Saturday, 25 August 2012

Things I'll wish I'd done sooner

I've had this list in my anki ideas deck for a while, as separate cards with a "ywyds" tag. I've categorized and edited it a bit. I'll be regularly updating this list.

LONG-TERM STRATEGY
- figure out how true the overself's claims are, specifically whether happiness/sadness is just raising/lowering of setpoints, and whether self-inflicted pain increases willpower
- do (detailed?) self-tracking
- do self-experiments and see how different things affect you
- figure out how productive it is to just stand and think; if sufficiently productive, do it more
- at the end of every day, write a list of "how my potential was wasted today", or "ways in which I made myself less awesome today", and post that to a blog or email it to someone I respect
- figure out whether starting/cloning startups is a good idea
- talk more to smart people about what I should do
- figure out how much random internet wandering is worth (I made a list of all the most useful things that I've learned in my life, and almost all were due to random internet wandering)
- see a shrink; figure out whether you really have manic-depressive disorder, and what implications this has about systematic biases, whether it's safe to go manic, whether you should deliberately do things that make you go manic, whether you should get medicated, etc.
- figure out whether happiness/contentment is good over the long term; and if not, make a list of ways to be less complacent and do those things, eg. listening to certain music, comparing myself to ridiculously competent fictional characters, being around people who are better than me
- more seriously think about your thinking patterns, and think about how to optimize them; perhaps speak your train-of-thought to a microphone, or write it in shorthand, and then look over it; stop yourself from thinking about unproductive things, and consciously direct your thoughts to useful topics
- spend more time thinking about long-term strategy
- add more items to these lists
- make concrete, deadlined plans for executing everything on these lists
- make a list of all sub-optimalities in your life, and come up with ideas and plans for removing them ("If you don't do anything, it's always going to be like that. Is that what you want all your life?")

SELF-EDUCATION
- get a better understanding of the SRS algorithms and whether it's worth modifying anki or writing my own SRS program to optimize for my needs (I use SRS for around four hours a day, so this is high-leverage)
- figure out which things are worth memorizing; come up with heuristics that can be applied whenever
- make SRS decks for public consumption, eg. on SRSs, on math, on The Science of Winning at Life, on more of the Sequences, etc. (I have a list)
- learn and rev Divia's Sequences deck
- decide once and for all whether cool/shiny skills like tying knots, coin-walking, memorizing decks of cards (also a specific deck for memorized-deck magic), magic tricks, etc. are worth learning; and if not, don't randomly decide to learn them bc you're bored of math or whatever
- start doing DNB regularly again
- somehow make a list of all the words you think you know but really don't bc you incorrectly deduced their meanings from context and then confirmation bias happened; then learn those words' real meanings
- learn more about how Linux works, so I'm not fiddling with things in the dark
- decide which of my anki experiments are failures, and suspend them
- figure out whether learning about history, politics, philosophy, physics, etc. is worth it (I don't think so, but many aspiring rationalists seem to)
- possibly saccade more
- calculate whether /really/ learning shorthand is a good time investment (it would be very useful for writing down ideas while manic)
- research and calculate whether speed-reading is worth learning
- learn more about machine learning, and figure out whether it could be used to turn detailed self-tracking into detailed recommendations
- card the wikipedia articles and LW articles on each type of cognitive bias, and devise ways of training yourself to no longer have them
- train calibration, probably with that bentspoongames calibration game

WILLPOWER TRAINING / ENFORCEMENT
- stop watching porn and stop masturbating
- take cold showers (or no showers if I'm not going to be around people I respect) (I'm doing this, but inconsistently)
- figure out whether it's worth never scratching itches, and if so don't
- ask gwern (and/or someone else, like neurochem subreddit) those nicotine questions I have
- set small daily goal
- take automatic randomly-timed screenshots of what I'm doing, and (automatically) put it on blog or email it to someone I respect
- maybe take automatic randomly-timed webcam pics of yourself for blog/email (so I stand more and have better posture)
- ask parents to help enforce precommitments, eg standing all day or having good posture
- decide whether listening to music is a net gain/loss from the overself's perspective; then act on that knowledge
- do daily willpower testing, eg. plank exercise; graph results
- implement random reinforcements, as per John Maxwell's post (I did this for a while, and it may have helped, but I stopped when I discovered nicotine)
- try narrowing your time horizon as a way of gaining willpower; eg. don't buy cookies because you're only viscerally compelled to eat cookies, not to buy them, or don't pick up cookies because you're only viscerally compelled to have them in your mouth, not to put them there; try to disconnect the extrapolation of visceral compulsions
- set up some system for comparing different days' productivities to each other, and watch the day's percentile rank go up as you do more work
- ankify gettingstronger.org
- regularly apply mental contrasting
- experiment with rewarding willpower failures, then taking away the reward

MENTAT METHOD
- think harder and longer about those procedure-checklists, memorize the useful ones, and apply them
- make a list of things whose benefits I'm uncertain of, then apply mentat method
- devise a consistent way of measuring your utility, then use that to figure out quantitatively what the best thing to do is
- come up with benchmark utility values for time, social interaction, etc.
- read those books on measuring things / guesstimation, do the exercises, etc.
- decide whether it's worth it to learn to do faster mental math
- set up a point system based around (self-induced?) changes in expected utility (somewhat like taw's point system)
- do quantitative reflection and planning at the end of every day and week
- learn some more economics and see how it can be used for mentat method
- think more about / write that Book of Shapes

HEALTH OPTIMIZATION
- figure out what diet is optimal and use it
- do GOMAD (I've sorta done this for about a month, but most days not a full gallon)
- get someone to do weightlifting with me
- do intermittent fasting
- get a zeo
- skim Seth Roberts's site and follow any valid-seeming advice
- learn to nap (or how melatonin should be used for napping)
- sleep biphasically; decide whether polyphasic is a good idea
- measure how many times I do small damaging habits that I have, like knuckle-cracking or lip-picking, and try to reduce them
- try out Shangri-La
- measure things like BP and heart rate more often (see whether post-mania "crashes" are due to high BP)
- figure out whether doing ridiculous amounts of cardio is a good or a bad thing
- research whether weighted shoes/clothes are a thing, and if so then get some
- keep a more regular sleep schedule
- squat while shitting
- record what I'm eating and see which nutrients I'm short on
- low-dose aspirin


NOT BEING SOCIALLY RETARDED
- do more rejection therapy to get rid of social anxieties
- practice some PUA; make women attracted to you then get them to reject you (I've decided to stay celibate, but I still have social anxieties that this would help me overcome)
- figure out how much I (should) care about other people's impressions (eg. is it worth it to comb my hair?)
- actually act on that info about how to overcome acne (but is it worth it?)
- explain things to a microphone or webcam and try to correct mistakes
- talk to a mirror
- try talking to strangers in some situation where it won't be as awkward - those websites? speed-dating?
- learn something about fashion and decide whether it's worth paying attention to
- ask people, perhaps random strangers, what impression I create
- try out different personalities; invent fake life-histories and live them out
- actually do those stretches/exercises meant to correct your posture
- figure out whether I'm making too much or too little eye-contact, then correct that
- practise being more "present" in social interactions
- do Scientology eye-staring thing
- stand on a busy sidewalk with a sign saying "free hugs" for a few hours"

TRYING NEW THINGS, ANTI-""EVERY DAY THE SAME DREAM"-SYNDROME"
- experimenting with non-drug-induced weird mindstates, eg deliberately believing I'm dreaming
- try out modafinil, piracetam and other chemicals
- figure out whether meditation is worth it, and if so do it
- do weird things in throwaway social situations (kinda like rejection therapy)
- talk to yourself for like a week straight (like image-streaming); perhaps record it and play it back
- set up some system so that, upon waking, you can speak your dreams instead of having to write them down
- get a compass belt
- do WBTB more
- do MILD more seriously
- regularly do reality checks
- make a list of mental "rituals" to try, and then try them and record the results
- make up a cast of ridiculously awesome real/fictional characters (make some up yourself), then ask yourself what they would do, and try emulating them
- do the "everyone else is a p-zombie" visualization at least once a day
- make a list of weird things I could do whose consequences I don't know, then do them
- read through Astonish Yourself and do more of the exercises
- make a list of things I irrationally fear, then do them (eg., dancing, singing, opening eyes when wet)
- try being more observant/in-the-moment, or being less, and decide which is best for which situations
- try to figure out the main axes on which my mood varies / what mental "gears" I have; then make a list of ideas for changing between each pair of gears; then try those out and record results
- experiment with deep immersion into some narrow skill, eg. doing mental math ten hours a day for a week (I'll have to get someone to force me to do this)
- experiment with relearning procedural skills or sense-data interpretation, eg. wearing goggles that flip your vision around or invert colours
- switch to Dvorak
- get ambidextrous
- make a list of weird patterns to think in, then try them out (eg. be paranoid, or try to link everything back to cucumbers, or be ridiculously cynical)
- experiment more with deliberate self-delusion, ie try to believe something and then introspect on whether you believe it, keeping in mind the mess EY says this will get you into
- be more conscious of my own thoughts, and add more of them to anki (and try to capture them in words better)
- come up with a list of ways to not retread the same thought patterns every day (eg. making a list of what the day's main thought-themes have been, and reading those right after you wake up the next day)
- actually calculate whether it's worthwhile to continue developing that personalized conlang
- practice visualization; see whether you can make things look more real
- go homeless by choice, or live in a car/van
- try deluding yourself that you're eg. high-status, and see whether it helps
- really, deeply realize that I'm made of atoms

MISCELLANEOUS
- write for those high-school writing contests (this will become impossible shortly)
- export anki deck with all my ideas, edit it, and post it to LW or blog
- live with other rationalists
- brainstorm specific topics, and put the results of those sessions on blog and/or LW
- go through blogs of other people similar to me (eg. Project Ubermensch) and steal ideas; figure out why they haven't taken over the world yet
- get someone (or some mental procedure) to tell me which of my mania-inspired ideas are good and which are crazy
- ankify all mania-produced ideas which are in notebooks and on loose pieces of paper
- make more frequent backups
- read Getting Things Done, and perhaps card that and similar books like Eat That Frog

DONE, BUT WISH I'D DONE SOONER, and knew I'd wish I'd done sooner before I did them
- get and use melatonin; go to sleep earlier so I'm not sleep-deprived
- get a cardio machine and regularly use it (done, but ATM I'm not using it bc I'm doing weightlifting)
- get and use nicotine
- join a gym and start weightlifting
- care a lot less about schoolwork
- stop watching TV
- stop playing computer games
- meet rationalists in person
- stop drinking things that aren't water
- research whether homeschooling is a good idea (it is, but my final year of high school ends this December, so it's not worth it anymore)

DONE AS A RESULT OF THIS LIST AND PROJECT:
- check whether HGH is worth it (it's not)

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