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Steps to Achievement: The Pitfalls, Costs, Requirements, and Timelines


I just posted a new article at Less Wrong - "Steps to Achievement: The Pitfalls, Costs, Requirements, and Timelines." This is a little bit longer and more dry than I write for my blog, but I think there's some very important things in here.

If you're interested in goals and achievement, there's quite a lot of meat here. I'm putting the full version up here and please feel very welcome to comment here on this topic, but also consider heading over to Less Wrong, grab a free account, and start participating there. As I described in "You Should Probably Study Rationality," it's a wonderful community.

Reply to: Humans Are Not Automatically Strategic

In "Humans Are Not Automatically Strategic," Anna Salamon outlined some ways that people could take action to be more successful and achieve goals, but do not:

Surpassing Fear and Ego

On Jennifer Davies Online

I recently discovered Karol Gajda and finding his posts inspiring and motivating (and his honesty refreshing), I wanted to make sure you know of him too.

After reading his essay, Be The Idiot, I felt drawn to comment but soon realized my comment was morphing into something more. Karol asked, "What’s an example of ego getting in your way? And better than that, what’s an example of you dropping your ego and progressing on something quicker than normal?". This post is the result.

I certainly have suffered thinking about what I feared others must think of me. For example, years ago when temping, the more junior the position, the more I felt the need to tell coworkers that I used to be a computer programmer. I defined myself by my job title and cared too much what other people thought of me. I've been there.

This post, however, is about times where I've gotten over a fear of seeming stupid to others or sucking and what I've accomplished as a result. These lessons are personal, but perhaps you may identify with some of them -- if so, please share your stories and insights in the comments.

1) As a student my desire to help my peers outweighed my fears of sucking so I created, for the first time ever, a few how to videos and posted them. Result: a company in California discovered me, liked how I wasn't formal/perfect (boring), and paid me to design a 30+ video course for them--a reminder that Volunteering is Good for You.

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