Sam DeCesare and I continue to have smart exchanges over email. He's kindly allowed me to share another set of his thoughts -
On an unrelated note, I just realized that you wrote the Defecting by Accident article. I've noticed the same behavior among technical people. It's interesting that someone will accept that to get a computer to do what you want you have to tell it things in a very specific way, but won't accept that you have to do the same thing with people. I'm sure they wish that they didn't have to tell the computer things in an obtuse language, but they don't refuse to learn how to program because of it. Computers just are that way, there's nothing to do but deal with it. People are the same; we're just wired to respond positively to sincere praise and kindness and respond poorly to insult and criticism. I suspect the problem is that we tend to blame and condemn people when they do things we don't like, and the purpose of blame is to make yourself feel better and absolve yourself of responsibility. If it's other people's fault that they don't respond to your frank style, then they need to change, not you. As it happens though, blame is completely unproductive, no one's ever gotten people to change by blaming them. So the frank and direct person never makes any progress with people.
Really, that whole excerpt is brilliant, and I'd recommend you re-read it thoroughly if you're skimming. This was the biggest insight for me -
"It's interesting that someone will accept that to get a computer to do what you want you have to tell it things in a very specific way, but won't accept that you have to do the same thing with people. I'm sure they wish that they didn't have to tell the computer things in an obtuse language, but they don't refuse to learn how to program because of it."
Sam and I previously had a little discussion on the topic of, "How much do people make their own decisions?"
Sam's insights around the internet -
'bout a week ago, I had a great conversation with Sam Snyder. Sam is really, really, really smart. If you haven't been to his site, you should click over there and at least skim until you find something personally fascinating to you (and you will), and then you'll probably be a fan of his for life.
We covered a lot of ground talking. The first thing I made a note of was on reference points for exercise. We were talking why fitness is so enjoyable, such a good thing, but people often don't do it?
Sam said something really insightful - he said people's reference points for fitness are probably thinking about the hard part of starting, when you're getting going it, when you're not into the flow of it. When someone thinks exercise, they don't think about being engaged mind and body, feeling strong, feeling alive. They think about the beginning part where the body and bones and muscles feel creaky and it's hard to do.
I'm paraphrasing - I'm not even capturing the sentiment of it really well, it was a very sharp insight. The takeaway for me was, when thinking about exercise think about the height of enjoyable moments from it. Not the hassle, not the details, not the admin, not the pain. But the most enjoyable moments. Make that your reference point.
"Everything that goes on in the world can be reduced to cause and effect." We talked about tracing ways through cause and effect, and how you could have more predictive power if you did. Economic events, social events, wealth, and so on. We talked about some ways on how you model what was going to happen and make predictions. Fascinating stuff - Sam's playing on a really high mental level.
I hadn't seen Mystery in half a year or so. Lots to catch up on.
"How have you been?"