Everyone wakes up everyday, wanting to own their life.

And yet, the average person plays the game wrong.

Here is the framework to win the game of life: the CGI framework.

Here is how it works:

1. Core

As humans, we all crave for predictability and stability.
I call it “home”.

In professional terms, it could be the skills you know you can always rely on – that people trust you with, that you trust yourself with.

For me, my core was two-fold:
Analysis and time management.

So whenever in doubt, irrespective of how hard my circumstance, I could rely on my core:

– I had the tenacity to hunt for the right questions, no matter how hard the answers.
– I had the ability to manage my time, no matter how demanding the situation.

2. Growth

Once the core is in place, you strive to grow it, in order to strengthen it. This growth is often a personal journey.

I grew my Analysis core by

– Reading
– Writing (helped my process my thoughts)
– Teaching (helped me consolidate my learnings)

I grew my time management core by

– Recording my time every hour
– Playing multiple roles
– Saying a LOT of no

3. Initiatives

Things that scare you, that fascinate you, that excite you – and are beyond your zone of expertise. This is where most of life’s magic happens. But it cannot be what we do everyday.

For me, my initiatives were

– Dropping out of my PhD
– Joining an expensive MBA program
– Quitting consulting to startup
– Quitting Groupon to start nearbuy
– Quitting nearbuy to create content

The Core-Growth-Initiatives framework has 3 key principles to it

1. It is always in-to-out

People make the mistake of jumping onto initiatives, because they are glamorous, exciting – without building their core. Will rarely work.

2. As you move out, the probability of success decreases.

Your core should be your highest probability of success.
But by that same measure, your returns, while consistent, might be lower.

Growth – lesser probability – higher return
Initiatives – least probability – highest returns

3. Once an initiative works, over time it becomes part of the core.

So over time, your core becomes bigger.
While growth ensures it strengthens.
And initiatives ensure the core is always being fed back.

Let’s pick an example of your career:

C: Your core skills that you were hired for
G: Training, Classes, Promotions
I: Starting biz on the side, internships in new domains, freelancing

Quit your job to start a startup – isn’t always good advice!

This CGI framework has helped me tremendously in my life and I am sure, personalization will help you too. Define your core, grow it, pick up initiatives and then feed them back into core. Repeat!

In a few years, you would have an enviable core.

More importantly, you will have a flywheel that ensures the core keeps growing and strengthens over time!