicago. I don’t think I’ve ever been this all-in on a business venture. It’s a scary and thrilling place to find myself.