The challenge is no longer finding information, it’s trying not to drown in it. Today, how we filter defines much of our intelligence.
To avoid being an intellectual pinball, we need heuristics to figure out if someone’s worth listening to.
‘Anybody who doesn’t change their mind a lot is dramatically underestimating the complexity of the world’ – Jeff Bezos
What’ve they changed their minds about? What’ve they been wrong about? What aren’t they sure about?
If the answer to all 3 is ‘nothing’, they care more about thinking they’re right than being right. Confidence is important psychologically and socially, but it’s often the enemy of good ideas.
Confidence in specific areas doesn’t disqualify automatically. Some things we can be quite sure of. Smart people can distinguish between simple and complex. They know which types of things to be sure and unsure about.
Either way, if they aren’t good friends with cognitive dissonance they’re out.
Continue reading Six Heuristics For Judging Intelligence
Like a video game character, I’ve got a energy bar suspended over my head. So do you. If it’s full we do stuff well, if it’s empty we’re basically turds. Doing healthy things keeps it full longer, but I’ll save that for another time.
When’s the last time you had to study for something?
Maybe you procrastinated and had to catch up. Or maybe you wanted to crush it. Either way you sit down for a monster study sesh, like 4 hours. After an hour your bar is empty, so you spend the next 3 hours mashing buttons that don’t work. Your a turd for 3 hours and it’s no fun. This frames the experience negatively and you procrastinate next time.
Continue reading Directing Your Subconscious
I didn’t make this thing to talk personal stuff. The following is about useful ideas, but I do need to paint a quick picture.
I had urination problems and couldn’t sit down without a doughnut cushion. My sore back and guch (don’t google image) meant I spent most of 5 months laying down. After seeing multiple experts I still don’t have a good reason as to why.
It sucked but some people are much worse off.
Here’s how in some ways, it’s made my life better.
Anxiety is largely the distance between expectation and reality.
If you expect a promotion at work and don’t get it, life sucks. If you expect everyone to be nice and they’re jerks, it’s a bad day. If you don’t expect your back to hurt and it does, it’s stressful.
Pain sucks but what sucks more is the domino effect is creates. Why does it hurt? Will it be like this forever? Will it get worse?
Beginning every day I prepared myself for it.
Not just a little but worse than I’d ever had. There was no gap between expectation and reality. By preparing myself I couldn’t be disappointed, I could only be pleasantly surprised. On an average day I now felt lucky.
Now there’s just one domino.
Continue reading A Stoic Blueprint For Chronic Pain
Negotiating is dumb isn’t it?
Two people are bullshitting and both know it. Two extreme anchors are set, so when they end up in the middle both parties leave feeling good.
The same thing happens when we reason. We feel like we’ve conducted thinking if we take the middle ground.
In a debate we assume our favourite ideas are placed there for a reason. Lots of people have thought hard about this stuff. Maybe they have. But dig deeper into the origins of any belief and it’s more like a bottomless laundry basket. The anchors for these beliefs are probably more arbitrary than we’d like to think. Perhaps they’re built on holograms.
Continue reading Why The Middle Ground Isn’t Reason