2017 Learnings…

When you’re young (and probably throughout your life) self improvement has a much higher ROI than GTD

Spending a few hours a day making yourself a more effective [leader, designer, worker, friend, mentor…] pays off within weeks. Don’t just cram as much work into your schedule as you can manage. The most successful people I know make time for learning, why shouldn’t you?

We’re not as divided as it seems we are. Usually we just prioritize things differently.

The world feels very divided and sure there are divisions, but usually we’re pretty much all aligned on the BIG things because the BIG things are easy. We all want better schools for our children, a strong national defense, less crime, less poverty, good healthcare for everyone, the lowest taxes possible, good jobs, etc. Divisions occur not as much from fundamental differences in goals, but from different prioritization and willingness to make certain tradeoffs.

You are not the thing you do

We entrepreneurs tend to live and breath our companies all day. Crafting a broader story, vision and goals for our lives is a necessary exercise and if you don’t do it proactively you’ll end up writing this story only when circumstances require it: from rock bottom. Having a broader vision for what you want to do in the world over the span of your entire career provides important grounding and helps you make values consistent decisions about the future.

Be all of it or be none of it

Don’t be half-in anything. There are only a few things you should try to fall back in love with in this world.

Humans can change

Every day for the rest of their lives. There’s no age limit. If you work on yourself and develop a habit of self improvement you will constantly get better.

Habits can be formed in days

I always was fed the 2–3 weeks to build a new habit research throughout school. Turns out if you get in the habit of creating a new habit every week you can make much faster progress. Be changing things about yourself all the time the same way you change clothing. It just makes each time easier and easier and helps you practice being whoever you want to become.

Mindset >>

Mindset matters more than anything else. Being in the right mindset is like having your car in the proper gear. If it’s right for the task at hand there’s no more efficient way to perform the work. If you’re in the wrong gear you can burn as much gas (effort) as you want and barely move.



Building Tony Stark’s workshop one company at a time. Founder useoptic.com (YC S18)

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Aidan Cunniffe

Aidan Cunniffe


Building Tony Stark’s workshop one company at a time. Founder useoptic.com (YC S18)