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As a thought exercise I wrote about everything I changed my mind about this year.

Below are the big things I have learned/changed my mind about in 2018:
Business: people that build something useful that makes a profit without unfairly fucking over others is what to aspire to. A VC funded tech app that has never made money isn’t impressive. This @mdvex thread is fantastic(a person who gets entrepreneurship)
Architecture/urbanism: @wrathofgnon twitter account is fascinating. Consider myself far more bottom up and classical in architecture/urban design now. This is a more important battle than is given credit for I reckon. Modern buildings are a regression in architecture
Scale and dose: scale and dosage of anything changes the effect, the yes/no dichotomy often isn’t useful. The world is not linear. @nntaleb explains this well, as does Bevelin in “seeking wisdom”. This applies to everything (diseconomies of scale exist!!)
Journalism/media: I don’t trust institutions as much (at all), there are quality individuals however on an institutional scale it is impossible to maintain quality/unbiasedness. Brexit/Trump has unearthed this well, the media is insane (and mostly propaganda).
Journalism/media (2): Real journalism is taking risks, fighting power and keeping people honest. Not writing nice things about those in power to get promotions
Skills: I think there are two meta skills which will help you in almost all endeavours (a) the ability to lose well and (b) social skills. Got these ideas from @mdvex
Skills (a): My interpretation of losing well is three fold:
(i)Carefully choosing your battles so that a loss never ruins you
(ii)Having the energy to keep going in the face of many defeats
(iii)Not taking defeat too personally (not having a big ego)
Skills (b): Social skills are useful in almost all human endeavours. Things like the respecting people, trusting and being trusted, and for you to be there for people when others wouldn’t be. Other skills are supercharged by your social skills (nerds often miss this)
University: I learned more at my jobs and reading for personal enjoyment than in lectures. Bar work and being a receptionist was a good laugh
Job: I was lucky in getting my job, I realised a lot of people worried about uncertainty post university and undervalued themselves. I am proud that I convinced several people to quit their shit first jobs and get better ones/ start their own thing
Social media popularity: I had a few threads that blew up (10,000+ notifications in a day), this was cool and worth happening once or twice to realise it isn’t that big a deal. Being trending in Bangalore, India was a highlight though!
Social media popularity 2: just because someone with a lot of followers follows you doesn’t mean you have to respect them or follow them back. I made this mistake
Twitter: I think there are some exceptional people on here. Look at who I follow, unbelievable quality in there (most of the time!)
Communities vs Individuals online: Quality individuals last, quality communities struggle online (either heavily regulated or small with like <10k people and 20 very active members). Therefore, pay attention to the quality individuals, online communities don’t last.
Tweeting: as much as tweeting everyday would be useful to grow this page, I realised I don’t like tweeting a lot. I like tweeting every so often. And I realised I don’t care that much about growing this page
Nutrition + exercise: I have changed my view of the “balanced diet” and useful exercise, mostly thanks to @guruanaerobic. His book is very good + a succinct explanation
Religion: I subscribe to @nntaleb’s view, in that religion is misunderstood. I am more appreciative of religion now
Big Tech: I used to look up to the Bezos/Google’s/Zuckerbergs of the world, now I’m not impressed with them. The definition of sell outs.
Technical “progress”: I thought more tech = more good times. I think most tech is overrated, there is quality however a lot of bullshit too. I have a large dislike for most tech people. A “smart” toothbrush isn’t fucking smart
Risk: I am more and more impressed with people who live their opinions and face downside. The risk takers are what we need more of (in business/politics/journalism/twitter etc)
Reading: this twitter page got big purely from books. I read a lot this year, mostly as I was bored at university however the habit has stuck. I do like reading however there are downsides to it: this thread by me explains my thoughts
Best books I read in 2018:
-Taleb “skin in the game”
-Bevelin “Seeking wisdom”
-McGilchrist “The master and his emissary”
-Dostoevsky “crime and punishment”
Personal: I think I am more relaxed now compared to the beginning of 2018, I think this was me being worried about post university uncertainty. Thankfully it worked out okay. Maybe I’m growing up
Music: I realised lyrics don’t matter too much. They can add a lot to a song but a song can be great without great/any lyrics. Eg mumble rappers or classical music. The larger point being: overall product (song) is more important than the constituent parts (lyrics, beat etc)
Dynamics > statics, (my favourite distinction of 2018), examples:
Contextual understanding > metrics
Bottom up > top down
Practice > theory
Right side brain > left side
Big picture > the detail
Dualistic > dichotomous
Gut feelings > Cost-benefit analysis
Instagram jealousy/FOMO: Going to a few instagram “influencer” partys destroyed any desire to be famous. They were the most cringy thing I’ve ever been at
Excellence: There are some people who are just fucking excellent at what they do. As much as I’d love to be better than everyone at everything, I am learning to accept to just learn from them.
Filtering: per topic I reckon there are 1-10 people actually worth listening to, actual experts. Try to find these people (takes time and experimentation)
F() > (x): if we can properly craft f(), we can do a lot less work in trying to predict or control X, and let our payoffs come from f(X) — not the naked X. jwnorman.com/?p=4785 this article by @normonics is a must read
Choosing battles: most things don’t matter so are not worth a lot of effort, save your efforts for the important battles
Appreciating the qualitative: a mixture of “the tyranny of metrics” (thread below), “gut feelings”, + @Lindyeffect has allowed me to appreciate things even if they aren’t measurable or quantifiable.
Actions > words: Words without actions don’t mean much generally(@houseofparliament). If i don’t like something, I now aim to do something against it. I don’t like how amazon treat their staff so i deleted my account. Acta non verba
Social media: I still am not sure about social media. I think as long as you don’t use it too much, don’t take it too seriously, and expect nothing more than terrible discussion you can never be disappointed. Alternatively I learn a lot of stuff of twitter...
...so I think it takes time however social media can be good. Again I think it comes back to quality individuals.
Linearity of hobbies: I now think the idea that you do something X hours per week is bizarre. I read more books than I have ever read this year yet for 6 months of the year I read zero books. The idea you do hobby 1 X hours and hobby 2 X hours per week is dumb. It depends
Uncertainty: it is a mistake to think that it’s better to be certain (even if it’s wrong) than to be uncertain. If you can handle uncertainty you will be doing well, someting I’m working on
Social media: cool people unfollowing me/people blocking me (happened once) made me react too much. Thinking about this/subsequently trying to impress people is a fucking waste of time. It doesn’t matter
“Rationality”: this means nothing, some academic nerd can’t assign you rational or not. Nor can I assign people rational or not
Buzzwords: the more someone uses buzzwords, the more I am convinced they are idiots
Less is more: “Perfection is achieved, not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away” - A. Saint-Exupery.
Learning vs unlearning: many things I’ve been taught are unhelpful and wrong, a lot of use comes from unlearning instead of more learning. Twitter is good for unlearning as people can often dispel BS that is taught
Thinking: most good thinking happens subconsciously, not by trying to think. This list started with 10 things and over time inflated to ~40, from 10-40 I wasn’t trying to think of them. Thoughts mostly appear on public transport/while walking...
...this is also why I think trying to be “in the moment” all the time is not useful
Perspective: everyone sees the world relative to their experiences/education/upbringing/beliefs. So when solving a problem often I saw other people as wrong instead of just appreciating that they have a different perspective. In the end, if it works it works
Optimising: Optimising is not optimising
THE END:

Have a good day all. 2018 was a pretty cool year, mostly because of things I could have never predicted. On to 2019!
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