All of itavero's Comments + Replies

Please do! That's fascinating

"You'll feel so much better" and "it's healthy" were the main reasons I was told to start exercising. I guess that's true, but after lifting for 7 years consistently, the main thing I noticed that no one told me was "you'll gain this superpower of every social interaction being a bit tilted more in your favor". Getting a good haircut for the first time ever probably helped too. The difference in how I'm listened to and treated is clear - people are much more interested in what I have to say.

(Off topic, but I wish there was something like an aesthetician sh... (read more)

Maybe I'm missing something but your wish can be fulfilled by hiring those different specialists separately (which is likely to be better than a bundle anyway).

Commenting here to complete my 30 day streak. I'll write up my final exam sometime this week and edit this with a link. I really appreciated the sequence! A lot has happened over the last month and it was nice to have a Hammertime post to return to every day.

edit: Looks like I didn't keep my promise!

A while back in high school, a talented acquaintance of mine started promoting their music before it was good. They did the whole nine yards - bought fake social media followers, created their own fan pages, bought ads, a photoshoot, etc. They would not stop talking about their upcoming success in the music industry. Almost a decade later, they are working odd jobs, hoping to “blow up”.

The lesson I took from that (back then) was “do not promote until you have the finished product. Do not talk about what you do until it's good enough, just put your head dow... (read more)

I IDC-ed the part of me that wants to go to bed and the part of me that wants to follow through on trying each day's exercise and posting a comment. I first named them "I should do what naturally feels good" and "I keep commitments". 

"Commitment" was the clear frontrunner (after all, I did do the exercise). There were the usual arguments about why it's good to keep promises to yourself, about how being that type of person pays dividends, etc. 

The other side surprised me. The first thing it said was "It's not about just doing what's most pleasurab... (read more)

I tend to go into "info-scavenge" mode as a form of escapism. I think I've internalized an avoidance of overt escapism on a subconscious level - i.e, I get antsy and feel "wrong" if I try to play video games as a way of procrastinating. Instead, I find myself shallowly skimming for into by scrolling through YouTube recommendations but not watching videos, looking at link aggregators (HN, Reddit) but not the actual links, etc. It's like my brain found a loophole because that behavior is superficially similar to what "learning" looks like.

What would happen i

... (read more)

Overestimation: Running my first session in a legit music studio (after interning there) 

I had only mixed/produced music "in the box" (on my laptop with software) before and figured I could just sit down at the Neve and do everything else the same. Nope, it was a nightmare. We went 3 hours over on the first day because I had to figure out so much on the fly. The amount of unknown unknowns that came up was staggering - this mic uses phantom power, how does this work in Pro Tools, which input is the synth patched into, what button for talkback, etc.&nbs... (read more)

Praise: I appreciate your way of prodding the reader to question assumptions and unwritten rules. I feel like I'm getting a good sample of tools that have been genuinely useful to you, rather than something written purely for your ego.

Critique: I think the individual days could build on top of each other more, like prerequisites. I also think I'd benefit from doing the related days back to back, to build on familiarity with the concepts and techniques.

Are there particular people around whom you happen to always play Devil’s Advocate?

Yes, and I usually excu... (read more)

Something is so satisfying about reductionism. Breaking things down does wonders for unlocking the "do anything" ability in me. Now the problem becomes aiming that superpower and following through, but it's still a great tool to have.

I like the amended exercise below for emotionally aversive tasks, specifically iterating through and finding the most painful step and breaking that one down specifically. 

Share anecdotes or data on how long it takes [intentions, projects, plans, relationships, careers, startups] to fail. What do the curves look like?

I've... (read more)

  • Ran a mile in 5:05
  • Typed the alphabet in 1.8 seconds
  • Wrote this in 15 seconds

Are you better at achieving your values since Hammertime Day 1? If so, what helped?

I think so - the following themes have mainly stuck out in the past few weeks:

  • Noticing - paying a bit more attention to my reactions and inspecting them with more curiosity
  • Clarity - writing out my semi stream of consciousness here has shown me patterns in my thoughts that I couldn't see in my head
  • CoZE - I've been making an attempt to try new things and to notice when I have arbitrary unwritten rules
  • Doing rather than simulating - actually doing the exercises is much different
... (read more)

Socratic Ducking

I have a habit of "ad-hoc Socratic Ducking" in the sense that I will talk out loud to someone about an idea I'm thinking of and explore it in real time, trying to see what it's like and figure it out. The problem is that it can seem like I'm stating definite opinions about how the world works or a specific direction to take a project. This can get weird if it's a taboo topic or a project that involves the person I'm talking to.

I feel like the key with this is awareness and encouragement. Both parties should be aware that they're doing it, o... (read more)

Hitting the "0" willpower level might be when something becomes part of your identity. It costs me willpower to not do cardio or lift for more than a day or so - something feels off and aversive about it, just like it used to in the reverse situation. The only downside is that I'm not very excited or proud of myself for doing a workout, it's just "normal". But that's life! I'm still glad I do it.

There are a few habits that I seem to drop once they get easy to do - I did yoga every day for a while but once it got easy and habitual I got bored and stopped. I... (read more)

In Goal Factoring, does goal = motivation = desired outcome?

Hammertime aversions:

  • Currently procrastinating catching up on a few exercises
    • I want to follow through on my word to actually try every exercise
  • Perfectionism - don't want to consider a day finished until I've really done it
  • Lonely - I don't know anyone else IRL that would do this with me
    • I am highly motivated by social reenforcement
  • Feel guilty for not spending time on music/programming/career stuff
    • I am worried about the time I spend taxiing on the runway instead of just taking flight
    • Takes time and wi
... (read more)

There’s this feeling I get where I feel like my eyes are having a hard time focusing, I’m a little tired, and there’s a tingling in my forehead - like a precursor to a headache (almost like someone is hovering their finger between my eyebrows). I get this feeling if I’ve been doing empty, shallow, digital things for too long - glancing at headlines, procrastinating, etc.

I call it “malaise” or “UGH”. Not the most descriptive phrase, but putting a word to it helps me go, “oh I’m feeling that ‘malaise’ feeling, I should do X”.

Not a full technique but the seed of one - maybe it's an obvious idea, but most of the times I made major leaps forward were when I stopped wasting time on tangential things and just "stared at the sun". This is probably just a different name for deliberate practice. I need to remind myself that 70% of 100 is much bigger than 100% of 10 (doing an important thing passably vs. doing something unimportant perfectly).

I think courage is about getting comfortable with fear or doing the "right" action in spite of it. One of the things I'm most proud of was negotiating a raise. It went against all my social conditioning and was way out of my comfort zone. But say I negotiate raises 15 more times in my life. Is the 15th negotiation that courageous? Maybe it looks courageous externally, but internally I don't think I'd feel it as much as the first one because my comfort zone has probably shifted. So maybe a measure of courage would be how far past your cozy set point you're willing to go.

Never let your calendar become your tyrant. - I feel called out (and added a medium-large bug)! When I make calendar events I take them very seriously. This has been great for making myself following through on difficult things, but it also leads me to be stressed out if things don't go according to plan (less spontaneity or doing things on a whim). I want to be more flexible but I also want to take my habits seriously. There's a lot of tension here that I'm going to try to figure out more through the rest of this challenge - probably around adding more slack to my calendar.

A few resets of differing magnitudes:

  • In the 6 months before I stopped believing in God I became extremely religious. Same sort of thing happened with my political beliefs
  • So that I could fund my music career, I was learning linear algebra and Python to get a better job. A few months into it I realized I wasn't working on music at all and may have been using programming and math as a pernicious procrastination mechanism. Now I'm still learning, but instead of letting it take my music time, I let it take my Netflix time.
  • Reading Infinite Jest taught me that I
... (read more)

Idea I haven’t had time to express:

My brand of social anxiety (so I’m assuming others have it too) might come from the combinatorial explosion of more people in a group - thus more paths of information flows. I find it very easy to talk to someone 1 on 1, and I can usually have a good conversation with anyone. But once the group gets a bit bigger, I think I get a bit scrambled by trying to simulate all of the potential flows of information and feedback loops.

I think this is where politics (at a very basic level) can come from - once you hit 4 people in a g... (read more)

You're actually hitting on an academically acknowledged hard limit to the number of people whose mind states you can keep track of in conversation. Typically, when there are more than 4 people, you'll see smaller groups form of 2, 3, and/or 4. It's very noticeable at big parties. (So no need to be anxious!)  Dunbar talks about it in one of my favorite papers of all time The Anatomy of Friendship []. Happy to send you a copy if you're interested :D

I'd like to win a Grammy one day. It's hard to not qualify that, or hem and haw, or excuse it. But honestly, I'd like to.

Not too many identity-related bugs came up for me, but maybe that's because I can't even see the things past my current identity. I'll be thinking about this more. 

Brainstorming around pica brought out a lot of bugs. I noticed sometimes it's easier to catch the pica than to fill the void that's left. Example: I play (real) guitar at a high level, but Guitar Hero is much more addicting in the short term, probably due to clear iterati... (read more)

This technique has stuck with me since I read about it a year ago. It's very useful to do a quick pass with it - a single iteration can make a plan ~1.2x more likely to succeed. I tend to do the "pre-mortem" in my head quickly when using it.

I know I'm not using it to its full power. This time, for my central life goal, I'm going to fully write it out and iterate until I would be shocked. It might take a long time but this is worth it. Plus, I'll probably learn a lot about this technique and what does or doesn't work.

I already started but I'll probably fini... (read more)

The "creeping dread" you mentioned is why Structured Procrastination doesn't work for me, even if it helps me get more things done. The feeling of dread and guilt I get can be so strong that it takes over my whole experience. Maybe it would work for me if I was self-employed - i.e, if my number one task was just a personal project. (and maybe the author addresses this - I haven't read too much into it).

Worst case of planning fallacy

  • Not serious, but recent: My dad asked for help replacing a shutter on the side of the house - it would take "only 15 - 20 minu
... (read more)

I think you're right and I appreciate this post a lot. You described a lot of experiences I've had but your random walk example is something I'll remember for a long time. Just as I should do more favors for my future self, I should have more faith in my past self. 

"Finishing things" is a skill I would love to get better it. It's difficult because most of my internal motivation for projects come from the first 60% - 90% of it, but almost all of the social or external rewards come from finishing the thing (and the long tail of chores in the last 1% - 5... (read more)

Share a trivial inconvenience that might have dramatic consequences

  • I didn't have my band's email logged in on my phone so I never checked it. I missed a few important emails/opportunities.

I have an important "ugh" task I have to do by early next week, so I picked that as one of my things to try this on. I felt like I needed more time, so I changed my rules slightly: I listed aversions for 5 minutes each, then spent 10 minutes working on the sub-aversions for each. I haven't finished yet. 

This sets off a small alarm bell in my head - I might be spendin... (read more)

"It's okay to care" -  I repeat this mantra when I notice I'm stopping myself from caring.

I was a nerd and a bit of a social outcast growing up. Nothing too extreme, but enough to feel different and lonely at times. I was always interested and obsessed with things but when I'd go to share it I'd usually get a "who cares" kind of response. Eventually, this morphed into an internal edict: "It is not cool to care". Liking something makes you vulnerable and I liked a lot of things.

I ended up going to a good college. Lots of math, art, philosophy, and film... (read more)

While brainstorming I came up with a list with items like "learn Japanese", "make a game in Unity", etc., but I realized that these probably aren't outside of my comfort zone. I really want to do those things, I just haven't yet. Commenting here, writing lyrics, or watching horror movies, on the other hand, are definitely things that are outside of my comfort zone. I get a slightly nervous feeling when I think about them.

So I tried to redirect and focus more on things that brought out that feeling. I noticed a common class of them were about expressing mys... (read more)

Before I set the timer, I looked around my room for things to change. Nothing excited me too much. The feeling I got was something like "none of this moves the needle." The optimistic devil's advocate in me responded with "well maybe it's the accumulation of these little things that moves the needle, just try it anyway".*

So I set the timer for 5 minutes and wrote down a few things. While writing, I realized the most important space for me is digital - specifically the software I use to make music. There are many up-front costs I haven't paid - namely organ... (read more)

Summon Sapience: When I look at my birthmark on my hand. 

I used to have these flashes of extreme clarity as kid, the feeling being "I am here". I found that I could make it happen on command but didn't think anything of it other than it being a unique feeling. When I use that clarity in my adult life, I either smile a bit and appreciate life or become very aware of what I should be doing (and the feeling of not doing it). I don't think it helps me break out of akrasia but it's probably a step forward.

My personal track record with TAPs is so-so. The TA... (read more)

I had a strong urge to skip bugs when casually doing this exercise last month. The following thoughts came up:

  • This one isn't actually an easy bug, move it to level 2 or 3
  • This one can't be fixed without a change to my habits, which almost by definition can't be done in a single 5 minute session
  • I could fix this with a purchase but the price of the item is higher than the benefit of the having the bug gone (i.e, I would not pay $150 for this bug to go away, but I would still consider this a bug)

Writing this out helped me figure out some potential antidotes fo... (read more)

I read this sequence almost a year ago. It helped me figure some things out, but I felt like I didn't get enough reps in - some days I just read the posts and simulated myself doing something instead of actually doing it.

Here's my plan/experiment this time:

  • I made it a goal for the past 30 days to read each post in the sequence and reflect, experiment a bit and not hold myself to too high of a standard (basically what I did last year)
  • Now I'm going to dedicate a portion of my day to really trying the exercises and techniques in each post - doing rather than
... (read more)