All of NaiveTortoise's Comments + Replies

Can we grow cars instead of building them?

EDIT: I now see you research these questions and so want to add a disclaimer that I have not thought about these things nearly as deeply as you probably have...

Epistemic status: very speculative.

Cool post, I've long been fond of the, likely less difficult, thought experiment of whether we can grow a house using synthetic biology.

At first, I was thinking growing vs. building was just about the amount of labor involved to go from raw materials to final product. Then I realized this doesn't work because under this definition a fully automated robot factory wo... (read more)

Kelly Bet or Update?

This and the linked post have been really helpful for my attempts to better internalize the Kelly Criterion. Thanks!

EDIT: I see you've corrected the mistake with the 12% and 2.7x return that I originally discussed below in a subsequent post so the details below aren't necessary. Maybe consider linking that post in the Addendum?

Mostly unrelated to the above, this is sort of a nitpick but between the body and the addendum, you (implicitly) switch from the odds-as-ratio-of-probabilities representation of to one in which is net fractional odds and is a... (read more)

True Stories of Algorithmic Improvement

Another great example of this is Striped Smith-Waterman, which takes advantage of SIMD instructions to achieve a 2-8 speed-up (potentially much more on modern CPUs though) for constructing sequence local alignments.

(I'm the author of the post.) This is a totally reasonable critique, which I tried to make of myself:

Wrapping things up, I find all this analysis still a bit dissatisfying. While I’ve tried to use the commonalities amongst and differences between energetic aliens to understand them better, I feel like all the factors I identified describe rather than explain what’s going on with energetic aliens. A more satisfying understanding would instead at least suggest candidate causal factors which are predictive of energetic alienness warranting further investiga

... (read more)
Let Us Do Our Work As Well

As someone who has also struggled with similar issues, although in a different context than writing papers, I found some of the answers here helpful and could imagine some of them as good "tactical advice" to go along with cultural norms. I also ended up looking through Google's SRE book as recommended in Gwern's answer and benefited from it even though it's focused on software infrastructure. In particular, the idea of treating knowledge production as a complex system helped knock me out of my "just be careful" mindset, which I think is often one of the h... (read more)

2jsteinhardt1y
Thanks, really appreciate the references!

That makes sense.

For what it's worth, I took notes on the event and did not share them publicly because it was pretty clear to me doing so would have been a defection, even though it was implicit. Obviously, just because it was clear to me doesn't mean it was clear to everyone but I thought it still made sense to share this as a data point in favor of "very well known person doing a not recorded meetup" implying "don't post and promote your notes publicly."

I am also disappointed to see that this post is so highly upvoted and positively commented upon despite:

  1. Presumably o
... (read more)
8Ben Pace1y
I strong upvoted it initially when I assumed the state of affairs was “nobody had done the work to make a recording+transcript, so this post is helping out”. Then I switched to strong downvote when I read Bjartur’s comment saying Sam had requested no transcript or recording.
Framing Practicum: Timescale Separation
  1. Returning to my number of muscle cells an adult human body example (from the initial stable equilibrium post), for the purposes of calculating lean vs. fat mass (or just weight), we don't care about the fact that the distribution shifts as the person ages and experiences sarcopenia.
  2. For predator-prey population size ratios, the ratio fluctuates slightly on a daily basis assuming the predators hunt at certain times of the day and potentially seasonally. Assuming both species live more than a year, neither matters for estimating the carrying capacity of th
... (read more)
3johnswentworth1y
One theme in these: they're all conclusions which seem pretty intuitive. One of the nice things about timescale separation is that it gives us a formal justification for a lot of intuitively-sensible conclusions.
Framing Practicum: Dynamic Equilibrium
  1. Number of cells in an adult human body. Also, cell type composition in an adult human body (over the timescale of months but not years because aging).
  2. Relative size of predator/prey species population in a mature, mostly otherwise static ecosystem.
  3. Warm-blooded mammal body temperature.
2johnswentworth1y
#1 in particular is definitely a useful frame to use in practice.
Framing Practicum: Bistability
  1. Most complex eukaryotic organisms are either dead or alive. Yes, they can be sick, which is sort of in between, but sick is still "alive". In general, going from dead to alive is hard... Going from alive to dead requires disrupting any of several important core sub-equilibria of the living system.
  2. It's snowing out vs. not. Note: didn't use raining because "misting" felt like more of an in between edge case than lightly snowing.
  3. A door is either open or closed. Depending on the door, switching from closed to open or open to closed requires applying force
... (read more)
3johnswentworth1y
I find 2 particularly interesting, because it matches my experience, but I have no idea what mechanism drives the system into discrete-ish states. Now I think about it, clouds seem related: we often see a "partly cloudy" sky with lots of discrete clouds scattered around and empty space between them, rather than a uniform less-concentrated cloudiness throughout the sky. That suggests bistability in cloud formation. What's up with that?
Framing Practicum: Stable Equilibrium

Main exercise:

  1. Amount of muscle a person who doesn't exercise regularly has.
  2. Level of clutter on a person's desk/counter/etc.
  3. Quantity of light that reaches a forest floor at a given time.
  4. (Extra:) Number of organisms in an all-male group.

I recognize 1 and 3 are borderline dynamic equilibria but I think they changes on a slow enough timescale that they count.

Bonus exercise:

  1. Watch their diet over the timescale of weeks to months and their physical activity. Can ignore incidental activity, like running to catch a bus or lifting lots of stuff for a mo
... (read more)
3johnswentworth1y
I particularly like 2 & 3 - they evoke great visualizations in my head. I imagine a fast-forwarded video showing things appearing and disappearing, but density staying at roughly the same level over time.
Specializing in Problems We Don't Understand

I enjoyed this post a lot but in the weeks since reading it, one unaddressed aspect has been bugging me and I've finally put my finger on it: the recommendation to "Specialize in Things Which Generalize" neglects the all-important question of "how much?" Put a different way, at least in my experience, one can always go deeper into one of these subjects -- probability theory, information theory, etc. -- but doing so takes time away from expanding one's breadth. Therefore, as someone looking to build general knowledge, you're constantly presented with the tr... (read more)

3johnswentworth1y
The post mentions a few different use-cases of learned knowledge, and those different use-cases require different depth of study. So one reasonable answer is: figure out what use-case(s) we care about, and study enough to satisfy those. A different angle: it's useful to be lazy. Put off learning things until we need them, assuming that we won't be under too much time pressure later. The problem with that approach is that it won't be obvious that a particular technique or area or frame is relevant until after we've studied it. However, as long as we understand X enough that we can reliably recognize when it applies in the wild, we can safely put off learning more about X until it comes up. So, being able to recognize relevant problems/situations in the wild is the "most important" use-case, in the sense that it's the use-case which we can't put off until later.
Selection Has A Quality Ceiling

Nice point. I wanted to note that the converse is also true and seems like an example of Berkson's Paradox. If you only see individuals who passed the test, it will look like teachability is anti-correlated with the other two factors even though this may purely be a result of the selection process.

This may seem pedantic but the point I'm making is that it's equally important not to update in the other direction and assume less alignment between past experience and current skillset is better, since it may not be once you correct for this effect.

1mukashi1y
That's the one indeed. Thanks a lot
Daniel Kokotajlo's Shortform

This is basically a souped up version of TagTime (by the Beeminder folks) so you might be able to start with their implementation.

Core Pathways of Aging

Good point, this also suggests that Genome Project-Write is an important project.

Core Pathways of Aging

As a funny aside, a few months ago, I had the thought "removing all transposons would be a nice somewhat pointless but impressive demonstration of a civilization's synthetic biology mastery." I guess the "pointless" part may have been very wrong!

4jmh1y
One thing I wonder about here is whether or not having a certain amount of "garbage" in the DNA is not actually a good thing. My understanding is that material transfers due to chromosomal overlaps as well. As that would be a purely random process there's no guarantees that transfers occur at the beginning and end of the used/functional gene segment. Having some amount of meaningless sections seems like it would reduce the probability of the legs of the chromosomes overlapping at dangerous locations.

This suggests an interesting way to test the theory. JCVI had their "minimal cell" a few years back: they took a bacteria with an already-pretty-small genome, stripped out everything they could while still maintaining viability, then synthesized a plasmid with all the genes and promoters but with the "junk" DNA between them either removed or randomized (to make sure there was no functionality hiding in there which they didn't know about), and grew the bacteria with the synthesized plasmid. More recently, they have a project to do something similar with yea... (read more)

Core Pathways of Aging

As a thought experiment mostly for testing my own understanding, suppose we could do a bulk culling of transposons in all of an elderly human's stem cells (or all cells). If I understand correctly, this post's main hypothesis (DNA damage <-> ROS feedback loop) would imply the following should happen:

  • Senescent cell fraction quickly (within days or months) starts reverting to its healthy level.
  • Atherosclerosis heals on its own because ROS production reduces to its healthy level meaning the plaque equilibrium returns to the young level.
  • Similarly, vas
... (read more)
3johnswentworth1y
Yup, exactly right. This would be the most direct possible test of the hypothesis. Re:thymus, this study [https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2830050/] found that a mitochondrially-targetted antioxidant prevented thymic involution, so there is at least some evidence that thymic involution is caused by the same core pathways. Though the timing of thymic involution is pretty suspicious, when compared to the other core-pathway diseases.
3NaiveTortoise1y
As a funny aside, a few months ago, I had the thought "removing all transposons would be a nice somewhat pointless but impressive demonstration of a civilization's synthetic biology mastery." I guess the "pointless" part may have been very wrong!
Core Pathways of Aging

In principle, we could test it by looking for an age-related increase in transposon count in non-senescent cells, but that turns out to be actually-pretty-difficult in practice. (Modern DNA sequencing involves breaking the DNA into little pieces, sequencing those, then computationally reconstructing which pieces overlap with each other. That’s a lot more difficult when the pieces you’re interested in have millions of near-copies filling most of the genome. Also, the copy-events we’re interested in will vary from cell to cell.)

I wonder if something like ... (read more)

2johnswentworth1y
Yeah, I haven't read up on the topic in depth, but there's a few toolkits specifically intended for sequencing transposons. So it's probably not something which would require major breakthroughs at this point, but it does require specialized tools/knowledge, rather than just the standard sequencing toolkit.
Core Pathways of Aging

I've seen this claim about naked mole rats thrown around a bunch but it's left me with the question of what naked mole rats do die of? If their mortality likelihood truly doesn't increase, we'd expect there to be some very long-lived naked mole rats. Is the issue just we haven't held them in captivity for long enough to see them die of natural causes? I vaguely remember reading somewhere that eventually they stop eating or die in other ways but can't seem to find the reference now.

7Archimedes1y
From https://www.livescience.com/61568-naked-mole-rats-no-aging.html: [https://www.livescience.com/61568-naked-mole-rats-no-aging.html:]
If you've learned from the best, you're doing it wrong

I agree that I'd want to learn physics from him, I'm just not sure he was an exceptional physicist. Good, but not Von Neuman. He says as much in his biographies (e.g. pointing out one of his big contributions came from randomly point to a valve on a schematic and getting people to think about the schematic).

(Disclaimer: not a physicist). From what I understand, Feynman was a really really good physicist. Besides winning a Nobel Prize for his work on quantum electrodynamics, he also contributed to several other areas during his career. Also, if you look ... (read more)

TurnTrout's shortform feed

I'm curious what sort of things you're Anki-fying (e.g. a few examples for measure theory).

2TurnTrout2y
https://ankiweb.net/shared/info/511421324 [https://ankiweb.net/shared/info/511421324]
How can we lobby to get a vaccine distributed faster?

Minor correction: I think you mean Alex Tabarrok (other author on MR).

1rockthecasbah2y
Thanks!
Probability vs Likelihood

I find it helpful to have more real world examples to anchor on so here's another COVID-related example of what I'm pretty sure is likelihood / probability confusion.

Sensitivity and specificity (terrible terms IMO but common) model and respectively and therefore are likelihoods. If I get a positive test, I likely have COVID, but it still may not be very probable that I have COVID if I live in, e.g. Taiwan, where the base rate of having COVID is very low.

Three Open Problems in Aging

I'm the person starting to work on the senescence-induced senescence problem. Happy to chat more about current thoughts / plan (I am open to trading marginal time for relatively small amounts of $ but also happy to just talk about what I plan to do anyway). Feel free to DM me.

Open & Welcome Thread – November 2020

The first way to treat this in the DAG paradigm that comes to mind is that the "quantitative" question is a question about a causal effect given a hypothesized diagram

On the other hand, the "qualitative" question can be framed in two ways, I think. In the first, the question is about which DAG best describes reality given the choice of different DAGs that represent different sets of species having an effect. But in principle, we could also just construct a larger graph with all possible species as s having arrows ... (read more)

1Mary Chernyshenko2y
Thank you. It looks even more unfeasible than I thought (given the number of species of mycorrhizal and other root-inhabiting fungi); I'll have to just explicitly assume that Y does not have an effect on X, in a given root system from the wild. At least things seem much cheaper to do now)))
Three more stories about causation

Oh I see, yeah this sounds hard. The causal graph wouldn't be a DAG because it's cyclic, in which case there may be something you can do but the "standard" (read: what you'd find in Pearl's Causality) won't help you unless I'm forgetting something.

An apparently real hypothesis that fits this pattern is that people take more risks / do more unhealthy things the more they know healthcare can heal them / keep them alive.

The thermostat pattern is everywhere, from biology to econ to climate etc. I learned about it years ago from this article and it affected me a lot.

Three more stories about causation

A few minor comments. Regarding I, it's known that the direction of (or lack of) an arrow in generic two-node causal is un-identifiable, although there's some recent work solving this in restricted cases.

Regarding II, if I understand correctly, the second sub-scenario is one in which we'd have a graph that looks like the following DAG.

What I'm confused about is if we condition on a level of tar in a big population, we'll still see correlation between smoking and cancer via the trait assuming there's independent noise feeding into each of these nodes. More ... (read more)

4cousin_it2y
Yeah. Thanks for the front door link, I'll take some time learning this! Maybe to reformulate a bit, in the second sub-scenario my idea was that each person has a kind of "tar thermostat", which sets the desired level of tar and continually adjusts your desire to smoke. If some other factor makes you smoke more or less, it will compensate until your level of tar again matches the "thermostat setting". And the trait that determines someone's "thermostat setting" would also determine their cancer risk. Basically the system would counteract any external noise, making the statistician's job harder (though not impossible, you're right). The third scenario, about skydiving, hints at a similar idea. The "thermostat" there is the person's desire for thrill, so if you take away skydiving, it will try to find something else.
AllAmericanBreakfast's Shortform

If you haven't seen Half-assing it with everything you've got, I'd definitely recommend it as an alternative perspective on this issue.

3AllAmericanBreakfast2y
I see my post as less about goal-setting ("succeed, with no wasted motion") and more about strategy-implementing ("Check the unavoidable boxes first and quickly, to save as much time as possible for meaningful achievement").
Why isn't JS a popular language for deep learning?

I haven't researched this extensively but have used the Python data science toolkit for a while now and so can comment on its advantages.

To start, I think it's important to reframe the question a bit. At least in my neck of the woods, very few people just do deep learning with Python. Instead, a lot of people use Python to do Machine Learning, Data Science, Stats (although hardcore stats seems to have a historical bias towards R). This leads to two big benefits of using Python: pretty good support for vectorized operations and numerical computing (via call... (read more)

Thoughts on ADHD

I've never been evaluated for ADHD (or seriously considered it) but some of these -- especially 2, 3, 6, 7, 9 -- feel very familiar to me.

8G Gordon Worley III2y
My list is a bit different, but yeah, noticed a lot of overlap in a few things that feel familiar to me either now or from my past, but no one has ever suspected me of having ADHD, presumably because I get lots of stuff done. Does make me suspect ADHD is made up of a cluster of behaviors that are common and we only consider it ADHD when a bunch of them are present, rather than something with a single causal mechanism. Maybe this is already what people think about ADHD; I've not learned about it much as it hasn't seemed personally relevant to me.
Richard Ngo's Shortform

Yeah good point - given generous enough interpretation of the notebook my rejection doesn't hold. It's still hard for me to imagine that response feeling meaningful in the context but maybe I'm just failing to model others well here.

Richard Ngo's Shortform

I've seen this quote before and always find it funny because when I read Greg Egan, I constantly find myself thinking there's no way I could've come up with the ideas he has even if you gave me months or years of thinking time.

3gwern2y
Yes, there's something to that, but you have to be careful if you want to use that as an objection. Maybe you wouldn't easily think of it, but that doesn't exclude the possibility of you doing it: you can come up with algorithms you can execute which would spit out Egan-like ideas, like 'emulate Egan's brain neuron by neuron'. (If nothing else, there's always the ol' dovetail-every-possible-Turing-machine hammer.) Most of these run into computational complexity problems, but that's the escape hatch Egan (and Scott Aaronson has made a similar argument) leaves himself by caveats like 'given enough patience, and a very large notebook'. Said patience might require billions of years, and the notebook might be the size of the Milky Way galaxy, but those are all finite numbers, so technically Egan is correct as far as that goes.
Progress: Fluke or trend?

Sorry I was unclear. I was actually imagining two possible scenarios.

The first would be deeper investigation reveals that recent progress mostly resulted from serendipity and lucky but more contingent than we expected historical factors. For example, maybe it turns out that the creation of industrial labs all hinged on some random quirk of the Delaware C-Corp code (I'm just making this up to be clear). Even though these factors were a fluke in the past and seem sort of arbitrary, we could still be systematic about bringing them about going forward.

The sec... (read more)

Progress: Fluke or trend?

Isn't it both possible that it's a fluke and also that going forward we can figure out mechanisms to promote it systematically?

To be clear, I think it's more likely that not that a nontrivial fraction of recent progress has non fluke causes. I'm just also noting that the goal of enhancing progress seems at least partly disjoint from whether recent progress was a fluke.

1jasoncrawford2y
Maybe, what would that mean exactly? Or what's an example of how that could be the case?
[AN #115]: AI safety research problems in the AI-GA framework

Yep, clicking "View this email in browser" allowed me to read it but obviously would be better to have it fixed here as well.

Richard Ngo's Shortform

Thanks for your reply! I largely agree with drossbucket's reply.

I also wonder how much this is an incentives problem. As you mentioned and in my experience, the fields you mentioned strongly incentivize an almost fanatical level of thoroughness that I suspect is very hard for individuals to maintain without outside incentives pushing them that way. At least personally, I definitely struggle and, frankly, mostly fail to live up to the sorts of standards you mention when writing blog posts in part because the incentive gradient feels like it pushes towards h... (read more)

6Richard_Ngo2y
It feels partly like an incentives problem, but also I think a lot of people around here are altruistic and truth-seeking and just don't realise that there are much more effective ways to contribute to community epistemics than standard blog posts. I think that most LW discussion is at the level where "paying for mistakes" wouldn't be that helpful, since a lot of it is fuzzy. Probably the thing we need first are more reference posts that distill a range of discussion into key concepts, and place that in the wider intellectual context. Then we can get more empirical. (Although I feel pretty biased on this point, because my own style of learning about things is very top-down). I guess to encourage this, we could add a "reference" section for posts that aim to distill ongoing debates on LW. In some cases you can get a lot of "cheap" credit by taking other people's ideas and writing a definitive version of them aimed at more mainstream audiences. For ideas that are really worth spreading, that seems useful.
Richard Ngo's Shortform

I'd be curious what, if any, communities you think set good examples in this regard. In particular, are there specific academic subfields or non-academic scenes that exemplify the virtues you'd like to see more of?

5Richard_Ngo2y
Maybe historians of the industrial revolution? Who grapple with really complex phenomena and large-scale patterns, like us, but unlike us use a lot of data, write a lot of thorough papers and books, and then have a lot of ongoing debate on those ideas. And then the "progress studies" crowd is an example of an online community inspired by that tradition (but still very nascent, so we'll see how it goes). More generally I'd say we could learn to be more rigorous by looking at any scientific discipline or econ or analytic philosophy. I don't think most LW posters are in a position to put in as much effort as full-time researchers, but certainly we can push a bit in that direction.
Becoming Unusually Truth-Oriented

Makes sense - would some of the early posts about Focusing and other "lower level" concepts you reference here qualify? If you create a tag, people (including maybe me) could probably help curate!

Becoming Unusually Truth-Oriented

I can make a longer comment there if you'd like but personally I wasn't that bothered by the dreams example because I agreed with you that confabulation in the immediate moments after I woke up didn't seem like a huge issue. As a result, I was definitely interested in seeing more posts from the meditative/introspective angle even if they just expanded upon some of these moment-to-moment habits with more examples and detail. Unfortunately, that would at least partly require writing more posts rather than pure curation.

3abramdemski2y
Yeah, it's not that I'm averse to writing a sequence like that, but separately, I feel like there should have already been some content of this kind (and I'd like help finding it to curate it)? Maybe now that a lot of things have been tagged, I can explore related tags to look for it :3 I've started trying to sketch out what else could go in a sequence like this.
The Future of Science

Great post (or talk I guess)!

Two "yes, and..." add-ons I'd suggest:

  1. Faster tool development as the result of goal-driven search through the space of possibilities. Think something like Ed Boyden's Tiling Tree Method semi-automated and combined with powerful search. As an intuition pump, imagine doing search in the latent space of GPT-N, maybe fine tuned on all papers in an area's, embeddings.
  2. Contrary to some of the comments from the talk, I weakly suspect NP-hardness will be less of a constraint for narrow AI scientists than it is for humans. My intuitio
... (read more)
Becoming Unusually Truth-Oriented

Did you ultimately decide not to continue this series?

2abramdemski2y
I've still been pondering it, but some feedback I got on this made me question the utility of this meditative/introspective angle -- or at least, pause to see what I thought about it after letting it sit. Also, almost all the answers I got on my practice-of-rationality sequence [https://www.lesswrong.com/posts/wccxMtZdEvHzLRNTZ/a-practice-of-rationality-sequence] question were, like, new posts to write rather than existing posts to curate into a sequence, which makes the job harder -- ideally I'd be mostly collecting existing material that fit the flavor, rather than writing everything from scratch. I'm still interested in thoughts on the utility of this direction and what should go into such a sequence.
NaiveTortoise's Short Form Feed

Thanks, this framing is helpful for me for understanding how these things can be seen to fit together.

NaiveTortoise's Short Form Feed

This is basically my perspective but seems contrary to the perspective in which most problems are caused by internal blockages, right?

7Viliam2y
Yep. The idea that everything is caused by internal conflicts, and if we only could resolve all the internal conflicts (which might take a few years of hard work, if you want to do it thoroughly) we would become amazing supermen (so all those years spent on therapy would still be totally worth it), originates from Freud. It is my long-term source of amusement, that if you mention Freud of psychoanalysis in the rationalist community, you reliably get "pseudoscience", "it's completely debunked", et cetera... but if you rephrase the same ideas using modern language, without mentioning the source, they become accepted rationalist wisdom.
NaiveTortoise's Short Form Feed

Thanks for replying and sharing your post. I'd actually read it a while ago but forgotten how relevant it is to the above. To be clear, I totally buy that if you have crippling depression or even something more mild, fixing that is a top priority. I also have enjoyed recent posts on and think I understand the alignment-based models of getting all your "parts" on board.

Where I get confused and where I think there's less evidence is that the unblocking can make it such that doing hard stuff is no longer "hard". Part of what's difficult here is that I'm struggling to find the right words but I think it's specifically claims of effortlessness or fun that seem less supported to me.

NaiveTortoise's Short Form Feed

I keep seeing rationalist-adjacent discussions on Twitter that seem to bottom out with the arguments of the general (very caricatured, sorry) form: "stop forcing yourself and get unblocked and then X effortlessly" where X equals learn, socialize, etc. In particular, a lot of focus seems to be on how children and adults can just pursue what's fun or enjoyable if they get rid of their underlying trauma and they'll naturally learn fast and gravitate towards interesting (but also useful in the long term) topics, with some inspiration from David Deutsch.

On one ... (read more)

3Hazard2y
One way I think about things. Everything that I've found in myself and close friends that looks and smells like "shoulds" is sorta sneaky. I keep on finding shoulds which seem have been absorbed from others and are less about "this is a good way to get a thing in the world that I want" and "someone said you need to follow this path and I need them to approve of me". The force I feel behind my shoulds is normally "You SCREWED if you don't!" a sort of vaguely panicy, inflexible energy. It's rarely connected to the actual good qualities of the thing I "should" be doing. Because my shoulds normally ground out in "if I'm not this way, people won't like me", if the pressure get's turned up, following a should takes me farther and farther away from things I actually care about. Unblocking stuff often feels like transcending the panicy fear that hides behind a should. It never immediately lets me be awesome at stuff. I still need to develop a real connection to the task and how it works into the rest of my life. There's still drudgery, but it's dealt with from a calmer place.
3Matt Goldenberg2y
I think removing internal conflicts is a "powerful but not sufficient." The people who are most productive are also great at amplifying external conflicts. That is, they have a clear, strong vision, and amplify the creative tension between what they have and know they can have. This can help you do things that are not "fun" like deliberate practice. but are totally aligned, in that you have no objections to doing them, and have a stance of acceptance towards the things that are not enjoyable. The best then augment that with powerful external structures that are supportive of their ideal internal states and external behaviors. Each one of these taken far enough can be powerful, and when combined together they are more than the sum of their parts.
9G Gordon Worley III2y
Unblocking motivation is only enough on its own if the motivation is so strong that you feel "hungry" to do something. Long term this kind of hunger is, in my experience, unreliable, so it's not enough just to unblock your ability to do things. You also have to set up the conditions for your motivation to express itself, e.g. through daily rituals as you suggest. For example, a big problem people I talk to had to deal with when shelter-in-place orders hit was that they lost their daily rituals and had to establish new ones. It wasn't that they didn't want to work or do other things they normally do, it was that they lost the normal context in which they did them, and had to establish new contexts in which they expected to find themselves doing the intended activity. Trying to force yourself to do things is like setting up the conditions without unblocked motivation. So I think both things are required, but only one thing is the bottleneck at a time, thus lots of people need advice on one part and not the other at any given moment, creating evidence though that can look like all you need to do is fix one thing and everything else will follow.
6Raemon2y
I originally had your experience, and have seen enough people claim to get unblocked that there seems to be at least something to it. At the very least, if you have crippling depression, solving that is often higher impact than incremental skill growth. I wrote up more thoughts about this here [https://www.lessestwrong.com/posts/85J8hjEn48FicYfvp/strategies-of-personal-growth] .
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