I tweeted yesterday a picture of the mind-map I use as a desktop background describing my personal growth framework: what drives me in my personal growth efforts, and the resulting habits. It’s a small visualization to remind myself of what matters in my professional life. Of course, it’s a simplified representation of reality, but it has the advantage of being quick to browse.
I’ve been using this mind-map for 2 years now. I drew it in Stockholm after reading Ferris’ 4-Hour Workweek for the second time while attending a lecture on goal-oriented requirement engineering. I decided to mix Ferris’ Definition framework with the GORE methodology used to define software requirements. This month I’m re-evaluating my objectives and habits to formalize them in a new mind-map. This post is a personal reminder about what the mind-map means.
My purpose is to “become a great software craftsman”, meaning to be really good at building tech products. Robert Greene calls it Mastery. The three main branches of the diagram were my key takeaways from his Mastery book: mastery is about seeking knowledge over money (“it’s not about the money”), technical mastery (“mastery”), and creating your own masterpieces (“innovate”, while keeping the technical excellence aspect).
If money must be taken out of the equation, you need to reach Financial Independence (“FI”), which is reached by developing a habit of reducing your expenses (to me, by living frugally and traveling to reduce my burn rate) while raising your income (a byproduct of being skillful).
Technical “mastery” is about being a constant learner and a serial maker, as it’s well known that practice makes perfect. On the other hand, Newport’s Deep Work book taught me that you only do great work when you are doing deep work: productivity, rather than busyness. Shallow work must be automated or delegated.
Innovation is solving unsolved problems with existing technologies. I came to understand that it’s easier to prioritize problems you understand well, which I summarized by the “my own problems” branch. “Being free”, as in, without mental chains, is a prerequisite to innovation. I tried to describe it in practical terms by identifying 6 “points of freedom”: body (if you are sick you are trapped by your own body), mind (only routine can bring the stability to release my full potential), soul (refuse dogmas, develop independent thinking), time (I need to master my time to make the best of it), space (location-independence as a survival advantage) and money (related to financial independence: mastering money instead of being its slave).
One thing I want to add for the next update of my personal growth framework is the community/social aspect of my professional life: I cannot do anything by myself. Humans need tribes, thus, I should develop a habit of sharing and paying things forward to bring forth collaboration, resulting in wealth for everyone.