This is a long list of random things that I had accumulated in my Evernote. Will tidy up and process when I next feel like it.
I want to witness more sunrises and sunsets. I find them to be appropriately awe-inspiring and humbling. They remind me that I’m just a little human in the grander scheme of things, and they remind me that great, beautiful things are possible. It’s like a mini-version of the Overview Effect, which I have often said I’d like to witness.
todo: sleep and wake earlier
I want to meet more people
“I met an acquaintance for dinner yesterday– we talked about our lives over McDonald’s. I enjoyed it. I should meet more of such people on a regular basis. I enjoy eating lunch with my colleagues every day– it can be a slightly different mix of people each time, and there’s usually some good conversation to be had. There’s no reason why I can’t do the same for dinner on a more regular basis.” (0385)
I currently don’t feel like I have time to meet people. This is because I’m not managing my time well. I need to manage my time better so I can fulfil my obligations AND have time for myself and the things I want.
I want to learn to draw.
I don’t need to draw photorealistic things, I just want to be able to communicate and express myself visually through doodles and sketches, comic style. I need to accept that the initial stuff is going to look terrible, and I need to be okay with that. It’s totally possible to learn to draw at 26 years of age. Skills can be trained.
I want to earn real friendship. (VAGUE)
Sometimes it feels like I’m spending my whole life in search of a true friend, in the most idealistic sense of friendship. As I get older it becomes clearer that it’s probably not possible. I’m already very lucky to have married someone who loves me, and to work with colleagues who accept and appreciate me, and in both cases I’m trying (perhaps not smartly enough, never smartly enough) to become more worthy of such kinship.
I’ve realized that adulthood is about parenting yourself, and I suppose in life you also have to be your own best friend. I’ve met a couple of good people in recent weeks and it’s been energizing, so from a meatbag management perspective I should keep doing that. But it becomes clearer and clearer that in the end that still won’t be sufficient. Friends can give you validation and support, and really good friends can give you valuable negative feedback. But do we even really need that? If I really sit down with myself and be honest with myself I know what my flaws are and I know what needs to be done to fix it.
todo: figure out who my “best” friends are (define this more clearly for myself– will do this personally) and invest more in those relationships, and in becoming a person that such people / more such people would want to befriend
to be debt free / financially independent
The debt that weighs on my mind right now is my house– the fact that I’ll take 27 more years to completely pay it off. I don’t know how I’m thinking about that or how I ought to think about that. Technically I need to know that I could sell my house if I had to. I can’t sell it for a couple of more years, but I should be able to withstand that long.
Living expenses– I could live more cheaply if I had to. I’m hesitant to do this I guess because it feels like it would take forever anyway. I should quantify this stuff and clarify.
Whatever the case, there is anxiety here that could be reduced. I should figure it out and chat about it with my wife.
I want to learn to cook.
This means learning to prepare specific meals with specific ingredients. I should learn to reliably make a particular dish. I can make eggs and a protein shake. I think I should learn to make tuna pasta next, since it’s relatively simple/predictable.
I want to spend less time and energy paying attention to stupid bullshit that will never bother me.
particularly the stupidity of others. it’s a trap.
I want to finish my 1000 word vomits project.
I want to say that I want to complete it ASAP, but it seems like I don’t actually want to push myself that hard on that one. I need to figure out what’s the
I want to remember that life is a grand adventure / live with joy
It’s not always obvious, but life is a grand adventure. It is utterly epic, constantly surprising, constantly changing. I think it’s really important to hold on to this, although I do suppose that letting go of it from time to time allows it to be rediscovered with great joy.
living with joy, breathing deep and laughing big, deep belly laughs, having lots of fun, dancing and singing and exploring.
todo: remind self, obviously, but also plan, prioritize and do things that remind me of this thing. make a list of things that remind me of this thing, and do them regularly.
to get things done (VAGUE), and to get good at getting things done
Ultimately the intent is to be happy IN my life, not just WITH it. And to do that I need to have gotten stuff done. I need to cut ropes, break things open, and really feel like I’m breathing deeply into the good stuff. Once I do that, I don’t have to be annoyed or frustrated with other people’s nonsense.
The real question is, what’s the desired end state? And what’s my plan of action to get to that desired end state? And what problems will I encounter along the way, and how do I visualize myself dealing with those problems, to make sure they don’t happen again? And then what steps do I need to take to make sure that goes according to plan? And when I’m done with that, what’s the next desired end state? This is a new language for me, but I intend to be fluent in it.
I want to minimize unnecessary fear, uncertainty and doubt.
Obviously everyone wants this done for them, as humans we like to not have to deal with this stuff. But that means doing some hard and painful work, that’s the counter-intuitive part.
todo: identify things causing me FUD, figure out how to fix or alleviate them, and execute on those things
to be honest.
Being dishonest is tiresome, painful, embarrassing, hurtful, and really just untenable. Strive to be as honest as possible (except in those weird freak situations, like “should you tell a murderer where their target is”).
todo: identify situations in which I’ve been dishonest, troubleshoot them, replay them in my mind, work out how to do things better, introspect, review.
to be more valuable at work. (VAGUE)
I don’t want to owe anybody any backlog. I want to be an asset to any team I work with, to challenge people to be better, to NOT be the limiting factor. This requires me to be industrious, to motivate myself and to train myself.
to leave work everyday feeling satisfied
This requires me to know that I spent my days well, and that requires me to measure carefully how I’m spending my time, what I’m devoting my energy towards.
to never feel sorry for myself
It’s just tedious and wasteful to do that. You can feel sorry for maybe 5 minutes, then you gotta be a gangsta.
to be kind to myself.
I don’t want to hate on myself for not fulfilling my obligations, because that doesn’t help me fulfil my obligations. feeling bad is not a useful feeling. I don’t want to be cruel or unkind to myself for that. It’s unnecessary, and it’s also distracting. There’s a better way– an ideal path of simultaneously being kind and being firm, not giving in too much but not pushing too hard.
to be physically bigger.
“I want to be bigger. Literally, I would like to occupy more space, contain more mass. How much more mass exactly? I’m not completely sure. I’m 85kg right now. I think I’d like to be 100kg. A tenth of a ton. That sounds good.
When I was skinny, I fantasized about being big and buff and having 6 pack abs all at once. Now that I’m halfway there, I realize that eating is a huge part of gaining weight. It sounds silly when framed like that- OBVIOUSLY you need to eat to gain weight. At the time though I was still a very picky, sparse eater, and while I could intellectually conceive of the idea of eating more, I couldn’t accurately imagine what it would feel like to actually do it.
As I’ve started eating more though I’ve discovered that there are all sorts of nuances to foods and moods. There is something unappetizing and off-putting about incredibly dry cuts of lean meat. Eggs are great, to some extent. Milk is great, to some extent. Sometimes after a workout I want a really greasy burger or pizza.
I’m getting the sense that this isn’t purely psychological. There probably is some psychological component, for sure, but it also feels like there’s something more primal or physical about what the body wants.
I guess another interesting lesson there is that I can’t project too much, too far, because I don’t have an accurate map of what things are going to be like. There are some things I can get a rough idea of by talking to older people who have walked the same path, but beyond that I have to allow quite a bit of leeway for variation and variability. More than what I’d expect if I just went with the flow.”
to work with words. (VAGUE)
I know that I like words, and that I can spend an indefinite amount of time just learning about their history and studying how they’re put together and so on. So it makes a lot of sense for me to want to be a writer. I love the smell of a beautiful sentence. So that’s easy for me. But what do I know beyond that? Should that be the central thing in my life around which everything else is organized? What would that even mean, what would that even look like? How can you purely pursue a craft for the sake of craftsmanship if you don’t know what you’re doing it for? What is the point of writing?
to publish regularly.
The longer I go without publishing something, the more miserable and anxious I get. Publishing regularly is a salve. I need to remember this.
to follow my curiosity (VAGUE)
I want to learn more about history. I want to have a better sense of how the world works, so that I can feel more comfortable and relaxed about where I am and what I’m doing.
earn the freedom to be spontaneous
Being completely spontaneous requires being able to first take care of business, and that requires practice, scheduling, management and all sorts of things. Improvisation requires rehearsal.
to write stories.
What would be the coolest thing for me to publish next, as a word vomit, as a short story, or as dialogue? No, I don’t want to just do a little dialogue. I want to do stories. Well, how am I going to define what a story is? Am I just going to describe a fictional environment? Am I going to describe a single fictional person? Am I going to describe some sort of conflict? I suppose I could run through each of those things. I’m not obliged to write self-contained stories right at the start. I can do snippets, little notes. I can do criticisms and analyses of existing books and of characters. These wouldn’t be pointless, they’ll help me figure out what I want to write later on. As long as I’m doing it for that purpose, and not utterly mindless self-indulgence, that that’s okay. Mindless self indulgence is ALSO okay, but I’d like to do better than that. I don’t want to take random walks in purely random directions when I can take a semi-random walk in a semi-deliberate direction that I know is likely to be better for me.
to help people. (TOO VAGUE)
I like helping people, I like connecting with people, and now that this is over I can start focusing on my daily exercise and I can and should reach out to people and sync up with them about drinks and food and so on. And I want to remind myself that the most important thing is for me to ask questions, and to listen, because I don’t really learn anything by confirming what I already think I know. I only learn by asking questions and teasing out what OTHERS know, and then using that to challenge what I thought I knew.
Ponder: “I’ve written nice long emails to students who ask me for help, and yet I procrastinate on doing work for my boss and colleagues, who I admire and respect very much. This is something I need to resolve.”
I want people to feel safe around me
that with me they can be themselves.
to be fair to me-now and future-me
I think what I’d like is to try and strike a balance between what would make me happy right now and what would make me happy tomorrow, and a week from now. I think it’s important to have nuance in those timelines– I wrote in an earlier post about how I tend to view time through “right now” and “the inevitable heat death of the universe”. If I’m lucky, if I’m productive, I think about tonight, and maybe tomorrow.
But I should also be thinking about next week, and next month. And I don’t do those things. I can’t plan for goals that are months down the line, and in that regard I’m almost disabled. Illiterate might be a better word. I don’t speak the language. I don’t receive the signals, I don’t interpret them. I’m like the fat guy in a room of fit guys, the non-musician in music school, so on and so forth.
“If I could turn back time I’d have invested more points in “draw”, “code”, “dance” and “work out”. Anything would’ve been better than “laze around listlessly”.” – with the benefit of hindsight, workout was the most powerful. Keep working out. Work out more. http://visakanv.com/1000/0094-games-arent-just-games/
“I want to be happier. I want to make more people happy. I want my wife to be happy. I want to enjoy more good moments out of time. To afford those things I need to be more focused and razorsharp in the work that I do. I need to be proactive, begin with the end in mind, and do first things first. Life is short and it ought to be well-spent. Sitting on my ass is not pleasant unless I’ve first done some good work. So I need to do good work to enjoy sitting on my ass, and I need to enjoy sitting on my ass so I can do good work.
I want to have a good time, damnit, and I know now that it’s impossible to have a sustainably good time in the dark playground. So I need to come into the light, painful and scary as that might initially be.” – http://visakanv.com/1000/0266-planning-next-steps-after-a-holiday/
“…there is a lot of richness in our behaviors and our motivations that we aren’t always privvy to. Most things are subconscious. So we can spend a lot of time simply evaluating our subconscious. And that seems to me to be a more compelling frontier. You have inside your body, inside your brain, this system of thinking, this system of processing reality. This system of beliefs that you might not even realize you hold until you test them rigorously. Don’t you want to know they are?”
“Living with [my issues] is a worst case option of sorts- the reason I write and think about these things so much is because I don’t like the idea of dying without having at LEAST made some progress on these fronts. i’d like to witness myself getting better at these things. I’d like to witness myself discovering that I was right about how I felt about some things, and that others were wrong about me. That’s somehow important to me right now. I sense that it won’t always be, that someday this goal will feel silly. But I’m not sure if I can skip this one. We’ll see.” – http://visakanv.com/1000/0190-awakening-to-inner-richness/
“Do what YOU want, motherfuckers. Look at yourself in the eye and ask yourself what makes you happy. What makes your heart sing. Ask yourself who you’re trying to impress, and why. What are the assumptions you’re making about the social reality that you live in? What is the water that you don’t realize that you’re swimming in? What are the things that you could change, without you even realizing it? Without you ever having considered? What are the things you do every day, every morning, etc that you don’t realize that you could be doing differently?
I can’t answer that question for you, but you need to jump onto the landmine called you and blow yourself the fuck up, motherfucker. And by you I mean me. See ya on the other end.” – http://visakanv.com/1000/0177-why-bother-doing-your-work-when-the-universe-is-going-to-be-extinguished-in-the-end/
“Explore curiosity and be useful to people.”
“I’m burdened needlessly by big plans and big ambitions that are too large to chew on. I just keep them around as psychological clutter to make me feel better about myself. I need to discard all of them and focus on what I can do each day.”
“No grand ideas. No big ambitions. The only task at hand is self mastery. To fulfill my obligations. Today I committed to being early for work, which I was. I kept repeating to myself that I had to jump out of bed when my alarm went off, and I did. Whoopee! I need to grease that groove and set it in stone.” – http://visakanv.com/1000/0147-if-it-works-do-you-accelerate-it/
From sensationalist to genuinely useful: “As I look back on my output now, I struggle to identify the real value. I’m a little overwhelmed by how staggeringly few and far between my insights are. Almost everything that I’ve gotten credit for has been rehashed, reapplied ideas and perspectives of others. A lot of it is populist, sensationalist crap. I wrote stuff optimising for distribution, not depth. I think that was rational and fair at the time. I didn’t know what I wanted, so I did what was fun, whatever yielded returns. But it’s clear to me that doing that is merely a local optima. There are higher peaks to scale in the pursuit of thinking/writing excellence, and to get there I have to forgo what has worked for me for the bulk of my blogging/writing “career”. I want to transition from being sensationalist to being genuinely useful.” – http://visakanv.com/1000/0119-unclogged-future-direction/
Becoming Useful: “If I met Seth Godin or Paul Graham or Jimmy Wales or Elon Musk any of those cool people, I wouldn’t have anything useful to tell them. That sucks. I don’t just want to be some passive fan in the crowd, I want to get onstage and play some awesome music. I just remembered watching the Tesla shareholder meeting where this guy essentially begged Musk for a job. Musk was pretty gracious about it (I think because of his own past experience doing cold approaches like at Netscape), but I couldn’t help but cringe for the guy. Begging is a very bad strategy. (The only worse strategy is to do nothing at all.) Seduction is a good metaphor here. You want to be headhunted. Tesla and SpaceX ARE hiring. The goal should be to be so good that they can’t ignore you.”
“Why write? George Orwell: “Political purpose… push the world in a direction, alter peoples’ idea of the society they should strive after.”
I’d like my life to be radically different, if only because life is short and it shouldn’t be the same thing over and over again. – http://visakanv.com/1000/0361-play-the-bigger-games/
“I want to be like Shepard. I want to grow, I want to be useful, powerful, attractive, reliable. I want to be able to smile and laugh heartily, and I want to be able to solve other people’s problems. To get to that state, first I need to solve my own problems. To do that, I need to identify my own problems. The main thing I need to solve seems to be an energy / blood sugar type problem.”
- I’d like to be a better public speaker. I think I have value to contribute. I think I can be funny, entertaining, engaging, thought-provoking. I felt very chirpy, engaged and electrified after speaking. There’s really nothing quite like it. Being in the presence of people. Communicating with your whole body, with your voice, with volume and tone- all of these nuances I haven’t learnt to exploit and manipulate yet. I recall how energised I was after I did standup comedy once upon a time.
- I need to work out and get big and strong. I used to read up about it.