Mudus Ponies wrote:
If you are a human, then the biggest influence on your personality is your peer group. Choose your peers.
If you want to be better at math, surround yourself with mathematicians. If you want to be more productive, hang out with productive people. If you want to be outgoing or artistic or altruistic or polite or proactive or smart or just about anything else, find people who are better than you at that thing and become friends with them. The status-seeking conformity-loving parts of your mind will push you to become like them. (The incorrect but pithy version: "You are an average of the five people you spend the most time with.")
I've had a lot of success with this technique by going to the Less Wrong meetups in Boston, and by making a habit of attending any event where I'll be the stupidest person in the room (such as the average Less Wrong meetup).
66 people upvoted it.
Before, Lukeprog and Ferriss had mentioned the same: You are the average of your surroundings.
I believe that. I would prefer that to not be the case, but I do think that even if you are not truly the average of the five, it is better to act as if you were the average of the five than to act as if you never heard this advice.
If I am to follow such advice I have a problem: I should spend time with: Nick Bostrom, Natalie Portman, Whoever parties as hard as Sean Parker does in "The Social Network", Steve Pinker and Ferriss.
I'm going to throw some problems in, and present no solutions, I hope comments may provide them if anyone knows one:
1)The people one would like to be average of are incredibly busy doing what made them become those people
2)They do not live at the same place
3)They seldom have reason to be near you
4)If they displayed well enough, their success precludes them from taking new people in due to lack of cognitive space.
5)They may be interested in you and what you have to say in as much as that is something you can provide them, but not necessarily that means they will share what you'd like them to with you.
6)If you were literally the average that wouldn't help much since most of us want to succeed in more than one domain, and we usually model ourselves with people who are monomaniacal, who are the only ones who thrive enough to be seen in a 7 billion world.
I would like to know a lot of stuff as I mentioned in Drowning in an Information Ocean, but I also want to be creative and engaging like Natalie, work/party hard as Sean, speak eloquently as Pinker, think well as Bostrom, and acquire skills and money at Ferriss' speed.
Aubrey is fish oil. He hooked my attention when 17 because he sells eternity.
Bostrom is LSA. He hooked me because he sells the future of the universe.
Eliezer is Modafinil. He hooked me because he sells the map between one's current situation and the future of the universe.
Hofstadter is LSD. He hooked me because he sells broadness of converging/academic knowledge.
Natalie is marihuana. She hooked me because she sells the compatibility between academic excellence and divergent/artistic knowledge.
Partying hard is cocaine. It hooked me because my nucleus accumbens works in the normal way designed by evolution.
Effective Altruism is food after starving, it hooked me because it sells counterfactually relevant actions that create quantifiably improved markets.
Ferriss of course is Speedball, the ultimate salesman. He sells the entire dream. He sells a quantifiable way to siphon one self into awesomeness without overload so you can party hard and become superman one skill at a time.
These are only a few of the awesome people around, public figures visible to Lesswrong. There are dozens of others. I don't want to do what one of them did. I want to do it all. This is of course impossible. My intrinsic, core values relate to going in many directions at the same time. I think most people are like that. There are just so many options around and only one life to enjoy them all (which is why Aubrey is the entrance-drug).
As put by Lev:
There are these cool things around, but I suspect, after many years on earth, and visiting interesting people everywhere, that at least a good 50% of people (even the most rational, non-broken people) truly do not want anything in particular that much. The ones who seem like they do just took the plunge into saying so and self-reinforcing into wanting something. If they dug deep enough, they actually just don't have a clear want. Or if they do, like me they would have many. Many more than they can actually act on.
I truly and fully believe the advice that one should live as if one were the average of the five people one spends most time with. I just have no idea on how to do it, or whom to pick among a set that contains not 5, but 5000 people or more.
How did you solve this problem? Does it cause you to experience an Ugh Field when you think of the current 5?