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Trajectory vs Position

On Aesop

One habit that I have found very disheartening is that of comparing myself to other people. I have a tendency to try to think of myself as being in the most favorable reference class* that makes any sense, and so then when I compare myself to other people, I naturally pick people from that reference class. Since I picked the nicest reference class in the first place, these comparisons usually don't work out well for me. I end up feeling depressed about my position in life, and it's very unproductive and unhelpful.

I have two strategies that I use to counteract this. The first is to try to think purely of myself in relation to myself, and not in relation to other people. Comparing myself to my past self is almost always a favorable one, and more helpful than favorable comparisons against other people, because it doesn't breed a superiority complex, and it demonstrates to myself that I can improve. So that's a better tactic.The other one that has helped me a great deal is thinking about myself in terms of trajectory instead of position. Focusing on position isn't actionable. It tells you that you're better than other people or positions you could be in, so you can rest on your laurels. It tells you that you're worse than different people, or alternate versions of yourself, but suggests no methods of improvement.

Thinking about your trajectory, on the other hand, changes all of that. If you're thinking about trajectory, you're not thinking about where you are currently, you're thinking about how your position is changing. So it doesn't matter if you're in a really bad situation, what matters is if your situation is improving or getting worse. And this lets you go meta, which is always a good thing: the second derivative, how how your situation is changing is changing.

This is really useful because, while the thing you actually care about is your position in life, you can't choose your position at any given moment. But you can, more or less, choose your trajectory. And your trajectory now determines your position later.

For instance, a few months ago I was in a really good position, but just sort of treading water. Not really improving or getting worse. Now I'm in a really similar position (that's what happens when you don't have a positive or negative trajectory, you're still in the same position later!), but I've started a new project (this blog), have two more projects that will be starting soon (National Novel Writing Month and a youtube channel), have made significant progress on two new games for my business, and am moving to Brooklyn in three weeks. My present situation hasn't changed much, but I'm setting myself up to have a lot more success in the future.

Making it Monday - (Cheaters) Spaghetti Sauce

On Zen Wednesday

I have my mother’s original secret spaghetti sauce recipe (which I will not be sharing here) and occasionally on a lazy Sunday I will whip up a big batch and let it simmer on the stove for hours…and that is all fine and good for a special occasion, but sometimes you crave spaghetti on a Tuesday night after a long day of work and hours of simmering ain’t gonna cut it. But being a bit of a foodie, jarred sauce ain’t gonna cut it for me either. I want something that looks and tastes completely homemade, but can be ready in 30-40 minutes. **A special shout out to my non-cooking friends, this sauce is super easy, it makes plenty of leftovers and it looks like you spent waaaay more time and effort than you actually did. Here, I used the sauce on spaghetti, but I have also kept the leftover sauce, poured it over penne pasta sprinkled cheese on top and baked it (yum!) OR, heated up some frozen turkey meatballs and used the leftover sauce to make meatball subs, OR I make a huge pot of spaghetti and sauce and the next day I make fried spaghetti. WHAT? You have never had fried spaghetti?!? It is the world’s greatest leftover dish EVER….you take the cold spaghetti and sauce out of the fridge, cut it so the spaghetti is a little shorter, heat some butter in a frying pan and dump it in. The spaghetti will get buttery and a little crispy and hot and gooey and OMG delicious! Do it. Just trust me on this. The Ben likes day two fried spaghetti better than the original spaghetti, but butter has a way of doing that to a guy.

Cheaters spaghetti sauce is all about throwing what you like (and what you have in your fridge) into a plain tomato/basil sauce to give it your own flair. This is how I usually make it, but you can add or delete ingredients to suit your taste. I add parsley, which has a strong flavor not everyone appreciates, but it can be easily left out or replaced with chopped basil if that’s more to your liking. Also, the amount of garlic you add depends on your flavor preference, I could easily go for a lot more on my own, but the Ben likes garlic in smaller does so I only added a few cloves. Have fun with it.

Ingredients:

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