[ Question ]

A Strange Situation

by Flange Finnegan 1 min read18th Feb 201910 comments


Hello all,

I am a newcomer to the site, but I have been lurking and reading the various posts on this site for about 8 months. I have to tell you, life has started making a lot more sense since I read these posts. However, I am feeling somewhat directionless after reading the archives, as I cannot determine a next course of action.

The difficulty is this: I assume most of the poeple on this site are at least midle-aged; I had just turned 18 when I started browsing the site, after being vaguely dissatisfied with Rationalwiki's ability to keep me informed.

Given that, would anyone recommend a general path to follow in terms of what I should be reading from here? I have largely perused Yudkowsky's more well-known works, and have made it partially through the Codex.

Any help, recommendations, or suggestions would be appreciated, and I look forward to new horizons of knowledge as I may find them.

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2 Answers


First, the average age here is 27 (as of 2014, so it might be older now?), and lots of people got started here when they were in high school, so don't let age sway you! I don't think there's anything strange about your situation.

I do think the problem of "I feel somewhat directionless" is among the trickier things to solve. I think important next steps are to find something that you feel excited about. (Tim Ferris says "don't try to find what makes you happy – people get sort of confused about happiness and imagine sitting around gardening or watching sunsets or something. Do what makes you excited.")

The two pieces of advice I can think of off the bat are:

  • Start trying to get a sense of what you care about. Ask yourself what feels most interesting and important to you.
  • Increase your luck surface area. If you aren't sure what's interesting and important, put yourself in situations where you're likely to try new things and meet new people, so that you can have an easier time stumbling into things that feel important and allow you to gain new skills.

Some more generalized advice is in Strategies for Personal Growth. You know your life situation better than us so may have a sense of which strategies are most promising.

Maybe you should try https://80000hours.org/