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.

Big Ideas

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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Comments
(4)
Mark says:

I always look for products beneficial for me but the most things that i buy like a book or an ipod or something else. A lot of time after buying targeted product i’m not using this product . I just dont finding a right time. Recently because watching your videos, it helps me organize my time i finding more time to do simple things that need to be done . Thanks a lot keep teaching great things.

Leo Gura says:

Yeah, I do that too. That’s why I wrote this article, to get to the bottom of it. You have to be very selective about what you buy and you have to have a target for what it will do for you.

Julien says:

Wow Leo! I just love this video. It really helped.me to broaden my horizont. I wanted to share that I also bought my smartphone because I thought it would help me to become more organised. And it actually did help me a lot. I know always write things down that I remember I have still to do. I then often set myself reminders and alarms so I get reminded to do them. This has made such a big difference because now I don’t have to worry anymore that I forget anything because I have everything written down in Evernote and review my tasks and notes there regularly.

In the video you were talking that you had the idea from someone else to use willpower to create circumstances that make you thrive. I am really interested in this topic also and wanted to ask if you could say who that was (I could not hear it so clearly in the video). Thank you for uploading all these helpful videos, I really benefit from them.

I wanted to give you some feedback on something in the video. I saw that in this video there was sometimes coming up some text with advertisement for your website. When this came up I felt a little bit distracted by it and it was hard for me to focus on the video. Especially the yellow text, I have found to be distracting. I just wanted to share how this is for me. Maybe it is not like this for other people. I really enjoy watching your videos and found it a bit sad that I could not really focus on it due to the advertisement. I will continue to watch them either way because they are so good I just wanted to share it so you know about it

Leo Gura says:

That was Eben Pagan.

Okay, feedback about the ad noted.

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