This Week I Learned #68
Learning from the "Top Of My To Do List" Essay:
"Don't ignore your dreams; don't work too much; say what you think; cultivate friendships; be happy." This is what Paul Graham has on the top of his to do list. It's an inversion of the "5 Regrets of the Dying" book by Bonnie Ware. It's been in a reading list and I feel this essay has summed it up quite well for. PG has inverted the regrets into the 5 commandments. PG noticed how the mistakes that produce these regrets are errors of omission. Meaning, that they are from NOT doing and just following a default program and NOT doing the things that should've been done.
The regrets being: You ignore your dreams, work too much, suppress your feelings, neglect your friends, and forget to be happy
Learning from the "Life is Short." Essay:
"The saddest windows close when other people die. Their lives are short too. After my mother died, I wished I'd spent more time with her. I lived as if she'd always be there. And in her typical quiet way she encouraged that illusion. But an illusion it was. I think a lot of people make the same mistake I did." Parents will never tell their children that time is ending for them. They won't worry their own children and will prefer they push on with their lives.
"Cultivate a habit of impatience about the things you most want to do. Don't wait before climbing that mountain or writing that book or visiting your mother. You don't need to be constantly reminding yourself why you shouldn't wait. Just don't wait."
Learning from the "What Doesn't Seem Like Work." Essay:
"The stranger your tastes seem to other people, the stronger evidence they probably are of what you should do." What seems like work to other people that doesn't seem like work to you?
Learning from the "How to do what you Love." Essay:
"If you think something's supposed to hurt, you're less likely to notice if you're doing it wrong. That about sums up my experience of graduate school"
"As a lower bound, you have to like your work more than any unproductive pleasure. You have to like what you do enough that the concept of "spare time" seems mistaken. Which is not to say you have to spend all your time working. You can only work so much before you get tired and start to screw up. Then you want to do something else—even something mindless. But you don't regard this time as the prize and the time you spend working as the pain you endure to earn it." The mindless time is the rest you take in order to be more effective in the work you care for. This can also be incorporated with the "personal hourly rate" Jordan Peterson and Naval Ravikant talks about. If you were to give yourself an hourly rate of $100, would you rather pay someone less than your hourly rate to do the work you just did in that hour?
"Prestige is like a powerful magnet that warps even your beliefs about what you enjoy. It causes you to work not on what you like, but what you'd like to like."
"Prestige is just fossilized inspiration. If you do anything well enough, you'll make it prestigious." In investing, great businesses now are less likely to be great investments now because it's obvious. Same for prestige. If you go for something that is already prestigious, is it not like buying a bank stock? No big returns to come from there.
"It might be a good rule simply to avoid any prestigious task. If it didn't suck, they wouldn't have had to make it prestigious."
"If you admire two kinds of work equally, but one is more prestigious, you should probably choose the other. Your opinions about what's admirable are always going to be slightly influenced by prestige, so if the two seem equal to you, you probably have more genuine admiration for the less prestigious one"
"The test of whether people love what they do is whether they'd do it even if they weren't paid for it—even if they had to work at another job to make a living. How many corporate lawyers would do their current work if they had to do it for free, in their spare time, and take day jobs as waiters to support themselves?"
"Although doing great work takes less discipline than people think—because the way to do great work is to find something you like so much that you don't have to force yourself to do it—finding work you love does usually require discipline." Amen.
"Plenty of people who will later do great things seem to be disappointments early on, when they're trying to find their niche"
Learning from the "How to be an expert in a changing world." Essay:
"Though the nature of future discoveries is hard to predict, I've found I can predict quite well what sort of people will make them. Good new ideas come from earnest, energetic, independent-minded people." People > Ideas for it's the people who will execute them. A highschool band can play the same Mozart piece as a professional symphonic orchestra but we all know who will sound better.
"Betting on people over ideas saved me countless times as an investor. We thought Airbnb was a bad idea, for example. But we could tell the founders were earnest, energetic, and independent-minded. (Indeed, almost pathologically so.) So we suspended disbelief and funded them."
"Surround yourself with the sort of people new ideas come from."