So what lenses should I build, what have I built, what is actually useful? (Let’s drop the lens analogy.) The answer is seemingly straightforward- whetever helps me get from where I am go where I want to go. Well, where am I, and where do I want to go? The “expand human consciousness” and “accelerate space travel” destinations are too far down the road to be particularly meaningful. They’re vague abstractions at this stage. It’s like me saying I want to go to the USA when I don’t know where Changi Airport is. Saying you want to marry the princess when you don’t know where the kingdom is, let alone what the political challenges are gonna be when you get there, and what sort of prerequisites you’ll need to even get through the door.
So. What and where is Changi airport? And how do I buy or acquire a ticket? And what do I have to do to pay for or earn that ticket? If I met Seth Godin or Paul Graham or Jimmy Wales or Elon Musk any of those cool people, I wouldn’t have anything useful to tell them. That sucks. I don’t just want to be some passive fan in the crowd, I want to get onstage and play some awesome music. I just remembered watching the Tesla shareholder meeting where this guy essentially begged Musk for a job. Musk was pretty gracious about it (I think because of his own past experience doing cold approaches like at Netscape), but I couldn’t help but cringe for the guy. Begging is a very bad strategy. (The only worse strategy is to do nothing at all.) Seduction is a good metaphor here. You want to be headhunted. Tesla and SpaceX ARE hiring. The goal should be to be so good that they can’t ignore you. (Should I be reading more Cal Newport? )
Even if I suddenly made a lot of money, what good would that do me? I’d do things like get nicer clothes and shoes. Work out more. Really? Who am I kidding? I can do these things right now. I can get fitter. I can develop more refined social graces with deliberate practice. I don’t need money to do that. I might get less jittery when playing poker, but there are multiple ways to skin that cat. But what? What then? I have this library of books I’d like to read. That’s just something I feel like I need to do, I feel like I’d be a better, more thoughtful and wise person for it. I’d understand the world better.
Erm, but what is it exactly that I don’t understand right now? I think the most pressing thing is computers and programming. I’d like to understand that stuff better. I hate feeling like I don’t understand computers. I’d like to build one from scratch. I think that would make me very happy, that would be a useful skill, experience, journey. I’d like to learn to code so I’d have more computing power to explore currently-vague questions in my mind. Maybe I’ll find that I enjoy contributing to open source. I can envision Google maps being far more awesome than is today, but I am oblivious to how it works. What the hell is an API? Why do I not know this? This is the stuff that should replace tits and ass on tumblr. I don’t think I can juggle too much in my head. It has to be keyhole surgery, like Harford described. Where should I begin? Music? I’m hungry for growth and learning but my progress is slow because there isn’t a clear path. I don’t have a counter-insurgency manual.
I was thinking about information diets and diets in general- how it seems extreme to deliberately starve oneself of something for an indefinite period of time. Surely the occasional cigarette, whiskey, chocolate, porn video- can’t be all that bad as long as the rest of your life is in order? An obsession with freedom is in itself another pair of handcuffs, isn’t it? But that’s the simplicity on the other side of complexity. You can only discard that ladder after you’ve climbed it, otherwise you’ll (I mean I’ll) use it as an excuse to remain stagnant, static, setting-sun, defensive… I just realized that me stayinf in my comfort zone is no different from the record companies and big businesses I laugh at because they can’t pivot, can’t innovate, are structurally condemned to being eaten alive. I am that old company, stuck in that local optima, trying to hang on despite greatly diminishing returns. It’s like being stuck on a small hill when there’s a flood, and refusing to swim into the open sea to reach a higher peak… it seems irrational from the global view, but not from the local view. So I neex to constantly kick my own ass ans constantly see the global view. I hope this daily writing habit makes me do that. I have faith that it will. You can’t do something every single day and not be changed by it.
I need more momentum- and this isn’t external energy, it’s momentum from within me. I just need to use a little bit of energg to blockade the paths of least resistance. I cannot and should not go online when I get home. I’m going to get in, kiss my wife, do some pushups and squats, clean the cat litter, take a dump, shower, have dinner, get a quant of work done, maybe do some reading and go to bed- and tomorrow I’m going to snap out of bed insteas of snoozing two hours away. Life is too precious to snooze on a regular basis. Once in a while maybe, but it cannot and should not be a norm. It’s a really silly problem to have, a coping mechanism I’ve developed because I’m so afraid of facing the world with all my unfulfilled obligations. So this is the strategy then. Seems doable. Write everyday to focus my thoughts. I’m going to start meditating in the morning if possible.
Okay I’m home, it’s a wrap. Wow, that was two word vomits in one session.