I decided that I was going to summarize and “process” my first hundred vomits before moving forward. I found myself repeating a few thoughts and ideas, and I figured that I ought to consolidate things. There’s also a sort of accumulated fatigue thing going on- a part of me is tired and wants some sort of change.
I naively hoped to summarize 100 vomits in a single post. Turns out 10 vomits pee posr is more like it. This is me systematically overestimating myself. In this case I understimate what I’ve done so far, and overestimate what I’m going to be able to do in the immediate future. I suppose this is consistent with the “overestimate changes in next 2 years, underestimate changes in 10” idea. We’re just bad at approximations like these… unless we practice.
I keep thinking that there’s some sort of holy grail- if I just rearrange things in some special configuration, I’ll snap out of the slump I don’t even realize that I’m in- and I’ll start churning stuff out like a beast. This might be doable but it cannot be at the expense of a minimum work threshold. In fact, it’s starting to be clear that the minimum work threshold is where the real magic happens. So I just need to do more of that. The exercise is feeling good and I can see changes in my body- I just need to adapt that to my work.
I do not want to be talking about this at word vomit 200. Things have to change so that they can get more interesting. I want things to be more interesting. I have to take steps to make things more interesting. I have to ration my time better. The beeminder stuff is working well for me.
I think it’s time for me to go on a “second level social media detox”. Tumblr seems to be my biggest weakness at the moment. The pictured are too pretty. Sometimes I read stuff that’s touching, compelling. But I have work I want to do and I have books I want to read. I can’t do these things until I finish those things. Have I even finished OB Markers yet? I don’t think so. I should get on that. I have too many unfinished pieces lying around and I should quickly and systematically finish them, merge them or discard them. Why have I been taking so long? Addiction to distraction.
Getting off cigarettes and Facebook have been great, and revealing. But I’m going to need new things to talk about soon, or I’ll be repeating myself, and repeating myself is boring. When you catch yourself repeating yourself over and over again, I think it’s a sign that it’s time to challenge yourself with something. Step outside the comfort zone and do something different, look at something in a new way. That’s where the magic happens and that’s where life gets interesting.
For me the challenge I think is to get my work done at a rate that is systematically ahead of deadline so that I can explore new and interesting things. This means writing. This means publishing. This means growth. I’ve been catching myself falling into old “discomfort minimizing” habits rather than “work maximizing” ones. I wonder if it’ll help to introduce cycles. I should probably steepen my requirements on beeminder so that it becomes more of a challenge.
I feel like I got a lot out of the summary of my vomits. Revisiting words that are from over 90,000 words ago allows me to approach them in a more neutral, impartial manner. The raw magnitude makes me more detached- in a good way. I don’t get too overwhelmed or desensitized- rather, I find myself able to be more attuned to what actually works. I liken it to reviewing your practice takes. That’s an element of deliberate practice, which is an order of magnitide more powerful than meandering practice. In chess players, intense study was a greater determinant of technical ability than anything else- even actual tournament gameplay time. Of course, these are people who play a lot to begin with. Way more than anybody else, way more than casual players.
This reminds me of a thought I had earlier, about refining the heuristics surrounding the 10,000 hour rule. There’s not much point analysing art if you don’t know how to wield a paintbrush (assuming you want to be a painter). That technical proficiency is a necessary prerequisite to mastery.
I know that I want more out of life and I know that I can do it. I have it in me. More accurately, there’s no me. Things are possible within a spectrum of possibility and I can visualize superior maxima points in terms of resource allocation. Should I sit down and write that out? Maybe I’ll do that but I don’t think I’ll do it within the context of this vomit. I think I’ll do it with pen and paper. Going to go home, do my pushups and squats, eat my dinner, get a quick bit of work done and then I… will meditate and figure it out from there. Maybe I’ll read. Or plan my work and get started somehow. Or just relax with the wife.
Been feeling an urge to compartmentalize and refactor my life again- to take stock of everything and lay it out neatly. First principles.
It starts with the bag of chemicals that I call me. Mind (in the most mechanical, hardware sense) and body. Physical processes. Optimizing this starts with sleeping well, staying hydrated, exercising, eating healthy. I messed this up throughout my teenage years- I was constantly sleep deprived, staying up online for no good reason. I didn’t exercise.(On hindsight, one of the best pick-me-ups when feeling down is a brisk walk outdoors. Humans just aren’t meant to be cooped up. )
The best things I’ve been doing here have been to quit smoking, sleep better and eat more healthily. I’ve also incorporated a daily exercise routine into my life which makes me feel fresher, stronger, more confident. I think I’m reaching a stage where I should start pushing myself harder on the exercise front.
Quitting cigarettes has been great. I still end up bumming cigarettes from close smoker friends if and when I see them (roughly about once every two weeks or so), so I’m technically still a smoker, I guess, but I spend weeks being “clean”- and it’s a different existence altogether- cleaner, brighter, fresher. I smell better. Everything tastes better. The coughs and sniffles are gone. My nose and mouth feel “organic”, like fresh juicy vegetables rather than the dead, acrid ashtray they had become. I might still smoke a cigarette every so often but I feel very “done” with being a smoker- with having the constant companionship of cigarettes in my pocket. It’s a crutch, like a smartphone. It’s something to occupy yourself with, something that gets you off. Surely everybody understands what that’s like. Anybody who uses social media on the phone and has a coffee habit already kinda knows what it’s like to be a smoker.
Anyway. What comes after taking care of the meatbag? There are a bunch of things. Curiosity. My marriage. My job. My blog. Guitar. Reading.
I think of these things the two critical things are my marriage and my job- and this is maybe where I can do some refactoring because there are less important things that clamor for my attention. Tumblr, for instance, which I will put in the “creation-of-identity-through-cheap-performance” category. Facebook, Tumblr, Quora… all “general” social media use falls into this category. Getting into arguments on Reddit or Hacker News falls into this category. We do it to feel good about ourselves. I call it cheap because it’s easy to do- easily replicable. It’s like responding to email. It’s the very opposite of deep focused work. It’s like paddling and fooling around at the surface of the pool of idea/knowledge/brainspace instead of diving to the depths, where the treasures are.
I think getting off Facebook was good for me when I did it last and it might be time for me to take another sabbatical-from-everything, more intensely. What does my tumblr really mean to me, really? I don’t know. It’s interesting but it really ought to be a treat, like alcohol or candy. I don’t know.
Meditation is important and I need to do it more. The last time I did it, it compelled me to pick up a specific book. What will it compel me to do this time? It allows the dust to settle. Maybe I should keep a log of post meditation insights. Or maybe I should meditate before leaving work, and before leaving home, so that my vomits are less noisy. Let’s try that now, Brb.