Award-winning game designer, author, and speaker Justin Gary, returns to discuss goal setting, plans for 2021, and our new project together, Quality Questions.
In this episode we discuss:
- Reviewing 2020 and setting goals for 2021
- What do you do with goals you set for 2020 but couldn’t accomplish?
- How Justin conducts past year reviews (and why it takes him a lot less time than it used to)
- “Aggressive but achievable” goals
- What it means and what to do if you have a goal that just doesn’t get done
- Why you should beware of chasing “Laser pointer goals”
- How to make difficult things like going to the gym more fun.
- The lesson from reading Neil Strauss’s interviews with hundreds of rock stars and other celebrities, and how it changes the goals you should set.
- “Before enlightenment; chop wood, carry water. After enlightenment; chop wood, carry water.” — Zen Kōan
- Unveiling your next goal or the next “layer of your karma”
- Combatting “shiny object syndrome”
- Justin’s superpower “Rule of 3” for goal setting
- My “master goal” that makes all of my other goals possible
- How to build an audience.
- My goals for 2021 – Creating value for others and creating consistently
- How to use Leading indicators instead of Lagging indicators when setting goals
- Replacing SMART goals with a PACT
- Designing your ideal day
- How to actually get the benefit from self improvement books and lectures
- A Great Question Can Change Your Life – Get One in Your Inbox Every Day
- Quality Questions
- Closing the year in gratitude
Links to People, Articles, and Books Mentioned in this Episode:
- Tim Ferriss – Forget New Year’s Resolutions and Conduct a ‘Past Year Review’ Instead
- Everyone Loves you When You’re Dead
- Chris Bailey
- Billy Broas
- James Clear’s 3-2-1 Newsletter
- SMART goals are not so smart: make a PACT instead by Anne-Laure Le Cunff, Ness Labs
- Quality Questions
Listen and Subscribe on:
Neville A. Mehra (00:24):
Justin Gary, welcome back to Never Normal!
Justin Gary (00:30):
Oh it’s great to be here as the, the OG guest, I’m excited to return and you know, share some more wisdom and good chat
Neville A. Mehra (00:38):
Guest Number one, and this will probably end up going out is episode 10. So that’s kind of like a nice sort of bookend for the first 10 episodes. Last time you were on, we talked a lot about your story and just your path from being in law school and having a sort of more typical career path to where you are now, obviously a successful game designer. One of the things that came out in that episode was just this very analytical, carefully thought out approach you have to your path in life and goal setting and stuff that you and I talk about a lot when we’re not recording a podcast.
Neville A. Mehra (01:10):
So since today’s the last day of the year, and everybody’s kind of thinking about, you know, 2020 was crazy and setting goals for 2021 and all that kind of stuff, I thought it’d be fun just to sit down together again, record an episode and talk about how last year went, what we’re both planning for next year, lessons learned, and talk about the new project that we’ve been working on together as well.
Justin Gary (01:30):
Yeah. Sounds very exciting. I’m looking forward to it.
Neville A. Mehra (01:32):
Let’s start with 2020, obviously this has been a crazy year because of the pandemic and I think we have a very different that I think any of us had in mind and a lot of people’s goals just got like tossed out the window, just in general. How much of your process is at this time of the year? Kind of like thinking about goal setting, how much of it is like, do you start with like a past year review?
Justin Gary (02:00):
I do, I, my, my reviews used to be a lot more detailed. I used to, so I keep a journal and I would go through like every entry of the journal, as well as my goals from the previous year and kind of, you know, analyze all of that and sort of take the sort of best lessons and notes out of everything. And then I would compare them to create a kind of one sheet and I’d compare it to previous one sheets from previous years so that, you know, sort of like, you know, how well do I do in my goals? What did I learn this year? How could I improve like that kind of process. So towards that idea of sort of very analytical, very process driven over the over time, I have shrunk that process down because I found it was a little bit cumbersome and it wasn’t as necessary for me.
Justin Gary (02:47):
So I think that can be a great way to start if you are an analytical person or if you’re just kind of starting out more in life. You’re not really sure what, you know, kind of where you’re at, but as you get a little bit more established and I use little, I use more shortcuts, so I do review my goals. And I do think about, you know, what went well, what didn’t, and I think about what I want, you know, kind of, sort of going forward. But it’s a, it’s a more, you know, it’s, it’s a process that takes, you know, a few hours instead of a few weeks, which is what it kind of is.
Neville A. Mehra (03:18):
Yeah. As I’m going through this, myself, this, this week, I blocked off this whole week for like no client calls, no strategy calls, only talking to you, talking to a couple of their friends doing this podcast, but really spending most of the time, just kind of like reviewing last year, looking ahead to next year, setting goals, doing that, kind of like what went well, what didn’t and a couple of things that I’m just sort of like thinking through as this process evolves for me, one is like, and I think for all of us are things that in any year, but certainly in this past year we had on the list, they were like goals for 2020, and they didn’t get done in some cases because of the pandemic and everything that happened. But in other cases, just because, you know, you just never got to it. Do you automatically just sort of like punt those over to next year, kind of like a software backlog, like it didn’t make it into that sprint. We bring it forward. Or do you say like, why didn’t I do those? How do you, cause I’m struggling with some of these where I’m like, yeah, I thought I was going to do this in 2020. It was out of my control and I didn’t and now I’m like, do I, does that get grandfathered in? Or how do you think about that?
Justin Gary (04:16):
Yeah, that’s a good question. And it’s gonna, it’s gonna speak to one of the broader lessons that I’ve taken in and dramatic improvements in my own kind of annual review process. And part of why it’s so much faster for me now is that I am now much more aggressive about doing quarterly reviews and monthly reviews and things that allow me to, as things move on to evaluate in shorter chunks, because what happens for a lot of people, I’m sure plenty of people can relate to this, right? As you set these goals, you know, and maybe send to December, or maybe it’s a baby, a January, and you’ve got these ambitious goals of what you’re going to get done that year. And you’re very excited about it. And maybe for the first week or two you’re, you’re tracking the way you’re getting things done, you’re going to the gym, you’re writing your book or whatever it is that you’re doing.
Justin Gary (05:01):
Right. And then, you know, you think start to trail off and you think skip busy and work stuff comes up and you’re tired, whatever it is. Right. And then those goals don’t get reviewed again until this time of year. And it’s like, well, why didn’t those things get done? Most of the reason most of the time is because you’re not being realistic and you’re not reviewing them and you’re not making them front of mind and turning them into things that you can either act on or recognize when you’re off track and, you know, either change your goals or reevaluate your path towards it. And so if I look, when I look back at my goals from January of 2020, they are so far off from what I was able to accomplish this year, like so far off, I mean, this was going to be my year of traveling.
Justin Gary (05:41):
You and I were going to meet up in Spain and we were just going to, I was going to be traveling around Europe and literally like all, obviously all of that stuff fell apart. But because I was able to reevaluate when I look at my goals that I did in March, you know that was much more realistic and then, you know, even further. So my goals over the summer as I sort of finally settled in that, like, no, this pandemic is not going away in a couple of months. This is, this is going to be around. And I was able to reassess and kind of reshape those goals. So I think that helps a lot when it comes to evaluating what was going on and to your broader point of well, is it, does it just mean I kick the can down the road, which for many of my goals, that’s absolutely the most of the time, that’s what happens, right.
Justin Gary (06:26):
If I, if I’m reviewing my goals quarterly and monthly, what that usually means I’m making some progress, but I didn’t quite finish what I thought I was going to finish. Right. and I think it’s okay to be a little overly ambitious, you know, aggressive, but achievable is what I like to tell my team when we’re trying to set deadlines for our company, that, you know, if we’re never missing any deadlines, then that also means we’re not probably pushing as hard as we could if we’re always missing deadlines. And we’re, you know, we’re not, we’re not in the right track either. So, so I’ve learned to give myself a little bit of a break when I’m missing things. As long as I see that I’m making progress and you know, an aggressive deadline that’s missed by a little bit, it’s going to be way more successful overall, then no deadline at all, or, you know, these vague far in the future deadlines.
Justin Gary (07:06):
So that’s the majority of them. And, and to forgive me for a very long answer here, but I think it’s important because then there are other ones that when you see something that keeps getting kicked down the road again, and again, and again, that’s a good cue that maybe this isn’t the right goal for you. And maybe that, and that’s where I either like to go very, very big when I re evaluate it or very, very small. And what I mean by that is that if this, what does this goal mean for me in the longterm, right? What are the, what are the big things that I’m excited about? How does this fit into my vision for who I want to be and what I want out of my life? And if I can’t come up with something compelling there that’s really going to drive me. Then I got to let it go. Or if it’s something where I do think it’s something compelling, but I’m not making progress. And I can see that over time, then I go very, very small and be like, okay, how do I shrink this down to be something that’s like, very manageable that I’m sure I can do. And then take that win and try to roll it up into something bigger.
Neville A. Mehra (08:02):
Yeah. We, we, we talk about that when often I think that’s such an undervalued strategy of just like setting yourself up for quick wins, right? Like breaking something down into, I think one of the examples we used recently was like, I know you want to start saving for retirement. And people are like, well, I’m going to try to save like, you know, $10,000 or something, which is great, but they just it’s so far from where they are right now. I’m like, how about make the goal, like ask HR for like the form to open a 401k account? Like, that’s a good one. Like, cause you could just do that right now while you still have the motivation get like a tiny bit of momentum going towards the goal rather than just like setting it way far out in the future. Yeah, for me, I think there are some of the 20, 20 things that just didn’t get done because of the pandemic, like travel for you.
Neville A. Mehra (08:46):
One of those for me was spending more time doing like language immersion and learning Spanish in like a classroom setting. I do like Duolingo and stuff like that, but I really wanted to take advantage of being in Spain and like I’m learning something, but nowhere near what I mean, I, my quarter one goal was to be like way further on than I was a year into it. And a bunch of other stuff like that. That’s kind of like location and, and being around people dependent. One of the goals that I had in 2020 was actually to launch a course that I’ve been thinking about talking about for a long time, but not really actively working on and this past year was supposed to be the year that I finally did that. And so in reviewing and this came up earlier in the year, but it really, this past week really brought me back to that of like actually having to admit to myself that, yes, that was actually a goal this year.
Neville A. Mehra (09:33):
Right. Cause it’s so easy to sort of just like push those away once you stop kind of working on them. And part of the benefit of that review is just keeping yourself honest and seeing like, Oh yeah, I did say I was going to do that. So yeah, why didn’t I wasn’t a bad fit that I not tried. It’s something more important to come up. And in the case of the course, I think what I realized was that I was really looking for like the last step of a process, the, the end results, like saying, I don’t know, I want to, I want to win a bodybuilding competition as the goal, rather than like, I’m going to start going to the gym. And I just, I realized along the way that like there’s so much like building an audience and building trust with that audience and figuring out their exact pain points, as opposed to just like the last step of like, okay, I created the sort of flashy revenue generating thing at the end of that process.
Justin Gary (10:18):
Well, there’s a really, really important principle there, which is that very often when people think about goals, all they think about is that like prize at the end. Right? And they think about being a rockstar on stage with screaming fans or having the super fit body or being the kind of person that wrote a book. But you don’t think about the process and you don’t think about the day-to-day life. And one of the things that is critically important for any kind of long-term project is, you know, in many ways you have to fall in love with the process. You have to find ways to build a system and build an identity around the day-to-day grind of the thing. Right? So you talk about online courses as a goal we’ve shared for a while. I actually did launch my online course to teach game design as a beta this year, and we’re going to launch it in full.
Justin Gary (11:07):
So one of my goals for first quarter of next year but, and it’s one of the things that he said was like, you see, you know, the idea of like your game is done is great, but if you don’t love that process of iterating, prototyping, testing, getting feedback, going back to the beginning and doing it again, you don’t get enjoy that and not say you enjoy every moment of it. Some of it sucks. I’ll be honest, but if you don’t learn to be like good with that, you’re not going to be successful as a game designer. If you don’t learn to enjoy and be part of your identity of going to the gym and working out every day or at least whatever, the five days a week, whatever it is, you’re not going to be super fit, right. You’re not going to be able to do those things.
Justin Gary (11:44):
So, so the knowing what the day-to-day life of it is, and it being something that you can enjoy and create a sustainable habit around is more important than any specific goal or any specific thing you’re going to do. So the goal can maybe be that carrot at the end of the stick, or as I like to talk about it, the laser pointer for a cat, right. I think that, that you have a cat can chase around a laser pointer and have tons of fun running around going after it. But there’s no, there, there, they’re never going to catch it. There’s no actual know nothing’s there, but it’s, so I like to think about my goals, the same sort of way. It’s great to set them. It’s fun to chase them, but don’t pretend don’t lose sight of the fact that there are illusory and it’s the actual day to day life of it. That matters.
Neville A. Mehra (12:27):
Yeah. I couldn’t agree more. And that’s, that’s like sometimes I think about like, what are the, you know, we have like a milestone birthday or something you think like kind of, what are the realizations? I had a kid, as you know, this year, my wife and I had a baby baby girl. And and he’s just, I don’t know, certain moments in life to sort of make you think of like take stock of where you are so far, what are all the lessons you’ve learned and all that kind of stuff. And for me, the one that you just mentioned I think is probably up there in like the top three sort of like ways that my mind has changed over the years from exactly what you described of just like, you know, you got the poster up on the wall. Hey, I want to be that when I grow up with no thought to, I want to do the daily grind, it’s just like, it’s like, I want to walk in a teleporter as who I am today. I don’t want to walk out the teleporter, like holding up the trophy. And I have zero desire to go to the gym, put it into wraps, do the writing, whatever it was like, it’s just, I used to tell my parents, like, I’m going to be, you know, a star of these five different sports that I enjoyed and I’m going to accomplish this thing and this thing, but it’s like, I wasn’t practicing any of those things nor did I have any desire to, I just, I wanted the outcome.
Justin Gary (13:35):
Yeah. And I want to, and I want to like, bring this down to earth, even more for people because you know, they may be, I can imagine there’s some people listening. It’s like, whatever. I don’t like going to the gym, nobody likes going to the gym. Right. Like, and, and to some extent that, that that’s true. I did like go to the gym when I first started going to the gym either, but this is where, like you, you start to try to train yourself. And, and when we talk about the idea of like small wins, that’s why starting small and saying, yeah, I did. It is a huge success. So it’s the, the idea of like, look for your first starting to work out, like do just the seven minute routine. Like, there’s that there’s you know, the seven minute high-intensity routine that was popular.
Justin Gary (14:12):
I was like, do something very smart, go for a walk every day. Right. And then reward yourself. Like, and I will literally, as you know, I’ve been working on like you know, my own little sort of workbook journal like a gamified journal while… Put a check Mark, when I complete my habit and I get, and I warned myself points for it. There’s plenty of, you know, sites like habit RPG or other fitness trackers, like giving yourself those little rewards for successes helps to build up the joy and the identity and the habit so that it becomes enjoyable. And I’m able to do now way more in my daily workout routine than I ever would have dreamed of doing even two years ago, because I started small, I rewarded successes and I built up the habit over time into something that was and fun.
Justin Gary (14:52):
And, and again, you could find the little bits for you, right? If you love swimming, then make swimming your routine. If you know, you like being around people, find a group class, you know, post COVID to go into, go workout in, or, you know, find the things that you can ways to shape your your behavior so that it can cultivate the kinds of things that you enjoy can cultivate the love of those activities. It doesn’t have to be a hundred percent like from the get-go I love, you know, making prototypes, you know, I love writing, you know, you can, you can get to that point even if you’re not necessarily there now, but the focus should be on building that routine and joy and, and consistency rather than the yay. I’m a New York times bestselling author hope,
Neville A. Mehra (15:34):
Right? Yeah. Speaking of New York times bestselling authors nine or 10 times, New York times bestselling author, Neil Strauss, who we both know and have been mentored by his book. Everyone loves you when you’re dead. It’s I think probably his, one of his least famous books, cause he’s written some pretty well-known books. It’s probably the one that’s impacted me the most for this reason that we’re talking about because he basically interviewed celebrity after celebrity, after celebrity, he used to do the interview, rock stars and musicians for the rolling stone and New York times. And he just, every name you can think of in music and Hollywood, he’s interviewed them and he just kind of excerpted them into the book. And it’s funny because like over and over and over again, the lesson is basically there is, as you said, with the laser pointed, there’s no, there, there, like, even for the people who are successful, we’re talking about it from the sense of like, you’re not going to get there, you know, if you don’t put it in the reps or whatever, but even for the people who reached like the absolute pinnacle of success, the lesson was, there was no, like you get to this mountain top, and then you’re just extending on a mountaintop.
Neville A. Mehra (16:39):
Like it was just the journey of, of going like, there’s no like level that you reach where you’re now. Like I don’t have to do the thing anymore. I just, you know, then he’d become what, like a one hit wonder in music or something like that. Like that. Nobody wants to be that
Justin Gary (16:52):
Even if you’re not even when you’re super successful, it’s, you know, a lot of the people for whom they are driven to great success by this, you know, feeling of, of lack and not enough. And the, you know, sometimes very severe depression and they think, well, look, if I just get to here, right. If I become super successful, if I’m a number one bestseller, if I have the, you know, whatever tour I have, the things, then I’ll be okay, then everything will be fine. And then that’s when you have a lot of these, a lot of high profile, you know, drug addicts and suicides and things like that. Even from the, the, what everyone else would aspire to be the most successful best you could possibly do top of the world. This is it. And that’s not going to be the thing that fulfills you.
Justin Gary (17:31):
And that’s where the deeper lesson of all of this stuff is like, you know, self-worth and love and acceptance are never out there. There’s nothing in the world that can provide those things for you. You have to find the ways to provide those things internally. Right. And you have to internally reference to build that sort of stuff up. And then the external stuff is, you know, it’s fun. It’s great. It’s good to work towards and it’s, but if you’re looking for that as the way that you’re going to be okay, or you’re going to validate yourself, it’s just a recipe for failure. And unfortunately it’s the, it’s the recipe we’re all drilled into every day and right. It’s something, it’s certainly something I’ve fallen victim to throughout most of my life and still occasionally fall victim to, so I don’t want to act like some kind of Saint that doesn’t, you know, it doesn’t, it doesn’t also look for validation out there, but, but I try to build habits and mental habits and routines that, that correct for that.
Neville A. Mehra (18:22):
Yeah. I mean, I would go as far to say if that’s, if there’s a, if there’s a meaning of life or a purpose of life or something, I think the, the process of discovering that, and that’s just intellectually like the lesson that you just described, but actually like internalizing that. I think if you look at, you know, most religions and certainly a lot of philosophy, it just comes down to different versions of what you’re describing. Right? Like losing this attachment to all this external stuff, whether it’s what people think about you or possessions or any of it, not to say that it’s bad, but just that if you think that that’s the purpose is to gather all of that stuff rather than like who you are inside, then you’re just going to keep suffering and struggling. There’s no end to it. There’s no
Justin Gary (19:02):
Right. Yeah. That’s right. And yeah, if you look at it, you know, the teachings of, you know, whether it’s Buddhism or stoicism or a lot of these very like long-term successful philosophies that they, they echo this exact sentiment. And, and it’s not like the life changes, right. The there’s one of the, the, the Zen koans where, you know, before lightened mint, chop wood carry water after enlightenment, chop wood carry water, right. It’s not that your life changes, you’re still do the same things. It’s just, you have a different attitude and approach towards it where you’re able to be at peace. And so one of the things, you know, you obviously you had a kid, just a huge, one of the huge moment where sort of you rethink your priorities and where you’re at in life and, you know, reevaluate stuff. I turned 40 this year, sort of another one of those sorts of milestones, like, okay, what, you know, what am I at?
Justin Gary (19:45):
Where, how do I feel about this? What’s the next phase of my life look like? And you know, there’s various kind of mantras and core lessons that I’ve, I’ve picked up over the years that I, I, I keep trying to remind myself and, and my version of this as sort of like I’m content, no matter what I have, and always working towards exciting and meaningful goals, right? Like the, the, the achieving of the goals is not, what’s important that things, wherever I am in life, I’m going to, you know, find my gratitude and contentment. But that doesn’t mean I’m not going to be fired up about doing things that I, I want to get done and things that are, that I find meaningful. And then that’ll change from time to time. You know, when we talk about this idea of annual review or, you know, decade review or, or, you know, or quarterly review, right.
Justin Gary (20:28):
Wherever you’re at the way I find that there’s this sort of rhythm to life, right? There’s sometimes where you’ve got a plan, you’re on a path you’re kind of steady as she goes, and you’re looking to like, just optimize and improve. And there’s other times where you are completely lost. Right. You know, they, they call it a midlife crisis or whatever. But I think realistically every five to 10, everybody, I think goes through something like this, where you’ve changed a lot. You’ve maybe you’ve accomplished the things you set out to accomplish. Maybe you’re on that path and it doesn’t feel fulfilling to you anymore. And there’s this period of struggle. There’s this period of uncertainty. And for a lot of people, they take it that, that causes a lot of suffering. And I’ve learned that like, when you sense that don’t, don’t think of it as something wrong with you it’s okay.
Justin Gary (21:08):
Right. Just you just B, then you need to kind of sit with that and then think, okay, what is it that’s going to get me excited and drive me. And what’s the next layer of my karma as, as you know, Buddhist language would put it right. Or what’s the next thing that’s going to drive me forward and go explore. And, and when we talk about how do you find the thing that’s going to be exciting you from day to day? I don’t think there’s usually, you know, you can research, you could write, you could journal all this stuff helps. But a lot of times it’s just doing, that’s going to unveil that for you. Right. And I look for the things that chase my, where my energy level goes up from day to day, right? That’s one of the best, best hacks. If you to find out what’s, what’s going to be a good driver for you.
Justin Gary (21:48):
You know, if your energy level is high, you’re doing the right things for energy levels, low there’s things you’ve got to change. And that can be obviously things, basic things like mental and physical habits. It can be the work that you do. You know, w when you’re just like, I don’t want to go out and get out of bed anymore. I’m tired, I’m over it. Then that’s a big sign. Something’s wrong. And when you are, you know, maybe not jumping out of bed, maybe you’re getting your cup of coffee, but when you’re excited about your day more often than not than, than, okay, you’re probably on the right path.
Neville A. Mehra (22:14):
Yeah. I, I completely agree. That’s, that’s such an important overlooked barometer of what you should be doing and just bringing this all back to kind of ground level. I could talk on the philosophy side of this all day, but we promised, you know, goals and goal setting routines. And I think these are actually the most important principles. I’m very glad we got to them. But just thinking, like, in terms of how they translate into, into setting goals, for me, one of the things I realized is that I set too many goals. Right? It’s it’s, so it’s very easy to write something down in a, in a Google doc or on a piece of paper, or wherever you put your goals and say like, you know, this year, I want to do this, this, this, and this. And you mentioned something in passing there that just like, maybe sometimes it’s just keep going.
Neville A. Mehra (22:54):
And as I went from, you know, looking at 2020 and thinking about 20, 21, I actually feel like I’m in a good place. Not necessarily like I’ve achieved everything I want to achieve. Certainly not. But I feel like the things that I’m working on right now are the things that I want to be working on. And they’re the things that do excite me. And it’s, I have the opposite problem where it’s too easy for me to just get excited about the next thing and move on to that. And when I look at areas where I haven’t been as successful as I wanted it to be, or things just didn’t work out, goals didn’t get accomplished or, you know, started some business and it didn’t come successful in almost all cases. It’s not because it was like a bad idea. It’s it’s really, and I, and I tell people, Oh yeah, it didn’t work out.
Neville A. Mehra (23:33):
It wasn’t a good idea as bad concept. We moved on to something else, but really I find that other people were successful with the same thing. And the difference is they just stuck with it. Whereas I got distracted, you know, the first time it didn’t look, or you could have got a little boring or whatever. I just allowed myself to find some new shiny object. So for me, a lot of when I looked at my 2020 review and I looked at 20, 21, a lot of what I was doing was just basically like, not adding new stuff, but trimming stuff that I said I was important in 2020, but now when I look back, I’m like those, aren’t the things that are going to move the needle and just trimming that list down.
Justin Gary (24:05):
Yeah. And again, I think this, I want to get concrete with it, but also, you know, also a little bit philosophical because I do th I think this depends on where you’re at in your life. Again, like if you’re in this period where I don’t know what I want, I’m not like I, you know, you’re young and trying things out, or you’re in one of these kinds of laundering periods, then I do think it’s reasonable to do a lot. Right. Just say yes to everything, kind of try stuff and find something that’s going to get you excited. But when you have things that you’re already excited about or you’re already successful, right. I mean, I look back, you know, when I, when I do review is like, you know, I’m living my dream life of five years ago. Like I’ve, I’ve well beyond what I was imagining I was going to be able to do so fantastic.
Justin Gary (24:43):
But so, but then I have, yes, I have new aspirations, but also, yeah, mostly I just, I need to be doing less. Right. And so one of the principles that I’ve I’ve adopted for this is the rule of three which is something I’ve, I’ve picked up from Chris Bailey originally in, in the productivity project and got a chance to talk with him a bit. And it’s just basically a tool for focusing. And like, it sounds like it’s, you should be having no more than three priorities. And the thing I love about the rule of three, and as I’ve like adopted it in my life and is it scales to every level, right. I have three goals every day. I have three goals every week, every week, every month I have three primary goals for the year. Now, the scope of what those goals are and the focus area, you know, for each year, it’s like three areas of focus, more, more practically.
Justin Gary (25:31):
But it really helps me to dial in, you know, it’s not that there’s not more than three things you want to get done. There always are. I always have a long list of stuff, but knowing that these are your priorities, they’re the things that come first is so powerful to be able to just zero in on what really matters. And so I’ve, I cannot recommend this rule strongly enough because it’s so practical, so simple, so implementable, and it is just, it does so much. And I do the same thing in my company with my teams. Everybody does reports, there are three goals. We have like three priorities for the week for the team. And when I do quarterly reviews with the team, same thing, every tier it’s been drilled into them and it makes things so much easier. So, so that’s like a very practical down to earth, like superpower that everybody can adopt, you know, right now.
Neville A. Mehra (26:18):
So what, like thinking of 20, 21 kind of goal setting and all that. So you start with like, you know, three slots on a piece of paper and then decide, you know, these are the three things I’m going to focus on and then break those down into sort of like quarterly goals or what’s the process like?
Justin Gary (26:31):
Yeah. So my process is actually very similar to the core design loop, the same process that I teach for for designing games. And I believe it’s true for most creative process where it’s originally, it’s sort of, you know, the scale inspiration. Like if I have a list of stuff that I’ve either accumulated and I do over time and stuff that I’m excited about or things that I’ve previously thought maybe I’d want to do, but haven’t, I’ll have a broad list of stuff that I’m excited about or things I might want to do. And then I will, there’s usually sort of categories that will kind of, you know, you could break life into, there’s a bunch of them, but, you know, it’s, there’s, you know, maybe it’s physical health, mental health, career learning and growth family and relationships, fun and excitement, you know, [inaudible], it, doesn’t almost, doesn’t matter exactly how you break it down, but there’s a variety of these categories out there that you can kind of find.
Justin Gary (27:19):
So using these categories as parameters to kind of put things into buckets, I find is kind of helpful so that you don’t have to weight yourself on one side. And you know, and then what I’ll do is for the year I’ll pick, you know, of those, I’ll pick three of those categories that I want to focus on. And then within that, I’ll pick whatever my top three things of that category that are like going to be the way I’m going to progress in that. Right. So it was, you know, two years ago, relationship was a really big priority for me. And I got engaged and was really focused on making that as great. It could be. And then my relationship was in a really good spot. So this last year was much more about my career and then learning and getting this course off the ground and like beginning to cultivate this idea of teaching and learning and growing that way. Right. And so it’ll shift from year to year based on what I assess my kind of what, you know, where my life is that, and what’s most important to me at that time. So, so when, when I’m saying your goals, it’s really the sort of year categories that then kind of subdivide into sort of three specific action items for each of three specific categories is how I approach it now.
Neville A. Mehra (28:22):
Yeah, for me, I definitely, if I don’t put like reminders to think about those other sort of main focus buckets, it’s too easy for me to just go look way deep on like the work one and have it like super broken down and then just be like, yeah. Other stuff and not, not. So, yeah, it’s helpful to even just start with that kind of like as a prompt, right? Family relationships, friends work, et cetera, et cetera. Within the sort of scope of work and work for me doesn’t mean, you know, like somebody’s paying you a salary, it’s like life’s work, right. It’s I try to tear down that barrier between, you know, the stuff that you’re officially doing as part of some paid project. And just for me, it’s anything that I’m creating, thinking about. It’s I think life’s work is the best way I can describe it.
Neville A. Mehra (29:08):
Going back to the idea that I was talking about with wanting to launch a course, and then realizing that like, that’s maybe the end of a process rather than the start of a process where, where I ended up with that train of thought was building an audience is really like the first step towards so many of the different things I want to do. Like, I talk about many different things that are, that I have so many of these kind of like shiny object type things I want to chase and do. And Tim Ferriss often talks about the Pareto principle, but like in other terms, like what’s the one decision that makes all the other decisions easier or irrelevant or something like, and for me, when I look at like all of the things that are on my list that I would like to achieve or things I’d like to work on, almost all of them benefit from having an audience of people who are already paying attention to what I’m writing or talking about, they’re engaged with what I’m doing. And that’s just not something I’ve really put enough effort into so far. And so that’s top of the list for me of those of focuses for the year ahead.
Justin Gary (30:07):
Yeah. Yeah. It’s great. And it’s just to underline that that point, you know, for anybody that’s unsure, you know, what things that they might want to do the, you know, building an audience, which is another way to say, you know, add value to the group of people that you want to serve get better at communicating, right? No matter what you want to do in life, whether that’s, whether that’s verbal speaking or writing or whatever, communicating is always a superpower and, you know, work on your physical and mental health. But the, the, the, those, those three things that’s, you know, exercise or meditation or something along those lines are things that are going to like serve you almost no matter what you do, where you go in life. And so there are great like overarching strategies for, for quite a bit of flexibility.
Neville A. Mehra (30:54):
Definitely. And I’m glad you said that because within brain building an audience is still it’s, it’s like an early step towards a lot of the kind of big picture goals, but it’s not exactly. You don’t sit down for 20 minutes and build an audience, right. It’s not, it’s not an action. It’s still sort of an outcome. And so again, I kind of like the curse, like recursively going through these I’m like, okay, so how do you build an audience? And it is exactly what you described. It’s creating value for the people who you care about or who you want to serve, or who care about the same things you care about. And so for me, that’s going to take the form of creating more content. This podcast is certainly part of that. I, as I’ve said to you before, and as I said on the show before, these are the conversations I love having.
Neville A. Mehra (31:37):
Anyway, the only difference is I wasn’t recording them and sharing them with the world before they were just conversations. You know, that only two people were hearing and now a lot more people are hearing them. I have an email list. I do send the occasional email, but I always wonder that it’s like, do they, you know, are people gonna unsubscribe if I send too many emails or like, you know, are, are certain people who are on the list who joined because of this other thing that I did, are they going to be like, not interested in this? And I was reading there’s a guy it’s Billy. I think his last name is [inaudible]. Who does all my marketing for courses actually, but I was just reading something he wrote, and I loved the way he framed this. He’s like, yeah, people are going to unsubscribe when you start emailing your list, but it’s like knocking the barnacles off a shift before you go out to see it. And it’s, it’s silly, but it’s like, it’s so true. Because if, if I, if I’m sending emails about the stuff that I care about and want to write about, and the people who are reading it, don’t receive those. And like, why the hell do I care if they’re on my list or not like, what’s the, is what kind of vanity metric is it just like number, you know, whatever, if I lose a thousand email subscribers, we’re not interested in this stuff. I want to talk about what value are they providing?
Justin Gary (32:45):
Well, yeah. Well, if your ego is based on how many people are on your email list, then now that’s why it hurts you. Right? That’s, that’s, that’s the challenge, but, but you’re absolutely right. You’re absolutely right. That it’s, it’s you know, you, your goal of building an audience is not to have that number be as big as possible. It’s it’s to, you know, attract the people who, you know, you can serve best and that you’re, you know, you want to serve and to repel those that you don’t like part of the job is to repel those people. You don’t want to be wasting their time because that’s bad for them. It’s bad for you. And that’s very hard, right? Same thing is true. Again, just sort of going back to what I, you know, to game design, it’s, you know, people want to make games that everybody’s going to love at all ages and then play it, all the things, right.
Justin Gary (33:28):
And that’s just not the realistic target. You want to target a small niche of people who you are going to absolutely love what you have to bring. And over time that may grow. And it will, if you do good work, but you don’t want to be trying to, you know, serve everybody, it’s just, it’s too intimidating. And, and then again, underlying another point that we talked about before, where you’re saying, Hey, I’m just having the conversations I’d love to have anyway. Right. That’s exactly the kind of thing we’re talking about when we say, make sure you like the day-to-day of it. Right. I did the same thing when I started my podcast. I love having conversations about design and deep dive into all the different components of it. But I also wanted to make sure that my structure of the podcast wasn’t too onerous for me.
Justin Gary (34:08):
So like unlike a lot of podcasts, I only do typically once a month, I go for as long as I want, you know, some podcasts will be two hours long or something will be, you know, an hour. It doesn’t matter. You know, there’s no, I did not put myself under those restrictions. Cause I just wanted to say, look, I’m going to have this conversation for as long as it’s interesting to me. And after that, I’m going to stop. If it’s like really interesting to me, to deep dive into some really, really niche component of design for a lot of my audits is not going to care about that. They could stop listening. And so they’re, those, those elements really do make a big impact in, in the sustainability of the project, especially for things like this, where like the podcast, like, you know, I mean, I don’t, I don’t advertise on my podcast.
Justin Gary (34:43):
I don’t plan to advertise on my podcast. I’m not trying to make money from the podcast. I’m just trying to like serve the people that I want to serve. And then, you know, there’s plenty of opportunities if they like what I’m doing to, you know, buy my book or the course, or do other things that, you know, whatever stuff I want to do down the road. There’s, there’s value to the audience to me, of course, but that’s not the primary concern and it can’t be I think if you’re going to make something that’s sustainable.
Neville A. Mehra (35:05):
Yes. And two things from that I’d love to highlight one is that we are, when you’re creating a podcast or doing any of these things and you do have an audience already and people do like, it, it, it almost, it’s not a threat, but there’s, there’s like this idea of, you know, well, should I create this other thing? That’s a little bit different, obviously musicians go through this all the time. You know, the new album doesn’t sound like the old album. And the thing is, there’s so much content out there now, like I’ve heard this referred to as like the Netflix strategy where it’s like Netflix, doesn’t worry about if every single member going to, like every single shows that they put out, they just put so much stuff out there that they know that, that if you have any enjoyment of like video whatsoever… If you have a pulse, you can probably log into Netflix and find something that you’re going to enjoy watching, but they don’t care that, you know, you’re not necessarily going to like everything that’s up and you might only like 1% of it, but there’s still going to be like a lifetime worth of content for you in that 1%.
Neville A. Mehra (35:58):
And that it makes sense for Netflix. But I think as an individual creator, there’s still that that’s still sort of rings true. Like you shouldn’t put out garbage, but at the same time, if you just, yeah, if you want to deep dive into something that, you know, most of your audience, isn’t going to be interested in. The few people who are going to be interested in that are still going to love it and why not do it? Yeah.
Justin Gary (36:17):
Yeah. This is where the, you know, things get more complicated, the bigger your audience gets and the more established your identity is in the public sphere. Because I, I agree with you, but it becomes emotionally harder. As you get more people that are sort of following and that are going to complaint, you know, like I am w you know, and I’m working to relaunch a popular game that I had that went out of print and I’m gonna relaunch it in a way that’s like different. That’s more, I think, better and more interesting to me, but I know it’s going to be different. And the people who want exactly what they had before are going to get mad at me. Right. And they’re absolutely, I know I’m going to get hate mail. I know I’m going to get flamed on social, you know, various social channels.
Justin Gary (36:56):
And I’ve gotten used to that over time, because I know that that’s just part of this job. And if you have tons of people that are upset with you about stuff in some ways that’s a compliment because the alternative is dead silence. And I remember those parts of my career too. Right. That’s, that’s the worst. And so what I’ve, what I recommend for this sort of stuff is one, you know, be true to yourself, right? And if you’re talking about things that you’re interested in, and you’re creating projects that you’re excited about, and you’re putting things out there, then for sure there are plenty of people out in the world that we’re going to have a pretty good overlap with that with your subset. And you want to find those people, they don’t have to have a hundred percent overlap, right? The Tim Ferriss podcast, one of those popular podcasts in the world, I listen to it pretty regularly, but like less than half of them are things I really like, but those are so good.
Justin Gary (37:45):
And that I really get a lot of value out of them. I’m more than happy to kind of just sift through some of the stuff that’s not there. And just skip episode here and there. And I’m still going to continue to follow that and still have a huge amount of Goodwill towards him, such that if he’s launching a book or a paid thing, or has some ask of his audience, like I’m still there and happy to be a part of that. And so you could kind of find that balance of what are the, you know, what are your, your main circles of interest and what is the, you know, general categories of the people that you want to serve and, you know, pick projects within there, if you’re gonna make huge jumps away. Right. If I started wanting to start talking about, I don’t know, pet collecting or something, I dunno something that’s very often one, anything that I’m doing right now, I might think more clearly about rebranding or doing a project that’s like very clearly signaling like, Hey, this is going to be very different if you’re not into, you know, baby, don’t listen.
Justin Gary (38:36):
But I think that’s just a communication strategy rather than a, than a content strategy. I think if you’re excited about it enough to kind of do it then.
Neville A. Mehra (38:43):
Yeah. And so I actually, in the, going back to goal setting and setting goals, I actually have two different goals that are almost, it sound almost the same, but at least for me personally, and that’s all that really matters. They mean two different things. And one is to create value, add going back to this idea of building an audience. So it’s creating value and that’s something that’s more, it’s more of that sort of like iterate and measure, put things out there. I have a very specific niche in mind. I know in general what they want. I think I know how to give it to them, but it’s the kind of thing where like, you know, create test a little bit, give it to people, put in front of them, see if they like it, make something better and really keep like refining that. And that’s on the create value side, but I also have something which is where, like, I don’t want to necessarily get trapped by that because it’s so easy to measure things these days.
Neville A. Mehra (39:27):
Right. It’s so easy to see how many downloads did this episode have, who clicked on which article? Right. In the news business, this gets talked about a lot from like clickbait to the so-called vegetables news. And just for me personally, I don’t only want to share the things that I know are going to do well. I want to just take the stuff that’s in my head and put it out into the world. So I have like a create consistently, like put it out there, kind of goal for the year that I have some specific ideas around. And then I have like a create value one. And so they’re, they’re both sort of around this idea of putting stuff out into the world, but one is like give people what they want. And the other one is just, don’t let it only live inside your head, because for way too many years, I’ve had kind of like two categories of things, the stuff somebody’s paying me to do, and the stuff that I think I should be doing, but I’m not because nobody’s paying me to, and it’s just like, Hey, that was a good idea.
Neville A. Mehra (40:18):
I had 10 years ago, somebody finally created that business or wrote about that topic. And I’m like, you know, not anymore. I’m just, I’m putting it all out.
Justin Gary (40:25):
Yeah. I think that well, there’s, yeah, there’s multiple layers to that. The, you know, the general you know, treating the things that you’re not getting paid for as, you know, as important or more important than things you are getting paid for, especially if you’re not happy doing the things that you’re getting paid for. Also, and this is something that has been driven home for me again and again, and again, it was true when I’ve done wrote my book and the podcast and the course and all the conversations, you know, the teaching people and sharing what, you know, makes you yourself, makes you smarter, right? It makes you learn more, right. When you have to be able to formulate your opinions in a way that can communicate clearly to others, you have to refine your thinking. And you also, when you’re able to have sort of conversations or, you know, when I, when I teach the course, I could see people’s lessons when they land, when they don’t, what things need to be improved, where like their process actually differed a little bit from what I was recommending and actually that’s a better way to teach it.
Justin Gary (41:21):
And it’s a better way to do it. Or I learned from a podcast guest or a conversation like this, like that continually improves you. And so there is so much value of sharing what, you know, even if you, you know, somebody listening, whatever, you don’t feel like you’re an expert, or you don’t feel like you have the authority to do this, this is so common, the kind of imposter syndrome problem. And it’s something that, you know, even, you know, where I’m at in my career now, I still face from time to time or when I want to add value in a different area. Right. You and I have talked about this and I’m sure we’re going to transition to it shortly. That, you know, we talk, we love the idea of like asking these important questions and the value of wrestling with those questions is so critical. It’s so much better than reading passively or watching some video or even listening to this podcast. The difference of you actively asking the question to yourself and being able to wrestle with it and is the way that you learn and implement more powerfully than anything else that I have experienced in my own life. And then to be able to sort of share that sort of stuff and, and, and force you to actively engage with the work is, is so critical.
Neville A. Mehra (42:24):
Speaking of those questions, we are going to come to them. I’ll give you one example of one right now. I know you subscribed as well. James clear, the atomic habits guy sends out a great his three, two, one newsletter, which includes content that he creates. It includes a couple of quotes. And it includes a question. And the question in, I think it was the latest one is what it’s very on topic for us. What is a mistake you seem to repeat each year and what can you do to prevent it this time? And my case I’ve been thinking about this even before he sent it. Cause that was kind of along the lines of this annual review we’re talking about, but that certainly brings it to a fine point. And for me, it’s that idea of just setting a bunch of goals, things I want to achieve and being somewhat disciplined about it, but still kind of putting more stuff out there, but this is the crucial one, doing it in a way where the goal is measured by what I’m going to call like a lagging indicator, right?
Neville A. Mehra (43:13):
The lagging indicator would be something in the, in the context of goal setting, lose 10 pounds. You only know that you’ve lost 10 pounds. Once you’ve lost 10 pounds, a leading indicator would be, which is that’s my, what am I going to do to prevent it this time? It would be to set goals with a leading indicator. And in the case of something like say weight loss, that would be something like, you know, go to the gym every day or, you know, run every morning or eat a certain way or whatever, whatever tactic that you’re using. It’s not just measuring the final end result of like what happens after you’ve done it a certain number of times. It’s the thing that you can measure as you’re doing it, to make sure that you’re on track. Like you talked about the quarterly reviews. And so I’m kind of breaking them down even further into just like things like send at least one email every week.
Neville A. Mehra (44:02):
And within each of my goals on, on using a framework that, and lower from ness labs, she called I’ll link to this in the show notes, as she calls it, her packed framework, as opposed to smart goals, which are kind of like the right specific measurable. And so on typical goals that we set, I think you could still set a smart goal this way, but generally they’re still focused on like this thing that you’re trying to achieve down the road, as opposed to like a continuous process that you’re doing to get there. So for me, my, my answer to the James clear is I’m setting my goals in a way that they are like day-to-day habits and activities, rather than just like some, you know, by this time next year, I hope I will have achieved.
Justin Gary (44:42):
I think that’s great. Another, another way to come at that, I think is a fun exercise to go through is write down your ideal day, right? Not, not your, not your ideal, like vacation on drinking is on a beach kind of day, but like your ideal, like productive, normal, like work day that you’re gonna build your life around and knowing what those habits are and what that day looks like, and then compare it to your actual day. Okay. What are the things I can do to sort of move me more in that direction? And that’s sort of my answer to that question to, you know, what’s the biggest mistake I do is like, I know what my ideal day is. Occasionally I have those ideal days and I’m super productive and, you know, setting aside time for like just writing and creativity and like not touching email for till afternoon.
Justin Gary (45:28):
But it’s so hard. I continually fall short and, you know, we’ll fall down those rabbit holes faster and earlier than I than I want to. And so it’s again, just trying to sort of reinforce what I was, even though I know for sure that my life is better and my work is better when I do it the other way. I still fall into those traps, but being able to have that ideal to work towards, I think is at least really, really important because if you are, you know, your, your life is made up of those days and if your days are great, then your life’s great full stop. And if their days are not great, your life is not great. So it’s, there’s no, no better metric to measure yourself by.
Neville A. Mehra (46:04):
So those are I mean, a few examples of those kinds of great questions, right? So what’s a mistake you seem to repeat each year, what could you do to prevent it? That’s, that’s something that most of us aren’t even necessarily thinking about. What’s your ideal day? How does it differ from your current day? And I mean, you, you hinted at this, so let’s, let’s go there. Those are the types of questions that for me, having spent more than 10 years now, sort of like deep in this kind of personal development self-improvement world of like, you know, reading the books, going to the Tony Robbins seminars, watching the Ted talks and really just like obsessing over this kind of stuff. What I’ve realized is that just getting the information, right. Listening to the lecture, treating it like, like entertainment, right? If you watch like a lecture or a Ted talk at those same way, you watch a movie where you just kinda like lean back in your chair, eating the popcorn and enjoying it.
Neville A. Mehra (46:51):
Like that can be fun, and there’s nothing wrong with doing that, but it’s not where you get the benefit. Like you don’t get the self-improvement the transformation, the outcome, if you just kind of passively watch or read, or even just like, sort of think about it, that the actual transformation in all cases from my experience comes from actually sitting down and applying the lessons that are being taught or that are in the book to your own life, like actually doing the hard thing of being like, Oh yeah, like, you know, where am I falling short? What’s the mistake I’m making? How could I, you know, whatever the question is actually pulling that question out of whatever it is that you’re reading or watching and then it to yourself. Yeah,
Justin Gary (47:30):
That sounds so important, but it sounds so difficult novel if only if only there was a way that people could break that down into bite-sized chunks, you know, where it was easy to sort of get those questions relented to you. And you could, I don’t know, in less than maybe 10 minutes a day, you could answer those questions for yourself to really apply things. If something like that existed, I would think it would be incredibly valuable.
Neville A. Mehra (47:52):
I actually went as far as collecting those kinds of questions for a long time. Like I realized that, Oh yeah, the question is the valuable part. And so I got in the habit of like, anytime I was reading something, especially a book of this kind, or even just like a biography of someone who was really successful. And like I found that they had a question that they ask themselves over and over in their career or whatever. It was like, I, I was smart enough to get in the habit of collecting those questions, but even then, as you just kind of hinted that I had no routine for going back and actually doing like the process of thinking about those questions, I would just put them in a notebook
Justin Gary (48:27):
I have over the course of the last eight to 10 years done the exact same thing where I just have a hashtag questions kind of link within all of my notes that I can always search for and find the key questions from everything that I’ve read. And if I don’t have a key question out of something I read or a Ted talk I watched or something that means I didn’t actually get value out of it. Like those key, those are the ways that I’m able to derive value. And it’s something that, yeah, like you said, it’s been tough because a decade worth of questions and these things like, how do I know how often should I review them? What triggers me to do. So are very tough challenge.
Neville A. Mehra (49:04):
Exactly. So you’re, you’re the one other person I know who’s like nerdy enough about this stuff. That to actually literally have like a folder full of these questions, right. We both reach bare notes. One day I realized that we both had like a notebook full of great questions that we were collecting. And we’re talking right now on December 31st, like the one time of year when most people do kind of sit down and do at least some sort of like review of their life, or, you know, ask themselves the question of where am I going, where do I want? But outside of that, I find that even the people who are like nerdy, like us, who think about this kind of stuff who are into personal development, don’t really have a process for like resurfacing those questions on a day-to-day basis. And that was something where, like I had been thinking about this for a long time and I’m just like, you know, should I program something on my computer?
Neville A. Mehra (49:46):
Should I like set up a notebook where like a tag, each one was a date or put, put it in my, like asana to do list pops up. And we just came up with this idea of like, what if you could just get one of these questions put in front of you every day, what would be like the easiest way to do that? And, well, I’ll, I’ll cut to the chase fast forward to the result that we’ve been talking about. So together we created a thing called quality questions and it’s for right now, as simple as possible, we kept it really easy. And it’s just, you go to a website (https://qualityquestions.co/), You sign up, you put in your email address and every day you get one of these questions sent to you as like a prompt with a little bit of like context to explain, you know, how the question, why it matters or how to think about it. And it’s just few minutes a day. You can actually get one question day and apply these lessons to your own life on a regular basis, rather than, you know, as we said, once a year or never that most people do. Yeah,
Justin Gary (50:36):
That’s right. And, and I think that, you know, you you and I have been working on this for what at least six months now, I think to get this thing put together. And, and again, I’ve, haven’t been having these conversations for multiple years and it’s something I’m very excited to be able to share with people because it is taking a lot of that hard work and, and really distilling it down into something that, you know, I was sort of joking about earlier, but really you can do in 10 minutes a day with, you know, we’re not charging for this. It’s something that we’ve put out there just for people to be able to access it’s the perfect time of year to do it because the nice thing about taking something right, it’s easiest as we talked about at the, at the top of the hour, that it’s easy to sort of set goals at the beginning of the year and then never look at them again.
Justin Gary (51:19):
Right. And so now you could set a goal and take an action immediately by signing up for this series of questions. And then you’ll receive an action, simple action to take every single day, a basic question, that’ll take you less than 10 minutes to answer. And then those questions will drive towards actions. They’ll dry. It was very important to us. Like we spent a ton of time refining the copy in the, each of these emails and refining the questions and how they feed into one another. So that it’s, each step is easy and it’s like a win that you could get and then eat. And then they turn into real changes in life. And I think, you know, we started off with questions like what what’s going to give you the most energy. How do you incorporate that into your life? You know, these kinds of exact principles that we’ve been talking about here and that we talk about all the time to really break it down in a way that people can access.
Justin Gary (52:03):
And so I, I’m very excited. It’s something that I’m glad we got it done just in time for this magical, a magical end of year date. And I hope people get value out of it again, you know, w w we talked, tying it back into other things, right? The goal of like, you know, adding value to the people that you want to serve. And I think if people out there that are, you know, kind of nerdy like us and love this idea of self-improvement and has spent a lot of time reading these books or wishing they were reading these books because they don’t have the time these are the, this is the perfect thing for, for, for you guys. And for those out there that do try it, you know, let us know what you think too, right? I mean that this is our goal, too.
Justin Gary (52:38):
We want to be able to serve people better. And I think that there’s an awesome core here that will serve people, but we also have tons of ideas on how to improve it and make it better. And that’s going to be one of, you know, it’s one of my goals for 2021 is to really be able to serve people on that level, right. To be able to really help and teach and inspire millions of people. And so this is one small little piece of that that I’m, I’m really proud. We were able to make together.
Neville A. Mehra (53:00):
Yeah. Likewise, just to, just to close it out. So it’s the services called quality questions based on this idea of the, these high-quality questions we’ve been collecting it’s quality questions dot co (not.com) is the domain. We’ll obviously link to it in the show notes. And there’s a, there’s a very strategic reason why it’s quality questions.co and not.com. And that reason is because the.com for sale, and it was very expensive and the.Co wasn’t taken, and it was pretty cheap.
Neville A. Mehra (53:28):
But the reason it is strategic is because, you know, going back to all these goals and everything, one of the things that I’ve done a lot of times in the past is try to, you know, guess what the market wants, what people need, what they would benefit from, and, and not actually put something out into the world until I’ve spent years thinking about it and then maybe never actually doing it.
Neville A. Mehra (53:47):
And so the goal with this, you and I have these questions, we’ve exchanged our notebooks of questions. As you said, for like six months, we’ve been talking about this, working on this, refining the questions, but we sort of do this stuff anyway, together. And by putting this out into the world, what we’re trying to do is say, we believe this is very valuable. We both already have this process, but we want to share the process with the world. And when you do that, there are a lot of other decisions and ideas that come up. So rather than spend, you know, 10 years building an app and building what we think might be the perfect version of this, we put together the simplest thing that we can put out and share with the world. And now the goal is to let people sign up for that, get as many people using it as we can in a short time.
Neville A. Mehra (54:29):
And it’s, it’s 14 days. I think we should mention the, the initial round of questions. It’s 14 questions that were specifically chosen, so that they’re not just like some random question, as you said they go together, they feed from one to another. And at the end of the 14 days, what we’re really hoping to have is feedback, you know, was this useful? Are the questions, the type of questions that people do find helpful, or they’re more of a certain type of question. So really we actually want people to engage with it, and then also give us feedback and we’ll have a prompt for that at the end of the 14 questions.
Justin Gary (55:01):
That’s right. And, and so the, the, you know, we believe this will add value to you. If you think this is the kind of thing that will then sign up. And if you want something that you want to see more of or changes to also please share it with other people, right? The more people that we see that are interested in this, the more that justifies us working on it more, there’s tons of cool, not only additional questions and areas of focus, but also tons of extra features, you know, as a game designer, I’m very prompted to sort of give rewards and incentives and things that kind of can help you even further get into this and, and, and get that positive reinforcement loop for doing these things and you know, take putting the questions and the answers into action.
Justin Gary (55:42):
So I think that it’s valuable just as it is, but I think it can be so much more and the people who are the ones that first sign up are gonna be the ones that help dictate that because we will take direct feedback from you. And you could watch even not just as a, you know sort of a, someone who’s going to get value out of it directly, but you can actually see the process go along. If you’re the kind of person out there that wants to think about starting your own business, or launching a product or creating something like you can see this live. And I’m sure Neville, and I will come back on the podcast in a few months and we can report back on what happened with this experiment and what’s next and how it’s working. So you can kind of see that go and be a part of that process too. So glad you said that I like I’ve invited myself back to your, so I hope that’s okay.
Neville A. Mehra (56:25):
Absolutely. I love that you mentioned that though, because that was actually one of the other goals for this quality questions in particular. But, but for me in general is to do more of exactly that, that sort of building in public, right. Don’t do it all behind closed doors, and then only show it to the world once it’s perfect, but rather get it out there, get feedback, get it in front of people. And just, I think you already said this, but just to reiterate, this is totally free, right. There’s nothing to sell here. There’s no credit card. There’s nothing it’s literally just go sign up for it and you get the questions and all we want from everyone who does it is just feedback. Like, was it useful? Did you enjoy it? Would you want more of these? And that’ll tell us, should we keep going on this or just work on one of the many other projects that we both have queued up?
Justin Gary (57:06):
Yeah, yeah. That’s right. So it’s just, and one of the nice things about this sort of project is whatever comes of it down the road, like it’s a great, I think a great free service. I know many people out there will find value in. So go check it out.
Neville A. Mehra (57:20):
I think that’s exactly the best place to leave it. Is there anything else Justin, you wanted to cover before we go?
Justin Gary (57:26):
No, I think it’s been it’s been an incredible, I mean, you know, it’s been a challenging year for a lot of reasons. It’s forced a lot of people to have to adapt. It’s given us a lot of opportunity, you know, it’s, it’s, it’s cliched to, to bash 2020 right now. Right? Obviously there were tons of bad things and things, difficult challenges that came with it, but there are, I think it’s worthwhile in addition to, you know, looking at the mistakes of the past and the things that went wrong and the things that you need to get done and haven’t done yet. And then you want to do… Spend some time in gratitude, spend some time being appreciative for the things that are, that you do have. And, you know, I know that, that this pandemic has made me appreciate my family and friends more and appreciate the things.
Justin Gary (58:08):
And you know, that I have more. And I think that it is in addition to this sort of goals and self-improvement stuff, which I love to geek out on and love to work on. There’s, there’s no more powerful thing than just spending a little bit of time in appreciation for the stuff that you do have. So I’m going to close on being my gratitude to you, Neville and our friendship and the things that we have learned and taught each other over the years. And, you know, for everybody else that’s out there you know, that is on the same path. We are all on this path together. And it’s a wonderful thing to do even as you stumble and wander around in the dark, trying to figure out your way.
Neville A. Mehra (58:45):
All right. I love it. Thank you so much of, I’m also grateful and, and I had a conversation with a friend the other day. Who’s, who’s been going through some tough times recently, and like, I love that you, that you said that about being grateful. Cause it’s so easy to kind of focus on the things that aren’t going right. If you’re listening to this, I know this sounds cheesy, but honestly, if you’re listening to this, you’re still alive and you got that going for you. And like, that is the most important thing. Like you can just build up from there and yeah, there’ve been some tough times, but I don’t know. I’m, I’m excited and feeling very blessed, happy new year to all
Justin Gary (59:22):
Happy new year.