Personal quality experimentation

Link post

Differ­ent peo­ple seem to have differ­ent strate­gies, which they use sys­tem­at­i­cally across differ­ent parts of their lives, and that we rec­og­nize and talk about. For in­stance peo­ple vary on:

  • Spontaneity

  • In­cli­na­tion to­ward ex­plicit calculations

  • Ten­dency to go meta

  • Skepticism

  • Optimism

  • Ten­dency to look at the big pic­ture vs. the details

  • Ex­pressed confidence

  • En­acted patience

I don’t know of al­most any­one ex­per­i­ment­ing with vary­ing these axes, to see which set­ting is best for them, or even what differ­ent set­tings are like. Which seems like a nat­u­ral thing to do in some sense, given the vari­a­tion in start­ing po­si­tions and lack of con­sen­sus on which po­si­tions are best.

Pos­si­bly it is just very hard to change them, but my im­pres­sion is that for at least some of them it is not hard to try, or to change them a bit for a short pe­riod, with some effort. (I have briefly tried mak­ing de­ci­sions faster and ex­press­ing more con­fi­dence.) And my guess is that that is enough to of­ten be in­ter­est­ing. Also that if you effort­fully force your­self to be more skep­ti­cal and it seems to go re­ally well, you will find that it be­comes ap­peal­ing and thus eas­ier to keep up and then get used to.

I also haven’t done this much, and it isn’t very clear to me why. Maybe it just doesn’t oc­cur to peo­ple that much for some rea­son. (It also doesn’t oc­cur to peo­ple to choose their value of time via ex­per­i­men­ta­tion I think, a re­lated sug­ges­tion I like, I think from Tyler Cowen a long time ago.) So here, I sug­gest it. Fun date ac­tivity, maybe: ran­domly re­s­e­lect one per­son­al­ity trait each, and both try to guess which one the other per­son is putting on.