This site is about finding ways to improve your ability to improve yourself. Integral to this is utilising meta-habits; habits that enhance your ability to adopt other habits.
To get started, here are five meta-habits that can serve as a foundation for continuous growth.
I'm guessing people here are familiar with the idea of 80% of the results coming from 20% of the effort. Although the numbers don't hold in every situation, the basic idea works for most. I'm guessing people are also familiar with the Lean Startup, which emphasises quick 'n' dirty versions to enable rapid testing. People might not be familiar with Boyd's OODA loop (observe, orient, decide, act) -- but the idea is you want to move through the loop as fast as possible, and gain a strategic edge on the opposition.
I'm guessing people are also familiar with Apple, which follows a different philosophy -- aim for 100% every time, even if it means your products cost twice as much as the competition.
These philosophies aren't really opposed. Sebastian had a good post about this (which I can't find right now). You want to aim for 80/20 crappiness, or 100/100 awesomeness. You don't want to get stuck at the sucky zone in the middle.
However, how can you decide which things to 80/20, and which things to 100/100?
Found this on Nicolas Taleb's Facebook page. It helps to understand his concept of "antifragility" - basically, fragile things are hurt by adverse conditions, robust things survive adverse conditions, and antifragile things get made stronger by adverse condiitons.
The classical, mostly Stoic, idea is that what matters isn't the random event itself, but how one responds to it, how one acts when hitting a snag. This was believed by scholars to make people "robust", that is immune from adversity --since we can control how we respond to events. But the point is, once again, misHarvardified: the classical man was vastly more antifragile than academic & library rats want him to be. He was not withdrawn from the world, but above it. His principal asset was in how much courage and fortitude he put in front of circumstances, how he could say "f*** you" to fate, how he defied reversals of fortune.
If that's the case, then he is not robust, as academics want him to be, but antifragile, as he wants as much disorder, adversity, and volatility to show off, to say "f*** you" to circumstances. If so, he is long volatility. The good news is that it takes a certain training. When a certain fellow failed his election bid for the Italian presidency (with an embarassingly low number of votes), as the results of the ballots were being announced, one of the senators was heard telling another: "now watch this man and learn from him how to lose".
It reminds me of this post: http://sebastianmarshall.com/give-me-strife-and-suffering-but-in-manageable-doses, which is why I'm putting it here.
This site is for people who want to grow exponentially; to improve their ability to improve themselves. Is this even possible?
Here's an exponential curve:
Making one positive change makes it easier to make more positive changes in future. So at first glance, it looks as though your rate of growth should keep growing, and that exponential improvements are possible.
But clearly you can't grow exponentially forever. We don't encounter people who've reached a "productivity singularity" where they can complete their daily tasks in five minutes, and spend the rest of their time reading time-management books (while jogging on a treadmill) to become even more efficient.
So I've crossed off two of my five goals for this month (http://sebastianmarshall.com/community/what-are-aiming-to-get-done-in-october), and I'm working hard on the third right now.
That goal is to start a consulting business. (My long-term goal is still to build a product business, but I realised for someone in my position, a decent chance at building a $million company is better than a 1% chance at a $billion company). Anyway, since many in this community are successful entrepreneurs (and unlike Hacker News, it seems like there's more consultants here), it'd be awesome to get some advice from you clever people :)
So far, I've built a basic website: http://thectonetwork.com/ (note: please don't link this elsewhere just yet, I'm not ready to publicly launch), and recruited some of my smartest friends. Right now my focus is on testing out the concept with potential clients.
1. Does the basic concept make sense? (Allowing business guys with money to 'rent-a-CTO'). Is it something you'd use?
The thread last month helped me a lot. I find a month to be a good length of time to get some significant work done, and the shared accountability helped a lot.
I got all 5 of my 5 goals crossed off - obviously, this month I need to stretch myself more. (Will list my own goals later).
But what are you working on, and how can we help you?
I found a solution that worked for me on a recent trip abroad - bodyweight exercises, in particular, the Convict Conditioning programme. I wrote up more details on my own blog: http://i.saac.me/post/struggle-to-maintain-exercise-habits-while-travelling/.
(Excuse the cross-promotion, but I think this programme will be genuinely useful for many people here).
A couple of months ago I came across this post: http://slatestarcodex.com/2013/03/03/reactionary-philosophy-in-an-enormous-planet-sized-nutshell/ which offered a critical introduction to something called Reactionary thought. As the name suggests, it's basically about resurrecting old-world beliefs and values.
Through that post I came across blogs like this: http://www.xenosystems.net/ and this: http://moldbuggery.blogspot.co.uk/ which explain their ideas in more depth.
They have some very interesting perspectives but their ideas are way, way outside the mainstream for modern political discussion. I'm still undecided what to think of them.
I've noticed some overlap between these guys, the Lesswrong/rationalist crowd, the libertarian/passive-income guys, and the manosphere/self-improvement blogs - so I doubt I'm the only SM reader who's come across them before. What do you guys think?