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The Building Blocks of an Empire

If you were going to build an empire, how would you do it?

I've been thinking on this lately. I want to choose the imperial path first, last, and always. Every decision I make ought to be to the end of building. We can get into the "why" of it and philosophy another time, but I think pretty much the meaning of life is to expand, the mid-term goal of humanity ought to be to spread outside of Planet Earth and diversity our habitats a little bit, and I'd like to participate in doing that.

That's a really long discussion though, so we'll save that for another time. Yesterday I was in a really nice cafe and I was thinking, "You know, I want to always be choosing the empire-building way. When choosing between options, when prioritizing, when picking activities, when picking projects - I want to choose expansion and empire."

I thought about that and I don't have any really good heuristics for what's conducive to expansion and what isn't. So today I went to a cool little Vietnamese restaurant where the owner is friendly, got some coffee and tea and bread, and started brainstorming a little bit.

Getting the gold star

On minimalift

When I was five years old, my classmates and I used to all love writing stories. We’d be given assignments and we’d try to outdo each other in the eyes of the teacher. There was no formal grading, but there were red ticks and comments, with “very good” topping “good” etc. In general, more pages appeared to offer superior results, so quantity was mistakenly tied to quality in our toddler minds. I suspect those writing more were the ones who also spent more time thinking about how to make their story stand out. I laboured and I toiled to fill those pages with creativity.

Doing good work was rewarded very rarely with a gold star. Oh how we coveted those sparkly awards. Months could pass without anyone in the class seeing a single one. I think stationery may have been limited. But these stars paled into insignificance for creating exceptional work: a trip to the headmaster’s office. Normally the ultimate punishment (I was up there a few times for that, too), these visits meant the highest authority in the school would personally take a moment to stick a really shiny gold star on your work. Look, it was a poor school, okay?

Fast forward 20 years and no one’s giving me a gold star for my work. But I’m cool with that, because I learned a lot since then. Quantity rarely trumps quality, although this is not the truth for all situations. Most people like quantity in their bank account. So where do we put the quality?

Getting the gold star: being the master of your own head

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