What’s a “Full-Stack Human”? Becoming one transformed my life. It will help you unlock your full potential too.

Michael CalozBlog: Synthesizing & Simplifying Complexity, Full-Stack Human, Self-ImprovementLeave a Comment

In software development, full-stack engineers manage an app’s entire stack of technologies & systems.

They can work on back-end databases one day and front-end user interfaces the next.

They value the entire stack of systems.

They understand that their app has many different components—some more visible and some more hidden.

But they’re all worth learning.

What if we apply that to humans?

Most of us keep trying to solve our problems the same way again and again. We keep trying to use the same tool, and we ignore our more hidden “back-end” systems.

We keep struggling in the same cycles, again and again.

Becoming a Full-Stack Human means expanding.

It means appreciating and learning to use the full stack of systems inside yourself. All the tools in your toolkit (even the ones that have gotten rusty).

If you’re an Analytical Thinker type, it means developing your emotional awareness & processing.

If you’re an Attuned Feeler type, it means strengthening your logical thinking & discernment.

This process is what allowed me to transform virtually every aspect of my life.

And it’s helped hundreds of other people I’ve coached too.

Intrigued?

Below is my “manifesto” for fellow abstract Thinker types—multi-passionate, future-oriented people who spend a lot of time in their analytical minds.

Here’s exactly what it’ll look like for you to become a Full-Stack Human (including a few ways you can get started right now):

It’s hard for you to stay focused on just one of your ideas all the way to completion.

(Plus, you struggle with decision-making, purpose, and connection.)

Your brilliant analytical mind is constantly producing new ideas.

The only problem is: You never actually finish them.

You know you have so much potential, but it’s hard to stay focused on just one thing.

You run out of motivation, and your mind wanders to the next shiny idea (or you feel depressed for a while).

With such an active mind, you struggle to make decisions:

  • Which restaurant should you choose for dinner?
  • Where should you go on vacation?
  • Why is your partner angry when you give them the solution to their problem?
  • How can you enter social situations without feeling awkward?
  • Why do you feel an emptiness inside? What’s missing in your life? What’s your passion?

Here’s what most intelligent people get wrong: At a fundamental level, they keep using the same tool again and again.

The same tool that’s been failing them:

The analytical mind.

Why have you been suffering? Because analytical thinking isn’t the best tool for every situation.

It’s just the tool you’re most familiar with.

It’s your comfort zone.

That’s why you love solving intellectual challenges and giving advice.

Unfortunately, what you’re facing isn’t a logical problem.

It’s an existential one.

An emotional one.

And that requires an entirely different type of solution.

You’ve been trying to push round emotional pegs through the square hole of analytical thinking. So you keep feeling frustrated:

  • You have no idea how to get to a dream career. So you settle for a job that doesn’t fulfill you (and you beat yourself up since you know you’re capable of more).
  • You feel disconnected and alone. Deep friendships feel hard to find, so you settle for acquaintances. But you can’t be your full self, and you don’t feel understood and challenged.
  • You miss out on the richness of life. You don’t look forward to getting out of bed (and you have trouble falling asleep). Life feels like watching a movie in black & white instead of color.
  • You know you’re wasting your potential. You keep repeating the same cycle: feeling like something big is missing ➡ wondering if everyone feels that way (are all those smiles real?) ➡ making some progress ➡ running out of energy ➡ repeat.

You keep wondering when your “real” life will start.

Why is it so easy to keep making these mistakes? Because analytical thinking has served you very well in the past.

Don’t worry: I’m not telling you to get rid of it now.

But what I am saying is that there’s a whole set of tools you haven’t been using.

You’ve been letting them rust in the corner when they could be making your life a lot easier.

Fixing this means pushing outside your comfort zone.

Your problem is not rationality. You don’t need better logic. You don’t need to think harder.

Your problem is…

  • That moment when you’re trying to make a decision that should be simple. You get stuck in orbit around the choice, and it feels like you can’t escape.
  • That moment when you realize you’ve lost your motivation. You can see the project’s finish line, but the remaining 20% feels impossible—like a heavy weight on your shoulders.
  • That moment when you can’t figure out your purpose or passion. You feel depletion in your body, and nihilism, depression, or anxiety in your mind.

Your problem is how you FEEL right in those moments.

How the frustration or hopelessness controls you because you’re not skilled with feelings.

What if you could learn how to change all that?

First, you’ll need to fix your misconceptions (that I had too).

Here are some hard truths:

  • Not all decisions are best made from the analytical mind. For many of them, you’ll be much better served by using your gut (which you’ll have to systematically develop).
  • Feelings aren’t less valuable than logic. Learning to deeply feel is a critical part of escaping depression, loneliness, and numbness.
  • Many of life’s most important questions don’t have objective, logic-based answers. They’re deeply subjective and emotional, and that means you can’t just work them out in your head.

What’s the best career for you?

What should your life mission be?

Who would be a good friend for you?

These answers can’t be derived analytically.

They must be felt.

We’re talking about a completely different way of reaching conclusions.

It’s like using a different sense altogether.

Like learning to listen too instead of just seeing.

I’m not telling you to abandon your eyes.

But you’ll only unlock your true potential when you learn to use both senses.

To complement your Thinking with Feeling.

You appreciate specificity, so let’s break down what “feeling” really means.

For our purposes, it’s five main skills (the fifth one especially feels like a superpower!):

  1. Precise awareness of emotions (the same level of nuance you’d apply to complex logical arguments);
  2. Precise awareness of bodily sensations (gathering data from your nervous system);
  3. Expanded vocabulary (to categorize your feelings, explain them to others, and empathize with people);
  4. State awareness (knowing what your subconscious systems are trying to tell you, and what you need right in this moment).
  5. State shifting (the capacity to change your state from an uncomfortable one—where everything feels hard—to a more centered, grounded one, where it feels easier to make decisions and take action)

Is all this too “soft” for you? This is the cutting edge of business leadership too, and you don’t want to be left behind.

One of the most well-known Harvard Business Review articles of all time, What Makes a Leader, explains the key thing all effective leaders have in common is emotional intelligence.

IQ and technical skills matter too. But, even with an amazing analytical mind, you won’t make a great leader without strong EQ.

I saw this all the time when I worked in Fortune 500 companies as a management consultant. It was very clear to me which leaders were part of this newer wave, and which were still caught up in the old way of doing things (”my way or the highway”).

Learning the tools of emotion will benefit you in all areas of your life—from finding meaning, to improving your relationships, to being more effective at work.

I used to be where you are. It took me years to develop these skills in myself, but it’s completely transformed my life.

Throughout my 20’s, I was very successful.

I made an excellent salary and was promoted often. I worked at famous companies on important projects. I believed I was doing the ideal kind of work for me.

An objective person would say my life was perfect.

But I simply wasn’t happy.

Even as I traveled the world (visiting 24 countries), my experience was always spoiled:

  • I struggled to make simple decisions (”if I’m only going to be in this city once, which of the top-rated coffee shops should I choose?”);
  • My mind was always on the future or past instead of enjoying what was right in front of me (”sure, this waterfall is ok, but someday I’ll go to the #1-rated one);
  • I tried to use logic to evaluate everything (”how happy should I expect to be anyway? what’s an appropriate baseline value?”).

I felt a dark hole in myself.

Each week, I’d build up scaffolding to cover it. But by Sunday evening, it would all have crumbled again.

I’d look back on my week with frustration and hopelessness.

Finally, I couldn’t take it anymore. I couldn’t go through the rest of my life this way.

So I took serious action, spending three years pushing myself way outside my comfort zone.

I tried everything from skydiving, to psychedelics, to intense vulnerability exercises with groups.

And eventually, I felt something crack open inside me.

It didn’t happen all at once.

But layer by layer, I felt the armor of my “100% logic only” approach to life melt away.

A new flame ignited inside me.

I didn’t lose my rationality. But I began to realize that I finally had access to other tools as well.

Over time, I unlocked a range of new superpowers:

  • A gut feeling (and a mountain of emotional & somatic data I’d been totally ignorant of), which helped me make decisions much more easily;
  • A powerful present-moment focus, allowing me to finally appreciate what was right in front of me;
  • A depth of connection I didn’t realize was possible, including feeling comfortable belonging in community;
  • An understanding of what “self-care” really feels like (noticing when I need to slow down rather than waiting till I burn out);
  • A warm, enveloping sense of self-love, and clarity about my “meaning of life” and specific mission;
  • Consistent motivation & energy to take action on my important priorities and better support others.

I feel more alive than I ever knew was possible. I feel it physically, in my body—not like the high after a good workout, but something more profound.

I feel supported and understood.

And all this is possible for you too.

Here’s one step you can take right now:

  1. Take out a pen and paper. Write down every project you have “in progress”—draft blog posts, business ideas, new hobbies you bought the materials for but never opened, etc.
  2. Next to each item, write two numbers (don’t overthink this—just go with whatever pops into your mind):
    1. How important this feels to you (not back when you started it, but right now). “Important” in terms of alignment with your core values, life purpose, and how much good it’ll do in the world. (It’s not important simply because you’ve already put work into it.)
    2. Roughly how much energy it would take to make this “good enough” to consider it done (as a version 1.0). “Energy” here is a combination of raw hours and how much it will emotionally drain you. Ask yourself: If I really want to prioritize this right now, how daunting or frustrating does that feel? (Key word: feel. Don’t just try to make this a purely objective, logic-driven rating. It has to be based on how hard this actually feels—because that’s the part that keeps messing you up.)
    3. For both of those, I like using a five-point scale from -2 to +2, where 0 is completely neutral, +1 is slightly more than the others, +2 is a lot more than the others, -1 is slightly less than the others, and -2 is a lot less than the others. Try to use 0 as little as possible.
  3. Finally, sort the list in roughly this order from the top:
    1. Higher importance, lower energy
    2. Higher importance, higher energy
    3. Lower importance, lower energy
    4. Lower importance, higher energy
    5. (If you’ve been feeling down and need a quick confidence boost, try swapping B and C or mixing in a few from each.)

Ok, that exercise is helpful, but it’s only a band-aid. Real, lasting transformation requires something deeper.

Remember: The problem isn’t ineffective analytical thinking or logic.

The problem is how it feels in the moment. The frustration of making a choice. The hopelessness of realizing you’re going to set aside yet another project and come back to it “someday.”

The real shift is not just reprioritizing your time and energy.

It’s being able to shift your state in any moment.

Changing your mental, physical, and emotional experience so that it becomes less painful.

Less tight.

More open, easeful, and centered.

How would it feel to wake up in the morning feeling energized? Like you’re living your purpose and not waiting anymore?

What would it be like for decision-making to feel relaxed?

What if your life could be filled with a wider and richer palette of feelings—childlike wonder, stimulating inspiration, deeper connection, and more?

The human brain is highly plastic, even in adults. It’s possible to re-train it—to develop new neural pathways so you can combine the best of both worlds:

Thinking and Feeling.

That is what it means to be a Full-Stack Human.

In software development, a full-stack engineer is someone skilled at a wide range of skills, from managing the back-end database to building the front-end user interface.

Similarly, I invented the term “full-stack human” to describe someone skilled not only at analytical thinking, but also somatic awareness, emotional processing, and beyond.

That’s your ultimate potential.

And it’s a specific set of skills that’s learnable.

I’ve done it. Many of my clients have done it.

And you can do it too.

This is a lifelong process, but here are some next steps you can take right now:

  • Do the exercise I described earlier.
  • Subscribe to my mailing list below, where I send out my most popular posts related to becoming a Full-Stack Human. Plus, you’ll be the first to hear about courses and Masterminds I’m offering.
  • To read my posts immediately after I publish them, you can also follow me on LinkedIn, Twitter, or Medium.
  • Check out my series of deep-dive posts on meditation, one of the most important skills for Full-Stack Humans to develop.
  • Apply for coaching with me. This is the fastest way to make progress on the skills I described.
  • Limited time offer: I just opened up space in my deep-dive coaching program, Synthesis. It’s specifically designed to help you develop the types of skills I described on this page. Learn more here, and you can get $200 off if you apply by the end of January.

Thanks for reading, and I hope you have a nourishing day.

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