0242 – all conversations are plagued by silent evidence and underrepresentation

The single biggest thing that’s bothering me right now is the following realisation:

1- Every single conversation takes place within some frame. “Conversation” here broadly means any exchange of information. It doesn’t necessarily have to between multiple people– it could be between different aspects of yourself. Short term vs long term, etc.

2- The frame is always limited and limiting. Limited the same way a photograph can only capture one aspect of a moment– everything has to fit within the frame of the photograph, and the picture can only capture one moment of space-time. Limiting because the conversation necessarily has to happen within this frame.

plane_normal

 

Consider the above picture– a given conversation takes place within the plane where points p1, p2 and p3 all lie on. Most conversations happen on a single point, or a single line– a conversation on a plane is great, it’s interesting. A conversation is EXHILARATING when you can change planes– when you can go orthogonal altogether– in the direction n.

Some conversations are bigger and broader in scope than others, but there’s a bandwidth limitation– you can only communicate so much information with your words, body language, whatever you choose to use as a transmission medium. Great art seems to transcend this limitation, communicating a LOT of information in a little bit of data.

3- Silent evidence is a huge problem. HUGE. Conversationalists are always over represented in conversation. Conversation itself is costly, and there’s a large class of people who are either unable or unwilling to participate in conversation. Rape victims are underrepresented in conversations about rape. Poor people are underrepresented in conversations about social class, public policy and pretty much everything (because they’re too busy trying to survive, or tired from the ordeal.) Women, people of colour and queer folk are underrepresented everywhere.

4- I repeat- ALL conversation is TERRIBLY poisoned by the reality of silent evidence and underrepresentation. Doers are underrepresented amongst talkers and writers. The map is never the territory.

5- When disagreements arise in conversation, people tend to have preexisting ideas about the other parties involved. We tend to seek to confirm rather than to learn more about the other party- this is a natural human bias.

Unless we are totally, fully present in a conversation, we almost always rather get more comfortable than less. (What this suggests to me is that conversations should only be had when fully present, except maybe with very closed loved ones that you trust to be comfortably superficial with. Do not talk about important, complex or meaningful topics– anything where anybody has actual skin in the game– unless you’re totally present.)

6- This is especially bad in online conversations when people are chatting on the side- on reddit, Facebook, Twitter, Hacker News, Quora, wherever. People are typically on these sites during “in-between” moments- while commuting to and from work, while waiting, while avoiding unpleasant and uncomfortable tasks.

We’re typically tired, weary, anxious, troubled, frustrated and looking for shots of dopamine. We want the approval of our peers, because we’re wired for it. Language is a form of social grooming. Getting validation from others is deeply satisfying, probably because it signals to us that we must be doing something right. We want to “win”. This can be troublingly misleading.

7- As collective groups (larger subreddits, later Quora vs early Quora) we first reward things that are witty, funny, clever, snarky, smartass- because these things trigger the aha moments that trigger likes and up votes. Without incredibly strict rules and guidelines, the larger an online community gets, the more it upvotes the trivial, simple and popular. See: The Evaporative-Cooling Effect.

8- This isn’t because the masses are stupid. It’s because the masses are weary and tired. Appreciating complexity is tiring, hard work. Appreciating pop is simple and easy. Life is hard. Most people prefer the simple things most of the time in most cases, except in their area of expertise where they are discerning. There, navigating complexity becomes fun and joyous, not tedious and painful.

9- We are always aware of other people’s oversimplicity in our own areas of specialisation. We are hyperaware of our own specialisations and less aware of everything else. Most people specialise in different things from us. Combine these two facts and you realize why most of the world seems mostly stupid most of the time.

That the world seems stupid is primarily a function of the limitation of the lens that we view it through. through some other lens that we probably don’t possess, we ourselves are stupidest of all.

Perhaps people who are suicidal and self-loathing suffer (at least in part) from lenses that make them look terrible to themselves.

So what does all of this mean, what we the implications? How should this affect the way I live my life?

The main thing is to be aware of the intrinsic limitations of conversations. If the people you’re talking to are invested in a certain position, or is committed a certain way, it is:

A- very tempting (and superficially gratifying) to try and persuade them to see things your way

b- difficult if not impossible to achieve- more often than not you’ll both get frustrated and tunnel more deeply into your existing positions, while becoming socially more distant.

This is bad if you’re interested in learning. You don’t learn anything by confirming your own hypotheses. And it’s socially unpleasant– nobody gets happier. Lines get drawn, sides get chosen, the whole thing becomes more tribal.

So what should you do? I think there are two approaches, depending on the opportunity cost (Ask– what else could you be doing with your time?) and your assessment of the value you can get from learning from the other persons. If you’re not interested in learning from the other person, exit the conversation politely and completely. Ideally, don’t get involved in the first place. Acknowledge ignorance.

Otherwise, put down whatever you’re doing, give yourself and the other person the gift of your total presence, and seek to learn from them.

I suppose a middle path– only achievable when you’ve really ingrained the habit so you can do it unthinkingly– is to avoid taking a stance and only ask questions. When people ask you what you think about the economy or God or social issues, say that it’s complicated and you don’t know where you stand. Because honestly, picking a side in advance makes us all dumber. And it also means that people will be guarded and gated, and reveal less information.

So to round up– conversations are inherently limited and limiting, silent evidence is a huge problem. I refuse to take sides, because I don’t know better and I’m only here to learn.

I feel like that’s not a very stable position, and there are definitely going to be loads of things where I have a strong opinion, or where something seems clearly wrong. But instead of declaring “Wow, that guy is clearly stupid”, it would be better for me to imply my position by asking him honest, innocent questions.

I don’t know anything. I just have a few questions.

 

0241 – Revisiting “on purpose”, from 2009

In 2009 I had a conversation with a friend about life that felt really powerful, and I went home and started writing. This was what I wrote. It was long, rambly and incoherent, and I never got around to finishing it. I thought I’d address it now, because I’ve been walking over the same old ground lately.

Life is like a massive RPG. It is well and truly free-roam; there is no central storyline or clear plot. 

This is true.

There is no certainty as to what your mission or purpose is, though there are many who would claim that they know. It’s ridiculous to believe any of them, the same way it is ridiculous for men born on an island to claim that they know for certain what lies beyond the ocean. Existence is temporary.

This is true.

At some point in time you will cobble together a working understanding of life and the universe- a weak idea of how minuscule we are, and how nothing is really quite certain or significant in the grand scheme of things.

When we begin, we are aware of our fundamental needs: air, food, water, warmth, & shelter. This is the same for every living creature. What seperates humans from the rest is our ability to think, and to reason.

Thinking and reasoning is great for a lot of things, but it also raises a difficult problem, which is “the POINT of existence”.

It’s worth remembering this– before we knew how to question, there was no need to have an answer. We simply existed.

When you sit down and try to wrap your mind around it you realise that existence is honestly, ultimately, futile in the grand scheme of things. We all don’t really matter in such a massive context, nothing really does.

This is true.

If you or I disappeared tomorrow, off the face of the earth, the world would go on. This is a very painful truth to accept, but it is also a very important one. Living your life without acknowledging this truth is living a lie.

Important to remember that “painful truth” is painful to the ego, which is an illusion. It’s worth acknowledging the truth, but it’s also not necessary to fixate on it obsessively. Acknowledge it and let it go.

What can I do in this world, and why would it really matter what I do, when ultimately everything seems futile? What’s the point of working hard at what we do?

Joy. Love. Beauty. And more simply, because not-choosing is a choice, and you’re going to learn over the next 6 years that being a bum isn’t fulfilling.

When you look at self-preservation, and then at the fleetingness of life itself, it can seem really, really ridiculous to be concerned about stuff like exams, grades, politics, being popular, material wealth.

This is true.

Perhaps it’s a sense of control- you can do something about your exams, or watching tv, or getting laid, and it gives you fleeting satisfaction. However you have to realize that all these things do not actually do very much in helping you preserve yourself, your entity.

Interesting. I was trying to frame self-betterment and self-enlightenment as a self-preservation problem– arguing that all living things are wired to preserve themselves. I’m not so sure if that’s necessarily the right frame I should’ve been using.

What’s the right frame, then? I think it should be framed as fun. 

If Wayne had in any way inspired anybody to live better lives, and these people in turn inspire others- raise their children better or whatnot, in essence, Wayne will live on in THEIR progress. Socrates for instance got killed for what he believed in, but he inspired plato and his other students, and he lives on to this day by representing an idea. Ideas, as V (from V for Vendetta) said, are bulletproof.

This is true. Though ultimately there will come the heat death of the universe, so “immortality” as we imagine it is limited by the greater upper bound of the Universe’s lifespan. Unless humans or posthumans figure out a way to change that.

But living well is its own reward.

Now think about it- we actually do have a shot at immortality, and self-preservation
if at the very least, in our own communities.

We’re ‘immortal’ (caveats inserted) so long as we stop fixating on the ego, on the self. Just as every wave is ‘immortal’ in the context of the sea. Remember that waves don’t technically even exist– they merely seem to exist. Each wave is just a different configuration of water molecules in a given space at a given time. But it appears to be moving. So it is with you.

If you imagine small-minded people to be in a box, and some of us to be out of the box, it doesn’t make alot of sense for us to be satisfied just floating around outside the box. It doesn’t actually serve any purpose. Some of us going “look at me, look at me, i’m out of the box, and so much better than you losers in the box!”. Some of us floating around thinking “meh, being outside the box doesn’t seem to serve any useful purpose. most people are deluded and i don’t have much purpose. Floating around makes me feel ungrounded, with no direction or reason. This sucks.”

That’s because there’s an infinite series of boxes, or an endless staircase. See: Tobias Lutke and Tim Urban.

That’s where the emo goth teenager meets the bummed out philosopher who climbs up the tower of Babel and realises that there is no God. Sometimes it feels like “enlightenment” or “intellectual awareness” or whatever you call it is simply a cruel joke- it’s like finding out you have an incurable disease. Sometimes it seems like you’d much rather die happy and ignorant.

There’s a step after that. When you realize that “you” is an illusion. There is no incurable disease, because there is no “you”.

But it doesn’t seem right, does it? We know that there is no predestined notion of what is “right” and “wrong” and that it’s all defined by ourselves, but from a scientific and logical perspective it does not make sense that what sets us apart and puts us ahead would NOT empower us.

That’s an errenous assumption. It would be nice if it were true, but we can’t assume that it’s true just because we feel it ought to be true.

Imagine that we’re all in a well, and some of us climb out of the well to see a barren land and think, fuck, why did I come out of the well in the first place?

You come out to realize that there is no you. And because it drives you mad to spend your limited life in that limited well.

While we all think we’re so smart and big-picture-y, we miss out on the EVEN bigger picture which is that our roles as individuals are inherently limited! We are part of societies, communities. We are like individual cells of a greater living organism.

This is true.

Every day, our skin flakes and falls off. Yet if you think about it, we still have a “greater” skin that covers our entire body and has a condition, regardless of each individual skin cell. You can have nice glowing skin or dry flaky skin. Each individual skin cell doesn’t really give a damn, and were it capable of thought it would probably think that its life seemed really pointless.

What’s buried in there is the realization that the “point” of life can only be discerned by being connected– to yourself, to others, to everything.

Going back to the well, or the box: The idea of getting out of the box, or out of the well is to lead other people out as well. We need a direction to work towards. If say 80% of the people in the box or in the well are firm and happy with being in there
we can’t do much about it, but there are 20% more who are also enlightened, or confused-but-on-the-way- people who essentially realise that there is more to existence than meets the eye, but it isn’t religion or something silly or arty farty.

That… is a bit presumptuous. There’s an infinite series of boxes. Thinking that you need to get other people out of their boxes is a sort of box in itself. Get out of that one.

To be gracious human beings, respectful, critical thinking, moral. To inspire them to do the same. We will never see the final fruits of our labour but we can tell when we are making progress. Every day, we make decisions. When we lose track of the bigger, bigger picture, we make decisions based on minor personal needs. Someone once said it’s a choice of being on the angels or on the beasts. I genuinely believe that there is a purpose, a reason, and that it is inside us all along- a reason to live life to the fullest in every sense through the means that we define ourselves.

Good decisionmaking is a pleasurable end in itself, because it leads to more pleasing outcomes. I would redefine that “inner purpose/reason” as our innate utility functions.

We always think that we should do that because we’re told to do so. But see the dilemma is: if you’re being good because you don’t know what it means to be bad, are you really being good? If you do something just because you’re told to do it, does it still count?

The answer is that it doesn’t matter. Kicking up a dust won’t help you see. If you’re worried about being “really good”, or whether something “really counts”, you’ve probably fallen into a sort of recursive analytical strange-loop cycle.

As you said at the beginning, life is truly free-roam. You get to decide what counts and what doesn’t. You may run into people and environments that disagree with you, and that is complexity that you’ll have to navigate. But nothing really counts. So let go, and enjoy yourself.

In Summary:

It’s interesting to observe how passionate I was about trying to solve this conundrum. It’s easy for me to take all of that stuff for granted now, and to see how much simpler and cleaner my thinking is.

I think I was overly fixated on the Self and the Ego, and I was really in love with this idea of becoming some sort of badass. I now realize all of that is just baggage, and that I can discard most of it– probably all of it.

More to #think about.

 

0240 – destroy your limiting beliefs about food

Breakfast and limiting beliefs.

Today has begun as a very beautiful day. I woke up at about 6:21am. I lay in bed and scanned through Twitter and Instagram for a while, and a bit of Quora (since I had answered a few questions the day before.) Then I got out of bed before it was 7am. I brushed my teeth. I had half a glass of water (the other half is still at my table). Then I woke up the wife, who is now out for a walk and is washing a very dirty stray cat. We were both up by 720am. Then I decided to make myself breakfast– just scrambled eggs, sliced cherry tomatoes and glass of milk. And then I had that, and I started writing this (before getting distracted by the Internet for a while, but I’m back here.)

Now it’s 845am and it feels like I had a reasonably good start to the day. I wish I spent a little less time dicking around on the internet, and that I had finished writing this earlier, but I don’t think that’s a huge deal. I’m getting a little bit sleepy post breakfast, but I think I can just shower and deal with it.

Done showering. Yeah, I feel good. It’s 910am and I’m ready to go to work– just waiting on my wife now, who’s showering. More time for more thoughts.

I guess I’m wondering now about the role breakfast has played in my life. For the most part, I’ve never really had a regular breakfast habit. When I was in school, I’d typically just drink a cup of milo before leaving home– and those were in my younger days, as I got older I didn’t even bother with that. I’d typically just have a cigarette in the morning. (Yeah, I know.)

Come to think of it, my healthiest breakfast routines were during national service, which also seemed to be my most productive times as a writer (I might be romanticizing it by now at this point, because I seem to be remembering it better and better each time. But what I DO remember is that I filled out entire notebooks during my Signals course, and that must have counted for something).

It’s a little staggering to think about. What if a whole bunch of my supposed issues– my inattentiveness, fidgetiness, etc were influenced by my bad eating habits? I’m sure it’s more complex than I’m making it out to be, and the source of my food issues themselves ought to have been addressed…

let my try and start over. I’m pretty sure I have bad food issues. I don’t know if there are any underlying Freudian type reasons that I’m not aware of. I think one of the thing that really messes me up is the fact that I don’t have a very good relationship with food preparation. I don’t know how to prepare fish or chicken. I don’t even really know how to prepare vegetables, though intellectually I know a lot of it is just washing, chopping them up, eating. I hated the taste of plain milk for some reason (I’m now okay with it… after using it to dunk chocolate chip cookies in.)

I used to drink a lot of coke and pepsi– I’d drink a 500ml bottle of it every day in school, and then eat McDonalds after schol everyday. On hindsight that’s absolutely horrific. I’ve been clearly starving and malnourishing myself for maybe 2 decades now. And it must have had some pretty nasty effects on my brain. Quite a scary thought. At least I’m aware enough now to start doing something about it.

One of the first things I need to do I think is to get acquainted with all the kinds of food are available to me. I just had dragonfruit for the first time a few days ago. I think I should systematically go through all the possible food options and sample them with an open, experimental mindset. The only reason my options are as limited as they are is becaus I have all these mental hangups about different kinds of food– some foods are familiar, some are unfamiliar, and I don’t like eating the unfamiliar. So the trick then is just to make the unfamilar… familiar.

I had a really emotional moment a month ago when I was eating chicken rice at the nearby coffeeshop on my day off. I realized that… I’m an independent person, a pattern in space-time trying to sustain itself, feed itself. And I’m doing okay, you know? Life often seems to me like a series of failures– every success is just a stepping stone to the next failure.

And I was dependent on my parents for that when I was a kid, entirely dependent. Parents, fast food, hawker fare. And I didn’t know how to prepare my own food, apart from toasting bread and eating it with peanut butter, or cheese. That was really the limit of my ability to prepare food for myself, and because of that I was bored really quickly and didn’t eat all that much.

But now that I’m an “adult”– married, working, paying off a flat, I can and should start thinking about how to feed myself in a sustainable, suitable way that makes sense for me. The idea that I’ll never eat healthy, that I’ll never be able to prepare my own food, that I’ll never be able to take care of myself– all of those are incredibly painful, frustrating limiting beliefs that have no place in my life. If they were ever valid, I’ve outgrown them. Things like my parents worrying that I’d hurt myself or burn myself in the kitchen– I’m not even sure if those worries were real, but they’re certainly not valid anymore. I’m entirely capable of teaching myself to use knives, to use fire, to use pots and pans to cook and prepare food. And I like to think that I’m a person with taste, so I do believe that over time I’ll actually prepare meals that are fun and interesting.

If nothing else, I think just improving the relationship I have with food- preparation and consumption– will greatly improve my quality of life, much more quickly and easily than any of the loftier more philsophical type improvement ideas. So I’ll do that.

 

0239 – EQ

Currently going through a phase where I write about all the things I wrote in my “to write” list in my old notebooks.

# EQ

Emotional intelligence, social intelligence, whatever you wanna call it. I had very little of it as a child, and I think I still have less of it than most people. (Or rather, I think it’s healthier for me to assume that I have a lower than average EQ. The moment you think you’re better than most people, you’re kinda putting yourself in a situation where you’re settting yourself up for failure.

I wrote then that it’s the most important skill. I think it’s one of the most important skills, along with fundamental meatbag management, resource management, context management. We are all social creatures, it’s very inescapable. Even if you’re a quiet introvert who doesn’t like to talk to people, you’re still going to have to talk to some people sometimes. Even if you’re a gregarous extrovert who loves talking to people, you might unwittingly be an annoying person that nobody actually likes. And “being liked” is not just a simplistic matter of gossip and high school pecking orders– it’s about how much people respect you,

I really liked this quote I read in a Miss Manners book– the idea that we are all born uncivillized, or selfish. Babies cry without any concern for how it affects others. We all start clueless, and we clue up in our own time. There doesn’t seem to be a single clear syllabus for this (maybe somebody put one together– I’m sure Balthazar Gracian and many thinkers and courtly folks have done this over and over again over the centuries, but there doesn’t seem to be a single canonical thing that persists in the medium of everyday education in schools, the way we learn about algebra and trigonometry and geography and history.

How do you know when you’re being a dick? How do you know not to be a dick? Oddly enough, nobody teaches these things, and these things aren’t things that we have broad consensus(es?) about. It feels like something that we end up discussing on reddit, in magazine and other such spaces. Which seems a little silly to me. This should be in the public domain, in the commons.

Oh well. Until that happens, the most I can do for myself is do my own reading, do my own reflection, and think about my own conduct- and how I can improve it, how I can further serve others. I think there was a period of time where I looked at EQ as means to an end– as something I had to teach myself so I could get what I wanted. I think that’s still completely valid, but I also think there’s a lot of joy in creating experiences for other people that are comfortable and pleasant. And the most important thing might be knowing and learning how to manage the difficult times. How to manage conflict without shying away from it. How to first do what is best, and second do it in the best possible manner that is respectful and appreciative of all the parties involved.

Heh, which reminds me of a Hacker News discussion that happened. Somebody said something kinda silly, somebody responded with something nasty, and then it was all aboard the mean-and-nasty train. (Have I already written about this a few vomits ago? No mind, I’ll write it again.) I was bothered by how the discussion had ended there, and I asked one of the guys– why did you choose to be so mean and nasty? Was it a conscious choice, or is that just how you think people ought to respond to the ignorant? Why not use the opportunity to educate?

Interestingly, they (and/or somebody else) sidestepped my point altogether to say that I was being too sensitive (technically I never took offense, or claimed that I was offended– so this is an interesting bit of projection and defensive maneuvering worth studying), and that if I was afraid of the heat I should stay out of the kitchen.

I then replied with my honest belief– that the only thing I want to be sensitive to is the quality of the discussion, and that for some strange reason, whenever people start taking sides and calling each other names, the discussion tends to die. And ultimately that’s a lot more boring than being politically correct. Being PC is a very small price to pay to keep a conversation going, to hear all sides of a story, to collect as much information as possible.

Which in turn I think explains why a lot of CEOs and high-level public authorities (Prime Ministers, etc) end up seeming so “boring”– because they don’t want to offend anybody needlessly. It’s not because they’re dying for everybody’s approval (although that’s quite possible), but it’s because picking unnecessary fights and disagreements would hinder them from getting their job done. The more people you have under your stewardship, the fewer things you can really be a huge fan of. This isn’t always the case (it seems to be less important if you’re the founder-CEO of an innovative new change-the-world company/product, like say Tesla Motors, but if you’re running a much larger company that’s more “stable”, like say McDonalds or P&G, you can’t really go around taking risks, picking fights, having strong opinions one way or another.)

Well, at least that’s what it seems to be, from my ground-level view. I could be totally wrong, and I would defer to anybody who has any actual experience at being a CEO or working closely with one. (See what I did there? And I’m not bullshitting ya- it’s the truth.)

I was just writing about this for a Quora answer too– how do you reconcile honesty with EQ? What if telling the truth means being hurtful? You take great pains to emphasize all the ways in which your knowledge is broken and imperfect, and celebrate all the good things the person has done. When you do that, they’re usually dying to hear the actual criticism. And then you apologize for your own failures (BECAUSE THEY EXIST!).

Not to say I’ve got any of this stuff figured out. But I’m definitely better at this than I was 5-10 years ago. Might have been nice if I didn’t have to learn it in such a tedious, painful way. But maybe this is for the best. We’ll see.

 

0238 – resourcefulness

I’m currently going through my old notebooks and writing about the things I said I would one day write about.

It seems obvious to me that I must have thought about this and written about this because I felt like I lacked resources at the time. And I suppose we’re always lacking resources all the time– the most precious resource is time itself, and everybody’s time is limited. So we all need to become more resourceful to enjoy our lives better. [1]

The thing that really got me into thinking about this was Anthony Robbins’ TED Talk, why do we do what we do. I’ve watched that one several times now and I always feel like I take something away from it. Let me just meditate on that a bit. What do I remember? He describes himself as the Why guy, who wants to understand why people do what they do. He talks about how it’s important to first decide what you’re going to focus on, what that means to you, and what you’re going to do about it.

So to get a little meta here, I’m choosing to focus on this idea of resourcefulness. I’m focusing on it because there’s a compelling promise here– a promise that if you choose the right things, focus on the right things, you don’t actually need a ton of resources. You can, in any moment, use what you already have to go somewhere you previously thought you couldn’t go.

This is also consistent with Chris Hadfield’s idea that we can remove our fears, our limiting beliefs, by being scientific about it, and then walking into our fears head on.

I’m starting to learn to cook, I’m starting to believe that it’s possible for me to run and do well on my runs. Things that matter to me because they were previously limiting beliefs that kept me stuck within very strict patterns, very strict loops.

I want to break out of those loops. I want to meet who I will become.

What are the principles of resourcefulness?

I suppose the first thing is to have an audit of all your existing resources.

Figure out what the most important ones are, what the most precious ones are. In my case I think it’s clear/alert time. That time is a lot more precious than I realize, because not all time is spent in a very clear state of mind. I have to protect it with the right context, the right environment, and I have to be careful to avoid burning out. I have to pace myself. All of these are things that I have not yet developed proper systems for, despite being a working adult for 2 years. I suppose some people spend their whole lives not doing it, but I don’t want to compare myself with those people. I can only compare myself against Yesterday-Me.

What next after the audit and figuring out what’s most important (in my case, cognitive resources?) I guess then you have to decide where those resources should go. First pay attention to how much of it you have, and where you’re currently allocating it. (In my case, I’m allocating it in a very random, ad-hoc, haphazard way.

What should they be spent on? What are the highest leverage activities? What are the good things, and what are the great things, and how do you focus more on the latter? I guess in my case I have to develop things like timeboxing, scheduling. Things that I haven’t done yet, my whole life, probably because I’m scared or intimidated in some way. What am I afraid of? What’s stopping me? Accountability… I fear that I’ll be revealed to be a fraud and a failure, that I can’t actually do the things that I know I should be doing.

Which, when you lay out openly on the table (and I’m sure I’ve done this before), starts to sound really silly. Because the trick is then just to focus on doing something really simple and small, and then reward yourself for having done that, and then tackle something slightly bigger. A small bite of the most important thing is far more effective, important and useful than a large bite of an unimportant thing.

I started out not really biting anything at all, and generally just following my nose at random. Now I know that the nose is an unrealiable beast, and shouldn’t be trusted. I went into a phase where I was just biting a lot of unimportant stuff. I still haven’t quite gotten around to doing the important stuff. Again, it’s irrational- important stuff is scary because if you do it wrong, you look stupid. But I shouldn’t worry about looking stupid. The people I work with don’t care. My loved ones don’t care. I should be willing and eager to look stupid, because otherwise it means that I’m just circling the same old ground, over and over and over.

So resourcefulness, eh. Ultimately boils down to taking a tiny sword and thrusting it into the little scary space in the middle of the dragon marked X.

[1] I don’t think anybody ever framed it that way for me. You need to become more resourceful to enjoy your life better. You need to learn time management to enjoy your life better. It was always a sort of obligation, always a sort of commitment, like homework. Something I had to do because somebody else said I should do it, because it was in their interests. My parents wanted me to do well in school and get a good job, because it would mean that they were successful as parents. My teachers wanted me to have good grades, because it would mean that they were successful in their jobs as teachers. Somehow nobody really seemed to frame it as a win-win (which is one of Covey’s 7 habits, init?).

I think that’s how we should frame it. That’s how I want to frame it for everybody I talk to from now on, and for myself. It’s not about what you should do. It’s about who do you want to be? What makes you happy? And then what would help you achieve that? That’s all that really matters.

 

0237 – Correct Misperceptions + Asymmetrical Warfare

For this vomit, and probably spilling over into the next couple of vomits, I’m going to go through my old notebooks and fulfill all my unfullfilled promises to myself. What that means is that I’m going to write all the things that I said I wanted to write, that I haven’t written yet. Rather than write them the way I had originally intended– which would be silly, because for the most part I no longer have those original intentions– I’m going to write with the intention of getting to know myself better, to understand where I was coming from, to make peace with who I was and who I have become.

# Help correct misperceptions

This was one of the ideas I got about what I wanted to do with my life. I wanted to help correct misperceptions. I think this might have been rooted in two things– one, that it was painful for me whenever I realized that I had misperceived the world, and others (and myself, last of all), and it was painful whenever I felt that I had been misperceived myself. A world with less misperception would require more effort but would be less painful.

What are the first steps to reducing misperceptions?

One, to realize that misperception is the rule, not the exception. Every single thing we perceive is actually a misperception to some degree, a map of the territory and not the territory itself.

Two is to work this into our daily lives– to realize that at any moment, anything that we take for granted could be completely wrong. Things are wrong with different degrees of probabilities, and can be wrong in different ways.

How do we get people thinking about this? That’s an overly large question. I think the answer begins with good stories, with great setups and intense punchlines. (Sometimes the punchline might be intense in its subtlety, which also counts. But I digress.)

To get away from the overly large question– I shouldn’t really have to bother trying to get other people to think about this. All I need to do is to correct my own misperceptions.

My hypothesis is this– while there is truth in the fact that helping others is good (and you should always help other people when you get the chance), the BEST way you can help people you haven’t met yet… is to first help yourself, and become someone that they admire, are impressed by and want to learn from. It’s easier to do this with evidence rather than rhetoric. Show, don’t tell.

There is a bit of a circular element when we talk about creating value WITH rhetoric– that is, with great copywriting, with great marketing. Reality is a little messy like that.

I think the proper way to think about it is– if you’re doing the work that you’ll be actually selling to people, that’s value. If you’re just talking about the work you’re going to be doing, or talking about the talking that you’re going to be doing, then you’re kinda fucked.

Let’s end that here for now.

# Asymmetrical Warfare – “There are two kinds of warfare, asymmetrical and stupid.”

I think I really fell in love with this idea because it seemed to me that I was losing horribly at the conventional warfare of my everyday life as a schoolboy. I couldn’t appreciate my setting and environment, I didn’t feel fully engaged, I didn’t feel fully alive, it was tiring and painful and scary and I wasn’t equipped. I was a fish being tasked to climb a tree and I hated it. So the idea of winning the race by jumping into the sea– by changing the frame, by fighting asymmetrical– really appealed to me.

“If you want to win, you have to play “dirty”.

I think it’s very interesting to meditate on what “playing dirty” means. There are some things that clearly violate rules and codes of conduct. But there are other things that are not so clear, and I think all amazing, overwhelming value tends to be created in these grey areas.

The first example that comes to mind is AirBnb. They’re not exactly a hotel. Uber is not exactly a Taxi company. Facebook is not exactly a media company. All of these things “play dirty” in the sense that they eschew the conventional playbooks and attack the problem from a different angle. They question the assumptions, question the frameworks, use different frameworks altogether. It’s a classic disruption scenario.

I’m reminded of a quote by Paul Graham where he says there’s no way that Bill Gates would have been able to become the CEO by climbing a corporate ladder– he could only have built a company underneath him. He said something else similar about Steve Jobs– you can’t hire a visionary product person. Historically, visionary products come from people who start companies themselves and manage not to get fired or destroy themselves/the company along the way

“Choose your battles wisely. Check yourself. Choose the battlefield, weapons, circumstances.”

I suppose this was a reminder to myself to live purposefully. To pay attention to the surroundings, to the circumstances. I was too used to making lots and lots of impromptu, improvised decisions without thinking ahead, without doing the reading. I remember when I first read MBTI, my mind was blown at how narrow my conception had been of other people’s personalities. I assumed people either were like me, liked me, or were wrong in some way. [1]

I then realized that people might be introverted, might not enjoy long, supposedly-logical arguments, so on and so forth. My next mindfuck might have been the 48 Laws of Power, when I realized that social reality was far, far more complex than I had ever imagined previously. People don’t necessarily assume that you have good intentions when you speak the truth. People don’t necessarily mean what they say. The best way to persuade people isn’t necessarily, again, through argument and rhetoric.

This was a reminder to me to pay attention, to be present, to stop making so many assumptions.

I do wonder what’s the next thing that’s going to blow my mind. Lost Illusions, The User Illusion. I’m now re-reading Taleb’s Black Swan, and feeling pretty good about it. It’s a reminder that a lot of the way I make decisions, and the way most people make decisions are very faulty. We have all these assumptions and illusions and confusions.

Okay, publishing this. 2 done, many more to go.

[1] I don’t mean YOU’RE WRONG!!! in a forceful, I-win-you-lose kinda way, but more like… ‘if I don’t understand it, it’s irrelevant to me’. Which I suppose must be how the ultra-conservative-religious sort might feel about things when they don’t make sense to me.

 

0236 – vague to precise

I will definitely sleep better tonight if I crank out a word vomit before I go to bed, so I think I ought to write one. But I’m not entirely sure what I should write about. I suppose I should look up my set of questions.

I wrote a letter to a young smoker in one of my last vomits, I think I also wanted to write a letter to someone else.

Fuck man, I really want to write something that matters but it feels like nothing’s coming to me right now. There must be a reason why there’s nothing. There must be some sort of block. Let’s turn this into an exercise of confronting block, working around it, feeling for the block. What’s blocking me? What do I want to say that I’m not already saying? Do I want to talk about what I’m doing at work? Do I want to talk about my marriage?

Yeah, I think when I’m blocked it’s usually because there’s something personal involved, something involving other people. That’s a cue for me to write something in private. But I don’t want to write something in private right now- I want to write something that I’m happy to publish. So I guess I’ll talk about my current status in thinking about productivity and efficiency. I’ve run through a lot of systems by now. I’ve tried pomodoro and pomotodo. I enjoyed the Pomodoro Challenge Timer (and I even paid for it), but I eventually stopped when I was missing some bits here and there and when I wanted to keep track of everything better- so I tried Pomotodo, which worked well for a while, but was giving me some other sort of trouble. I tried Beeminder for a while around vomits 90-something, but I got tired of all that data entry… it felt pretty tedious. I’m sure there would be a way to link up my wordpress publishing or something with all of that, but in the meantime all of that feels tedious.

I had a little mini epiphany of sorts a while ago where I realized that the thing that mattered most to me was to be able to trust myself. A lot of the grand epic things I try to do, or talk about doing, all of that might be my way of overcompensating for the fact that I used to be called lazy and lackadaisical and all that. I didn’t want to be that slacker bum, like that annoying “business partner” Tom Haverford had in Parks and Rec who didn’t want to do any work, who just wanted the glory of wannabe clever ideas. Gosh, what an annoying prick. I saw a bit of myself in him, which was really scary and painful.

So I have this magnificent boulder on my shoulder that I want to get rid of. [1] And I can only get rid of it by being disciplined and conscientious in service of myself, towards goals that I deem worthy. I think writing a million words will help me with that.

So I guess I’ll just quickly talk about my approach to breaking down this boulder, and to learning to trust myself. How do I trust myself? I need concrete evidence, proof. I need to do things regularly, first little things and then add those little things up into bigger things. I have accomplished things at work, but it often feels like the failures exceed and outnumber the successes. I suppose they always will. Intellectually I can appreciate that, but I don’t like the idea of living a life in constant misery. Well it’s not CONSTANT misery, but I should be able to struggle and push myself without feeling like I’m always on the brink of bursting. Well- again, I’m never BURSTING, but I’m pretty sure the discomfort and frustration I feel isn’t a healthy, positive amount of frustration. I’m exerting myself a little too hard and a little not-smartly-enough. I’m like that guy at the gym lifting weights too heavy for him, with form that’s questionable. Injury is imminent if I’m not careful. And I suppose I actually do get ‘injured’ in a sense, from time to time, and then that sidelines me and I can’t make any progress. And it perpetuates this narrative that I have in my head that I’ll never be fit, that I’ll never be healthy, that I’m doomed to this stupid miserable cycle and I should just try to find whatever pleasure I can, wherever I can, from mixed feelings park and from the dark playground. I don’t want that shit. It’s really sad and really shitty.

So I need to work on small bits- c’mon man we’ve been repeating this for 200,000 words now. I suppose the mini breakthrough is the realization that maybe online/digital apps and stuff don’t feel that great because they’re “illusory”, they don’t feel “real”. I’ve tried things like the X effect- it seemed to help me quit smoking, but I then tried to do it for 3 things at once- watch a video, meditate and reflect- and I couldn’t do all of those three things at once for 49 days in a row. Maybe I really gotta start with just one.

Anyway the thing I’m doing that I’m really excited about and have been keeping up with for i think a couple of weeks now is- I got one of those receipt impaling things from the local bookstore, and I’ve been writing my to-dos and tasks on post-its and little pieces of paper. When they get done, I fuckin’ impale them. It’s very, very satisfying. I think as a habit it’s going to stick. I’m eagerly looking forward to filling the tower to the brim.

[1] As I write this I realize- the boulder seems to simultaneously exist and not exist, depending on whether I’m thinking about it or not. It goes in and out of focus. I can distract myself and avoid thinking about it. I can look away and- out of sight, out of mind. But I think it’s there. I don’t think it’s actually possible for me to live my life pretending it doesn’t exist until it doesn’t, because that limits my range of freedom, it limits the space I can navigate.

What’s the real deal here? I suppose it’s just a part of my brain, a part of the landscape/city that is my mind, my life. And if I wanted to I could spend a lifetime avoiding it. But that would be an impoverished life, a limited life, and it seems like there are all sorts of costs to that, just as there are costs to letting part of a city fester and rot. You have to hold your nose everytime you walk past it, have to ignore the pain and suffering.

 

0235 – questions that arise pt 2

How do I succeed where my parents, teachers, etc failed? [0067]

I’m still trying to figure out the answer here, but I think the main thing is that none of them sold me a narrative that I believed in. The only person who’s given me a narrative that I really believe in– or at least think I believe in– is my boss. And maybe myself.

And I guess having smaller, shorter feedback loops maybe. I’m really proud of my spindle. I think spindling might make all the difference. Maybe I’m naive. We’ll see.

How to allocate cognitive resources? [0077]

This is a prioritization question. I guess this is a solved problem? I’m thinking about Covey’s 7 Habits. Be proactive, begin with the end in mind, first things first. What does that mean in terms of cognitive resources? I think if there’s a resource allocation problem the first thing is to ask if there’s anything that’s forcing there to be limited resources? Is there anything that can be done to increase the total amount of resources available? That’s important but not necessarily critical– I think if you’re not careful you can fall into the trap of trying to expand your resource pool without actually using them to do anything.

The most important thing is to APPLY and EXPEND those resources in the pursuit of attaining something small, effective and concrete that starts a sets a good feedback loop in motion. Repeating the answer in the first question.

Don’t aim to do big grand projects. Don’t aim to sharpen the saw for the sake of sharpening the saw. Get something small done that’s a decisive step in the right direction, get a reward from it and then do it again and watch it add up.

What is my background brain currently occupied with? [0080]

Paul Graham’s Top Thing On Your Mind question. What is the top thing on my mind? Mainly I guess I want to be done with my vomits as fast as possible. I want to read all my books as fast as possible. I want to learn to cook. I want to go through all my old stuff in a systematic way. Are these really the top TOP things on my mind? Is there something I think about in between all of those things? What do I think about when I’m in the shower? Mostly I’m thinking about whatever I owe the world, whatever missed obligations I have… what happens when I don’t have any obligations? I can’t remember…

This is revealing the importance to me of meditation, reflection, running and so on. If I wake up early tomorrow I’m going for a run and then I’m going to sort of relax and see what comes to mind. I’m now thinking that I’d like to help my team at work get even better.

No I think the top thing on my mind is my career. I want to know how it all plays out. I should chat with my team more about our plans for the future, about what events we want to see happen, so on and so forth. (Heh, this feels slightly deja vu-ish– I feel like I wrote about something I wanted to talk about, and how after I wrote it I felt like I no longer had to ask it.)

But mainly I guess my background brain is wondering if I’m on the right track?

I don’t know, we’ll see.

Why am I not doing the work? (Jealousy, narcissism) [0078]

I’m tired of all the machismo nonsense of trying to feel like I’m just not motivated enough, or I’m not hardworking enough, or I don’t want things badly enough. I think that’s bullshit. I think I know that I want to do the work. If it’s not happening, it’s either because there’s something blocking me at a deeper level than I realize, or there’s something that I don’t know how to do, or there’s something about the way I’ve assembled everything.

What’s the case here?

“It’s okay to be a rambly bastard in private” – why am I a rambly bastard at all? [0098]

My wife wants to know this too. I’m not very sure. I wonder what the origins were. Was I a rambly kid? I used to read a lot of books, but I don’t recall being a very talkative kid. I wasn’t particularly shy… I would talk a lot to my peers I guess. I remember getting into trouble for talking too much in Primary school… but isn’t socializing the whole point? Mark Zuckerberg said so! 😛

I think I’m partially a rambly bastard because I feel awkward not being a rambly bastard.

What is my identity/narrative now? [0096]

For the longest time it was– lackadaisical, devil-may-care sorta guy. I used to be the social media power user guy, always concerned about public issues, keeping people well-informed with quality news and quality information.

Now I’m trying to keep it as simple and small as possible. I want to become a person who gets shit done. That means making my system a lot smaller, focusing on much fewer things, and seeing things through to the end as quickly as possible.

Max number of vomits in a day? I guessed 10. [0074]

Interesting that I took so long to answer this question. This is a fairly consistent thing in my life, I think– I tend to feel good about myself by thinking that I have some ability to some degree that I have not tested.

Well, today at the end of this, once I publish this, I would have done 10 vomits in 12 hours at a moderate/leisurely-ish pace. I had lunch and dinner, did the laundry, did the dishes, and idled around here and there. But so 10 vomits in a day was a valid guess. I’d like to try and beat myself in a subsequent attempt, managing my day and time better. I’m aiming for 15 next time.

Games that really give you a sense of life, in terms of $$ and time? [0093]

It should exist! It seemed to me like Will Wright’s Spore attempted to do this. Maybe Civilization does this too. Maybe I should play Civilization. Now that sounds like a decision I’d really regret (in terms of time cost). Mass Effect did feel amazing. I’d like to play other games like Mass Effect.

Counter-insurgency model of anti-saboteur? [0075]

I’m very into this idea that most war metaphors fall short. Sometimes people say things like you have to declare war on X– declare war on fat, etc. I think it’s far more interesting and accurate to think of complex change situations as counter-insurgencies– the battle is not just for military victory, but for political legitimacy. To genuinely win over the hearts and minds of people, in this case the people in your head. Not enough people talk about this, and I think Counter Insurgency is itself incredibly complex… nobody’s really mastered this.

Something to think about.

I’ll stop here and maybe expand on some of these further in future posts.

 

0234 – answering questions that arise

questions

A while ago, I took some time off to do a review of my early vomits– I believe I reviewed the first 100. Here are some of the questions that arose:

Why do I think big instead of seeing present? [0069]

It’s not mutually exclusive– I appreciate the present by thinking big. But if you mean it in a negative way– why do I obsess about big picture things instead of improving my own life, I’m afraid it might be as trivial as the fact that it’s casual entertainment. It’s like obsessing about celebrity gossip, only it allows me to feel better about myself than people who obsess about celebrity gossip. If it’s not something that I can act on, it’s more often that not just ‘interesting’. And ‘interesting’ is safe.

The short answer then is that it spares me having to do any real work. I just ramble on in awe about amazing context. I’m getting tired of that.

What is the path to me working on big problems? [0069]

That’s a fairly easy one, isn’t it? There are people who are already working on big problems– you need to get to know them, and you need to convince them that they ought to get you on board. Alternatively, you could get better at what you’re already working on, and increase the power of the organization that you’re a part of. This seems like a great bet, because you already have a great team.

What’s the literal next step? I think it means getting more efficient at what I’m currently doing, and externalizing that so that other people can also do what I’m doing, and offer criticism and advice.

How to be excited to jump out of bed? [0071]

Great question, and obviously one that I’m not qualified to answer. Here’s what I’m going to try. I’m going to bring my spindle to the room, and if I wake up early, I’ll create a task “jumped out of bed”, and jump out of bed and skewer that bitch! I think I need some endorphins. Right now what I do is

What is the set of my limitations / quirks / habits? [0072]

I suppose these things fall into meatbag / prioritization / context management problems?

Meatbag:

I don’t breathe deeply enough. I don’t meditate enough. I should take meditation breaks frequently.

I don’t eat healthy enough, or eat properly. This is primarily because I have an unhealthy relationship with food and food preparation. I am trying to make a difference with this one by watching videos about food preparation. I should do this more.

I don’t exercise as regularly as I should. But I have started by making a little routine that I’m proud of. I should probably be willing to wait a while after my first run to run again. And maybe then try to run for 3 rounds.

Prioritization:

I don’t plan my work days. This is partially because I’m silly and arrogant and think that things will change– and also because I sleep late and then rush to work and then feel obliged to start immediately. I should change my environment to remind myself. I’ve just added a post-it. I should create a list of things I should do to improve my environment. I’ve just added a post-it to create a list of 10 things. (SMART goals ftw!)

I don’t read books enough. I find that keeping a single book by my bed makes a difference. I’ve just created another task– spend 25 mins thinking about how to get me to read more.

Why not read more books? [0086]

I wrote an entire post to try to answer this! I should probably skewer chapters at a time.

How to change habits + behavior? [0072]

I think I’ve made some progress in thinking about this! See: MVP model of personal development. I think the thing about change is that it has to be really small and really sticky. You have to change something about your identity.

Why do my old posts seem to be so full of lengthy rationalization + bullshit? [0095]

Because it’s simple, convenient and easy. Easier than cutting the crap and doing the hard work of getting shit done. Which is what I’m trying to transition to.

What makes smart people lazy? [0056]

Laziness can be interpreted in terms of the procrastination equation– expectancy, value, impulsiveness, delay. Smart people might have lower expectancy of succeeding tasks because they are more aware of how things might fail. They might value things less because they anticipate how everything is pointless and how you’ll get bored and tired with each individual thing. Smart people might have a habit of living in their heads (and then to one side) rather than in their bodies, and so they don’t listen when their bodies want to feel joy, pleasure, satisfaction. They write those things off.

Just some preliminary thoughts. If you want to dig into the details, “smart” is a rather messy, complicated term. You don’t really know what smart means, or if you can be thought of as smart. Let’s talk specifics instead of such odd, misunderstanding-friendly abstractions.

Also, being lazy is always pleasant in the short run. It’s like staying longer in the water because you’re afraid it’s going to be cold when you get out. Of course, the later it gets, the colder it gets, but… you know. Silly brains and their hyperbolic discounting.

Who am I away from the noise? [0066]

I’m still trying to figure this out, and obviously there isn’t going to be a short answer. This is a work in progress, an evolving sort of thing. But I think away from the noise I have better posture, breathe deeper, and more confident and in control. Or maybe away from the noise I cease to recognize the need for a coherent “I”. Anyway, let’s find out more. Let’s keep digging, keep running.

What really drives me nuts? [0091]

This is less straightforward than it might seem. Often the things that annoy me are actually indicators that I’m focused on the wrong thing. I get annoyed, frustrated and jealous around people sometimes, but that’s usually my own fault and nothing to do with them. The short answer to the question then is “my own mind”, or “my own interpretation”, or “how I choose to react to things”.

But really, there’s no reason to be nuts about anything. I should calm down. Pay attention to the causal relationships of things. Decide what I care about, what I ought to focus on. As long as I’m focused on stuff that matters, I don’t get driven nuts.

Sometimes things are annoying but I can address those things if they’re really important. I go nuts when I’m not clear. It’s like “I sound terrible when my guitar is out of tune” or “I hate it when my guitar is out of tune”. Why not tune it then? “Oh, but I’m in the middle of a song.” You’re always in the middle of a song. Better to stop it and fix it than to just sound terrible all the way through.

If the show is ruined because of a little stop like that, there’ll always be another show. And you’ll prepare better next time.

 

0233 – improving my environment

church-inside-7247-hd-wallpapers

Several times in my writing I have told myself that I want to improve my environment. I wrote in an earlier vomit– before I got married, before I seriously even considered the possibility that I would be a homeowner– that I would curate my living spaces and work spaces in ways that inspired me, that motivated me.

What have I done since? Not much. Why not? I think it’s largely because… I’m a little afraid of what other people would think. What my colleagues would think at work, what my wife and tenant would think at home. I know, it’s kinda silly. But I was self-conscious at home when I was a kid (again this is odd… it’s not like my parents ever stopped me). I guess I used to curate things online, have websites and folders and pages and all those things– but I never got around to literally modifying my physical environments.

So I thought I’d take a while to think about the improvements I could make to my spaces.

At home?

I keep forgetting that my home is MINE, and that I can do whatever I want with it. As long as my wife is okay with it, which I can check quickly by just asking her. If it’s something simple and reversible, I can just do it first and take it down if she doesn’t like it. But this uncertainty has been making me Not-Act.

In my bedroom?

I want to make sure that I know what I’m reading before I go to bed. This is pleasurable bedtime reading rather than calculated, hard-thinking/heavy reading. I should also include something maybe that’s some sort of incentive for me to get up early and go for a run. Maybe I could just have a running task– if I get up early and run in the morning, that gets to be a task in itself. Actually there’s no reason why it isn’t already– it IS! So why doesn’t it inspire me? I guess because it’s not immediate. Maybe I should bring my spindle to my room, and then skewer “jump out of bed” once I’m awake. I’ll give that a shot.

In my living room?

I like the post its and the calendar i’m currently using. I suppose I’d like something next to my calendar that has a picture of my entire life– I have that life-summary thing in my workflowy, but it’s too buried to make a difference. Even seeing it on my desktop I feel wouldn’t make that much of a difference… I think it’s more important to see it in between things. (Number of weeks left, number of hours, etc etc).

I guess I’d also like some inspiring visual, some inspiring quotes. Some stuff from MateusZ’s quotes of Les Brown, etc.

I should break down my existing post-its into things with more constituent-y tasks– right now some of them are overly broad, like “learn to make salad”. What do I need to do to learn to make salad? I need to break things into those littler details, because otherwise they’re never going to get done.

In my kitchen?

I suppose I could have some sort of plan or plans for the things that I’d like to cook. Maybe a list of recipes so I feel less intimidated. Maybe just a couple so I look at them whenever I walk past. Recipes/instructions on the fridge? I just need to see the process over and over again so it sticks, that’s all.

In my study?

I’m loving my spindle, which is the thing that I skewer my post-its and tasks on when I’m done with them. I think I also need to heavily curate the books on my shelves- I have far too many books that I’m not all that excited about reading. I should talk to my wife about this and see what she thinks. I should create a task to go through this vomit again and see all of the things that need doing– I’m going to create it right after I’m done with this.

At work?

I definitely feel like my entire team under-utilizes the actual physical space that we’re in– although this is probably me overreacting and exaggerating, because I have a taste for drama that way. But the most important thing is that I start with myself. That I externalize my own process. That I do really MVP versions of the things I think ought to be done– the reviews were a great idea. Should also do complaints! Will just do them first and see what people say.

At my desk?

Currently I have a few too many things, I’m sure. I have a couple of books. Maybe I should leave the Godin book open. The phone books are slightly annoying, I wonder if there’s a better solution? Maybe boxes.

Behind me?

I could totally use that space to do a lot of post-it stuff, but I’m not even sure about what I want to do there yet. It’s not really a calendar thing.

My monitor?

I should use this to remind myself about correspondence. I can use postits and I just should. They work. I should maybe use postits on my monitor at home too.

In front of me?

What do I need in order to work better? I most need to be reminded to follow a process, to plan, to commit, to be specific, and to follow through. I’m still overly vague about everything. The single most important thing that needs to happen right now is: that I write down my processes. What are “my processes”? I need to define that statement more clearly. I could probably do my next vomit about the process of making things more precise, turning vague goals into smart measurable bla bla goals.

Elsewhere in the office?

I’ll just make little suggestions when they occur to me.

On my phone?

I reformatted it recently. I should still kill more apps. And… I should use my calendar more. Why am I not currently using it? I suppose I don’t have a clear-cut phone routine. The empty page isn’t helping, it’s just… yeah. It’s a clusterfuck. I need to figure out what is optimum, and I think the optimum thing is that 1- I use it for calendaring my day,

On my Mac?

I sorted out my photos, which was a good first start. I still need to sort out my workflowy better.

In my notebooks?

On my browser?

Happy to have AdBlock, RescueTime which I don’t really use but can look at if I need to.