0510 – eliminate information feeds that don’t serve you

(This wasn’t a very good vomit. Circling around too many things without drilling into any one thing deep enough. So be it, we’ll do better next time.)

Another day, another commute, more routine, more faceless strangers.

Today’s thoughts are about the difference between action and stagnation. When I walk through a crowd, look through my social media feeds, look through the messages in my phone, I have to wonder… what does everyone else around me want out of their lives? How does it fit with or against what I want out of mine? I want more than this, and I don’t mean in a narrow material sense. I want to be big and bold and expressive… how many other people want that? [1] [2]

I think I’m definitely due for an information diet reset. These things seem to work in cycles. I slowed down when approaching 400 and 500 word vomits, but it now feels like it’s time to power through, power forward. When I feel like I need a break during the work day, I can meditate or play guitar. I do not need any more information than I already have.

I recently unfollowed everybody on Twitter. I still have friends on Facebook, I think they’re reasonably well curated but I also think that Facebook feeds are BS most of the time. What I really want is to build relationships with people that I can count on in emergencies– people you can call at 3am and ask for help. I’ve asked a few people casually, how do you deepen acquaintances, how do you develop stronger relationships with people you like? And the answer is invariably, “you gotta let it happen naturally”, “it takes time”, etc– which I think are rather weasely answers. I suppose my original hypothesis was that it takes shared experience. You need to go through difficulty together. So the best way to build deep friendships will be to find people who are working on difficult things, and help them. And yeah there’s a bit of a luck element to it– I’ve built a couple of relationships with people just by helping them in times of need, despite not technically being close enough to them for them to think I’d help them. I think I’ve been somewhat consistent about this.

Feels weird to talk about it openly, because I suppose there’s always something seemingly Machiavellian about strategizing one’s relationships. But we all know we all gotta do it if we want to do more in life. If we want to achieve great things, we’re going to have to prioritize. And that applies to relationships too. Some people are more deserving of our time and energy than others. There may be some people that we should cut out of our lives altogether. There are almost definitely some good people that we ought to spend more time with. And there are always people who aren’t in our circles or on our radars who we might be great friends with, in every sense, if we only knew each other and had the opportunity to connect.

This vomit was originally supposed to be about information diets in general, not necessarily people and relationships (although it’s quite understandable that that happened, because we’re social creatures and we’re mostly wired to care about people and relationships more than ideas and concepts and so on).

What should my closing thought be? I think a thought I’ve been having is– it’s not necessary to over-optimize the elimination of bad stuff, that can be an endless, infinite game that ends up distracting from the point of the whole thing. The point of having a healthy information diet is to be able to think better and make better decisions, to be happier and healthier and experience a better life across all variables. [3] So it’s important to focus on the main objective, and not let the process supercede it. Right? That felt a little abstract-silly. The point is to have a good life, and not spend one’s life neurotically obsessing about how to have a good life.

So rather than feel bad about all the bad stuff, we should feel good about the good stuff, and seek to feel good more by doing more of the good stuff. That’s a little oversimplistic but I think sometimes oversimplistic is good.

(Pause.) This has been a rather fragmented vomit. Many of them are. Whenever I’m lost, I should always just think about what message I want to send to my future self when he’s reading this later on. I want to say… you already know what you should and shouldn’t be paying attention to. You already know what’s good for you and what’s bad for you, what will get you closer to what you want and what will hinder you from getting there. You also know that it’s ultimately all a game so you don’t need to get too caught up in it, remember to take breaks. March steadily towards something a little more optimal, while you learn to enjoy the march.

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[1] I’ve second-guessed this several times over the years but it has persisted through even some rough times so I’m slowly becoming more certain that this is true. There’s always a chance that it might not be true, but I think it’s worth finding out by enacting it. But I think it’s really quite clear that I am somewhat different in some way. Maybe I’ll find out 10 years from now that I was deeply ignorant and naive about this, but then so be it.

[2] I need to be careful to avoid falling into a trap of comparing myself against other people for the sake of feeling good about myself somehow, or for the sake of playing that game. The comparison is meant to be fleeting and momentary- just to identify who I might want to spend more time with, and who I ought to spend less time with. It’s not about being better or worse, it’s about assembling a hunting party that’s worth being a part of.

[3] I’m wondering now if it makes sense to try and specify and prioritize some variables over others. It probably does. That’s food for thought for another vomit.

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