How To Use Technology To Super-Charge Your Personal Growth
By Leo Gura - April 7, 2014 | 4 Comments
How to use technology effectively for personal growth.
The Trick To Using Technology Right
- Technology can be a legitimate and powerful way to advance your personal development, but it has to be done right.
- Most people use technology wrong, in ways that stifle growth. Simply buying gadgets is not the answer.
- We all like to buy nifty new gadgets, but rarely do they truly empower us.
- In this article I’m going give you very specific examples of how I’ve used technology for personal growth, and the points you need to keep in mind.
- The trick is not really in the technology. Technology won’t really solve your problem. You have to put a lot of thought into what technology will do for you.
- Technology is just a tool. What most people miss in this process is the end-goal.
- You must build a bridge between your goals and your tech.
- So many times I’ve bought technology thinking that it would increase my productivity or happiness, only to be let down.
- But on rare occasions I would buy a piece of tech that REALLY revolutionized my life or enabled me in some important way.
- I’m sure you’ve experienced the same. The question is, what is the difference?
- The biggest common mistake is to assume that simply buying something will fix your problem. This never works. You can’t buy something to do the work for you.
- But! You CAN buy something that makes it easier for you to muster the willpower to do important work, and that’s the key!
The Most Empowering Tech I Ever Bought
- One of the best tools that I’ve ever bought was a laptop, a MacBook Air.
- It’s shocking how much personal growth I’ve gotten from it. Now why was that?
- I didn’t just buy a laptop. I bought a tool to help me journal.
- The reason I needed a laptop was because my traditional pen & paper note-taking process started to collapse under its own weight.
- I was reading so much stuff and taking so many notes and making so many creative plans that I couldn’t organize or review them effectively.
- I also didn’t want to use my desktop for note-taking and journaling because I was already spending most of my workday sitting at the PC.
- See, I had very practical problem that was impeding my studies: I needed something comfortable enough that I could use on my couch.
- It might seem minor, but this was actually the bottleneck that held me back from studying more and developing myself: simply that I didn’t want to sit at the desk for 12-hour/day.
- Eye strain and back strain, and simple monotony was holding me back.
- This was a perfect situation where technology could help in a meaningful way.
- If I had just bought the laptop as a gadget or sexy piece of hardware, I would have gotten very little if any no personal growth.
- But I bought it to solve a specific problem that I was having with my motivation. I simply struggled to motivate myself to journal at my desk after a long day at the computer.
- This purchase ended up being greater than I could have imagined, completely opening the doors for my note-taking and my journaling.
- Very literally, Actualized.org would not exist if I had not made this change. All the information I bring to you comes from my personal notes.
- But this purchase only worked out because I came in with a specific problem that clearly held me back from my greatest self.
Technology Should Make Your Routines Easier
- A principle I gleaned from an Eben Pagan seminar states that you need to start using your limited willpower to make it easier for you to follow through on your habits.
- So the question is, what important things are you falling through on right now because of minor inconvenience?
- Are you not going to the gym because it’s boring?
- Are you not starting a business because you don’t like sitting in your office chair?
- Are you constantly distracted by text messages because your phone beeps every time you get one?
- Are you not taking notes because you don’t like the feel of your journal?
- Sounds silly, but once you start looking, you’ll find many areas in your life where you aren’t advancing because of pedestrian little obstacles like this.
- You want to start setting up your life so that good habits are easy to execute and bad habits are not.
- The best use of your willpower is to set up your external environment to be more conducive to you positive habits.
- Important distinction: Don’t try to make your life more comfortable, but do try to make it easier to behave in line with your ideals.
- Use your willpower strategically to create downhill slopes that lead towards your highest goals.
- Use your willpower to find the technology that will create these downhill slopes.
More Than Just What Comes In The Box
- Another example would be buying an iPod and loading it with great songs so that you’re more excited about going to the gym.
- If you feel bored at the gym, this step might just be enough to keep you from falling off your routine.
- Or maybe it’s not songs, but audio programs, or a meditation track, or podcasts.
- With this iPod example, notice that the device itself is only part of the solution. The song list is equally important.
- So to make this piece of tech actually create a meaningful change, you might need to not just buy the iPod but also spend hours downloading your favorite songs.
- Many times you’ll find that a device itself doesn’t generate meaningful change, but a device plus a few extra steps will do the trick.
- The point here is to start seeing technology as just one piece of the larger puzzle.
- What you’re really looking for is a SOLUTION, not a gadget.
Simple & Cheap Is Often Best
- Powerful technology can also be very simple and inexpensive.
- For example, I’ve gotten HUGE personal growth from a simple plastic pill box that cost me $10.
- The problem I was having here started to happen when I got into supplementation.
- Eventually I was taking 10 or supplements each day and found it too cumbersome to open each bottle individually.
- I started noticing that I was skipping days with my supplementation routine simply because I hated opening 10 bottles every time.
- As simple as the solution was — get a pill box! — I didn’t realize this was an option until months of struggle.
- And even when I got my first pill box, it was ordinary-sized, not letting me fit the 30+ supplements that I wanted to take each day.
- So finally after months of struggle and frustration, I realized that I could buy a gigantic pill box on Amazon for about $10.
- Suddenly my problem was solved! I was able to maintain a routine of taking 30+ supplements every day without much trouble.
- This example shows that you don’t need lots of money to optimize your life with technology.
- In fact, some of the best self-development technology is very simple, cheap, and low-tech: a good pen, a quality journal, a pill box, an alarm clock, etc.
Don’t Be Cheap With Your Own Development
- Be smart. If you find yourself resisting an important activity like jounraling for a petty reason like, “The ink smears off the pages of my journal”, then go buy a new journal!
- It’s okay to buy nice things for yourself as long as they are advancing your growth.
- For example, don’t hesitate to buy a very high-quality $50 leather-bound diary if it will make you enjoy writing in it a bit more. In the end, that’s a small price to pay.
- Don’t be cheap with your personal development. Invest in tools that clearly empower you.
- Also, don’t be so cheap that you buy one thing and suck it up if it isn’t effective. Don’t settle for inefficiency. Keep investing and experimenting until you find a great fit.
- You can bribe yourself with gadgets. Use them as small carrots to make your hard work more enjoyable.
- But be careful not to go overboard and use this as an excuse to go on a shopping spree.
- Buy your technology very strategically, not for social reasons, and certainly not because you just saw a cool ad for the new iPhone.
Using Technology Creatively
- One last example I’ll give you is the docking station speaker I bought for my iPod so that I could listen to self-help audio programs while I shower.
- For a long time I’ve wanted to use my morning shower, shaving, and teeth-brushing time (about 30 minutes) for something productive, but I didn’t know how.
- Finally I got the idea to listen to all these great audio programs I have while I shower.
- But I held back for a long time because I didn’t know the best way to do it. Should I buy a shower-stereo gadget? How will that work? etc.
- But finally I realized I could use a docking station for my iPod, turning it into a boombox.
- And that’s what I did. I just set it on my bathroom counter and crank the volume up to max so it blasts through the loud shower water.
- It works beautifully. Now I’ve got an extra 30-minutes(!) every day to fill my brain with powerful ideas. I find myself brimming with knowledge before I even leave the bathroom!
What’s Your Top 5 List?
- The point is that you have to start getting creative and seeing the enormous opportunities that technology offers you right now.
- But do it from a very practical, strategic place.
- Do it to empower your highest self, not to become more comfortable, more entertainment, or more lazy.
- Okay, you get the idea. Now it’s time to act!
- Take out a piece of paper right now and write down 5 ways that you can use technology to empower yourself.
- What are some goals that you’re trying to achieve, or some positive habits that you’re trying to stick with, that could be optimized?
- Now, what is the #1 item on that list? What is THE most empowering way you could use technology right now?
- Good! Now go out and invest in that technology and make sure that it actually improves your workflow.
- If your workflow isn’t improved like you hoped, return that tech and go look for better tech.
- Finally, do this with the remaining 4 items on your list.
- You might be shocked just how much a simple strategic investment can revolutionize your life!
- And as you spend your time doing everyday-shopping, stay on the lookout for items that could promote your personal growth!
Bottom Line: Technology can advance your personal development in amazing ways if you use it strategically to enable positive habits.
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