How I’m Breaking the Mold

I’m Reid Anderson, and I decided to take a different path after college. I’m participating in a startup apprenticeship program called Praxis. Recently I answered some questions about my choice.

Why I Work

Why did you decide to do Praxis?

After college my plan was to attend graduate school and pursue a career in academia, perhaps teaching economics. My ambitions eventually changed however, and more school didn’t fit into the picture. I was eager to get my foot in the door somewhere, preferably not in my home state (Minnesota) and with a startup-type company. Praxis was exactly what I was looking for, and then some. It seemed almost too good to be true at first. Not just the structure of the program either. The overall tone and message really spoke to me. It was clear that Praxis wasn’t just some recruiting agency. In all seriousness, I doubt a million recruiters typing on a million typewriters could reproduce one Praxis blog post. Finally, the success rate of their past participants is incredible. I couldn’t pass up on opportunity like Praxis.

In one sentence, what’s your philosophy of work?

In the words of Lupe Fiasco, I’m a “firm disbeliever in (the) punch clock promise.”

Separating From the Crowd

What’s the one thing about you that no one knows?

I love to cook. And I don’t just mean as a means to an end. I really enjoy it as an end in itself. I do it whenever I can.

What do you believe that nobody else believes?

I believe the connection between the mind and body is extremely tight and complex. Much more so than is generally recognized. For example, I think the mind is capable of producing chronic and debilitating physical pain; pain that most people assume is caused by a musculoskeletal defect or acute physical stressor.

Getting Sh*t Done

What projects are you working on right now?

Currently I’m working on building my online presence. I built my personal website, reidsanderson.com, where I’ll be blogging about my experiences in the Praxis program as well as other things. I already have several ideas for posts I’m particularly eager to write. Also, I’m completely new to WordPress, so getting more familiarized with the technical side of the platform is a priority. My LinkedIn profile was in desperate need of an update as well. That’s putting it lightly. It’s now up to date, but I’m still actively refining parts of it.

How are you currently pushing yourself to get better?

I’ve been consuming a lot more information on how to become more productive and efficient. So, reading a lot of different blogs, a few books, listening to podcasts, and experimenting with the suggestions from those resources. Thus far, I’ve soaked up the most knowledge — by far — from my fellow Praxis participants and alumni. Reading and hearing about everything they’ve done and are doing has been invaluable. It’s impossible not to be inspired to get after it when you’re surrounded by such high-caliber people.

How I Work

What tools do you use to organize your work?

Right now I primarily rely on spreadsheets, in Excel or Google Sheets. Good old fashioned post-its and notes too. I’ve also just started using Trello, which will be particularly useful as my workload increases when I’m placed with my business partner.

How do you motivate yourself to be productive during bad days?

If I feel overwhelmed or a task feels “too big” I try and break it up into smaller pieces. Instead of telling myself how good it will feel to finish, I try to experience that positive feeling multiple times on a smaller level throughout the process. It’s a steady drip of accomplishment and resulting good feelings. Just doing something productive that moves you in the right direction does wonders psychologically and can lead to a creative burst or inspirational spark. It’s an encouraging approach to accomplishing an otherwise daunting task or project. The best part is, you still experience that one really big feeling of accomplishment when you finish.

What books, podcasts, or other resources do you rely on to boost your inspiration?

Well as it happens right now I’m reading How to Win Friends & Influence People by Dale Carnegie. All the content is easy to relate to and highly actionable. It’s awesome to read about stuff that you can implement immediately into your life. On that note, I read a lot of Tim Ferriss’ and James Altucher’s online content too. They both write a lot about what’s enabled them to improve their personal and professional lives. Given how successful they are, I’m definitely interested in it. Paul Graham has an awesome blog as well. I read his essays frequently.

For podcasts, I listen to The Isaac Morehouse Podcast, The James Altucher Show, The Tim Ferriss Show, and EconTalk regularly. They all talk about such a wide variety of topics and interview such a range of guests that you simply have to subscribe, or you risk missing podcast gold — stories, ideas and content that can literally change your life. I often find other podcast episodes by simply searching in Google or iTunes. I’ll read about an interesting person or business in an article for example, and then check to see if they have interviews on YouTube or have been featured on a podcast.

I listen to a lot of music for inspiration as well. I don’t have a specific playlist or go-to genre or anything. Just whatever I’m feeling at the moment. Could be anything from Phillip Glass to Mobb Deep. I’ll listen while I work on something or go on a walk and throw the headphones on.

Words I Live By

What’s the most important advice you’ve received?

“Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.”

Note: This was originally published on Medium. You can find that original post here: https://medium.com/on-breaking-the-mold/how-im-breaking-the-mold-2b2c5a6b680a#.ubbjff8uf

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