One of my earliest posts here was about different meanings of “habit”: there are … … intentional habits, things you regularly choose to do, … automatic habits, things you do on autopilot, and … mindset habits, your default ways of thinking. Intentional and automatic habits look very similar — the difference is how much mental effort you … More Three tools for changing your mindset
I’ve often found great comfort in the idea that work is never wasted: even if a project doesn’t go the way I hoped, I will still have learned something from the attempt, and I’ll carry that knowledge and experience forward with me. However, it recently occurred to me that work done is not the same … More Effort spent procrastinating is wasted
It can be kind of fun, in a self-flagellating way, to read about cognitive biases like the availability heuristic or the Dunning-Kruger effect, or just to browse through big lists like this one. If only our brains could take into account all the information they have, process it instantly, and store it forever! But machine learning engineers know that … More Cognitive Overfitting
Some things, like money, time, and effort, are scarce resources that need careful budgeting to be used optimally. Some of those, like effort and attention, can return stronger after resting from difficult use, as if they’ve been built up like a muscle through exercise, which makes the calculus of optimizing how much and when to … More What we can’t spend
Volunteering is like eating vegetables—should you do it even if you hate it, or should you concentrate on the kind you enjoy? … More Whether to enjoy serving others
We often optimize by looking for a nice middle partway along a spectrum: Exercising means challenging your body enough to respond but not so much that you hurt yourself. Astronomers look for potentially habitable planets in the”Goldilocks zones” around other stars, the bands where it’s not too hot and not too cold. It’s appropriate to … More When is a mixture better than a middle?
I was a healthy child. I had a healthy immediate family, too. We all got sick occasionally, and my sisters and I have all broken a bone at some point, but we just weren’t the sort of people to have chronic ailments or other serious health concerns. At least, that’s the best I could muster … More Health is not a virtue