I've been thinking about this for a while. I fancy myself a scientist, which means I use the Scientific Method to figure things out. So I make a hypothesis, and try like crazy to falsify it, and at the end maybe there's some interesting not-yet-falsified ideas.
I train myself in all sorts of science, I keep real genuine article scientists as friends and compatriots. But y'know, I probably wouldn't be called a Scientist by the vast majority of people in this day and age.
So I started thinking. What is someone who does science who doesn't have impressive scientific credentials? And I came to - a Cowboy Scientist.
Cowboy Science is trying to figure out how things for practical reasons or for curiosity, not for academic or institutional prestige.
A rancher who tries to figure out what the best mix of water and grazing and movement for his cattle by takes notes, making a guess at what'll work, and testing that guess - he's doing science. But no one would call him a Scientist with a capital S.
Jay-Z's "On to the Next One" - it's all black and white, there's some beautiful imagery and aesthetics in there, but it's got all kinds of occult/satanic symbolism.
What think ye? A "yea" vote is a vote for aesthetics or general defiance of the religions, spirituality, and philosophy that'd condemn the occult. A "nay" vote says, "No, I don't think any aesthetic value is worth glorifying that sort of thing."
For a music video that's black and white, and also haunting, but lacks the satanic imagery, there's Massive Attack's "Splitting the Atom" -
I played cards for a few years, and I quite enjoyed it. I don't play any more, but sometimes a lesson I learned comes back to me.
There's one writer on poker I learned a tremendous amount from. His name's Mike Caro, and he was one of the first people taking serious interest in the psychology of poker. He wrote a famous book called "Mike Caro's Book of Poker Tells", which is excellent and highly recommended. The basic premise is that people act strong when weak and weak when strong. So if you hear a very little sigh when someone is betting, almost like they're sad, then they've probably got a strong hand. If they're pushing the chips forwards with a little extra force when betting, they're probably bluffing.
This was all very fascinating to me, I loved learning that kind of thing. I'd recommend Caro's Book of Tells to anyone, regardless if you play cards or not. But he also has written quite a bit on self-psychology and discipline in poker. Today I recalled one of Caro's general principles:
Caro’s Threshold of Misery suggests that once you move beyond the maximum you expected you could lose, you stop feeling any more pain, and you’re in danger of damaging yourself further by making weak decisions.
I've got to be honest with you - I don't really like politics anyways. Governance, I like governance. I believe in good governance. But I don't believe in good politics - in fact, I don't even think there is such a thing as good politics. Politics can certainly be bad or stupid or destructive, but almost never good. Diplomacy can be good. Governance can be good. Politics can at best strive not to be bad, stupid, and destructive; it can't ever be good.
Yet, sometimes I'll see a discussion on some outpost of the internet that I visit, and then I might be tempted to jump in. From now on, new policy - no trying to persuade anyone of my politics. Instead, I'll look to share some historical background or references I've read or learned about that I find valuable, and let people mostly draw their own conclusions. Maybe I'll share my own views if I've already given a number of relevant examples.
But no more just trying to convince someone their politics are mistaken - it doesn't work, and besides, I don't like politics anyways. I should talk governance with people with historical examples, not politics. Governance is good. That's something I can get behind, good governance. Politics, not so much.
I've been trying to sleep less, ideally between 4 and 7 hours a night. It's amazing when you get 20 hours in a day - it's almost like two distinctively different days. I feel twice as alive as when sleeping 8, 10, or 12 hours.
I'm still adjusting to it, though. Often I'm slower immediately upon waking up, which is not great, but not terrible. The way I start my day is by stretching and going for a walk or otherwise exercising, then eating some simple food, and having a shower. That first hour or two comes pretty automatically.
But then, I find my energy waxes and wanes more when on lower sleep. I actually feel more alert during my peak moments when sleeping less, but then I hit a low patch of exhaustion for 20 minutes to an hour every so often. During this time, my mind is mostly empty and scrambled.
The danger is that it's easy to get into some mindless clicking around at that point, and get stuck in click-click-click-click online for the next few hours. Normally when my mind is foggy, I like to do really low level admin that doesn't require thought: Reply to routine emails, clean something, things like that. Right now, though, it was a little frustrating, because I have basically no low level tasks to be done. Inbox is pretty much empty, no errands to run, my things are generally clean and orderly. So I was starting to click-click-click mindlessly.
I mixed some instant coffee and went outside. I'm staying on top of Mount Davis on Hong Kong Island, and lightning was striking across the water on the Kowloon Peninsula. So I sat out there watching the lightning strike again and again.
My mate Ryan sent this my way. Great talk:
I'd seen some of this science before, I might've read the original paper. It's good and interesting stuff, I love this topic. And the animation on this particular video was really cool and beautiful.
I like building organizations along those lines - a great purpose on an individual and organizational level, autonomy and great amounts of freedom to get to agreed upon objectives however people want, and lots of opportunities to learn, grow, and excel. It's the kind of place I like to work, and I like managing at the kind of place I like to work.
But then I had another thought - how much is this is universally applicable, and how much of it is good because it goes largely against the grain? See, the studies he cited are interesting, but I imagine there's a certain type of person who is incredibly motivated by financial concerns, perhaps that sort of person sees more money as unlocking autonomy, mastery, and purpose - if someone already has a distinct, driving, enduring meaning for their life, then more money could well translate directly into more of their purpose, more mastery, and more autonomy.
I think this is my favorite song... pretty much sums up the essence of living a masculine life.
And now the end is near And so I face the final curtain My friend I'll say it clear I'll state my case of which I'm certain
I've lived a life that's full I traveled each and every highway And more, much more than this I did it my way
Regrets I've had a few But then again too few to mention I did what I had to do And saw it through without exemption
TED Talk by Simon Sinek: How Great Leaders Inspire Action
"The Common Man's Guide Making Google Page 1" - a simple description of how high in Google for your own name. This just takes some time to get done, I'll probably gradually implement all of this.
30 Days, 5 Sites, Google Page 1
Discussed on Hacker News here
I eat pretty well and take pretty good care of myself. But it's taken quite a while to get here - before 2006, I had a pretty standard American diet. Lots of pizza, junk food, fast food, liquor, soda, sweets, etc. I smoked cigarettes, cigars, sheesha, and other kinds of tobacco.
Since then I've refined my diet and I eat pretty well. I have more energy, feel better, look better, and God willing, I'll live a lot longer as a result. It's a gradual process though, and I'm still improving. There's a few things I use to do it:
First, I'm all about incremental improvement - I think trying to crash change your diet is unlikely to work unless you have immense amounts of willpower and self-discipline. If you do have these Herculean amounts of will and discipline, you know who you are and don't need my advice. If you're more mortal, then you'll want to pick one or two things to be refining in your diet at a time.
Second, there's two ways I quit food or habits I don't like - "hard quitting" (cold turkey) and "soft quitting" (gradually reduce my consumption and eventually eliminate it). I pick which of these routes to go based on how convenient it is to quit something outright and if there's any detox process. If there's detox (like there was with nicotine), I think it's better to just get it over with once instead of constantly feeling deprived as your body re-adjusts to its new biochemical levels. The most successful method for quitting smoking is cold turkey, isn't it? Something like 80% of successful attempts to quit smoking are cold turkey? I don't have the statistics onhand, but that's the general idea. Quitting something like sugar, bad oils, or excess salt might be easier to do incrementally, since you need to replace the consumption with something else.
Which brings us to third point - I actively introduce new good behaviors before and during the time I quit something. Now, I don't know if the following is a good strategy, but it's what I did - when I started cutting down the sweets I ate, I increased my consumption of the kinds of salty foods I already ate: Chips, french fries, nuts, etc. Later I cut the salt content back. I don't know if that's a good habit, but it's worked okay for me. I also try to actively introduce fruits and vegetables before I quit something - it's hard to go from no fiber food that's highly processed to stimulate you immediately to fruits and vegetables. Fruit tastes bland compared to ice cream. So I introduce fruits and vegetables first, get comfortable with them, then increase my consumption of them as I decrease or eliminate bad consumption.
I have a checklist that I use throughout the day, every single day. It slowly evolves as I delete items that are automatic or aren't helpful, I add and change things I want to become new habits.
GENERAL - One or two things to remember through the day, for building new habits START OF DAY - My morning routine, to ideally be done every morning, or at least tracked MOST KEY ITEM - My biggest one or two things for the day. I evaluate whether a day is successful or not by whether I do one most key item PEOPLE - More and more, I realize most important and meaningful things need to be done with people. GENERAL - Funny that I named two sections General, hadn't realized until now. This is thinking about my life goals, cash has been added recently for tracking. END OF DAY - A review of the day and some thoughts on the next day. Also, I add what time I went to sleep.
Here it is:
------------------------------------------- GENERAL: *Be decisive. Look at it once, make a decision, done. *Live in the borderlands, awareness of the end in my heart ------------------------------------------- START OF DAY: Time awake: Total sleep: Vitamin C and Fish oil: Stretching?: Walk/run?: Situps?: Listen to audio?: Food?: Breathe: Borderlands: ------------------------------------------- MOST KEY ITEM: Next milestones: Objectives for today: Time started: Result: ------------------------------------------- PEOPLE: Blog post?: New People (FB, Twitter, emails): Current people: Help someone: Consorting: Emails in box, start: Emails in box, finish (and - why they there?): ------------------------------------------- GENERAL: *What are my key life goals? Spent 5 minutes on this. *Expenses for the day (estimate)? *Cash gotten or worked towards today ------------------------------------------- END OF DAY: What did I do right to move me towards my goals? What would I do differently if I had the day to live over? Plan tomorrow