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FS Weekly 76: A Simple Idea for Practing Personal Growth 

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Viswanathan Anand is an Indian chess grandmaster and former five-time World Chess Champion. When Anand was a kid, his mother encouraged him to develop a habit of reflection. After every chess game, she would force him to sit down and make notes on his performance, mistakes, observations about his opponents, opportunities he missed, areas where he could’ve done better, potential reasons he underperformed in one area, and did better than expected in another, and so on. That practice would eventually become a lifelong habit, helping him transform his game. Anand writes in his excellent biography Mind Master: 

“As I grew older, this practice slowly grew on me. Putting down my observations right after a defeat when the pain was raw and the sting was fresh, I stumbled upon the solutions I had seen but didn’t act upon or the ones I had overlooked. Not only did it help me spot my mistakes but it also gave me a macro perspective of whether the misses fit into some sort of worrying pattern that needed to be eliminated.” 

Deliberate training is how you improve at anything. Top athletes endure grueling training on a daily basis to get to the top and stay there. I call this a framework for improving anything

A consistent reflection practice can unlock new opportunities for growth in any area we choose to apply it. If you want to improve your interpersonal skills, or get better at sales, build a recursive closed-loop model of reflection, apply your lessons, and see what happens.

The challenge is that while we understand the benefit of such a practice, only some of us really take the pain of doing regular reflection.  I have a weekly reflection system with 10/12 questions that force me to reflect on my week—what was my biggest bottleneck this week? What can I learn from this and change moving forward?; How self-aware was I last week?; Am I still proud of the thing I built or did last year?; My regrets; How focused was I last week?; What are current Hamming Problems in my life and work? etc. 

Most weeks I don’t go through all of them because I either feel I’ve more important things to do or I try to avoid the feeling of doing it. These are common excuses we use to find shortcuts around the hard work of growth. 

Interestingly, people who do these practices also feel the same way. They don’t enjoy it. But they practice it anyway. For instance, Anand writes in the book that he hated the practice in the early days. He did it purely to make his mother happy. However, years of repeated practice turned it into a habit, leading to a lifelong practice of reflection and growth.

We may not always find it pleasant to reflect on all the mistakes and blunders we made throughout the day or week but we should force ourselves to do it and see our own flaws regardless. Like Anand, we will eventually develop enough muscle to endure and at some point, start to see the fruit of our endurance. 

All growth demands some tearing. Remember we either endure the pain of growth or suffer the pain of decline. Build your approach to practicing growth. 

That’s all. Now, on to the update. 

What We’ve Published Last Week 

1. 08 Best Books On Building A Great Workplace Culture

A list, along with summaries, of 08 books on how to think about company culture. Culture is considered to be one of the most important aspects of building a company but decoding how to do it remains a challenge. This list can be an entry point. 

2. Choose Growth, Practice Growth

My take on how we can approach practicing personal growth. One of the most important things I didn't understand for quite a long part of my adulthood is the importance of practicing growth in our personal and professional lives and the difference it can make. More importantly, the fact that all of us are perfectly capable of doing so—practicing growth. 

3. Bohubrihi, Skills and Professional Development-focused Online Learning Platform, Launches All-Access Subscription

This allows students to access the entirety of the Bohubrihi content library with just one subscription, featuring more than 50 courses tailored to meet the needs of today's and tomorrow's job markets. 

4. Medicine Delivery Startup Arogga Raises $5.5mn Seed Round, Eyes Regional Expansion

The round was led by The Venture Collective, a venture capital firm based in the US, with participation from several other investors, including The Blue Collective (US), Iterative (Singapore), Stella Maris Partners (Mexico), as well as returning investors Ratios Ventures (UK), Sketchnote Partners (Spain), and Epic Angels (Singapore). Notably, local Bangladeshi investors IDLC Finance and Startup Bangladesh Limited, are also investors in Arogga. 

That's all for this week.

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Every week, 11,000+ founders, investors, operators, business, tech, and media professionals read FS Weekly. If you want to promote your product/services to our readers and support our work, we’re looking for sponsors for 2023 for this newsletter. Details can be found here.

Thank you for reading.


On behalf of Team FS

Mohammad Ruhul Kader is a Dhaka-based entrepreneur and writer. He founded Future Startup, a digital publication covering the startup and technology scene in Dhaka with an ambition to transform Bangladesh through entrepreneurship and innovation. He writes about internet business, strategy, technology, and society. He is the author of Rethinking Failure. His writings have been published in almost all major national dailies in Bangladesh including DT, FE, etc. Prior to FS, he worked for a local conglomerate where he helped start a social enterprise. Ruhul is a 2022 winner of Emergent Ventures, a fellowship and grant program from the Mercatus Center at George Mason University. He can be reached at [email protected]

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