i can only get smarter by being dumb and other advice to myself (mini-📝 20/100)

partly inspired by this message that Ameesh sent me today.

There’s a lot of trite advice I give myself, but today was especially rich in the amount of things I was telling myself not to forget. A bunch of them were things that I marked down as candidates for full-featured mini-essays, so here’s a bullet list of them for your perusal. Would love to hear in the comments if any in specific particularly make you curious or want to hear more about in a dedicated mini-essay.

  • all of the stuff in the screenshot above that i typed

  • play infinite games

  • weirdness is a proxy for being true to yourself. The more weird you can be in front of people, the more comfortable you are with being authentic (have a stub of an essay on this)

  • don’t take anything personally. take tough, honest advice as the view of “the critic” and use it to inform how you would convince them

  • dont compromise on what you want if you know what you want

  • to do ^, know deeply what you want, develop your personal taste

  • angst is necessary to be willing to advocate for dramatic change

  • angst without community or optimism leads you to nihilism

  • optimism + angst leads you to optimistic nihilism, which gets you to actually engage with society and take practical steps towards making things better

  • is the key to optimism your community? giving you a reason to be optimistic about things

  • jolt yourself out of being stuck

  • when people dont vibe with an idea, it could have nothing to do with the idea and everything to do with the presentation of the idea

  • typical indicators of “quality” are inaccurate (YoE could mean great or many years of being bad)

  • follow the awesome, the energy, the creative flame, the path of least resistance, of most acceleration

  • the “you know it when you see it” feeling is very powerful agent for knowing what has chemistry with you and what doesn’t

  • be grateful and give back

  • be greedier (along the lines of gambling)

  • imagine a future where i’ve surpassed my limits

Okay so this spiraled into both advice to myself and some open-ended questions on my mind. As always ever-optimistic about what lies ahead and grateful that I have such a list to work through and remind myself to stay true to my values.


This is the 20th installment in my experiment of publishing raw, lightly edited mini-essays every day towards achieving 100 public pieces. Check out the rationale and the full list here or view my evergreen, longer pieces on my website.

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