JacekLach

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Slack

Yes, this post was very useful as advice to reverse to me. I think it possible now that one of the biggest problems with how I'm living my life today is optimising too hard for slack.

Low-confidence comment disclaimer; while I've had the concept pretty much nailed down before, I never before thought about it as something you might have too much off. After reading this post I realised that some people do not have enough slack in their life, implying you can choose to have less or more slack, implying it's possible too have too much slack.

I don't have abstract 'this is what too much slack looks like' clearly defined right now, but one thing resonates from my own experience. I often find myself with free time, and 'waste it away'. I don't really do anything on most weekends. Having more constraints as guidance for behaviour in free time could likely remediate that; but I seem to be very good at talking myself out of any recurrent commitments, saying that they would reduce my freedom/flexibility/slack.

At the same time, it seems to me that I'm happiest, most 'alive', most in the 'flow', in situations with exactly the kind of binding constraints this post talks of avoiding. The constraints focus you on the present, on the very moment, on being. For me this is clearest in sailing regattas - a clear purpose that acts as a binding constraint (to go as fast as possible while staying safe - a safety margin does not for slack make, since you are not willing to ignore crossing it), consuming all your attention (at least during the time you're responsible for the ship, and often more).

I suppose one can stretch the metaphor and say that having no slack on too many dimensions is likely to squash you; but having slack everywhere leaves you floating around aimlessly. Keeping most constraints slack and choosing only a couple aligned ones to bind against is possibly a way to find purpose.

TBH I strongly disagree with OP's suggestion that 95% reliability is low / bad, at least read literally. I personally definitely fail verbal 'soft commitments' ("I expect this will be done by end of week") with way more than 5% rate; probably more like 20-30. Part of it is being in business where hidden complexity strikes at any time, and estimating is hard; part of it is because of cultural communication norms.

If you ignore soft commitments, then the easy way to improve reliability is to make less hard commitments. Instead of "I'll definitely be there at 9 am sharp", say "I'll do my best to be there at 9 am". Manage expectations. Then if you have to message them 30 mins before that you're stuck in traffic / running late, your reliability is not impacted.

For stuff with really hard acceptance criteria (you actually have to be there for 9 am, because the plane won't wait), the right way to improve reliability is to build fault tolerant systems; make a soft commitment to be there an hour before, or have more people work on a problem than you expect to be necessary.

I don't think the goal of OPs proposal is to learn any particular skill. To me it mostly looks like trying to build a tightly-knit group so that each member can use the others as external motivators and close friends to discuss life plans and ideas in detail not really possible between modern colleagues and friends. I.e. the goal is not learning a skill, it's building a mutual support group that actually works.

You're looking at content, not status (as implied by 'knocking someone down a peg'). My immediate reaction to the top-level comment was: "well, they have some good points, but damn are they embarassing themselves with this language". Possibly shaped by me being generally sceptical about the ideas in the OP.

As far as the bet is about the form of the post, rather than the content, I think Duncan's pretty safe.

Do you have examples of systems that reach this kind of reliabilty internally?

Most high-9 systems work by taking lots of low-9 components, and relying on not all of them failing at the same time. I.e. if you have 10 95% systems that fail completely independently, and you only need one of them to work, that gets you like eleven nines (99.9{11}%).

Expecting a person to be 99% reliable is ridiculous. That's like two sick days per year, ignoring all other possible causes of failing to make a task. Instead you should build systems and organisations that have slack, so that one person failing at a particular point in time doesn't make a project/org fail.

If I must eat meat, I eat pork

The initial argument that convinced you to not eat meat seems very strange to me:

Her: why won’t u eat rabbits? Me: because i had them as pets. i know them too well. they’re like people to me.

This reads to me as: I don't think eating rabbits is immoral, but I have an aesthetic aversion to them because of emotional attachment, rather than moral consideration. Is that not the right reading?

Her: i will get you a pet chicken Me: … Me: omg i’m a vegetarian now :-/

So, you've now built extended your emotional attachment towards rabbits to all animals? Or just the possibly-pettable-ones? But firstly, why do you think that's a good thing?

I guess as an instrumental tactic for "I want to become a vegetarian but can't seem to stick to it", 'imagine your favourite pet, but they're ' might work. But it's surprising that without that initial impetus this worked.

How can I spend money to improve my life?

FWIW (a year later) I read the statistic the same way you initially did, but didn't do the comparison. Sorry! Thanks for doing the maths below and in the edit.

Rationalist fiction: a Slice of Life IN HELL

Reminds me of talesofmu. Your strategy looks like trying to play the GM, and is likely to get you punished :)

How can I spend money to improve my life?

For me I don't see any reason to prefer archery over a martial art.

And there might not be any reason to do it for you, but other people might be uncomfortable with hitting other people, concerned about their hands (much easier to break a finger or twist your wrist if you're doing martial arts than archery, I imagine), be looking for a relaxing rather than exciting hobby, etc.

How can I spend money to improve my life?

Morgan et all (2010) (http://www.biomedcentral.com/1471-2458/10/699/) estimate 11.1 cyclist deaths per 100000 cyclist-km in London.

Wikipedia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_traffic-related_death_rate) estimates 8.5 road fatalities per 1 BILLION vehicle-km.

http://www.theguardian.com/news/datablog/2012/sep/28/road-deaths-great-britain-data claims 125 motorcyclists died in road accidents for every billion miles travelled - the highest rate for all road users but also a year-on-year fall of 11%.

At 41 deaths per billion miles, the mortality rate for pedestrians was just above that of cyclists (35), with the former a year-on-year rise of 10% and the latter a fall of 6%.

Car occupants had by far the lowest mortality rate at four deaths per billion miles travelled.

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