unknown, Reasons

2/10 - What's Next

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Articles to Read.

What’s a little-known but obvious fact that will immediately make all of us feel stupid?

  • Percentages are reversible. 8% of 25 is the same as 25% of 8 and one of them is much easier to do in your head.

  • Violent crime in the US has fallen over 50% since 1994 (think about that for a moment). We only think it is more because of social media and 24 hour news stations where we hear more than before. Despite some spikes every once in awhile, violent crime has been plummeting for 25 years.

  • The word “set” has most amount of definitions in a single word.

  • Just like humans, British cows moo in regional accents.

  • A chipotle pepper isnt its own type of pepper. its just a smoked jalapeno pepper.

Reasons Not to Become Famous

“If I’m not famous by 30, I might as well put a bullet in my head.” That’s an actual sentence I spoke to one of my closest friends. At the time, I was 28.

To kick off this post, let’s start with a real example from 2010. I vividly remember the day I received an email from someone we’ll call “James.” James was a frequent commenter on my blog, and we’d become friendly over time. He was a great guy and a huge help to other readers. I’d given him advice, he’d built a few successful businesses, and we’d developed a nice virtual rapport. That day in 2010, however, I actually received an email from James’ longtime assistant. It was succinct: “James learned so much from you, and he instructed me to give you this video.” I clicked on the attachment. James popped up. He was clearly agitated and clenching his jaw, making contorted faces and speaking strangely. He thanked me for all of my help over the years and explained that it had helped him through some very dark times. He finished by saying that he was sorry, but that he had to end things. That’s when he turned off the video and killed himself.

This experience profoundly fucked me up for a long period of time.

Suffice to say, I didn’t realize that this type of thing was part of the Faustian fame-seeking bargain.

95%-ile isn't that good

Reaching 95%-ile isn't very impressive because it's not that hard to do. I think this is one of my most ridiculable ideas. It doesn't help that, when stated nakedly, that sounds elitist. But I think it's just the opposite: most people can become (relatively) good at most things.

Note that when I say 95%-ile, I mean 95%-ile among people who participate, not all people (for many activities, just doing it at all makes you 99%-ile or above across all people). I'm also not referring to 95%-ile among people who practice regularly. The "one weird trick" is that, for a lot of activities, being something like 10%-ile among people who practice can make you something like 90%-ile or 99%-ile among people who participate.

Personally, in every activity I've participated in where it's possible to get a rough percentile ranking, people who are 95%-ile constantly make mistakes that seem like they should be easy to observe and correct. "Real world" activities typically can't be reduced to a percentile rating, but achieving what appears to be a similar level of proficiency seems similarly easy.

How Escape From Immoral Mazes

This post deals with the goal of avoiding or escaping being trapped in an immoral maze, accepting that for now we are trapped in a society that contains powerful mazes.

Being in a maze is not worth it. They couldn’t pay you enough. Even if they could, they definitely don’t. If you end up CEO, you still lose. These lives are not worth it. Do not be a middle manager at a major corporation or other organization that works like this. Do not sell your soul.

Young people starting out in the labor market often have The Fear that they will never find a job or never find a good job or another good job. If you are capable of getting this far, and you persevere, that is not true for you. A wide variety of jobs and other opportunities are out there.

I realize some people have already become so trapped in mazes that they cannot walk away.

What do you do if you find yourself inside a maze?

Quit. Seriously. Go do something else. Ideally, do it today.

At least start planning and looking. Every day there is another day you suffer, another day you invest your social and human capital in ways that can’t be transferred, and another day you become infected by the maze that much more.

A lot of this fear is the expectation that others won’t understand and won’t accept our justifications. That does happen, but far less than people typically expect or fear. Most people are far more sympathetic than the inside view might suggest.

No engineer has ever sued a company because of constructive post-interview feedback. So why don’t employers do it?

One of the things that sucks most about technical interviews is that they’re a black box—candidates (usually) get told whether they made it to the next round, but they’re rarely told why they got the outcome that they did. Lack of feedback, or feedback that doesn’t come right away, isn’t just frustrating to candidates. It’s bad for business. We did a whole study on this. It turns out that candidates chronically underrate and overrate their technical interview performance, like so:

Where this finding starts to get actionable is that there’s a statistically significant relationship between whether people think they did well in an interview and whether they’d want to work with you. In other words, in every interview cycle, some portion of interviewees are losing interest in joining your company just because they don’t think they did well, even when they actually did. It makes sense… when you suspect you might not have done well, you’re prone to embark on a painful bout of self-flagellation, and to make it stop, you’ll rationalize away the job by telling yourself that you totally didn’t want to work there anyway.

Practically speaking, giving instant feedback to successful candidates can do wonders for increasing your close rate.

How to reduce 'attention residue' in your life

In recent years, a cluster of Australian universities have been helping students tackle this issue through dedicated Get Your Life In Order (GYLIO) practices. Essentially, GYLIO is about bundling tasks into a single morning, day or week in order to clear your mind; learning to prioritise and find focus so that you can enjoy guilt-free downtime.

The University of Melbourne has run a GYLIO week once every semester for at least a decade. It usually takes place around the middle of the semester in week five or six, and while the academic programme continues, the extensive social and partying schedule is paused to help students shift their priorities.

“The list included updating my study notes and getting started on upcoming assignments. I also got my exercise regime back, including runs with my friends. To relax, I took some time to see a movie, call my family and chat with friends,” says Currie. She thinks GYLIO is a great way to refocus. “Even just giving it a title seems to spur students into motion and eliminate excuses,” she says. “I think it really is what you make it – no one will force you to do self-care stuff.”

How Important is Work?

How important should work be in your life? What kind of relationship should you have with your career? If you don’t feel like you have that, what should you do about it?

The obvious reason to care about your career is that you need money to live. Survival ranks higher than lofty ambitions, so for most of us, a job is simply a necessity.

But many things are necessities without deriving much focused attention in life. Eating is also essential, but I don’t derive the meaning of my life from food. Indeed, it often seems like the people who focus most on their careers are those who need it the least. The lawyer who puts in eighty-hour weeks to make partner isn’t worried about rent money.

A different story, perhaps the one that a majority of people living in wealthier countries tell themselves, is that work is about respect. Your work decides some of your status in society, and doing well in your career is about mostly about amplifying the respect you receive.

There’s an element of self-deception here. Work being about survival (or even comfort) sounds better than trying to gain more status. Vanity and pride aren’t attractive traits, so many people mask their underlying desire for respect under different stories about their work.

More to Check Out: 
Six ways coronavirus will change our world
How McKinsey Destroyed the Middle Class
The man who discovered umami
- Mapping Income Inequality using IRS SOI Data
- How ‘Big Law’ Makes Big Money

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My Update:

  • Working. Hiring.

  • If you need a job (or want a new one), send me an email. I know dozens of amazing people hiring and can help you (for real!!).