"O my soul, do not aspire to immortal life, but exhaust the limits of the possible." -Pindar
Respice post te! Hominem te esse memento! Memento mori!
Translation: “Look behind you! Remember that you are but a man! Remember that you will die!”
If you set your desire on philosophy you must at once prepare to meet
with ridicule and the jeers of many who will say, 'Here he is again,
turned philosopher. Where has he got these proud looks?' Nay, put on
no proud looks, but hold fast to what seems best to you, in confidence
that God has set you at this post. And remember that if you abide
where you are, those who first laugh at you will one day admire you,
and that if you give way to them, you will get doubly laughed at.
On no occasion call yourself a philosopher, nor talk at large of your
principles among the multitude, but act on your principles. For
instance, at a banquet do not say how one ought to eat, but eat as you
ought. Remember that Socrates had so completely got rid of the thought
of display that when men came and wanted an introduction to
philosophers he took them to be introduced; so patient of neglect was
he. And if a discussion arise among the multitude on some principle,
keep silent for the most part; for you are in great danger of blurting
out some undigested thought. And when some one says to you, 'You know
nothing', and you do not let it provoke you, then know that you are
really on the right road. For sheep do not bring grass to their
shepherds and show them how much they have eaten, but they digest
their fodder and then produce it in the form of wool and milk. Do the
same yourself; instead of displaying your principles to the multitude,
show them the results of the principles you have digested.
Whatever principles you put before you, hold fast to them as laws
which it will be impious to transgress. But pay no heed to what any
one says of you; for this is something beyond your own control.
- The Manual [Enchiridion] Of Epictetus
Rehearse this thought every day, that you may be able to depart from life contentedly; for many men clutch and cling to life, even as those who are carried down a rushing stream clutch and cling to briars and sharp rocks. - Letters from a Stoic, Seneca
If powerful assholes don’t find you “arrogant,” it means you are doing something wrong.
- The Bed of Procrustes: Philosophical and Practical Aphorisms
What a good artist understands is that nothing comes from nowhere. All creative work builds on what came before. Nothing is completely original. - Steal Like an Artist
“Steal from anywhere that resonates with inspiration or fuels your imagination. Devour old films, new films, music, books, paintings, photographs, poems, dreams, random conversations, architecture, bridges, street signs, trees, clouds, bodies of water, light and shadows. Select only things to steal from that speak directly to your soul. If you do this, your work (and theft) will be authentic.” —Jim Jarmusch
You have to be curious about the world in which you live. Look things up. Chase down every reference. Go deeper than anybody else—that’s how you’ll get ahead.
See something worth stealing? Put it in the swipe file. Need a little inspiration? Open up the swipe file.
What to copy is a little bit trickier. Don’t just steal the style, steal the thinking behind the style. You don’t want to look like your heroes, you want to see like your heroes.
- - Steal like an Artist
There is nothing quite like ignorance combined with a driving need to succeed to force rapid learning. - Creativity, Inc.
One of the weaknesses of young, highly educated people today—whether in business, medicine, or government—is that they are satisfied to be versed in one narrow specialty and affect a contempt for the other areas. One need not know in detail what to do with “human relations” as an accountant, or how to promote a new branded product if an engineer. But one has a responsibility to know at least what these areas are about, why they are around, and what they are trying to do. - Effective Executive
- Exercise: Creates new neurons for long term learning
- Travel: Creates new experiences that leads to better processing.
- Certain books don’t need to be finished. Most of the time if you can get what you want out of 50% or by skimming the book then you should be good.
- Other books should be savored like a delicious meal.
- Figure out what level a book is before reading it by skimming it.
- Sometimes you may be reading a book that just covers something someone else covers and it isn’t that important to get through the whole thing.
- When reading a book outline it. Then figure out which chapters you will focus your energy on.
- This will help focus your energy on the relevant chapters. You can skim the rest.
- Have a list of books and content that you will skim:
- Pop psych
- Current events
- Pop business
Systems Thinking / First Principle
- Everything works in systems and as feedback loops.
- Understanding a system is to take the whole, and keep breaking it into individual parts, and deciding how far you want to break it apart.
- This results in learning to happen in layers.
- This means that each layer, adds another dimension.
- So when learning break things into different levels and layers and remove preconceived notions.
- Einstellung - being blocked by thinking about a problem in the wrong way.
Principles By Ray Dalio
- There are multiple levels for all subjects.
- Be aware on what level you are examining a given subject
- Consciously examine levels rather than see subjects as undifferentiated pits of facts that can be browsed randomly.
Fixed Mindset vs Growth Mindset
- Everything we do in life we have a combination of two mindsets called the fixed mindset and growth mindset
Diffused vs Focused
The harder you push your brain to come up with something creative, the less creative your ideas will be.
Once you are distracted from the problem at hand, the diffuse mode has access and can begin pinging about in its big-picture way to settle on a solution. - Mind for Numbers
Brain on Alcohol
Brain on Coffee
Attaining the State
- Plan your day around these two states of mind.
- Start with Diffused to Organize
- Afternoon of Focused
- Evening of Diffused
- To get good you need to practice certain parts more than others.
- Focused practice on the tasks that you are not good at.
- This is not fun. You just have to endure the pain to get to the other side.
- Don’t practice things that you are already good at do things that you suck at.
- Do spaced repetition to go over things to make the connections in your brain stronger on a certain topic.
- When learning something the connections break down over time and become less strong so if you go over something after a certain period of time that connections become strong again.
Three-Stage Model of Skill Aquisition
First Principles / Continuous Improvement
- You must start from First Principles when building something new to figure out how the fuction can be had.
- But from there you have to continuously improve on that.
- However, note the Structure of Scientific Revolutions.
- Sometime it is important to kill the golden goose because there is a new way of doing something.
- In that case it is okay to go back to First Principle to figure out the underlying components of something and start the continuous improvement cycle again.
- Use metaphors to think about problems.
- Understand Lakoffian Metaphors, or put it into simpler terms.
Changing Your Mind
- Not everything you do fits with data.
- It is needed that you stay flexible and are able to change your mind about things.
Aim for Success
- As you learn you may get resistence from other people who may say what you are doing is dumb or stupid.
- Not everyone will support you because of their jealously or inability or their fixed mindset on how things should be done, but this isn’t your concern since you can’t control what other people think.
- Don’t mind them, don’t feel like an imposter, aim higher and farther.
And the past—properly handled, as we will see in the next section—is a much better teacher about the properties of the future than the present. To understand the future, you do not need technoautistic jargon, obsession with “killer apps,” these sort of things. You just need the following: some respect for the past, some curiosity about the historical record, a hunger for the wisdom of the elders, and a grasp of the notion of “heuristics,” these often unwritten rules of thumb that are so determining of survival. In other words, you will be forced to give weight to things that have been around, things that have survived. - Antifragile
The bigger your chunked mental library, the more easily you will be able to solve problems. - Mind for Numbers
- A lot of life is built up around patterns that repeat over and over again.
- These patterns can create Mental Models that can be used to make decisions quickly and help give you an edge when attempting a certain outcome.
- They allow you to take different fields and put them together to produce and understand an outcome.
- The beauty of Mental Models is they can come from anywhere. This makes it pretty important to study and learn broadly from different fields and not get caught up in a maxima of what you know.
- Sometimes the best ideas come from reading about fields completely unrelated to your own.
mental models to remember
- Financial decisions
- cause and effect relationships
- Second Order Effects
- certain laws like Moore’s law that dictate change
- Chaos theory
- group dynamic vs individual dynamic
- Power law
- Pareto principle
- feedback loops
- broken window theory
- network effect
- vis negativa
- Maslov Hierarchy of Neeeds
- design patterns
- architecture patterns
- Design Patterns
- story telling
- civilization and its discontents / Freud
- Cognitive Psychology
- Stretch Goals
- Fixed Mindset vs Growth Mindset
- How different languages affect different cultures.
- Language both defined and is defined by culture.
- This has a bearing on how you approach different cultures
- Behavioral Economics
- Pygmalion Effect
- creative destruction
- division of labor
- diminishing utility
- Paradox of Choice
- Disruptive Innovation
- opportunity cost
- lisp vs c
- contract programming
- unix way
- cathedral vs the bazaar
- Graph Algorithms
- Asymmetric war/ Blitzkrig / Genghis Khan
- fighting on multiple fronts (or why to avoid fighting on multiple fronts)
- The struggle each person has that they try to overcome throughout their life
- Hero’s Journey
- post structuralism
- lakoffian linguistics
- historical theory
- deconstruction of history
- spread of Christianity
- history of sexuality
- greece / rome
- spread of political movements and their anchors
- Post structural systems
- Imagined spaces
- Derogatory power
- Care of the self
- Power dynamics
- Pseudo events / the image by Daniel Borstein
- simulacra and simulation
- Hollywood Model
- Rural vs Urban
- Living in Between Worlds
- Structures of Power Dynamics
- Segregation built into different structures
Team Mental Models
First, team members must understand the technology or equipment with which they are interacting. The dynamics and control of the technology and how it interacts with the input of other team members is particularly crucial for team functioning. Second, team members must hold shared job or task models. Such models describe and organize knowledge about how the task is accomplished in terms of procedures, task strategies, likely contingencies or problems, and environmental conditions. Third, team members must hold shared conceptions of how the team interacts. These models describe the roles and responsibilities of team members, interaction patterns, information flow and communication channels, role interdependencies, and information sources. The final model that team members must share is the team member model. This model contains information that is specific to the member's teammates--their knowledge, skills, attitudes, preferences, strengths, weaknesses, tendencies, and so forth. According to Cannon-Bowers et al. (1995), such knowledge is crucial for team effectiveness because it allows team members to tailor their behavior in accordance with what they expect their teammates to do. The more knowledge team members have about one another (and the more accurate that information is), the more efficient and automatic this process can be. - The Influence of Shared Mental Models on Team Process and Performance
Gartner Hype Cycle
- Most technology goes through this.
How to Learn a Subject
Based on this knowledge when you want to learn something and learn it deep you should do the following:
- Pick the subject
- Get a cursory understanding of the subject
- Message Famous People and Talk to Them
- Pick the next layers. Ask a series of questions that you want to answer from the previous layer. This could be the 2-4 topics that interest you about that subject but mostly I’d say use Pareto’s Principle and pick the 20% that will give 80% of the benefit right away.
- Learn each layer by books, media, papers, etc. but have specific deadlines for each since knowledge builds on existing knowledge it may be readily forgotten if the existing knowledge isn’t reaccessed.
- Break each thing into individual chunks. If you are learning a new movement example for Krav Maga move to individual pieces: the feet, hips, hands, the movement of the hips, the movement of the legs, where you are on the floor and where you should be.
- Note the Following:
- Fears (i.e Like the Fear of Formulas)
- Need to do this because certain aspect of learning is expanding your comfort level and to do that you need to understand that you may get overwhelmed and have to note the fear of the unknown so that you can work through it.
- Mental Models of Similar / Adjacent Subjects
- Practice with b in mind.
- Apply the new knowledge immediately to a small project. Make it immediately usable and test this with your own hypothesis.
- This helps you solidify your understanding
- Take what you learned and what you applied and systematize it. Since you applied the learning you have made it your own and that much more influential to yourself.
- Write it down as a checklist
- Create programs that execute what you learn
- Goto 3
- Remember what layer you are in when reading or learning something. If you read a book similar to what someone has already written then you are not going to learn anything.
- Most business books all have similar topics and cover an aspect but think layers. Example of how something could be broken down:
- How does Sales Works?
- Sales Management
- Drip Campaigns
- Effective Emails
- Testing Emails
- Cold Calling
- Scripts for Cold Calling
- Testing Calls
- How to Reach People
- Behavioral Economics
- Closing a Sale
- Mental Model: improv is similar to sales power dynamics
The First 20 Hours: How to Learn Anything
- Sufficient not great, develop capacity not mastery
- Rapid Skill Acquisition
- Deconstructing a skill to individual subskills
- Learn enough about each subskill to practice intelligently and self-correct during practice
- Removing physical, mental, and emtional barriers that get in the way of practice
- Practicing the most important subskills for at least twenty hours
- Ten Principles
- Chose a lovable project
- Focus your energy on one skill at a time
- Define your target performace level
- Deconstruct the skill into subskills
- Obtain critical tools
- Eliminate barriers to practice
- Make dedicated time for practice
- Create fast feedback loops
- Figure out how you are performing quickly
- Practice by the clock in short bursts
- Emphasize quantity and speed.
- Ten Principles of Effective Learning
- Research the skill and related topics
- Pick up the patterns that appear in multiple places, those are important.
- Jump in over your head
- Identify mental models and mental hooks
- Imagine the opposite of waht you want.
- Think of the exact opposite of what would happen. If something went wrong. Inversion. Like if you went hunting. You could jam your gun, the animal could charge you, you don’t kill the animal quickly enough, you could get lost. What would you do to prepare for those? That should be what you need to learn.
- Talk to practitioners to set expectations.
- Eliminate distractions in your environment.
- Use spaced repetition and reinforcement for memorization.
- Create scaffolds and checklists
- Make and test predicitions
- Observations - what you currently observing?
- Knowns - what do you know about the topic already?
- Hyopthesis - what do you think will improve your performance?
- Tests - what are you going to try next?
- Honor your biology.
- Motor skill functions need both practice and sleep to learn
- yoga if you are sitting around
- weifht lifting
- fighting class. Something like Krav Maga or jujitsu
- eat well
- fruits and vegetables
- reduce intake of meat but still keep it as part of the diet
Postulates / Learning Fast #postulates
What is it that I already know?
Learn: How do I learn things quickly so I can attain new skills?
- Philosophy / Classics
- [ ] Letters from a Stoic
- [ ] Nicomachean Ethics
- [ ] The Hero with a Thousand Faces
- [ ] Meditations
- [ ] Human, All too human
- [ ] History of the Peloponnesian War by Thucydides
- How do I build more Mental Models?
- [ ] Feynman
- What is the fundamentals of Physics?
- Areas I want to focus
- Project: Solar Power
- How to create a effective high power solar power system
- Natural Selection
- [ ] Origin of Species
- [ ] Guns, Gems and Steel
- [ ] Orientalism
- [ ] Fooled By Randomness
- [ ] Home Deus
- Systems Thinking
- How do you break apart problems into components and attack them individually?
- [ ] Poor Charlie’s Almanac
- [ ] The Fifth Discipline
- [ ] Principles
- [ ] Not For Bread Alone
- [ ] Thinking in Systems
- [ ] Out of the Crisis
- [ ] Fifth Discipline
- [ ] The Toyota Way
- [ ] Toyota Production Systems
- Stay Calm during stress otherwise you will be using your energy unwisely
- Limit Caffeine as it causes adrenaline which puts additional stressors in the system.
- Get a lot of sleep
- Take notes of your negative talk
- Fear is needed as a natural occurance
Learn, Do, Advance, Iterate
- Each learning can have parent and children learning
- This system treats each invocation and learning as an update to the whole system
- A big learning project should be broken down by first principle into individual sublearnings and depth first adaptation should happen.
- Don’t treat projects as projects treat them as learnings. Each learning creates something new. But each learning is broken down into smaller tasks.
- Eat or be eaten.
- As you learn and do you may get resistance from other people who may say what you are doing is dumb or stupid or try to thwart you.
- It is important that you realize this and prevent those people from holding you back.
- The most important person who may be holding you back is yourself.
- Have high standards for yourself and others, but make sure that you have a path to get to those high standards.
- Figure out where people are and get them to aim higher.
- Every learning must have a deadline, things without deadlines will be endless and pointless so we need deadlines to focus on what is important to learn and do. If you don’t have a timeframe you can end up learning forever, but the goal is to learn and do and for that you need timeframes.
- As you move quicker through this loop they increase to create new feedback loops in a tree like function. Some of the feedbacks loops fail but overall the experiments lead to a 2^n growth. The problem being it takes a lot of effort to change these feedback cycles as they get to a maxima of efficiency. Examples include Facebook and google being thrown into promoting bad govts etc.
- Practice Kaizen
- Constantly improve over time making small changes to be better. Those small changes affect things over time.
- Treat your growth in terms of Compounded Interest. You want to be 1% better everyday.
- So if you get better everyday you get 37% better from where you are now.
- If you look at the growth you will notice that just getting better for 100 days will make you 2.7% better, 200 → 7.3%, 300 → 19.8%. The more consistent you are the better that compounding makes you.
- Try getting 1% better everyday. Try to attain good habits. Even if you fail attempt to get back into the grove of things by working on them. Small changes over time cascade into bigger changes.
1% Every Day
-1% Every Day
I learn by going where I have to go. -Fortune Cookie
- As you move through life your priorities and projects change and what mattered before has less importance now.
- However, at any point in life you must constantly be improving: for yourself, your spouse/partner, your friends and family, society.
- Pick projects that are worthwhile and push your limit and learn them.
- Create mental models from different subjects so that each new thing you learn becomes that much easier.
- Learning should stretch you in someway. Shouldn’t be comfortable but there
- Should be some fear, no fear no growth
- Time bound
- Certain things need to be learned now and other things can wait years.
- Prioritize by time
- Before you start learning make an outline of what you know.
- As you start learning fill in the gaps and create the other parts you don’t know.
- Before you start a project write a short essay describing the vision for learning the subject. It should answer the following:
- What you want to learn?
- What specific things you want to learn about the subject?
- How learning this will create leverage for you in terms of personal life, business, etc?
- How will you apply this knowledge into the world?
- What a good metric for successfully learning this subject looks like?
- Know your style of learning.
- Are you a reader, watcher, writer, listener?
- Each style requires a different paradigm or medium that you should use.
Just as eating cow meat doesn’t turn you into a cow, studying philosophy doesn’t make you wiser.
- The Bed of Procrustes: Philosophical and Practical Aphorisms
- Learning for the sake of learning won’t fulfill you.
- You must apply your knowledge to the real world.
- What you learn on paper and on the screen won’t be much benefit if you don’t bring it into the world.
- A lot of mental anguish is having learned but never getting the chance to apply.
- More education will not bring you joy if you can’t apply what you have learned.
- Figure out how to apply what you learned: teach it, write about it, code it, make it, build it.
- Systematize it. Figure out the patterns and codify those patterns.
- If you do something once it is okay to do it manually
- If you do it n times then you need to come up with a system a checklist or automation that makes it so you don’t have to think about it when doing the task.
- When Doing Things You can follow the OODA loop or any other method for rapidly learning and improving on something.
- The Do part can take hours or years, it is dependent on the level of mastery you want to achieve.
- But when Doing, you want to split what you want into individual cycles that form a chunks using First Principles / Continuous Improvement
- Do a project
- Update procedures to try out an experiment.
- Somehow use the learning to change behavior.
- These are the individual tasks that you may track in a system like jira
- Deliberate practice to get better
- Unlearning is just as important as learning, when you learn something you will find things that no longer fit and you have to unlearn these things.
- Learn broadly but do sparingly
- It makes sense to learn something to understand how it works but it usually makes sense to have others do the actual task unless the goal is to do this professionally.
- This comes down to energy and time: Can’t do everything well and we need to focus on the few things that will give us the most benefit and most leverage.
- When you learn something you understand better what someone can do and holes in your knowledge if they are good and can explain the things that you have missed.
- How do you take what you learned and create leverage in terms of what you want to achieve. This is a big part of learning is you have to have it create leverage in other parts of what you do. This leverage should compound the more you do it.
- Learning is about creating leverage in a certain area.
- Doing something requires a trade off from something else. So make sure you want to actively Pursue this as part of your long term goals
“Burn the Ships” -Alexander the Great’s orders to his troops upon reaching Asia Minor
- If want to advance you need to commit to the change, with full force.
- This will force an outcome
- And will surface the mistakes and unintended consequences.
- What the obstacles are in your way
- If you can’t advance then figure out what skin in the game you will put to advance.
- Sometimes, to advance you have to give it all up.
- Don’t make a backup plan, unless you absolutely need to or it is part of your job to do so
- When you advance also note if it is going toward your goals and vision of your life.
- No need to advance toward something that won’t bring you happiness.
- Stretch Yourself
- When advancing you will run into mistakes these need to be kept somewhere as these are learning points to advance.
- Course Correct. What knowledge are you missing?
- Every quarter figure out how to level up your life. You need to figure out how to advance and improve.
- Plan for where you want to be and work backwards
Most zealously I seek for erudition: Much do I know—but to know all is my ambition. - Faust by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
- Use the outcomes to iterate the learning
- The learn loop is a part of a tree.
- Figure out the next learn steps based on your learning
- The outcomes may affect other areas create learn cycles there
- The outcome may also kill off some leafs and branches.
- Note: Evolution has consequences. What you do and advance to can affect you or your organization. Think of how different a gorilla and human are, both similar DNA but completely different outcome.
- You can’t do everything, so do you want to advance at a particular juncture?
- In business hiring someone can be a way to create a more effective learning instead of you doing it yourself.
- Figure out what the next difficult challenge is.
- How can you broaden your horizon, do even more difficult thing than before?
- Be weary of moving laterally in a project, career, etc.
- Figure out what the obstacles are
- Figure out who is putting roadblocks in your way to achieve the next steps.
- You may have to address this issue.
- All skills are a series of levels, and each skill is a series of subskills, and so forth.
- How can you level up and down on each of these?
- Go back to Learn, with a larger goal or action.
- If you stumble figure out where you stumbled, figure out how to correct or fix that mistake.
- Sometimes you have to stop the iteration as it hits its logical end.
- We may be good workers in the field of choice we choose to be in but we struggle with helping or affecting the bigger picture.
- At some point you realize that you want something more and you don’t have the tools to do it.
- The destination is never as fun as the journey.
- Once we arrive our brains lose interest and we are back to our baseline happiness.
- So it is better to constantly evolve, as that is the only thing that is worth anything.
- A person who has stopped evolving is already dead, they just don’t know it yet.
- What they are now would be no different from what they are the moment they die.
- I thought that there were certain things I would always be interested in and though that is true to a certain extent I already realized that I needed a general framework for things I don’t know I will be interested in, things I want to like but have no idea how.
- After reading a bunch over what other people have tried to achieve, what their goals were and how they did it, it seems all people go through a certain trajectory.
- Learn and Do
- We learn something and do it, that is what school teaches us.
- However, what most of us don’t do is advance. When we “Do” we get stuck or move laterally. While this is all good and well, it is easy to get bored and disoriented when all we are doing is moving laterally through life.
- So we need a new framework for learning.
- Learn, Do, Advance, Iterate
- We want to get a new job, want to learn a new skillset, want to move our life and relationships in a new directions. First we need to learn and understand what it is that we are even asking and get an understanding.
- We then need to make small adjustments to test out our hypothesis and iterate until we feel comfortable with this new learning, but with an end date in mind. We can’t be stuck in the same tasks forever.
- We then need to commit and advance our position, this means going from that which is comfortable to that which is uncomfortable. This may mean taking a job that has more responsibility, starting a company, adjusting or leaving relationships with people who are holding you back, and forcing new outcomes.
- When you commit and advance you have a whole new set of mistakes, and outcomes that you have to learn from. This should set a trigger of a new tree to learning.
- What is interesting about this framework is that it works for both individuals and teams.
- It depends on how you handle the learning.
- When starting something ask what other thing it will take away from