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Only Asking Real Questions

As a kid I was often frustrated by adult inconsistency and unfairness. I’m glad to see a parent trying to treat kids with respect. The sticky candy example sounds like hassle for the parent, but it sends good messages to the kid.

Consume fiction wisely

“Of things you care about” is a good way to pose the question. I avoid general news sources like the 6pm TV news, newspapers, and web news aggregators. Most of that seems to be about short term political maneuvers or disaster porn, which I don’t care about. Occasionally a friend mentions an event that interests me and then I catch up with a quick web search.

I follow podcasts, RSS feeds, and YouTube channels for topics I care about like science, economics, and general fun like LessWrong.

Consume fiction wisely

I’m a fan of some of the “helpful” authors like Iain Banks. Which Taylor are you referring to? The Strugatsky brothers are new to me. Which of their books do you recommend?

Fiction can be consumed in an unhealthy way, but it doesn’t have to be unhealthy. The same is true of news, cookies, and drugs. I’ve mostly kicked news, but I still enjoy occasional morsels of the others. I gotta have some fun.

Impressive vs honest signaling

You seem to be leaning toward honesty and I agree. I hired about 50 people over 20 years. The posers couldn’t hide their real skill level for long and made themselves and coworkers miserable until we let them go. There were cases where we nurtured an honest person to a higher skill level. If you lie about your skills then you’re not going to get that nurturing, so good luck improving on your own.

For sure don’t send unimpressive signals or be negative. Just show what you have and be friendly. As the author pointed out, the other party is saving you time and hassle if they reject you.

If you lived in a world full of lying then maybe it would make sense to participate, but in my experience there are plenty of good employers and mates who can detect honesty and appreciate it. You are better off working for and dating those ones.

[Update] Without a phone for 10 days

Consider getting the iPhone but change the way you use it. A friend and I are much happier since we made our phones silent. Do not disturb mode, no notifications, etc. All those services you mentioned (Uber, etc) are great and you should still have access to them.

I check my phone when I finish a task and need a break. That is usually many times per day. So I do notice important things like calls and texts and I return them, but when it is convenient for me. Your friends will understand occasional delays, just as they did during the last 10 days. It took practice to get out of the addictive phone checking habit, but the same was true of not eating cookies all day. You can do it!

What to read instead of news?

You’re on a healthy path. I’m much happier since I stopped reading the news. When I’m in the mood to read and learn, I use an RSS reader (Feedly) to read LessWrong, Marginal Revolution, Quanta magazine, Colossal (art articles), Our World in Data, and non-political blogs.

If you’re taking a break from computer work then leave the screens. Take a walk in the sunshine. Do something with your hands: origami, knitting, Legos. Take a nap.

Nonspecific discomfort

Age 25 was the big transition. Before then I focused on school and work, which kept me indoors and busy. Then I quit grad school and became more social, exercised, and lost weight. I quickly became much happier. In later years I slowly learned the importance of hobbies that use my hands or get me out of the house: cooking, gardening, biking, travel, fossil hunting, photography. I'm 53 now. Still looking for ways to have fun, but the list in this article covers the big ones.

Nonspecific discomfort

I like this advice to not analyze the source of discomfort. Just focus on activities that are fun, healthy, or distracting. That list of mentally healthy activities is very close to mine. I wish I’d figured it out long ago, but better late than never.

Related to physical activity outdoors, I’ll add that great weather is rejuvenating. When a beautiful day comes along, go to great effort to be out in it.

Misguided? Callous? Just Plain Stupid?

After many years I came to the same conclusion as you. Kindness and reliability are the most important traits. Intelligence is a nice bonus, but not mandatory. Just ignore the misguided ideas and don’t try to change them. Avoid angry people.

The type 123 definitions would be more helpful at the top of article.

What are some examples from history where a scientific theory predicted a significant experimental observation in advance?

Einstein predicted the bending of light around the sun based on general relativity in 1915. In 1919 it was confirmed with a famous expedition and observation of an eclipse by Eddington.

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