LessWrong is one of my favorite discussion sites on the internet. It's a discussion site about rationality, and I highly recommend it. Don't be intimidated by how high the level of discussion gets sometimes - there's many good ways to get started. I wrote "You Should Probably Study Rationality" with some intro material. "References and Resources for LessWrong" was just posted today on LW and looks like a good starting point too.
Collecting and Hoarding Crap, Useless Information
LessWrong discussion here: http://lesswrong.com/lw/2uu/collecting_and_hoarding_crap_useless_information/
I am realizing something that many, many intelligent people are guilty of - collecting and hoarding and accumulating crap, useless information. This is dangerous, because it feels like you're doing something useful, but you're not.
However, speaking personally - once I decide to start focusing and researching something systematically to get better at it, it gets harder to do. For instance, I taught myself statistics mostly using baseball stats. It was a fun, easy, harmless context to learn statistics.
I read lots of history and historical fiction. I read up lots on business and entrepreneurship. This is easy and fun and enjoyable.
Jason Shen has achieved tremendous success in athletics, technology entrepreneurship, writing, and living an outstanding life. To promote his recent GiveGetWin deal on The Science of Willpower, he sat down to tell us how he started learning about willpower, the state of what's known scientifically about how willpower and the brain work, and how you can start improving your life right away by implementing a tiny habit, thinking and systems, and using some powerful thinking tools. Enjoy:
Developing Willpower by Jason Shen, as told to Sebastian Marshall
Willpower has been an undercurrent in my entire life. In gymnastics, you have to use your willpower to overcome your fear of an activity and go for the skill you want, to get over the fear, to push yourself to finish your conditioning and strength training a part of you doesn't want to…
It didn't come automatically to me. When I was a student, I wasn't automatically self-disciplined. There were actions I knew were useful, like doing my homework in one session without getting distracted, or not throwing clothing on my apartment floor. But I wouldn't always do them, and I didn't know why.
I started to learn those answers during a student initiative course at Stanford called The Psychology of Personal Change. That's when I first started reading academic papers on the topic. In academia, willpower and self-discipline is often called "self-regulation," and in 2009 I started to get really serious about it from an academic perspective -- and saw gains from it in my personal life.