How I Think

🌙 Finding a "force of nature"

Published over 1 year ago • 2 min read

"Meet 24 new "forces of nature".

For 348 days, this simple sentence has been stuck to cork board a foot above my desk.

And it all started curled up on my parent's couch during the holidays of 2021.

I was trudging through goal-setting for 2022.

I bounced between vanity metrics like "number of twitter followers" to meaningless phrases like "rekindle a love of exercise".

But when you strip it down.

Good goal-setting is the answer to one question:

What would make this year an A+?

Let me explain what I mean by "forces of nature", what happened, and why this goal may just be what you need in 2023...

So there's this essay I've devoured yearly since college.

It's called "How to Be Successful".

It's written by a guy named Sam Altman. You may know Sam from OpenAI or his uber popular new app called ChatGPT.

But that's not why I care about Sam's opinion.

The reason?

In 2009, Inc Magazine asked Y Combinator founder Paul Graham one question:

"Who are the most interesting startup founders of the last 30 years?"

He listed the obvious ones... Steve Jobs, Larry Page and Sergey Brin.

But he added another: Sam Altman.

Sam was 24 years old... And Paul Graham said this:

Honestly, Sam is, along with Steve Jobs, the founder I refer to most when I'm advising startups. On questions of design, I ask "What would Steve do?" but on questions of strategy or ambition I ask "What would Sama do?"

I'm 24 right now. And I currently feel like the world's biggest slacker.

10 years later in 2019, Sam writes "How to Be Successful".

In it, Sam talks about how he approaches network building.

When he meets someone, he looks for one thing:

Is this person a force of nature? It's a pretty good heuristic for finding people who are likely to accomplish great things."

So when I'm curled up on the couch in December 2021, I couldn't get Sam out of my head.

Why do I write stuff on Twitter? Why do I write this newsletter?

Not for followers. Not for clout. Not to sell an overpriced e-book.

I do it to find and attract forces of nature (like you!).

This is the north star.

So this year, it became my #1 focus.

It led me to Brandon (CEO of Meow) - the startup I'm at today (more on that story here)

It led me to meeting the CEO of Hubspot.

It led me to Grant Stenger and Colton Conley and Bob Casey and Ann Miura-Ko and Conor Robbins and Sid Yadav and countless others.

I met over 30 forces of nature in 2022.

It's worth 1,000x more than a dollar amount in my bank account. Or an inflated-bot-infested-follower count.

So as you approach 2023, ask yourself this:

What's the north star metric that makes everything else meaningless?

The rest is gravy.

Thanks for reading,

Chris Hladczuk

p.s. if you loved this, forward it to a friend. if you hated this, forward it to an enemy. And if you're new, hit the big blue button below...

p.p.s. you can read Paul Graham's Five Founders blog post here. you can read How to Be Successful here

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