George Mack Profile picture
Nov 29, 2018 18 tweets 6 min read Twitter logo Read on Twitter

Once you SEE it - you can never UNSEE it.

Arguedbly the most important personality trait you can foster.

I've thought about this concept every week for the last two years since I heard @EricRWeinstein discuss it on @tferriss' podcast.


"When you’re told that something is impossible, is that the end of the conversation, or does that start a second dialogue in your mind, how to get around whoever it is that’s just told you that you can’t do something?" - @EricRWeinstein
3/ "So, how am I going to get past this bouncer who told me that I can’t come into this nightclub? How am I going to start a business when my credit is terrible and I have no experience?" - @EricRWeinstein
4/ High Agency is a sense that the story given to you by other people about what you can/cannot do is just that - a story.

And that you have control over the story.

High Agency person looks to bend reality to their will.

They either find a way, or they make a way.
5/ Low agency person acepts the story that is given to them.

They never question it.

They are passive.

They outsource all of their decision making to other people.
6/ Person A is low agency.

Person B is high agency. Image
7/ You see high agency vs low agency everywhere.

@paulg says he can describe a good startup founder in two words - "reletnessley resourceful" (high agency)

He says the opposite of this is "hapless" (low agency).
8/ @rabois identifies high agency in employees through a mental model called "Barrels vs Ammunition".

He wanted to get smoothies for his developers who were working late at LinkedIn. Only one high agency intern managed to get the right smoothies delivered at the right time.
9/ @JeffBezos has a framework for identifying high agency friends/romantic partners.

Answer this question:

"If you was stuck in a third world prison and had to call one person to try and bust you out of there - who would you call?"
10/ “Life can be much broader once you discover one simple fact: Everything around you that you call life was made up by people that were no smarter than you and you can change it, you can influence it, you can build your own things that other people can use.” - Steve Jobs
11/ @Schwarzenegger high agency was noted by Bill Burr:

1. Gets famous for lifting weights
2. Becomes the world's biggest movie star despite nobody being able to understand him
3. Marries into the american royal family
4. Becomes governor of a state he can't even pronounce
12/ To help fund AirBnB, @bchesky & @jgebbia sold limited edition cereal boxes called Obama O’s & Captain McCain cereal during the 2008 election.

They raised $40,000 - from selling cereal.

Talk about questioning the story and finding a way.…
13/ @peterthiel has a question to help bring out high agency thinking.

"How can you achieve your 10 year goal in 6 months?"
14/ I've heard @naval & @robinhanson call this "Orthaganol Thinking"

You ask questions that look to give you a completely different angle to frame the problem through.

You are thinking sideways, and you can see ridiculous ideas that the crowd missed.
15/ A journalist managed to get a shed in his garden the highest rated restaurant in London on Trip Advisor.

Now that is some high agency behaviour.…
16/ "Alfréd Wetzler escaped from Auschwitz through hiding in wood pile that other inmates soaked with tobacco and gasoline to fool guard dogs.

After four nights hiding, he donned a stolen stolen suit and began a 80 mile journey to the Polish border with Slovakia...
17/ "In his pockets, Wetzler carried a report on the inner workings of the death camp, including a ground plan, details of the gas chambers, and a label from a canister of Zyklon B – the gas that the Nazi's used to kill millions of inmates."
18/ He reported he saved 120,000 Hungarian Jews lives through his high agency.

Now that is high agency.

If in doubt, ask yourself, what would Wetzler do?

1. Question everything
2. Bend reality
3. Never outsource your decision making

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More from @george__mack

Aug 23
How to get creative (without taking drugs):

13 techniques I've found useful:

1. Consume Niche Content

Go to YouTube or Twitter.

Step 1 - Scroll through Explore page

Step 2 - Only click on content that has under 5K views

90% is often a waste of time.

But 10% turns into an incredible niche input that nobody else on the internet is tapping into.

That 10% input is like a VC's investment portfolio - it makes up for all the failed investments

2. Balaji's Transformer

If you have a written idea -- try to draw it

If you have a visual idea -- try to write it

If you have a numerical idea -- try to explain it out loud

The process of transforming the idea from one language to another produces a new perspective

3. Wake Up Early -- Or Stay Up Late

Most people hit peak creativity whilst others are asleep.


The brain is free to stop worrying about other people -- and fills the vacuum with ideas instead.

4. Create An Evil Twin

Imagine there's an evil identical twin of you whose sole job is to out-think you.

What are they thinking?

This thought experiment allows the mind to explore creative ideas -- because you can blame it on the twin.

5. Spin Wheels

Step 1 - Collect the best questions you find
Step 2 - Add them to a spinning wheel app
Step 3 - Spin the wheel before bed
Step 4 - Leave the question with the subconscious overnight
Step 5 - Brainstorm on the question first thing in the morning before any input

6. Escape The News Trap

Most people only consume content made in the last 24 hours.

David Perell calls this the "Never-Ending-Now"

Instead, study the best of history.

Your inputs go from the best content in the last 24h to the best content ever made.

Imagine if you could only consume music that was made in the last 24 hours. This is what most people do with their content habits.

7. Be Like Japan

When I ask people where they want to travel to: Most say Japan

Japan practiced an isolationist policy called Sakoku for 265 years. They cut off the outside world -- resulting in their unique culture

Once per quarter, practice Sakoku for a weekend or a week

Sakoku is intermittent fasting for the mimetic mind

In the interconnected age, your thoughts feel like your own -- but it's often society's voice echoing.

When you spend a week alone with 0 external inputs -- the echoes disappear and you hear your own creative voice

8. Avoid Dramatic People

Human Brain Paradox: Your brain is a supercomputer -- but it can only have 1 thought at a time.

Every thought has an opportunity cost.

Toxic and dramatic people are so dangerous to creativity -- they eat your supercomputers RAM.

9. Never Identify With Ideas

People don't have ideas. Ideas have people.

You are just a vessel for ideas to pass through

2nd album syndrome and writer's block are often caused by the creator building an identity to defend.

10. Create A Mood Log

When you feel creative -- log the causes.

When you feel uncreative -- log the causes.

Once per month, review it and redesign your environment based on this log.

11. The Manhattan Project

Find the smartest people you know.

Get an AirBnB away from all distractions together.

Throw ideas back and forth like a tennis match.

In this scenario, if you have 3 people, 1+1+1 = 111.

You unlock their bottlenecks, which leads to a greater version of them unlocking your bottlenecks.

It's a positive compounding flywheel that is greater than the sum of its components.

Swedish House Mafia did this to create the iconic "One".

It's one of the best videos I've ever seen. (See below)
Here's an example of what the Manhattan Project technique looks like.

Swedish House Mafia producing the iconic "One"

Each one unlocks the other person's bottleneck -- resulting in something exponentially greater than each individual alone.
Here's an example of Balaji's Transformer:

Walt Disney's business plan.

The act of transforming the written plan into a drawing unlocks so many creative pathways that would be impossible with words alone.
Read 4 tweets
Aug 6
0.1% of ideas this week:

The rabbit holes -- without the distractions.

7 examples: Image
1. How much does Google pay to be iPhone's search engine:

2014 - $1 billion
2017 - $3 billion
2018 - $9 billion
2021 - $15 billion
2022 - $19 billion

Every year Apple says "Jump"

Google replies with: "How high?" Image
2. Twitter Is So Big In Japan

Elon Musk recently posted Twitters usage.

The thing that went under the radar?

Japan did more minutes than any other country. Image
Read 9 tweets
Jul 30
0.1% of ideas this week

The rabbit holes -- without the distractions.

7 examples: Image
1. Lagging Measurements

I've been looking for a graph that visualizes lagging measurements.

This one is perfect. Image

The smoking of this decade is not exercising.
Read 10 tweets
Jul 23
The 0.1% of ideas this week

The rabbit holes -- without the distractions

7 examples: Image
1. Apple's Road To $3 Trillion

3 thoughts popped into my head:

• Apple was only worth $5.16 billion in 2002

• The growth (and inflation) from 2018-2023 is huge

• It will be fascinating to see AR & VR mapped onto this 5-10 years from now Image
2. The History Of The Internet

It's crazy how fast things have moved over the last 30 years.

Google's explosion is incredible when viewed in a historians frame.
Read 10 tweets
Jul 22
What ideas sound crazy or weird today -- but will be obvious in 10-20 years?

10 predictions:

1. The Smart Toilet Image
1. The Smart Toilet

Urine and stool tests provide incredible medical biofeedback.

The smart toilet will give a detailed breakdown of your microbiome, hydration levels and health.

It could also help eradicate Gonorrhoea and Chlamydia. Image
2. AI Matchmaking Dating Apps

The biggest complaint my single female and male friends have:

"I hate spending time on dating apps. I just want to go on dates"

Dating apps will have an AI match making co-pilot to solve this problem. Image
Read 21 tweets
Jul 16
0.1% of ideas I've found this week

The rabbit holes -- without the distractions

7 examples: Image
1. Immigrant Mentality

44% of US Unicorn founders were not born in the US

Israel, with a population of just 9.3 million, is the pound-for-pound outlier in 2nd place Image
43% of the Fortune 500 in 2017 were co-founded by an immigrant or a child of an immigrant.

Why do immigrants dominate?

My theory: Immigration is a mechanism for creating or self-selecting high agency people. Image
Read 13 tweets

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