The main technique I used was bypassing the "trying to try" fallacy, as well as some HPMOR-style thinking; Obstacles mean you get creative, rather than give up. The most important thing was just not giving up upon finding the first reasonable-sounding solution, even if it's chances of success wasn't particularly high.

As to how I applied it, that was the best part, and what the second paragraph alluded to; it was my default response, to the point where I was briefly stunned when my friend was throwing up easily circumventible roadblocks to my ideas as if they were impossible obstacles. (And I did talk to him, in case he had other motives for wanting to not do the plan and was thus actively trying to come up with reasons not to do it.)

It was only then that I reviewed my own thinking and realised how far I've come since I first found HPMOR and LessWrong; I'd ceased to think of this particular method as unusual, I thought it was how any intelligent person attempted to solve their problems, but my friend matches me intellectually.

If you meant "how" as in specifics; my friend needed to earn extra money, and his reasonable-sounding solution was to find employment, despite the poor prospects for it in his area, and despite the fact that he'd looked before and hadn't found anything. To him, the solution stopped at there, because it could work, whereas that didn't meet my goal of solving my friend's problem on it's own due to it's unreliability. So I helped him leverage some of his other talents, in addition to looking for work. (Which is a good plan, just not sufficiently reliable on it's own.) None of my ideas were particularly brilliant, but I wouldn't have found them if I'd stopped at the reasonable-sounding solution and decided that was sufficient effort for victory.

Honestly, it's still weird to me right now. I was actually embarrassed writing this comment, because writing it out made it seem so trivial and not worth being proud about, and I had to remind myself that if it really was that obvious, my friend would have done it himself. Not to mention that a couple of years ago I'd have done the exact same thing in his position.

October Monthly Bragging Thread

by linkhyrule5 1 min read4th Oct 201343 comments


Since it had a decent amount of traffic until a good two weeks into September (and I thought it was a good idea), I'm reviving this thread.


In an attempt to encourage more people to actually do awesome things (a la instrumental rationality), I am proposing a new monthly thread (can be changed to bi-weekly, should that be demanded). Your job, should you choose to accept it, is to comment on this thread explaining the most awesome thing you've done this month. You may be as blatantly proud of you self as you feel. You may unabashedly consider yourself the coolest freaking person ever because of that awesome thing you're dying to tell everyone about. This is the place to do just that.

Remember, however, that this isn't any kind of progress thread. Nor is it any kind of proposal thread.This thread is solely for people to talk about the awesomest thing they've done all month. not will do. not are working on. have already done. This is to cultivate an environment of object level productivity rather than meta-productivity methods.

So, what's the coolest thing you've done this month?