My Project for Individual Excellence (PIE)

“Follow your fears.” – Live Unbound

I, fortunately, stumbled upon a fascinating blog today: that of Zak Slayback. Zak is a dropout of an Ivy League University turned entrepreneur and writer. I was hooked in by his “Burn Your Backup Plan” post and was intrigued by the concept. I continued to dig around the site, finding articles about his PIE: Project for Individual Excellence.

Zak’s PIE consists of four main growth areas: Intellectual, Physical, Creative, and Virtuous. Over the course of the year, he has set monthly and daily goals within each of these categories in order to achieve excellence. This framework is not revolutionary by any means, but is a novel way to set tangible goals and push yourself to reach them.

So, starting today, July 1st, I am embarking upon my own PIE. Taking from Zak’s concept, I will set goals in the Physical, Creative, Intellectual, and Virtuous categories, while also building upon it with one more: Social. My goal over the next month is build strong habits within each of these areas in order to push myself to be the best version of myself.


“You dropped 150 grand on a fuckin’ education you could have got for a dollar fifty in late charges at the public library!” – Good Will Hunting

Now that I have graduated from College, I have an opportunity to read books on any subject that piques my interest. For this portion of the project, my goal is as follows: read one book from cover to cover per week. In order to build in some leeway, I will use this as a running average, and measure success and failure (more on that later) as having all four finished by the end of the month.

Deliverable: 4 books, completely read by July 31st


“To keep the body in good health is a duty… otherwise we shall not be able to keep our mind strong and clear.” – Buddha

Being physically fit is essential for long-term well-being, confidence, and mental stamina. Additionally, it aids in the release in cortisol, the key driver of stress. My physical goal is perform strength training (weight lifting) at least four days per week. This will not be counted on a running average, therefore I cannot “get ahead” by working out more than 4 times per week.

Deliverable: Output from app showing at least 4 check-ins of gym visits per week


“Wish I could get away, from all these vices that’s got a hold on me.” – Tomorrow’s Bad Seeds

We all have our personal vices, whether your drug of choice is caffeine, sweets, cigarettes, or whatever, they are a reality. Vices are things that we consciously understand are bringing negative energy into our lives, damaging our health and, in some cases, our relationships, yet we do not take action to resolve. Eliminating them is tough and requires support, as well as a plan to combat the habit when it is triggered. For me, I have chosen two items that fit in this category. First, I will follow Tim Ferriss’s slow carb diet for the recommended six days per week, limiting white carbohydrates and sugars. Second, I will limit my alcohol consumption to no more than two drinks per day (e.g., glass of wine, scotch, or beer). Both of these will not be counted on a running average.

Deliverable: Output from app showing 6 check-ins of slow carb per week and limit of 2 drinks per day for 31 days


“The more social media we have, the more we think we’re connecting, yet we are really disconnecting from each other.” – JR

Gen Y’s constantly fall into the email and social media trap – sacrificing deep conversations and relationships for convenience and breadth of acquaintance. Real, lasting relationships are formed through spending time and building trust. In order to build this trust, my goal is to call (30+ min conversation), have a coffee/drink with, or lunch/dinner with five different people per week. These people can be old friends or new friends, as long as they are different and not the same person more than twice this month. This will be counted on a running average.

Deliverable: Output from app showing 20 check-ins with at least 10 different people


“If you don’t want anyone to know anything about you, don’t write anything.” – Pete Townshend

This is an area I have struggled in the past and one that I will truly be pushing myself in. Creativity, in my opinion, is something that cannot be taught, rather learned through experience and self-exploration. With that being said, creativity is very valuable for introspection and expression, making it something I really want to enhance. In order to build my creativity, I am going to publish at least one blog post per day until July 31st.

Deliverable: 31 blog posts on July 31st (this is #1!)

PIE Recap:

  • Read one book per week
  • Strength train four days per week
  • Eat the slow carb diet six days per week
  • Do not drink more than two alcoholic beverages per day
  • Interact socially for at least thirty minutes with five different people per week
  • Compose a new blog post per day


I know what you are thinking: well this is great, but what happens when you inevitably miss a goal? I am not going to deny that I will likely fall short in at least one of these areas, if not all, at some point over the next month. It will happen. When I do fall off the wagon, I want to get back on as fast as possible. In order to further incentivize this and “burn my bridge”, I have thrown my own spin on the “anti-charity” motivator.

For every goal that I miss, I will donate $5 to the New England Patriots Fan Gear Fund. I will pay $5 to this fund for everyday I:

  • Fall short on my weekly gym goal
  • Cheat on the slow carb diet
  • Consume more than two alcoholic beverages
  • Do not write a blog post
  • Fall short on my social interaction goal

For books, I will multiply however remaining books I have left by $35. For instance, if I have 1.25 books left, I will pay in $43.75 ($35 * 1.25).

So what is the New England Patriots Fan Gear Fund you ask? For those of you that know me well, I am the definition of a diehard Indianapolis Colts fan and, with that in mind, there is no franchise that I despise more in professional sports than the New England Patriots. From the playoff and regular season beatdowns the Colts endured at the hands of Tom Brady, to the lying and cheating Bill Belichick is known for, I have many reasons to hate the Pats. Whatever (hard-earned) money is left in this pot come July 31st will be used to purchase Patriots apparel. I will then wear these clothing items for the entire day, each Friday in August.

Lord have mercy.

If you want in on the action, please let me know! I would love the extra incentive. Any extra donations per instance are appreciated, as all of the gear will be donated in September. Plus I am sure you would be amused watching me sweat my you-know-what off in the San Jose heat (I will post plenty of pictures).

So here we go! I am off to a great start today and am looking forward to seeing how much I can grow in the next month. Any help and/or support is always appreciated!

Published 7/1/2015 at 11:25 PM PST


4 thoughts on “My Project for Individual Excellence (PIE)

  1. Awesome – best of luck, dude! I’ll be checking in to brief the blog posts. I would challenge you to rethink your virtuous goal. We can discuss over a beer to help you meet your alcohol and social interaction quota. Hit me up.



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s