I was skimming B.F. Skinner's Beyond Freedom and Dignity and came across this quote by La Rochefoucauld --
"No man deserves to be praised for his goodness unless he has strength of character to be wicked. All other goodness is generally nothing but indolence or impotence of will."
If you're not familiar with the term Indolence -- (I had to look it up myself) -- it's laziness, a lack of animation, an inability to compel yourself to act.
Impotence of will is the inability to follow through and persist with plans.
So what La Rochefoucauld is getting at is, if someone wishes they were able to lie, cheat, steal, and otherwise do awful things to get ahead and yet doesn't simply out of a lack of drive, that's not praiseworthy.
Tynan gave a terrific talk for the Gotta Be Good Tour date in Austin about getting serious and doing great work.
Hanging out afterwards, he mentioned that he was learning language tapes and wasn't writing daily like his old habit was.
I was giving him a hard time about it. I said, what the heck is the use of learning basic Romanian? With all due respect to the Romani people of the world, I figure there's almost no chance that Tynan is ever going to translate or have really high level conversations in a language of a country he doesn't have an affinity to, he won't be a translator, and yet his best writing is incredibly meaningful and really makes a difference in people's lives.
There's a chance your best writing persists for a very long time; there's no chance that knowing a few more words and phrases in a country you're not strongly connected to is worth very much.
Well, turnabout being fair play and all, he gave me a hard time that I wasn't writing as much as I used to. And so on. And eventually -- I think it was his idea to start, because it sounds like something he'd come up with -- he asked how much I'd wager on writing every day.
INTERNAL SCORECARD #18: Habit Disruption Due to Travel
I write up these "Internal Scorecards" to look at production, productivity, habits. This particular edition will cover a broad mix of topics, from 6 October to 23 October.
We're traveling in this edition, so you can see how habits hold up when on the road.
I flew to Bangkok via Singapore on October 14th for the DCBKK conference on October 18th. I stayed in Singapore one day en route, and will leave Bangkok on October 24th.
Hard rules make life easier.
"I don't drink soda."
"I don't go online until I write 1,000 words."
"I turn the computer off at 11PM."
"I don't watch television."
If you know a guy who is a really decent, nice guy, but is a real jerk when he's drunk... and you come across him at some annual party, and he's drunk, and being a jerk... then what do you think about him?
Do you think, "He's a really jerk"?
No, of course not.
You think, "Ah, it's just the liquor."
We all know that alcohol and intoxicants change your biochemistry, how you act, and your personality. And we cut people a bit of slack for acting differently than normal on those sorts of things.
Be skeptical, please. This realization was somewhat shocking to me if it's true, or even partly true.
So. A large amount of my reading of the last month has focused on organization, execution, time management, planning, maxing out effectiveness, and so on. But I started to find something -- the threshold of gains from "theoretical planning" and "theoretical organizing" starts to fall off entirely after a few weeks of it. You 80/20 things and make plans to the best of your knowledge, giving it an hour or so per day, and a long session here and there.
And then after that, there's not much gain to be had from it, and execution takes over...
...or does it?
Well, it does. But just like "theoretical planning," you could also say there's "theoretical execution."
"I'm way ahead of where other people are at..."
"Most people who graduated my year from my school are only making $xx,xxx but I'm making $xx,xxx + 20%."
"Most people have a ton of bad debt. I've only got a little bit."
"Most people don't do anything really exciting or interesting. But I've got one interesting hobby, so I'm different and better."
Cut that out, eh?
This post will be short, but I encourage you to read it two or three times. It could save you a lot of headache.
The most convincing sort of falsehood looks like this.
1. Clearly true fact. 2. Clearly true secondary fact that's emotionally charged. 3. Faulty causality that ties the two together.
That simple structure is so convincing, but so incredibly bad for you that it'll get you into all kinds of trouble. Especially if you're analyzing your goals, or your weaknesses, or trying to form an ethical structure, or something important like that.
Stop and re-read this one. There's no way to fill in the blanks without examples that wouldn't be either very boring, or incredibly hurtful/controversial to someone going through it. But try to make some of your own in your mind, and be damn careful when something falls into this structure of argument.
One clarification: On the video, I said I was in a "t-shirt." It would more appropriately be called "a young fashionable informal shirt." Everything else is correct to the best of my knowledge. Enjoy this one, and share it.
Everyone I know is terrified of air travel.
They have infinite power and zero accountability.
When you're in an airport, you're at the mercy of the people there. If they don't like what you're doing, they can do anything they want to you, and you have no recourse.
I understand the necessity of that coercive power - but such immense power requires immense accountability.