If you weren’t such an idiot...

Link post

My friend Buck once told me that he often had interactions with me that felt like I was saying “If you weren’t such a fucking idiot, you would obviously do…” Here’s a list of such advice in that spirit.

Note that if you do/​don’t do these things, I’m technically calling you an idiot, but I do/​don’t do a bunch of them too. We can be idiots together.

If you weren’t such a fucking idiot…

  • You would have multiple copies of any object that would make you sad if you didn’t have it

    • Examples: ear plugs, melatonin, eye masks, hats, sun glasses, various foods, possibly computers, etc.

  • You would spend money on goods and services.

    • Examples of goods: faster computer, monitor, keyboard, various tasty foods, higher quality clothing, standing desk, decorations for your room, mattress, pillow, sheets, etc.

    • Examples of services: uber, doordash, cleaners, personal assistants, editors, house managers, laundry, etc.

  • You would have tried many things at least one time.

    • Examples of things to do: climbing, singing, listening to music, playing instruments, dancing, eating various types of food, writing, parties.

  • You wouldn’t do anything absurdly dangerous, like take unknown drugs or ride a bike without a helmet.

  • You wouldn’t take irreversible actions if you didn’t know what the fuck you were doing.

  • You would exercise frequently.

    • Types of exercise to try: climbing, walking, running, soccer, football, yoga, hiking, fencing, swimming, wrestling, beat saber, etc.

  • You would reliably sleep 6-9 hours a night.

    • Obvious things to try:

      • melatonin

      • blackout curtains

      • putting black tape over LEDs on electronics

      • experimenting with mattress, pillow, blankets, sheets, etc.

      • blue light blocking glasses

  • You would routinely look up key numbers and do numerical consistency checks during thinking.

  • You would have a password manager.

  • You would invest money in yourself.

    • Recall: money can be used to buy goods and services.

  • You would use a email’s subject line to succinctly describe what you want from the person.

    • For example, if I want to meet with my advisor, I’ll send an email with the subject “Request for Advisory Meeting” or something similar. If I want someone to read a draft of something I wrote, the subject would be “Request for Feedback on <Title>”.

  • You would have a good mentor.

    • One way to do this is to email people that you want to be your mentor with the subject “Request for Mentorship”.

  • You would drink lots of water.

  • You would take notes in a searchable database.

  • You would summarize things that you read.

  • You would have tried making your room as bright as the outdoors.

  • You would carry batteries to recharge your phone.

  • You would have tried using pens with multiple colors.

  • You would read textbooks instead of popular introductions.

  • You would put a relatively consistent dollar value on your time.

I’m sure there are more things that I tell people that can be prefaced with “if you weren’t such an idiot…”, but that’s all I got for now.

A post I like by @Mark Xu (who agreed to my crossposting in full).

Some more from me: