The next installment of the Polling Thread.

This is your chance to ask your multiple choice question you always wanted to throw in. Get qualified numeric feedback to your comments. Post fun polls.

These are the rules:

  1. Each poll goes into its own top level comment and may be commented there.
  2. You must at least vote all polls that were posted earlier than you own. This ensures participation in all polls and also limits the total number of polls. You may of course vote without posting a poll.
  3. Your poll should include a 'don't know' option (to avoid conflict with 2). I don't know whether we need to add a troll catch option here but we will see.

If you don't know how to make a poll in a comment look at the Poll Markup Help.

This is a somewhat regular thread. If it is successful I may post again. Or you may. In that case do the following :

  • Use "Polling Thread" in the title.
  • Copy the rules.
  • Add the tag "poll".
  • Link to this Thread or a previous Thread.
  • Create a top-level comment saying 'Discussion of this thread goes here; all other top-level comments should be polls or similar'
  • Add a second top-level comment with an initial poll to start participation.
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13 comments, sorted by Click to highlight new comments since: Today at 3:04 AM

Mark Mansons Most Important Question of Your Life prompted this poll.

From the article (bold by me):

Everybody wants what feels good. Everyone wants to live a care-free, happy and easy life, to fall in love and have amazing sex and relationships, to look perfect and make money and be popular [...] Everyone would like that — it’s easy to like that.

If I ask you, “What do you want out of life?” and you say something like, “I want to be happy and have a great family and a job I like,” it’s so ubiquitous that it doesn’t even mean anything.

A more interesting question, a question that perhaps you’ve never considered before, is what pain do you want in your life? What are you willing to struggle for? Because that seems to be a greater determinant of how our lives turn out.

People want to be rich without the risk, without the sacrifice, without the delayed gratification necessary to accumulate wealth.

[...] happiness requires struggle. The positive is the side effect of handling the negative.

At the core of all human behavior, our needs are more or less similar. Positive experience is easy to handle. It’s negative experience that we all, by definition, struggle with. Therefore, what we get out of life is not determined by the good feelings we desire but by what bad feelings we’re willing and able to sustain to get us to those good feelings.

So the question of this poll is: Which pain(s) are you prepared to bear? Each pain can be rated independently between 0.0 (you can't or wouldn't want to stand any of this pain) and 1.0 (you are prepared and/or willing to stand any pain (of this kind) necessary to achieve you goals). The values don't have to sum to anything. You could anwer 0.0 always to indicate that you don't want any pain of any kind at all.

(The first poll options are extracted from Mark Mansons article)

[You can] suffer through 60-hour work weeks, long commutes, obnoxious paperwork, to navigate arbitrary corporate hierarchies and the blasé confines of an infinite cubicle hell.


[You can stand to] go through the tough conversations, the awkward silences, the hurt feelings and the emotional psychodrama [of relationships].


[You] appreciate the emotional turbulence that comes with weathering rejections, building the sexual tension that never gets released, and staring blankly at a phone that never rings.


You legitimately appreciate the pain and physical stress that comes with living inside a gym for hour upon hour, [...] you love calculating and calibrating the food you eat, [...]


[You appreciate] planning your life out in tiny plate-sized portions.


You find a way to appreciate the risk, the uncertainty, the repeated failures, and working insane hours on something you have no idea whether [the business] will be successful or not.


[You stand] the daily drudgery of practicing [music], the logistics of finding a group and rehearsing, the pain of finding gigs and actually getting people to show up and give a shit. The broken strings, the blown tube amp[...]


I took the freedom to add the following options for a more broad range of human experience:

  • You appreciate the pains and fears of pregnancy, the sleepless nights with small infants, sitting all night at the bed of your sick child, the worry whether your teenager will come home well and all the million small chores a life with children brings.


  • You accept the humiliation and abuse that is part of quite some career paths. Being lackey for persons in key positions, doing their every wish.


  • You can stand the infinite study - often of stuff you will never use - the endless exams, doing boring courses, lecturing to clueless students, doing superfluous studies or professor's pet projects. The pressure to publish. The many research directions that didn't work out.


  • You boldly face the risks of high danger professions. The pain of frequent of major injury. The fear to never recover.


  • You stand the demand of working to the highest levels of perfection. Other peoples lives depending on you making no mistakes.


Added by VAuroch:

  • You'll live with the pressure of ends just barely meeting, of luxuries being rare and being limited to the cheapest methods of entertainment.


  • You can bear the pain of empathy, being unable to help those in need while you stay on the sidelines dealing with your own needs.


Did I miss any? You may add them.

This is the most simple and basic component of life: our struggles determine our successes. So choose your struggles wisely, my friend.

I appreciate quantifying gut feelings as probabilities, but I have no idea what that's supposed to mean here. What is the probability that I will be in a given state of pain at a given moment in time? What's my subjective credence to the notion that I would enjoy this sort of pain? When I have the option of obtaining this sort of pain, what is the probability I will accept?

I had ratings from 1.0 to 0.0 with an average of .55 (I don't have the required 2 Karma to vote, but its alright). Anyway, I would say I'm middle of the road. In the right area I am willing to take risks and a few of these I've done. I had my share of no go areas and my areas where I would go full bore for the possibility of success.

I'm only age 22, and I don't have lots of life experience. So, I don't know how pleasing the rewards of such hardships would be, nor do I have a model of how much pain would go into this. However, reading through the scenarios seemed awful, so I rated my willingness to go through with them very low relative to the median response.

I'd be more interested in the same poll restricted to prime over the age of at least forty, asking along the lines of whether the rewards of hardship were so great they'd be willing to go through the pain again.

My idea would be that the pains one is prepared to bear would change over time. I'd guess that the willingness to take large risks is highest during adolescence (esp. for males).

But at least for me I can't clearly see this trend. I'm 41 now and

  • a) my willingness to bear the pains of parenthood hasn't changed - actually I'd rather bear it even more now.

  • b) I was never much of a risk-taker and this hasn't changed much over time.

  • c) My willingness for infinite study hasn't changed either.

But your mileage may vary.

Extra options:

You'll live with the pressure of ends just barely meeting, of luxuries being rare and being limited to the cheapest methods of entertainment

You can bear the pain of empathy, being unable to help those in need while you stay on the sidelines dealing with your own needs.

These are important additions. Added.

I took the question as "how willing are you to suffer each of these, for some unspecified goal that you really want", but if "you don't want to suffer any pain at all" is an option people might take I may have misinterpreted the question, particularly considering how low the scores are for many of these options.

Number of questions does not match number of forms.

Thanks. Fixed. Music poll was missing.

Discussion of this thread goes here; all other top-level comments should be polls or similar.

I dislike the "you must take all polls to make a poll" constraint. We don't have a "you must read all the comments to make a comment" constraint do we? (I would make a poll to see if others agree with me but I don't want to have to take all the polls in this thread.)

The point is to reduce selection bias.