You might not find what you're looking for.
It just might find you instead.
Hope you are well. I'm doing okay, Alhamdulillah.
I write this lying in bed at about 8pm on an eventful Sunday evening.
I have had a very fulfilling weekend, primarily because I spent about 9 hours yesterday and today with some of my mentors. I genuinely love these interactions because they help to pressure test my plans, refine my thought process, and ensure that I am not veering too far off track.
Also, they sometimes help me to step out of my own problems and see life from the perspective of people who have experienced a lot more of the world. I am aware that not everyone is fortunate enough to benefit from such relationships, and I am genuinely grateful for the opportunity.
** side note: For the past month or so, I have been consistently writing this newsletter much later in the day. A few of you know why. I will be back to publishing much earlier from next weekend in sha Allah.
Today, I spent about 1.5 hours listening to Guy Raz's interview with Brian Armstrong on the How I Built This podcast. Brian is the Co-founder and CEO of Coinbase, one of the world's largest cryptocurrency exchange platforms.
It was one of the more interesting podcasts I have listened to in a while, and there were many personal learnings for me.
** side note: One annoying thing I experience on YouTube, Apple Podcasts, and just about every social media platform is tech companies trying to optimize my time on their site. Their algorithms are designed to identify the podcasts I listen to most frequently and then serve me more and more of those, at the detriment of all the other podcasts I subscribe to.
This same model applies to Twitter, Netflix, etc and while it can sometimes be valuable, I sometimes just want to be left alone lol. Uncle Google (since you can read this anyway), please give me everything I followed/subscribed to, stop filtering on my behalf!
Let's talk about one or two of them.
Avoiding a fixed mindset
Brian Armstrong was introverted for the most part of his life, and spent many years genuinely struggling to initiate interactions and hold conversations with people. Since he had the foresight to know that effective communication was potentially consequential to achieving his aspirations, he decided to do something about it.
He took a part-time job as a bartender, basically forcing himself to interact regularly with other people until he became very comfortable making small talk and communicating with strangers.
What I find most interesting about this is his malleable attitude to self. Too many of us go through life with a fixed mindset.
"I'm not the outgoing type."
"I can't learn Python, you know I'm not a very analytical person."
"I can't work in Consulting because I'm just not good at case interviews.”
These (seemingly harmless) statements can be very problematic because they promote a fixed mindset - a belief that we are who we are with defined skills and attributes that do not change.
It is perfectly okay to not be interested in doing certain things. It is perfectly okay to identify your personal areas of strength and work harder at improving those. But to then close off all new areas of opportunity because you "can't do something” is self-limiting.
You might not find what you're looking for
A lot of his story involved "shot shooting".
Brian shot his shot at Coinbase's initial cofounder, Ben Reeves, a British crypto enthusiast. But differences in their vision for coinbase ultimately led to Brian becoming a solo founder, a rarity in tech these days.
After searching and searching, Brian accepted his fate - he was destined to run Coinbase alone. Until one day, when Fred Ersham, a former Goldman Sachs trader, reached out to him to discuss the possiblity of building the future of Coinbase together. Less than a decade later, Coinbase is the US’ largest crypto brokerage and has customers in over 190 countries around the world. Oh, and both men are billionaires.
Many of us are searching for one thing or the other. We search and search and search, often becoming frustrated when we find that we do not get what we sought out.
But Brian and Fred's story brings up a very powerful point.
Sometimes you are not supposed to find what you're looking for. Maybe it is supposed to find you instead.
** Jara content:
“As someone who didn’t get it right the first time, my advice is to be able to resolve problems between you. There will be good days and bad days, but a key difference between my first marriage and the one I intend to have forever forward is that we resolve problems. Things don’t linger or get swept under the rug.
Our tactic is that we don’t argue before going to bed. If it wasn’t resolved the previous day, we have a cup of coffee in the morning, and put it all on the table. Then, we move on.”
Have a great week. ✨