Against lone wolf self-improvement

LW has a prob­lem. Openly or covertly, many posts here pro­mote the idea that a ra­tio­nal per­son ought to be able to self-im­prove on their own. Some of it comes from Eliezer’s re­fusal to at­tend col­lege (and Luke drop­ping out of his bach­e­lors, etc). Some of it comes from our con­cept of ra­tio­nal­ity, that all agents can be ap­prox­i­mated as perfect util­ity max­i­miz­ers with a bunch of nonessen­tial bugs. Some of it is due to our psy­cholog­i­cal makeup and in­tro­ver­sion. Some of it comes from try­ing to tackle hard prob­lems that aren’t well un­der­stood any­where else. And some of it is just the plain old meme of hero­ism and forg­ing your own way.

I’m not say­ing all these things are 100% harm­ful. But the end re­sult is a mind­set of lone wolf self-im­prove­ment, which I be­lieve has harmed LWers more than any other part of our be­lief sys­tem.
Any time you force your­self to do X alone in your room, or blame your­self for not do­ing X, or feel iso­lated while do­ing X, or surf the web to feel some hu­man con­tact in­stead of do­ing X, or won­der if X might im­prove your life but can’t bring your­self to start… your prob­lem comes from be­liev­ing that lone wolf self-im­prove­ment is fun­da­men­tally the right ap­proach. That be­lief is com­fort­ing in many ways, but notic­ing it is enough to break the spell. The fault wasn’t with the op­er­a­tor all along. Lone wolf self-im­prove­ment doesn’t work.
Doesn’t work com­pared to what? Join­ing a class. With a fixed sched­ule, a group of stu­dents, a teacher, and an exam at the end. Com­pared to any “anti-akra­sia tech­nique” ever pro­posed on LW or ad­ja­cent self-help blogs, join­ing a class works ridicu­lously well. You don’t need con­stant willpower: just show up on time and you’ll be car­ried along. You don’t get lonely: other stu­dents are there and you can’t help but in­ter­act. You don’t won­der if you’re do­ing it right: just ask the teacher.
Can’t find a class? Find a club, a meetup, a group of peo­ple shar­ing your in­ter­est, any en­vi­ron­ment where so­cial mo­men­tum will work in your fa­vor. Even an on­line com­mu­nity for X that will re­ward your progress with up­votes is much bet­ter than go­ing X com­pletely alone. But any reg­u­lar meet­ing you can at­tend in per­son, which doesn’t de­pend on your en­thu­si­asm to keep go­ing, is ex­po­nen­tially more pow­er­ful.
Avoid­ing lone wolf self-im­prove­ment seems like em­bar­rass­ingly ob­vi­ous ad­vice. But some­how I see peo­ple try­ing to learn X alone in their rooms all the time, swim­ming against the cur­rent for years, blam­ing them­selves when their willpower isn’t enough. My mes­sage to such peo­ple: give up. Your brain is right and what you’re forc­ing it to do is wrong. Put down your X, open your lap­top, find a class near you, send them a quick email, and spend the rest of the day sur­fing the web. It will be your most pro­duc­tive day in months.