author: niplav, created: 2021-02-22, modified: 2024-04-26, language: english, status: in progress, importance: 3, confidence: other

Inspired by others (Falkovich 2019, Ideopunk 2020, Ethan 2021) I thought it might be useful to create a grabbag of strategies for dealing with being human.

Life Advice

  1. There is value-laden and value-agnostic advice. Most advice is value-laden. Before you carry out some advice, check whether it actually corresponds to your values.
  2. Make things you endorse part of your identity (but not too much)
  3. If you are like me, you probably underestimate the value of good gear
  4. Choose your hobbies so that they solve big problems in your life
  5. Try to identify addictive loops early and destroy them as early as possible
  6. Sign up for cryonics (if you can afford it).
  7. People have a strong sense that once they come into remote contact with something bad, it makes them a bad person, no matter how small the badness or how remote the contact. You probably do this as well. This is both psychologically unhealthy and makes no sense, since it usually doesn't take into account the quantity of badness ("all bad things are equally bad") and doesn't weigh it against the quantity of goodness produced (disallowing offsetting). Try to recognize when you do this, and if other people do this to you, and ignore it.
  8. Have a long-term plan to completely or nearly completely phase the internet out of your life
  9. If you are looking for solutions to problems, look for zero-willpower/zero-inspiration solutions first
  10. The benefits of small amounts of meditation are probably overstated, while the benefits of large amounts of meditation (north of 1 hour a day) are probably heavily underestimated. I have had very good experiences with it.
  11. The ability to form habits is powerful.
  12. Trigger-Action plans. They're great.
  13. Only consume media you actually enjoy consuming, not the media you brag about consuming in front of others
  14. Instead of learning a language, learn a couple of poems. Most people don't actually manage to learn a second (or, outside English speaking countries, third) language. Also, most people can't recite a single poem, even though it's much much easier to learn than a whole language.
  15. Use spaced repetition for, well, anything
  16. When trying to receive specific advice, look for people that had a problem similar (or identical) to yours, and find the methods that they used to solve their problem. If these methods don't work as well you as they did for them, continue searching
  17. Structured Procrastination might work for you. It does for me.
  18. Fight tooth and nail for Slack. FIRE, fewer addictions (even small ones like mindless internet browsing), no debt, fewer physical objects you own, and fewer social obligations are all instances of having a lot of slack.
  19. Don't destroy option value.
  20. There are two ways of living more: making your life longer and making your life feel longer.
  21. If you want to get into X, the best way of doing so is probably doing a little bit of X for a month, and then one week of X for 6 or more hours a day.
  22. If there is an item on this list that tells you to stop doing X, but you truly enjoy doing X, then disregard the advice.
  23. If you're writing a long commment on the internet, you're probably better off writing it in a local text editor and copy-pasting it once you're done. It has only happened to me a couple of times, but losing a long, detailed comment through a reload or browser crash or whatever was always frustrating.
  24. Obvious computering advice:
  25. Kimchi is amazing. Try it.
  26. Money is important. Treat is as such.
  27. For some people, sometimes being able to ground out ones problems causally in the world (i.e. "Which gears-level processes lead to the situation I'm in, and which incentives pushed which people to create/exacerbate those problems?") can help dissolve negative emotions around the problem.
  28. Vitamin C might cause kidney stones to happen more often. You probably don't want to experience kidney stones. Therefore, consider not supplementing Vitamin C.
  29. If you are about to start fighting someone, be aware that this happens. State it out loud: Does this mean we are now fighting? Surprisingly, this sometimes defuses the fight.
  30. If you're already doing something unethical, it's better to be aware of that than to compartmentalize and push it away – for yourself and others.
  31. Don't invest money by buying diamonds. Humanity is able to create synthetic diamonds that are as big as natural ones, cleaner (fewer residual elements, e.g. nitrogen) and ~10x cheaper. It is easier to make synthetic diamonds dirtier than to clean natural ones. De Beers and other diamond companies have been combatting this by giving out certificates of authenticity – but the temptation to cheat on these is probably too high and this looks like a major market disequilibrium that will collapse at some point – I'm just not sure when ("The market can stay irrational longer than you can stay solvent—unless it can't anymore").
  32. Carrying around a USB stick on a keychain is pretty useful in some situations.
  33. Don't put a backpack with a laptop in it on a chair.
  34. If you really want something to get done, use a money-as-commitment website like beeminder, taskratchet, forfeit or intend.
  35. Own multiple chargers for your laptop.
  36. Do a little bit of stock-picking, based on your inside view, and then observe how well the picked stocks do.
  37. Do the obvious things

Disclaimer: I only follow parts of the advice given in here, though my idealized version follows it nearly completely. I also believe that following this advice completely is probably too hard, but following it has monotonically increasing gains.

However, as always, the law of equal and opposite advice applies, people are different.

And, as always, remember that I'm just a person on the internet.

See Also