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Luck Still Doesn't Exist, and Acceleration

"Is Exponential Growth Possible?" got a few really good comments. Riley Harrison left a really good comment and questions -

Hello Sebastian,

A great blog. One of the realizations that helped me was comprehending that if an insight or epiphany wasn’t actionable (didn’t lead to action) it wasn’t of much value (other than recreational). I have thought way too many deep thoughts, read too many self-empowerment books searching for the non-existent silver bullet (insight) that would allow me to bypass hard work, accumulation of small victories and risk taking.

The traditional barriers/obstacles (time, money, energy, risk taking etc) are to me somewhat secondary to just plain old inertia. But being at the right place at the right time – is that serendipitous luck or something else. You do have to factor into the equation that you are shooting at a moving target (circumstances change and you change) – times stands still for no man… As to the list of things to make you grow I would add that being conversant in the latest findings in neuroscience and positive psychology wouldn’t hurt.

Willpower is depletable? Not so fast...

Very important reply to the question, "Is willpower depletable?" by Kat Li, who has an MA in psychology and gives a well-researched answer on Quora:

"Willpower is depletable only if you believe it to be so, is the message from Stanford psychology professors Carol Dweck and Greg Walton [1]. Though past research has shown that willpower is limited and dependent on a continuous stream of glucose, the story is more complex than that. 

Dweck, known for her groundbreaking research into the world of mindsets and achievement teamed with Walton, an expert in theory-based interventions to devise a set of experiments looking into willpower [2]. They found that beliefs about whether willpower is a limited resource affect performance on difficult tasks.

One of their studies examined beliefs that subjects held about ego depletion by asking them to rate how much they agreed with statements about it (i.e., "After a strenuous mental activity your energy is depleted and you must rest to get it refueled again.") Then, the subjects completed either easy, almost mindless tasks or a more complicated ask involving self-control. Following that, both groups completed a Stroop task, which is a standard measure of ego depletion. 

They found that subjects who believed that their energy could be depleted did perform worse on the Stroop task after having completed the more cognitively taxing task. However, participants who did not believe that energy was limited performed no differently in the Stroop task, regardless of whether they had done the easy task or the challenging task.

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