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"I hate the internet for what it brings out in me" - Thoughts on Conquering Distraction

I received a thought-provoking email from a reader about the nature of the internet. Here's the key quote that I think many people with empathize with:

I feel like a big luddite for saying this, but I hate the internet for what it brings out in me.

... I am trying to deal with what can only be described as an addiction.

Addiction to high-stimulation-distraction is quite common for intelligent people in the modern era. Surfing the internet, video games, things like that. There's sort of a natural selection websites go through, where the more addicting sites win out and spread and take marketshare and mindshare away from less addicting sites. Paul Graham wrote about this in, "The Acceleration of Addictiveness."

Three key thoughts for you, and then I'll share some of my experience with it -


On Aesop

Everybody should know how to cook. More than just providing you with nutrition, food is a fundamental expression of what it is to be alive, and unlike breathing and shelter, it's one we can all express ourselves through. Though if you count clothes as shelter, we can do that too, but that's for a later post.

Cooking is really easy. Many people are afraid of it for some reason, but you shouldn't be. You can start out just cooking for yourself, and then there's not even the chance of embarrassing yourself.

If you've never cooked before, get yourself a good frying pan and some nice oil (I like grassfed butter, but some like coconut oil or olive oil. Olive oil is pretty flavorful, so it's best to use either extra virgin or only use it in dishes where it matches, like Italian food). That plus a knife, cutting board, and spatula, will get you very far. Oh, also a little bit of salt for every dish.

The key to getting better at cooking is experimenting. This means that whenever you think "hmm I wonder if X would go well in this", try it! Also, taste everything you make all the time.

The easiest way to make any vegetable delicious is to cut it into pieces small enough that it can be cooked effectively in the pan (so for instance, peas are fine as is, but a zucchini needs to be sliced or dice) and then cook it in butter on low heat until it's warm.

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