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Becoming stronger together

According to LW 2014 survey, IQ 135-140. Sounds about right.

Becoming stronger together

Do you know of any new remote group that is recruiting members?


Becoming stronger together

I find walking much more natural/enjoyable than standing, though it did take a few days to get used to it. I can now do all but the most cognitively challenging tasks (proving tricky math theorems, doing software architecture) while walking on treadmill desk. Especially for regular coding, walking is much better than sitting.

Standing desks get uncomfortable quickly (under 30 mins), but walking desks are fine for hours. After a while, sitting can become more distracting than walking, because one feels less "free" and grows tired, while walking is a natural stimulant (pretty comparable to coffee in my case).

This might just be me, but as long as you are able to watch something, you are not doing real cardio. :)

Becoming stronger together

The geographical distances are between 50 and 100 miles, that means an hour or two of travel. Could be worse, but it is an inconvenience.

It is hard to distill with any confidence what were the “main ingredients” of our group; this is a meta question that probably contains answers to many other questions. Our best guess is that we all saw rationality in light of self-improvement, rather than as an appendix to transhumanism.

We have a shared expectation in the group that each member should at least “become an adult”, which approximately means: self-control (not procrastinating, completing the tasks they set to complete, overcoming their ugh fields, avoiding addiction), self-reliance (taking care of one’s health and finance, using google before asking), emotional maturity (not acting like a child), reliability (remembering commitments, fulfilling promises, coming on time), assertiveness (clear communication, resisting peer pressure), agency, organization (not losing stuff, calendars and to-do lists), basic security, etc. This is apparently considered boring by some, but it is a standard that practically everyone fails to meet.

We suggest to keep it friendly and voluntary, but also start off by setting a high bar, preferably by example. At the first meetup, we had a presentation by one member, about their background and goals, with an emphasis on their workout routine, along with some hard data on exercise, such as duration, heart rate, calories burned… for example, it was interesting to see a graph of resting heart rate for the last year, reflecting some lifestyle changes during that year. This presentation itself already inspired more members to start tracking their data. Most other members did similar presentations later.

Talk about expectations and agree on infrastructure first. Lack of common understanding of “what is the point?” and practical problems are probably major contributors to why these things tend to fizzle out quickly in general. Agree on what form of reporting everyone thinks they would probably like to do (daily, weekly, meetup to meetup…). Then keep each other accountable.

Make it a private thing (with the fight club mindset), not some open, non-committal side event. Keep it small so that every individual stands out.

How much of the improvements do you attribute to the group vs self-directed growth?

It is not possible to provide an exact answer, because there were confounders such as people leaving university, getting or losing a job, and as a consequence having different amounts of free time. But we have some previous experience with self-directed growth before the group, and there are various tangible things that are clearly a result of the group: people exercising more frequently, changes in nutrition and supplementation, changes in investment strategy. Some members report feeling better and being more relaxed in stressful social settings, as a result of having a group where they are normal (a group that accepts both their rationality and self-improvement). Plus some business activities done together.

Becoming stronger together

We have become a group of friends first and a productivity group second. But when we started, some of us didn't know some other members yet.

Becoming stronger together

Some more than the others, but generally most of us struggled with parts of that baseline. Plus other things, like going to bed on time.

Becoming stronger together

Can't provide a number, because some of us don't know. And there is much noise in the IQ tests for higher values. Some of us have a math background with degrees and other accomplishments in that area. We guess we are around the LW average.

Becoming stronger together

I meant majority ethnicity at the (unspecified) place we live.

The treadmill is used for walking, while using a computer, not running. One of us uses a rowing machine for cardio.

Becoming stronger together

The group was initiated with a purpose of grandiose growth, and we still have hopes for the future, but the real effect is more of small, sustainable, very reasonable levels of growth. No Bayesian Conspiracy, sorry. However,

Where's the art, travel, science, business, politics?

some of us run a business together (and the article mentions P2P lending, discussing career decisions together, changing asset allocation); some of us pool money for real estate deals; one of us studies AI safety and does math all day long; and one of us is politically active and drumming up attention for Effective Altruism. Each of us follows their own plans here.

Some of the slow-growing stuff we are doing now could yield exceptional returns in future. If our business (that happened as a result of our group existing) succeeds, or if we collectively sniff out great investment opportunities (as we already have to some extent in the crypto space), we might end up substantially more wealthy than if we had been just by ourselves.

Being a vegetarian programmer who goes to the gym is your idea of an awesome life… To me that just sounds boring.

To avoid Nirvana fallacy let’s say we suspect most Less Wrong readers struggle even with this baseline. Dragon Army proposes a “totalitarian” regime as a solution. We do it by keeping each other accountable, online, within our individual possibilities, within our everyday lives (which sometimes involve school or childcare).

To us, being healthy, fit and strong sounds more fun than being unhealthy, fat and weak. Building our power base sounds more fun in long term than taking a vacation and then staying in the rat race for the rest of our lives.

“Happiness is the feeling that power increases—that resistance is being overcome.” And this starts with the boring things that seemingly nobody wants to do: being productive, eating well, working out, going to bed at a reasonable time, investing one's money, saying thanks but no thanks to one marshmallow, to own the entire factory down the line.

And, technically, the one of us who doubled their income recently could now afford more vacations at Cuba than before. But we prefer long and meaningful and happy lives over lives filled with typical ephemeral enjoyments (see Stoicism).