Self control is one of the biggest struggles most people have. Me included.
I’m beset by the near-term desire to behave in many ways that I wish I didn’t. I snack too much, and drink too much. I spend too much time on twitter.
There are a few approaches to to deal with this:
- rely on my willpower
- pre-emptively avoid tempting circumstances (hacking the akrasia horizon)
- create quick feedback loops which deter it
- Commitment mechanisms: out-source the self control.
The technology version of last option is the newest. It’s a recent development that I can use technology to craft systematic self control, and so the most interesting to me. I often mention it as an example, and frequently receive follow-up questions asking what I really mean. Let’s dive in.
Continue reading Outsourcing self control
In most areas of life putting in more effort means achieving a better outcome.
The harder and more consistently you exercise, the fitter you get. The more hours you put in studying, the better your grades.
Of course there are a few, very unusual areas where the opposite rule holds. Aldous Huxley’s called this “The Law of Reversed Effort”: the harder you try, the worse you do. Think of quicksand and finger-cuffs, where success is defined by gentle, slow movements. Continue reading The Law of Reversed Effort
Investors usually understand returns.
But risk… risk is more difficult. Risk involves communicating not just that many outcomes are possible, but how likely they are. Continue reading Visualizing risk, return, and time