One thing I've been striving to do - often unsuccessfully - is remove moral judgments from my observation of situations.
Most people don't distinguish between observing and judging.
They say, "It's bad that it's raining outside." Well. Maybe, yeah. But there's two things going on there - first, it's raining. That's either true or false. Then there's that "bad" - which is an opinion, a moral judgment on the situation.
I think most people aren't aware of when they're making moral judgments and when they're making observations. That's not good for being able to think clearly.
Analysis and observation needs to be separated from moral evaluation to do it straightforwardly, or else you get blind to effects you don't expect and don't want to see.
I'm stealing sleep again! I love it!
Ah, yes, what's "stealing sleep"?
It's a dangerous but interesting strategy. It means having a hectic, busy schedule where you run on low sleep, and grab naps/short sleeps of between 20 minutes and 2-4 hours when you have a free chance.
I'm... not recommending it. But it can be a good time...
For me, at least, every time I sleep my mind kind of "resets" to some extent. Or something like that. Thus, for a short period of time (weeks, at most), I can get a lot more high level work out of myself when I'm on this kind of schedule.
Matt from 30Vanquish wrote that he's studied memory in the past and gotten quite a bit out of it, and he was kind enough to share some of his observations with us. Here's Matt -
So are you frustrated when you forget someone's phone number? Or when you forget one item to buy when you're at the grocery?
Well the reasons for forgetting aren't really forgetting.
It's more about interference.
The interference theory suggests that we are unable to remember memories, things, and events we encoded due to interference with other encoded memories, things, and events.
I've talked about time tracking a lot, most recently in "Daily Tracking Template v6."
One thing that's a mixed blessing is I do all my tracking by hand. I write it all down by hand, I add it up by hand, and I calculate out the results weekly by hand.
I do this for two reason - first, it makes my tracking very flexible about mixing notes in with times, changing/updating categories on the fly, and otherwise not locking me into a fixed format. Second, since I'm doing it the long way, it keeps it in the forefront of my mind. Almost always, automatically generated reports/numbers get less attention than going over them slowly by hand.
Additionally, trends about how the days ebb and flow start to emerge by going over them slowly. It only takes a few minutes a day, and I really think it's time well spent.
One downside, though, of doing it by hand - I don't have any nice way to find correlations. No fancy automatic output graphs or visualizations. If I want to see if there's some sort of correlation, I need to come up with a hypothesis on my own and then go dig through past records.
Joachim asks a good question in the comments -
I’d be interested in an expanded version of your thoughts on nationalism. My perspective is quite different – global problems require global solutions – but then you’re from the “USA! USA!” while my continent has been devastated by two world wars (more recently, consider e.g. the troubles in Yugoslavia.)
I think nationalism is like a catalyst or accelerator - it makes a place go more in the direction it's currently going. During a renaissance, nationalism makes more people excited to try new things, explore, invent, and expand. During a recovery period, nationalism encourages solidarity, a helping hand, and backing each other up instead of just feeling defeated.
It cuts both ways - in a beaten down, embarrassed nation that's paying reparations to the other side, nationalism really makes that anger and hostility get explosive - that's what Hitler whipped up. On the other hand, nationalism among the allies helped them carry on strongly, survive, and triumph. Keep calm and carry on...
Nationalism in North Korea translates to more loyalty to the insane regime, whereas nationalism in South Korea means hard work, modernization, and a high quality of life.
There's pretty much always some opportunity to be had when a hassle comes up.
The world isn't so simple as to be able to divide people into camps... but I do see roughly three camps of people in how they deal with hassle.
Camp 1: "Oh boo hoo, why does this always happen to me? Life is so hard and unfair..." - I don't have much to say about that one, obviously we all know some people like that, and obviously that attitude is super-destructive. Not much more need be said about it.
Camp 2: "I'm going to fix this ASAP." - Obviously this a lot better, and most of the successful people I know have this attitude. They get things fixed quickly. However, there's also...
Camp 3: "I wonder what opportunity is here..." - Instead of immediately trying to get things back to the status quo, they pause and see if there's an opportunity to be had.
I have a lot of correspondences with interesting people. This thread I was on was a discussion between a few guys I know in technology. One shared the article "It isn't lying if you believe it" by one of the co-founders of Netflix -
As software began to be sold to people who would never consider themselves technical, it suddenly became clear that you needed people who spoke their language. It became fashionable to hire product managers from places like Proctor and Gamble. Or Clorox.
It drove the engineers crazy. It was best when you had iron-clad test data demonstrating something purely ridiculous; like that software in the blue box sold twice as well as the exact same product in the red box. It made their head explode. On the one hand, they knew with absolute conviction that there was absolutely no reason why the color of the box should make the least bit of difference. But, on the other hand, they also knew with absolute conviction that data didn't lie. After puzzling over this paradox for a few hours they had no choice but to conclude that maybe us marketing people had some value. Or practiced a kind of black magic. Or both.
These days, the soft bigotry of anti-hucksterism can be seen every day on HackerNews. And there are still plenty of hustlers not quite getting how important their technical co-founder actually is to their success. The truth of the matter is that both sides need each other. We always have and we always will.
A reply from a friend of mine who worked at a few of the top Silicon Valley companies in 1990's to 2000's, and now is CEO of a a company doing a few million dollars in revenues per year replied with this (he's graciously given me permission to repost his thoughts, but wants to stay anonymous for obvious reasons) -
It's an extremely proud, nationalistic country. There's strong traditionally masculine elements here.
That means a culture that can be kind of xenophobic, violent, and aggressive.
Despite that, I actually like it. I like traditionally masculine, proud, nationalistic countries. I know that isn't fashionable to say in this day and age, but after having been around a lot of the world, I just feel really bad for the citizens of countries that are totally pacified and unproud. The men move through life in a sort of drudgery and haze, and the women don't seem to enjoy those state of affairs either.
That said, pride/nationalism/hyper-masculine mixed with transitioning out of poverty can lead to bad places. It's not so much nationalism that is bad, as much as it's a catalyst for whatever else is happening in the society. In a country in a renaissance or golden age, with an emphasis on expansion, science, commerce, innovation, hard work, and building wealth, nationalism and pride becomes a force for progress. In a country that's on the down and out, nationalism amplifies that to bad result.
Mongolia is interesting. Their national holiday, Naadam, is a festival in July featuring wrestling, horseback riding, and archery.
I generally try to buy things piecemeal - I'm a believer in Felix Dennis's adage that "Overhead walks on two legs." So I try to buy things individually, which lets me have a good grasp on where money is going.
But Audible is awesome. At some point, I made the switch from reading to listening to most of my books, and the service is bloody amazing.
They have a "credit" system where you sign up, and you get one credit for month, and one credit gets you an audiobook. $7.49 for the first three months, then $15 per month after that. They also send out targeted offers to buy credits cheaply.
I just finished Anthony Everitt's "Augustus" and got started on Ted Turner's "Call Me Ted." Just bought Jan Morris's Heaven's Command from the Pax Britannica series too. They have tons of fiction if that's your thing, but I'm more impressed with their catalog of history and biographies which are the hardest kind of books for me to find digital copies of. I'll pick up Ron Chernow's "Washington" and "Hamilton" biographies after I finish Call Me Ted and Heaven's Command.
Also, another option to think about - a friend of mine who is huge into audiobooks shared a tip - you can share an account with up to 3 mobile devices, so my buddy splits a 2-credit-per-month account with his two roommates and they can all listen. It's a cool option if you have a regular reading club.
Last September, I wrote "Fighting Out of Formation – a Metaphor for Creativity."
If you look at George Washington or Napoleon Bonaparte, their forces knew how to fight out of formation. That’s why they were able to win important battles against larger, more well-equipped forces. They stirred up a bunch of chaos because their forces were able to handle chaos better than the enemy.
I think if you want to do creative endeavors like writing, painting, whatever – you need to learn to fight out of formation. By that, I mean you need to learn how to do it without having “formal expert tone” or being highly polished. Ideally, you can communicate well without necessarily obeying grammar and punctuation. After all, the point of writing is to communicate – the language is supposed to serve you, you’re not supposed to serve it.
It takes a lot longer to get into formation if you’re out of it than to just fight slightly wild and crazy. Of course, you should learn discipline and how to fight in formation, and should be able to do well in that role. It might even be your bread and butter. But if you’re editing every memo you send, every blog post you write, every rallying talk or speech you give – then you’re burning a lot of time.
This is something I've tried to adopt for myself, but it goes against my nature. By nature, I'm a perfectionist. My natural tendency is to work and re-work and re-work and re-work something ad infinitum.