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Motivation and Merciless Commitment Contracts

And if you say they should work all the more so the poorer you are, because then you'll have more to lose -- well, I don't want to say "check your privilege", but... check your privilege.)

Sorry I don't quite understand what you mean by "check your privilege" and how that constitutes a counter argument to the idea that commitment contracts should work all the more so if you are poorer. Could you explain?

Simply put, one's willingness to engage in this sort of contract signals that you have the money needed to not really feel the los

... (read more)
It's a bit tongue-in-cheek, since "check your privilege" gets used a lot in some places by some folks that I really don't like and avoid to associate with. It means that some aspects of other people's normal existence just fly over your head because of some assumptions in your worldview that exist because you've been living a very sheltered life. It's a bit like -- well, I don't want to say this either, because worst argument in the world and all that -- rebellious teenagers thinking "Man, it would be pretty awesome to live on the streets and dumpster dive for a while, as a big "fuck you" to the establishment. It can't be that bad -- I'll make do." In this context, said privilege in need of checking is the belief that poor people can and should spend their money like rich people do, if on a smaller scale, and that the fear of losing their money has a similar mostly positive impact on their mindsets as it does on rich people. It's the privilege of precommitting to give away a large sum, and then fail, and then give it away, and then return to your normal life with a sense of loss, but no seriously ugly repercussions. And then preach it to other people, "regardless of their income". Yeah, I thought about asking something like that in my original post, but forgot about it. For those who want to attempt something like this but aren't quite swimming in cash, it would be a good idea to have some form of non-monetary incentive.
Motivation and Merciless Commitment Contracts

Some responses seem to be saying that a better tactic would be to train social confidence by performing smaller more manageable actions/ goals rather than aiming for insanely high goals in a very short time span. For example if you create with a graded heirarchy of situations/ actions which induce social anxiety, then you can start by performing the actions that you have rated the lowest, and once you feel comfortable with those actions, work your way up.

This is the approach I've been using so far. For me the method has been working ok, but the main probl... (read more)

I used to think that I should drink olive oil to gain weight. I want to gain weight and 100g of olive oil equals roughly 800kcal. The problem is that I upped the amount I drank to fast over the days and felt nauseous. As a result my body learned to feel nauseous when drinking olive oil and I can now drink less than I could before I tried to train myself to drink it. The same thing is also possible with social goals. Some people can develop a phobia if you are under too much stress. Another thing that could happen is that they surpress emotions which isn't that healthy. If those goals are to low than you could look into medium sized goals that can be achieved with a medium sized contract.
3[comment deleted]9y
Motivation and Merciless Commitment Contracts

I've considered it, but having more social confidence at least in the way I've been using the term in this post, seems to me to be generally a good thing. I recognise that it is not good to be overly confident in your abilities to the point that you are unrealistic and delusional about them. But I'm more talking about training the ability to engage is social situations which you find uncomfortable, and I see type of social confidence as generally a good thing because it opens up your options more, and means that social fear acts as a smaller constraint on your actions.

I'm not sure whether the kind of confidence that involved in asking "have you seen my pet fish?" is the kind that's generally a good thing. It's not the kind of action where it's very valuable to be able to perform it. It might make sense to train on something that doesn't have negative externalities to other people.
Motivation and Merciless Commitment Contracts

Ok thanks for the heads up. I tried to change the formatting, but I've either made it worse or nothing has changed. How could I go about reformatting the post? Sorry from the not very computer literate.

I've fixed the formatting. You can do this by copy-pasting the text into the article editor from a plain text editor (that doesn't support formatting) and then adding the necessary formatting (such as headings and italics) in the article editor. Alternatively, you can edit the HTML source by clicking "Edit HTML Source" button in the article editor, and remove all nonstandard formatting tags from there.
Welcome to Less Wrong! (6th thread, July 2013)

Hi, I first found this a while back site after googling something like "how to not procrastinate" and finding one of Eliezer's articles. I've been slowly working may way through the sequences ever since, and i think they are significantly changing my life.

I'm very interested in self improvement/ instrumental rationality type stuff. I've been using this summer to experiment with various projects: learning mediation, learning about different types of therapy to systematically overcome fears, learning about biases and some other stuff.. I'm currentl... (read more)

Less Wrong mentoring thread


It looks like I could be a couple of years late, but I could quite do with a mentor.

The things I could do with some help are:

1) I've been offered a place at University in the UK to study philosophy and psychology, but after reading a few fairly damning articles about philosophy, I'm not sure if it's really for me anymore. I'm contemplating something more cognitive sciency.

2) I could do with someone to ask a few basic questions about the less wrong community and how it all works, because i'd quite like to get more involved, but i'm not quite sure how.

3) ... (read more)

Boring Advice Repository

Make commitment contracts for anything important (works best for long term things). Commitment contracts ( have basically solved 90% of motivational problems. The more important something is and the lower the initial expectancy of you actually doing it, the bigger contract you make. for example, if you really need to study for an exam, but you know that in this past you have always intended to study for exams but ended up doing nothing, then put a lot of money on yourself doing it. Be wary if there is ever something important that you do not want to make a commitment contract for, as if you actually expect to do it, then making the contract should pose no problem, as you will be unlikely to lose any money.

Good advice, but not boring enough! Beeminder is exciting and shiny!
Welcome to Less Wrong! (5th thread, March 2013)


I first found this a while back site after googling something like "how to not procrastinate" and finding one of Eliezer's articles. I've been slowly working may way through the posts ever since, and i think they are significantly changing my life.

I've just finished secondary education, which i found stultifying, and so i'm now quite excited to have more control over my own learning. I've been very interested in rationality since I was young, and have been passionate about philosophy because of this. Though, after getting into this site i've ... (read more)