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Are you challenging yourself personally?

I’m not a huge believer in new year’s resolutions, as I much prefer the idea of continuous goal setting and improvement. But I like Mark Zuckerberg’s tradition of pursuing one “personal challenge” every year. One year it was to learn Mandarin. And this year it was to build a personal artificial intelligence tool. If you’re interested in AI, you can learn about the experience and his takeaways in this post.

I am definitely interested in AI, but right now I’m actually thinking about his approach to personal challenges. This is a time of year when many of us are looking back at what we accomplished over the last 12 months and thinking about what we would like to accomplish in the next 12 months, as well as beyond. I know that I was doing some of that this past weekend. 

I managed to check off many/most of the items on my 2016 list, but full disclosure: some of them are getting punted to 2017. I also modified certain items. I originally wanted BARED (Becoming A Real Estate Developer) to be a book, but instead it transformed into a new blog series. My most recent BARED post can be found, here.

However, as I look back at all of the lists I’ve been making, I realize that virtually all of the goals are work related. They’re about completing this, growing that, and so on. That’s obviously important, but what about personal growth? Sure, one could argue that learning Mandarin is actually a prudent business move, but Zuckerberg claims to have been motivated more by personal reasons. And that’s great.

So I’m revisiting my lists and thinking about ways in which I can challenge myself to grow not just as a professional, but also as a person. Right away, photography comes to mind as an obvious personal challenge, but I’d like to give it a bit more thought. If Mark Zuckerberg can find the time, then there’s no reason that you and I can’t as well.

Do you have your own set of lists that you keep?

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