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Survey Article: How do I become a more interesting person?

But most people are not going to be 'very successful', and I am going to automatically assume that this is not included, since it's often statistically exclusionary (only a few people in the entire world can be olympic level sprinters).

It is most certainly not required to be 'great' to be socially successful, or, for that matter, interesting. As for my opinion of the whole 'greatness' chase, see here: http://lesswrong.com/lw/mmu/how_to_learn_a_new_area_x_that_you_have_no_idea/cu3o

Survey Article: How do I become a more interesting person?

I think our definitions of "interesting" may differ. If we take the angle of hobbies, for instance...

I would say that picking up running as a hobby can provide many social benefits. It's relatively popular, it's virtually omnipresent, it's considered by many to be a 'morally superior' activity, it's likely to make you more attractive in the dating department.

But I wouldn't really call a person interesting only due to having running as a hobby, nor do I consider running an interesting hobby.

Most people, on average, haven't had too many experiences or interesting hobbies by virtue of being the average, but I haven't found that the average person has issues socializing. I'm not sure if being interesting is really all that related to that.

Survey Article: How do I become a more interesting person?

I think a lot could be gained from asking the question of whether being an interesting person or having an interesting life is in and of itself a valuable thing. How much of it is a proxy for something else, and perhaps we could extract the "something else" and it'd be much easier to figure out how to get there? Or, what does one intend to gain by becoming more interesting? And is that thing valuable?

How to learn a new area X that you have no idea about.

I think your discussion post is better aligned than this article. I tried reading it...

I think I'm going to have to reject the article since it puts too much pressure on the talent and love aspects. I have never really loved anything that much, and if I was too worried about that, I'd end up in the "finding your passion" rut. Judging by some articles I've seen spring up recently, I don't think I'm alone. I appear to have talent in some areas, but I can't tell if I have talent in any areas that I do not already know I have talent in, nor can I measure the extent of my talent. I don't think this is a productive way to go about things since it's so ambiguous and provides too many avenues to drop the very idea of acquiring new skills.

Some people are just not that crazy about things and never got any obvious signs about a skill, but they still need reasonable advice on how to learn new things, because they can still learn some degree of mastery in those skills and those skills are still useful. I can make a significant difference by simply being a better programmer as opposed to a great programmer. Perhaps the issue is that we focus too much on doing things statistically unusually well as opposed to doing things because they're worth doing. If the thing you are trying to do is only worthwhile when you are the best at it, perhaps that's a signal that it's a relatively useless activity or there's already an over saturation of supply in it.

This is a very greatness focused article and I think that's actually a rather toxic mentality to approach things with. We should focus on standards and mastery (and personal benefit) instead of greatness. It also ignores generalists. I guess those are both rants for another time.

A very long list of sleep maintenance suggestions

I always wanted to see discussed the general opportunity cost of time lost due to extra/superior sleep, especially if given already small amounts of time left and the fact that your ineffective hours (assuming one's a night owl) may as well be spent on work while the more effective ones are the ones during which you 'should' sleep. I currently average <8 hours, meaning that I generally physically go to bed at midnight and wake up at 8, and I don't fall asleep easily so it's probably a lot less than 8 hours. If you have about 4-5 hours of free time left after work and you cut them down to 3 hours due to sleep, and then an hour of that is probably spent on exercise, I think the depressive effect may be quite strong.

Getting more sleep tends to make me just dislike my life more, which I consider a much more serious health hazard than merely feeling sleepy at times, something that I have, at this point, accepted as the fact of life for a night owl in a lark world, and an excuse to drink coffee.

I generally agree with something I read on Gwern's melatonin page: most people don't get sufficient sleep and that's going to stay pretty true for a while. I feel more could be accomplished in other avenues (work week, re-balancing of schedules) with greater effect than trying to train people into giving up a greater chunk of their life for this life-prolonging activity when the bigger issue is that a different chunk of their life is used up for a more useless activity and that they can't control their schedule.

A very long list of sleep maintenance suggestions

Sexual activity at night often makes it considerably harder for me to fall asleep. I don't really see how doing any other physical activity before going to sleep is different. I find its casual and automatic inclusion along with 'sleep' as something you can do in bed quite a significant oversight.