Ways I grew (tried to grow) this past week.

27Jan19 – 3Feb19

  1. I finished reading (listening to) “Never Split The Difference”
  2. I actively applied the negotiation techniques in my conversations at work with former merchants.
  3. I started reading (listening to) “Thinking in Bets” by Annie Duke

Was reminded of some important facts.

  • That we are prone to believing what we see
  • That we rarely question our beliefs, and mislead ourselves to think that we have vetted our beliefs for accuracy.
  • That when we look at something, we see what we believe, not what is considered the objective truth.
  • That we can prime ourselves or be primed to see what should be seen.
  • That I should come to terms that the only way to really grow is to admit that I’m not sure. That certainty rarely exists – especially in a complex environment where there is no clear causal behavior.
  • Life is more like poker and less like chess.
  1. Started practicing the Piano.
  2. Using concepts of spaced repetition with the Piano to ensure that my learning is faster and deeper.
  3. Listened to “The Art of Decision-Making | The New Yorker

Which was interesting because it ties together a lot of what I’ve been thinking about in regards to decision making.

Largely that the choices we make aren’t about what we want to be – but who we want to be. We make choices to become a version of ourself that doesn’t exist yet.

And the fact of the matter, is that we do actually have a choice – most of the time we are not making choices – we are in system 1 mode and are simply guiding our brains and our bodies to make decisions. But there are ways to guide better, to get a system 2 that sets the proper course even for the automatic decisions that we make all the time. Annie Duke had a technique which aimed to help accomplish this. Although it’s hard.

She mentioned in the Farnam Street Podcast – that you need to invite your future self to the conversation when you are making a decision. Your future self is much more capable of seeing the long term benefits over the short term pain relief. And your future self would likely make a different decision than your current one.

It was curious to realize that it is true that we agonize over small decisions and make larger life decisions without significant amounts of thought.

The concept of aspirations according to Agnes Callard from her book “Aspirations: The Agency of Becoming was also interesting –

‘we “aspire” to self-transformation by trying on the values that we hope one day to possess, just as we might strike a pose in the mirror before heading out on a date.’

In that we give fake reasons for why we start something new, because the real reason makes the current effort seem way more noble than it’s rightful status.

I like how she points out that many things that we start to do – we don’t do them because we want to, we do them because we want to want to do them.

This is like me going to the gym.

“The truth, which is harder to communicate, is that you have some vague sense of its value, which you hope that some future version of yourself might properly grasp.”

And the truth is, that we need to try on these new selves, in order to become them. It’s like that quote from Luke Cage (? I think) – “To get your head right, you gotta get your threads right” – or that clothes make the man.

By putting on a costume, you can pretend to be someone that you aren’t – and it allows you to bring out a different version of yourself – a possible version.

It’s also one of the reasons I chose to move across the world – away from the things that I know. – Regretfully, I think that I’ve still fallen into many of the same habits and traps – so I’ll need to keep growing and pushing myself.

  1. I started adding research back into my role at work, to encourage myself to continue to develop those skills.
  2. I encountered conflict at work with my team. I realized that my leadership skills are still sorely lacking. Particularly the control of my emotions. But conflict allowed us to grow, because we were able to better understand one another. This also allowed me to uncover certain tensions and misunderstandings in my team and because of that, I was able to rethink the process a little bit, address those concerns and now I feel that we are better than the week before.
  3. I realized that conflict is not something that should be avoided. What should be avoided is the loss of emotional control and the desire to be right.
  4. I went to the gym – and realized that although this is something that is hard to get motivated to do – it’s something that I think is impossible to regret once it’s been done. The version of me that went to the gym is very happy with that decision.
  5. I took a long walk.
  6. Realized I can’t trust myself to remember all of the things that I want to read, so I took a coworkers suggestion and started actually using Goodreads to organize my reading list

I also reminded myself of the concepts of the “Learning how to Learn Course

  • Chunking information – this post that connects all of these different ideas is one of those ways. It connects new things I’m learning to ideas that have already been formed.
  • Exercise – in order to learn better, you need to give your body the best chance it has. Exercise creates new cells in the brain that allow you to better absorb and process information.
  • Spaced Repetition – reengaging with old ideas, and connecting them with new ones is another way of repeating the lessons. Our brains learn much better when we repeat things periodically.
  • Deliberate Practice – writing this post, connecting all of these ideas and trying to fully form these thoughts is not easy. It’s a form of practice that further allows me to learn all of these concepts.
  • Space – I allowed myself to not learn, to think about nothing, to distract myself. This gives my brain a chance to process the new ideas that it has learned and bounce them around with other ideas. Making new connections.

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