Apricus Discussing Quitting FI in the Past

I did this one too.

I did this one too. I pressured myself to change in lots of ways, and not all of it was conscious. I only noticed after I had changed, and I didn’t like how I had changed, so it felt bad. I didn’t blame the community, but I also didn’t know how to bring it up in a way and address it in a way that could fix the issues or help me diagnose and understand them better. But I think the biggest mistake I made is not writing everything I thought/wanted to ask. So many of my regrets are about things I wish I said or asked at a certain time but chose not to do. My own inaction led to large swaths of guilt and self-loathing, and the more I held back, the more afraid I became of just writing what I thought at any given moment. I began to self-censor a lot of thoughts and emotions, even when I was outside the community. This was entirely on me though, because I interpreted FI incorrectly.

One example is in the Discord I stopped saying “lol” after I read something about people asking for the meaning of “lol” and requiring an explanation for what was funny or why it was used in a sentence. I used “lol” less and less in FI, and eventually I was just not using “lol” anywhere, inside or outside of FI. But these days I use it again and I realized it has a few purposes:

Sometimes it is used at the end of statements to blunt criticism or make it sound less harsh. Especially because intentions can be hard to communicate in writing, and people interpret social meanings in my writing even when I request that they interpret it as literally as possible and ask for clarification if they are unsure of any part of what I mean. So if I’m making a critical statement but want to help improve the chances that it’s clear that I care about the problem at hand, and I’m not personally attacking the person, I sometimes write “lol” at the end, or put a “smiley face” and sometimes people perceive that as passive aggressive but many times it just portrays positive, constructive, cooperative intent rather than adversarial, combative, negatively-judgmental type intentions from me. But I’ve been doing it less lately and finding it just isn’t necessary once people get to know me and build enough trust to know that I am not judging them personally when I point out issues in their behaviour or created work (e.g. spelling or grammar errors in a marketing copywriting piece we want to put out)

I also felt afraid to ask about certain concepts like “Frame” from the red pill literature and check whether they were being used on me in conversations. It’s tough because it feels like if I don’t muster up the courage to ask about it right away, it becomes very hard to ask about it 4 years later even if it’s still on my mind. But there’s not actually anything hard about it physically. I could go check the discord archives, find the moment pretty easily, and start analyzing it. I think the real fear is that my memory is fooling me and I’ll go back and find out that it wasn’t nearly as bad as I remembered, and then I would have to admit to myself that I must have just been emotional at the time and couldn’t read the words literally for what they meant, and then I fudged my memory to fit my own narrative as a victim rather than taking responsibility to learn from it and improve for next time.

I do feel like I am getting wiser as I grow, but I want to get wiser faster. All the breaks from FI didn’t help me. But there’s no point playing blame games with myself. OK, so I wasted 4 years. What next? How will I make my next 4 years less wasteful, in a significant, reliable, goal-oriented way? It’s funny + sad because I remember thinking that because I wasted 4 years, my life must be doomed in some way. It wasn’t a conscious thought, but I’m realizing now from everything I’m reading and learning about, that I’ve got plenty of time, but also that my life is urgent in a very real sense. Every moment I spend on things that I don’t find fulfilling, or that don’t move me towards my goals, or time spent with people where I am compromising my values to try to fit in… it’s not just a waste of time, it’s also actively damaging my ability to grow. It’s self-sabotage. And self-sabotage turns into team and family sabotage. And that turns into organizational and community self-sabotage. And that turns into global self-sabotage.

But it all has to start with focusing on myself and what I can control and taking full responsibility for that. To get back to the quote above, what I realized is that FI is actually a very nice place. Sure, some messages came across as very pressuring to me, but that was pressure that was trying to make me a better person. If I find some way to interpret it as so pressuring that I need to quit/leave/can’t problem solve collaboratively with FI/can’t bring up the issues/can’t just try less hard and stay anyway, then that interpretation is just an excuse for me to avoid facing the truth because it’s painful. It’s self-dishonesty, distorting reality, and engaging in wishful thinking. I was definitely cargo culting, copying things that I saw in people’s language styles. I’ve realized I’m just like that though. I’m very impressionable in that I tend to copy the people around me, so when I surround myself with people who have better thinking habits, speaking habits, rational discussion habits, I slowly pick them up. But in the same token, when I’m surrounded by people who are gossiping, I become like that too. It’s why I left my third job ~4 years ago. I could see that I was becoming more like the kind of person I did not want to be, and I did not know how to stop it or reverse it except by leaving and finding a better place to be.

I like the idea that for any person in any situation there is always a step by step process for them to get to any other state of mind that they prefer. They just have to figure that out for themselves because it’s a custom plan for each person, since we’re all such individualized, complex minds in unique situations.

I want the first part of this.

What people actually want to find is a social community where they can make friends

I viewed curi and Justin and Anne and others as friends, to varying degrees of closeness of friendship based on how well we connected, how much trust I built with them, how much I learnt about them and they learnt about me and how they thought about the world and things and so on. I want love and belonging and community and support. I don’t know if FI is where I will find or build that, but that is OK. I’m still figuring it out and exploring.

What I like about CF (I will start using CF from now on, seems more updated than FI as the correct term to refer to the community) is that by far it has held me to a higher standard than anyone else in my life. Ever. It’s not even close. Maybe some specific books held me to higher standards in some specific niche area of my life, and that was good, but overall CF has constantly kept my eye on the prize of self-improvement and development and not accepting a mediocre life. I’ve always been hungry for that because I was e.g. interested in Honesty just from thinking about it before I read Sam Harris’ essay on Lying and then found curi’s essay on Lying. I was thinking about in terms of the workplace I was in at the time and trying to figure out how to add the most value to the business. And I realized that part of it would be that I would have to learn to tell the CEO and my colleagues the truth of what I saw, even if it was very scary, because if I lied to them or told them what I thought they wanted to hear, we’d have no chance to improve from my contribution. I’d just be adding the same thing they were all adding. I’d have no unique value or perspective to add. And then the next thought that hit me was that I cannot possibly be honest with them if I am lying to myself, and I knew I was lying to myself all the time because there were times I had an idea, faced reality, and the idea was wrong, and I realized in hindsight that I could have easily known about that, but I was just engaging in wishful thinking. I was hoping reality would be what I wanted it to be to make things convenient for me, not looking at how it was actually going to be based on my best understanding of it.

So CF was one of the first places I found where people by and large agreed that these were good things. I still meet many people in life who basically just want to do their job, go home, watch netflix and chill, and then go do their job again, and that’s it. They only improve themselves when something really problematic disrupts that rhythm or routine, e.g. they get a bad performance review or get fired or get a health condition. In some ways I am similar, for example I only started trying to improve my diet once I became serious about solving my psoriasis. I think it’s fine and normal to only want to improve when one identifies a problem they care about solving, but I think my standards for problem solving are just getting more and more broad and I’m also enjoying it more, such that working on stuff I like and creating things is becoming more fun than consuming things/watching Netflix. I like recording podcast episodes, writing, singing, or even just lying in bed trying to sleep and finding that so many ideas flood my mind that I have to write them down to try to work on them tomorrow. It feels like I’m much less afraid of thinking the wrong thing, so I can just think a lot faster, a lot more often, and with much less energy cost. I’m a lot less worried about offending people. I used to worry about offending people with my thoughts even when I was completely alone thinking about things. I had taboos and barriers in my own head but it feels like so many of those are just gone now.

To me CF is the kind of place where a person can get whatever they want out of it, if they put in the effort and communication and work necessary to build that for themselves from the subsection of the community that wants to participate in it alongside them and find it mutually beneficial to help with that and also benefit from it themselves. That makes it uniquely adaptable and flexible. I don’t know any other community where basically nothing is off topic or off limits or irrelevant or banned by default and so on. Like from Paul Graham’s article on conformism:


Why do the independent-minded need to be protected, though? Because they have all the new ideas. To be a successful scientist, for example, it’s not enough just to be right. You have to be right when everyone else is wrong. Conventional-minded people can’t do that. For similar reasons, all successful startup CEOs are not merely independent-minded, but aggressively so. So it’s no coincidence that societies prosper only to the extent that they have customs for keeping the conventional-minded at bay.

The conventional-minded say, as they always do, that they don’t want to shut down the discussion of all ideas, just the bad ones.

You’d think it would be obvious just from that sentence what a dangerous game they’re playing. But I’ll spell it out. There are two reasons why we need to be able to discuss even “bad” ideas.

The first is that any process for deciding which ideas to ban is bound to make mistakes. All the more so because no one intelligent wants to undertake that kind of work, so it ends up being done by the stupid. And when a process makes a lot of mistakes, you need to leave a margin for error. Which in this case means you need to ban fewer ideas than you’d like to. But that’s hard for the aggressively conventional-minded to do, partly because they enjoy seeing people punished, as they have since they were children, and partly because they compete with one another. Enforcers of orthodoxy can’t allow a borderline idea to exist, because that gives other enforcers an opportunity to one-up them in the moral purity department, and perhaps even to turn enforcer upon them. So instead of getting the margin for error we need, we get the opposite: a race to the bottom in which any idea that seems at all bannable ends up being banned. [4]

The second reason it’s dangerous to ban the discussion of ideas is that ideas are more closely related than they look. Which means if you restrict the discussion of some topics, it doesn’t only affect those topics. The restrictions propagate back into any topic that yields implications in the forbidden ones. And that is not an edge case. The best ideas do exactly that: they have consequences in fields far removed from their origins. Having ideas in a world where some ideas are banned is like playing soccer on a pitch that has a minefield in one corner. You don’t just play the same game you would have, but on a different shaped pitch. You play a much more subdued game even on the ground that’s safe.

The other thing is CF has taught me so many skills that I just take for granted. Even stuff like blockquoting. I was using it in MS teams at my last job and people were asking me how I did it, so I showed them. It’s also taught me what to look for and value in other people and cultivate in myself. For example, I have a lot more respect and admiration and curiosity now for people who ask simple, direct questions about things I write or do. Sometimes I can tell that they just want to know more, other times I can tell that they have an idea of something I’m doing wrong and want to just narrow down the issue so they can help me do it better. But either way, it’s such a great way of communicating and working with me, and I tend to be the opposite where I just talk and write too much and obfuscate the entire issue that is supposed to be clear. When I try to summarize stuff I just go on too many tangents. But they also display that kind of perpetual humility that I want to cultivate, that student mindset where they can flexibly be the teacher and also the student. They can ask questions and be open to my answer without expecting me to answer in only the ways that are socially appropriate for that situation. I started to notice a common thread where people I respect also tend to be reasonably honest and curious. I think a lot of the other core values I like can spring from those two base ones, like innovation can come from both honesty and curiosity, because you’re honest enough to not just be trying to use the meta strategies or think that just because something is popular it must be the best option, and you’re curious enough to explore the impulses you have or the intuition you have that a thing you just noticed or thought about might work better. So you try it and see what happens.

So when I notice those traits in people, I tend to be drawn to them, and I’ve also found that as I get better at more consistently being honest or admitting my lies or mistakes and noticing them, I repel some people who view me as incompetent or oversharing or whatever, but I also more strongly attract the kind of people who are interested in that stuff and are better long-term fits for me. So the thing I used to be afraid of, that people would hate me, is turning out to be good. I don’t mind if I’m not for them, because the people I’m a good fit for actually like me even more than they would have if I was just trying to fit in. Hell, they might not even have noticed me if I was just trying to fit in.

Hmm this one is interesting to me. I think I’m mixed on this. At first I was going to write that I don’t want this, but now I’m realizing maybe a part of me does want some aspects of this. I tend to dislike a lot of convention, like people make jokes that I take literally, and I can tell they’re joking but I make it clear to them that if there’s ever any doubt in my mind between whether they are joking or being genuine, I will take them at their word or ask for clarification. (BTW, weirdly enough people do not seem to like it when I ask them to explain a joke or when I try to break down the types of humour used and why it’s funny – they seem to think it ruins the joke. But the joke already had its effect, people laughed, so why not look at why it worked afterwards? I can’t ruin something that has already had a positive effect. But maybe they want the memory of the joke not to be tainted by its analysis).

Even when I tell people this well in advance, it seems like they have to see me do it 3-4 times before they start to take it seriously and believe me. I explain that it’s usually much cheaper to take a joke/sarcasm/jab as a genuine statement than it is to mistakenly dismiss a genuine statement as a joke/sarcasm and so on. And I find a lot of people are surprisingly OK with doing the latter but prefer not to do the former. And they view me as a dunce or naive for the former, because it’s like, “Look at this guy, I was joking and he took it seriously, he fell for it, what an idiot”, but I don’t feel like an idiot, so I don’t worry about it. The more consistently I’ve done this, the less it’s mattered to me what people think of me, and eventually they realize it’s just a principle I follow and they aren’t making me fall for anything or “winning” any status game.

I also tend to take my hobbies quite seriously, like playing League of Legends 5-6 hours a day with a set routine and coaching 1-2 times a day with vod review, drills, and learning objectives each game. I was getting better quite quickly and it surprised me, but then I realized this is just what deliberate practice is supposed to look like. Games also became more fun and more fulfilling because it didn’t matter what my teammates did and it didn’t matter whether we won or lost the game. It just mattered whether I did my best to learn what I was trying to learn. So every game became valuable and I was able to use my conscious energy fully and stay immersed. it was definitely not sustainable though, I burned out after 25 days of doing that in a row and decided to try to apply a similar level of dedication to something I love more, like maybe podcasting. So I’m trying that now.

But I understand, a hobby to many people is not the kind of thing they will read books about, watch videos about, think deeply about, try many different ways, and try to structure a routine for themselves so they will do it everyday and work with someone who can guide them and even hold them accountable to their own goals and point out their emotional blocks (I liked my League coach a lot: Coach Cupcake. He was apparently the best Tennis player in his region (he is from New Zealand) for 1 or 2 years running and nobody even came close to beating him. When he came to League, some of the tennis pros he knew also played League, and again none of them improved nearly as quickly as he did. So his philosophy on life and learning just seemed great. He taught me a lot of ideas I liked and made them easy to learn. I had come across these ideas before but never internalized them in quite the same way, e.g. “Learn to be more worried about missing opportunities than of making mistakes”. Unlike me he also liked to simplify things so that helped me, since I tend to overcomplicate things beyond recognition and beyond the needs of the task at hand. He kept me focsued.)

The in-jokes part I’m pretty mixed about. I think inside jokes are a way for people to bond over common, insider knowledge of something. Like I can joke about that time I made some mistake 4 years ago that I now make a lot less often, and we can laugh about it because there was progression but at the time maybe I seemed quite silly or naive. But if it’s the kind of inside jokes that exclude people, or are socially mean, or are ways of dismissing ideas or serious analysis and sabotage learning, then I am against those kinds of in-jokes.

Yes. This was a big one for me, it likely still is. I know I judged, and to some degree still judge, my self-worth based on my absolute position on the graph in any skill I value. Whether it be morality, ability to learn, ability to write well, reading comprehension, ability to do things I say I will do (integrity), and so on. I’m trying to learn to judge myself instead by my ability to make progress at these things. Because it doesn’t really matter where I start if I learn to make unbounded progress from there. I think it was Karl Popper who talked about starting anywhere and getting anywhere you want to go. I meet so many people in life who’ve just decided there are limits on what they can achieve. That they will never be great, so why try. That’s another reason I like CF. CF categorically and vehemently denies that idea and explains why it makes 0 sense. To me that idea that people hold is just another excuse to make their lives “easy”. But I think it makes their lives hard. I want to do difficult things, I want to grow, I want to improve myself. One reason is I expect life to get harder. I expect lots of unexpected things to happen that I will need to be much stronger to face well. I expect people I love to die, and that will suck emotionally, and I need to be able to survive that and grow stronger. I want to be able to make life better for myself and the people I love and will love, and I can’t do that if I’m weak and irrational. I can’t do that if all I want to do in my free time is watch Netflix or play videogames and not think. If I do those things, I want to be doing them with a purpose. I want to know how they fit in my life, e.g. co-op gaming for social connection, like playing Creed with Justin, or just playing a game/watching a tv show to relax my mind a bit and make it easier and more effective to think about stuff tomorrow or later (although I find this pretty hard to do – I tend to ask a lot of questions to myself and empathize with tv show characters and look stuff up and draw connections between things and just enjoy using tv shows to learn more about writing and get immersed in the story and so on. Similar to when I read fiction, although I haven’t read fiction in years. I want to try a Brandon Sanderson book at some point to try fiction again and see what it feels like. I remember liking fiction as a kid)

So basically if I can learn to truly internalize and believe this idea: I am always morally, intellectually, emotionally, physically, and all other areas of life/skill/knowledge/wisdom not good enough. Flawed. Imperfect. Fallible.
That means I can always get better.
So am I getting better?
Am I getting better quickly enough? sustainably enough? in the right directions? is the quality good? Do I feel good about it?

If not, why not? What can I change? I can’t just keep doing the same thing if I’m not getting the results I want.
So try stuff. Go find the best people in the world, like curi, and when they tell me to try something, TRY IT. Don’t make excuses. Don’t sabotage myself. Don’t decide it’s too hard, it’s not worth it, other people will hate me once I change (heck, I’ve already changed a ton, and guess what? Most people who loved me before don’t hate me now, and the people who dislike me now just don’t interact with me, and my life is better off. I barely think about them anymore because I have other people I think about more and work with more on stuff we mutually enjoy), or whatever other fears I can make up to use to not try new stuff. Just try it and see what happens. See how it feels. If it feels bad, say something. Write about it. Introspect on why it feels bad and write that to people. Then see what they say, brainstorm some new things to try, and repeat. Forever. Ad infinitum. Life will be good. Life will be better. Life is fun when I’m making progress. I know this from experience.

A friend told me 1.5 years ago during the New World days that he thinks I’m smart. I asked him why? He wrote:

Well that’s easy. You feel like an idiot more often than you don’t, but you’re always trying to correct that.

I should have taken his words more seriously, because that is the mentality I need to be cultivating all the time. That I’m never good enough, and that’s great. Because I can always get better, and I will always get better as long as I don’t give up. Even if I get stuck for 6 months, so what?

This is something League helped me realize too. Part of why I was not improving at League for so long was because the hard problems that were bottlenecking me, for example learning “Trading Stance” which is this idea of hitting the enemy once with an attack when they need to get a last hit to get gold (on a minion that is about to die to enemy minions). So they have to choose between using their attack to hit me, or to get that gold from the minion about to die. So if I time my approach correctly and am watching the right information in lane, I can force them into a lose/lose choice and a win/win for me, no matter what they choose. I learnt about this concept, practiced it a bit, still sucked at it, and then stopped practicing it. FOR TWO YEARS. So I knew about this concept for 2 years and didn’t improve much at it. Then recently, with the coaching, I actually stuck with the concept every game, 5 games a day, for 2+ weeks, and I still wasn’t all that good at it but I was much better than when I started and I could see the progress. I kept it on my list of learning objectives and did not take my focus off it and I kept improving. My standard for when I was done had increased significantly and I was willing to sit with that feeling of being stuck because I realized this was my bottleneck.

One of the easiest ways I sabotage my learning is by working on the hardest and most important problem, feeling emotionally bad when I feel like I am not making progress fast enough, and then switching to an easier problem which is useless to solve because it’s being bottlenecked by the other problem anyway. So it’s a meaningless thing to work on at that time. But I get the illusion of progress and feel like I learnt something. and it’s that feeling of learning that I’m after, emotionally, not the actual objective progress that matters to getting better. So I was slowly learning to rewire my emotions to match my rationality, where I started to feel emotionally good at even small small progress as long as it was on the hard problem that was a big deal (i can’t confidently say it was the bottleneck, I just don’t have much knowledge of how to identify bottlenecks in a system)

I made a conscious effort to notice and praise myself for small progress, as long as it was progress, because my goal ultimately was not to give up on the hardest problem, and not to move on to some other smaller but ultimately meaningless problem just to feel good about learning stuff.

I have to do the same with philosophy, and podcasting, and everything else I value in life. I have to identify the hardest problems, and then figure out how to get strong enough to tackle them, or just keep tackling them for 1-2-3 months and use that process to introspect and learn about myself and solve problems with how I approach and sit with a problem. As long as I’m making decent progress at something it’s fine not to give up. I guess I should take on the philosophy of powering up and building base skills before I tackle big problems, but I find building those base skills really boring. So I gotta figure out how to make them less boring, and why I find them boring, rather than trying to force myself to do boring stuff. If I force myself to do boring stuff, I should treat it as a diagnostic tool to introspect and write out what exactly I’m experiencing so then I can use that info to make it less boring. But If I force myself to do boring stuff and then use that as an excuse to burn out and quit, then that’s 100% on me and it’s like I was just looking for an excuse to quit.

Basically I think I can survive and thrive in CF if I:

  • Stop pressuring myself to change before I’m ready.
  • Stop worrying about what other people value (for now). Just do what I think is best, and let people tell me if there are problems or they want me to change some behaviour or habit. Don’t create or simulate problems in advance that might not even exist. That just paralyzes me and makes it more expensive to write/think/make decisions. Lower the costs of all those things so I can just do them more and learn more, and later I can try to implement changes when I am better at changing cheaply.
  • Figure out my goals. Keep figuring them out. Figure out what I want. Keep figuring it out. It’s a dynamic process. I will get better at knowing what I want as I learn what I don’t want, don’t like, and as I experience great things in life that I love, like podcasting/interviewing/conversations/discussions. I’ve always liked discussions, and CF made me love written discussions even more than I used to, and now when I have voice discussions I ask if I can record and transcribe them because I want us to be held accountable to our words and to take them seriously and learn from them if we use the wrong words.
  • Learn to write more concisely and precisely over time.
  • Communicate. Always. Transparently. Have a feeling? write it. Have a thought? write it. A question? write it. A doubt? write it. Assume I don’t understand stuff. Assume I’m confused about stuff. The moment I assume I should be confident, I start to be much less open to change, so cultivate an attitude of fallibility to everything, even the assumptions I hold dearest to my heart.
  • Learn to value finding out I’m wrong. Realize that when my dearest assumptions are shown to be false, I don’t need to feel bad that I was living poorly this whole time. I can feel good that I will no longer continue to live by those false assumptions anymore and the rest of my life is going to be better. the alternative is that I self-sabotage and stay stuck with those false assumptions for the rest of my life. How is that better? Why would I want to feel emotionally better about that? Fuck that shit, I’ll take the route of admitting my mistake, feeling bad temporarily if I have to (and I don’t think I have to, I can learn to feel good about it), and moving on with my life to continue making it better in all the other areas I’m wrong and don’t know I’m wrong yet.
  • Just be myself. It’s OK to be weird. It’s better to be who I am everywhere at the same time than try to be one version of myself on CF, one version of myself with my dad, one version of myself with my brother and his wife, one version of myself in one startup, one version of myself in another startup, one version of myself on my podcast etc. Just be consistent. Value that over fitting into any given situation. Realize that it’s far better for me to be consistent and let other people understand me for who I am, adapt to who I am, or just work with someone else if they don’t want to work with me. That’s perfectly fine. Realize that that outcome is better than negotiating who I am, fitting in for them, but no longer belonging to myself. No thanks. I’m done with that. Wasted too many years of my life doing that already, and I know how that feels and how anxious I can get when I’m worried about stepping on eggshells or offending people and constantly spending conscious and unconscious mental energy thinking about their potential needs, wants, concerns, judgments of me and so on. I say: Never again.
  • Tell the truth. Even if I’ll look bad, even if I’ll feel stupid, even if I’ll feel guilty or like I’m hurting someone or committing some moral sin. Just tell the truth. “The truth will set you free” is not just some pithy aphorism. I feel like it’s a deep principle of life and living life well. Of course it sets me free. So much guilt and regret and lost opportunity in my life has occurred because I have held back on telling the truth. Also to this: Never again.
  • I like people. So I will continue to be interested in people and learn about them as people and value personal connection. If they do not want that, that’s OK. But I’m not going to change the fact that I like and want it. I’ll just find the people in CF who also like and want that to the degree that we can mutually intersect over it, and I’ll find places where I can engage in and experience some of that. I can literally just create a thread for personal stories to learn more about people. That’s the great thing about CF. I can create whatever environment I want if I put the work into it. Sure, it might be that nobody will participate, but intuitively I think that’s not true. And if I make a thread and nobody wants to participate, then I can learn and implement marketing and make it attractive and figure out what people want and what I want and find a way to create a thread that gets both of us what we want. Win/Win. Why not? Nothing is stopping me. Nobody is telling me to ask for permission before I do something like that. So why don’t I do it? Where does my fear come from? Whose authority or approval am I waiting for before I do something I want to do to have a chance at getting something I like? Life is so much more fun when I’m proactive and there’s no speed limit and I don’t wait for permission to do things. I bristle at bureaucracy. It’s why I left my government job. Layers of approval and authority mean that creative initiatives are unrecognizably marred by the time they are finally implemented, or they just never get approved. If even one person might be offended by something, BOOM, it’s cut. So silly.
  • Keep going. Don’t give up. Try less hard rather than burning out. Try more hard when I can tell I’m not fulfilling my potential and I can definitely push myself. Keep adjusting. This is my life we’re talking about. It’s the most sacred, precious thing to me. Don’t waste it. Another 2 year break from CF could cause untold damage to my life. It won’t be the end of the world but it would be an unacceptable waste. So stay, figure stuff out, keep iterating. It’ll never be perfect but it never needs to remain the same either. Don’t settle for mediocrity from myself.
  • Learn to say No. Don’t say Yes to everything. Don’t join every project that pops up. Sure, try some low investment, low risk stuff, figure out if it’s for you, then leave if it’s not. Make expectations clear from the start. Don’t worry about disappointing or abandoning people. Just learn to be transparent and clear so they aren’t surprised if you say no later after saying “Yes, I’ll try it and see how it goes before I decide whether to commit”. HELL YEAH, or NO.
    No yes. Either HELL YEAH! or no. | Derek Sivers
    Only say yes to projects where I am confident I would use my own creativity to further and finish the project even if everyone else in the project drops off for whatever reason. I should have a very high standard for this because I currently take on way too many projects and say yes to way too many things, and it ends up hurting my own quality of life and progression in life. I also end up breaking promises and disappointing the people I committed to help.

Kinda got distracted trying to find the curi blog post I remember that idea from vaguely, but couldn’t find it. Ended up doing a bunch of other stuff. So I’m realizing trying to find blog posts to reference can become its own rabbithole because I ended up reading a bunch of the fallible ideas for life articles instead of finishing and sending this post like I wanted to so I could go brush my teeth, exercise, make some food, go to the gym, come back and eat the food, and work on more podcast stuff and project management course.

So just life lessons and how to manage my mind and notice when I’m going on tangents. Gotta keep reminding myself/asking myself: “What is my goal right now? What do I want to accomplish today? What about in the next 1 hour?”

For example I wanted to record video of me reading the intuition articles, but I got into writing this post and it ballooned into the massive post that it now is. The sooner I publish, the better, because I can go do that. And I have no idea which one was a better use of my time. I enjoyed writing this post for sure. And maybe I can just do both in the same day so not a big deal. I’ve got lots of time, as long as I don’t let too many distractions sway me from my goals.

Consider group social situations. Someone says, “Guys, want to go watch the new Star Wars movie now?” Or they make another activity suggestion. That often results in self-sacrifice!
Most people look at an activity suggestion like: “Do I have a major objection? Would it be a disaster for me?” And if it’s not awful, they agree to it. They don’t want conflict, they don’t want to be arguing all the time. So they try to avoid huge sacrifices, but not make a scene over anything small. But then they end up making small self-sacrifices all the time.
Trying to optimize things to match everyone’s preferences in detail would be too hard for the problem-solving abilities that people in our culture have. It’s especially hard in larger groups because there’s more different preferences to coordinate. So people’s preferences get trampled on. And they get used to that, it’s just how life is for them.
Self-sacrifice and compromise are part of the status quo. People frequently don’t even think about what they really want. They just check if they have a big enough objection that it’d be socially correct to bring it up. If they don’t, they say they agree without considering if they are doing what they fully prefer or self-sacrificing.
People will focus on whether they have a reason to object to an activity that their friends will agree with, rather than focusing on whether any of their own preferences are getting sacrificed. The thought process is just trying to go along with things, not actually considering what one would most want, most prefer, really benefit a lot from, etc.
And frequently people agree to do something later which doesn’t sound awful at the time they agree. But they weren’t really that into it, they just didn’t have a big objection. Later they get into some better activities. Then they cancel or sacrifice. So lots of people end up pretty flakey and irresponsible this way and cancel too often. They get into a dynamic of either sacrificing or cancelling a lot (which then annoys their friends and has downsides for them), rather than managing their life well.

I like one of Zapier’s core values, “Defaulting to action” and they wrote about how waiting for permission can cause so many lost opportunities and cost orgs more than the cost of small mistakes being made in the pursuit of doing good things for the org. Most mistakes are reversible anyway. Missed opportunities aren’t so easy to spot or reverse. When I brought this up with another colleague he said something like, “I don’t think we should be trying to learn from businesses which aren’t in the Esports industry” and that just flabbergasted me. But later on apparently (I heard second-hand) he changed his mind and recanted that statement, so that’s good.


Pretty sure this value is useful in life too. And that table is nice. Like the 4th item, about big, tough to reverse decisions. So quitting my job was a big, tough to reverse decision. That’s an example of a decision I should discuss with CF a few weeks before I do it and try to understand why I want to do it and so on. But it was impulsive and I’m happy I did it. I don’t think I’ve really ever regretted quitting a job, it’s kind of strange. I seem to be most creative and in alignment with my values when I quit a job, but I have to basically generate $100 in personal value each day for myself to make it “worth” quitting my job, until I can get my next paying job/source of income.

After writing this I realize it’s way too long and tangential to be a proper reply for this thread. How do I move it to the Apricus - Meta-Discussion of my Emotions and Diagnosing My Difficulty Engaging with FI Long-term thread? I see Justin responded to a post from another thread and made it happen here. In the future, how do I do that with my posts so I can respond to posts from anywhere but my super long reply ends up happening in my own thread?

This post makes many accusations without giving sources, details or evidence. That gives people no reasonable way to defend themselves (or to see your point and learn/change). For example:

No one can dispute your interpretation of the allegedly pressuring messages when you don’t provide any of them. You also make it sound like people were pressuring you on purpose for your own good, which would also be bad, but it’s hard for anyone to deny that with no specifics.

Another example:

the more afraid I became of just writing what I thought at any given moment

This suggests people did scary things but with no examples.

Blaming yourself doesn’t prevent this from being an accusation – it just makes you sound like an abuse victim with CF as the abuser.

This was entirely on me though, because I interpreted FI incorrectly.

If people are interpreting FI/CF incorrectly and it’s harming them a lot, that is something FI/CF should change. It’s something bad about FI/CF. So it’s an accusation that says something negative about FI/CF. But due to the lack of specifics, it’s very hard to respond.

Besides being negative about CF, you also seem to have negative views about people who are different than you. Please don’t use this forum to bash most people, other people, “normies”, non-philosophers, people outside CF, etc. For example:

To me that idea that people hold is just another excuse to make their lives “easy”. But I think it makes their lives hard. I want to do difficult things, I want to grow, I want to improve myself.

This is accusing lots of people of not wanting to do difficult things, grow or improve themselves.

It seems like you’re mostly thinking and talking about yourself, but you’re not giving much consideration to the negative things you’re saying about other people.

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I didn’t think about it this way, but it makes sense on first reading. Just like I want to learn to take responsibility for as much as I can . . .

FI/CF also wants to get better so people can interpret it correctly more readily and apply it better. So I should find ways to back up my accusations. I didn’t even realize they were accusations but that is making more sense now. Basically if some negative outcome happened, it’s either entirely my fault, or entirely CF’s fault, or somewhere in between and both sides could have done stuff better. The third seems correct to me, but I didn’t realize how my thoughts were not giving much information on specifics or how to analyze what really went wrong. I will look through Discord archives at some point and try to find at least one specific example to look at like, like I did with that thing about honesty I was worried about, where I was worried that past age 25 I wouldn’t be able to learn to be honest, or that it would be very hard and I would give up rather than succeed.

Sorry about this. I don’t want to bash people. I will try to do better in the future and not bash people outside of the forum.

I don’t think I view other people as inferior. I’ve realized that I often come across as pretentious or feeling superior to other people but I’ve thought about it a lot and tried to figure out how to change or whether it’s really true or not. This has been an issue I’ve been aware of for ~6 years, when I was around 21, since my high school friend group brought it up with me, and we discussed it. After the discussion it seemed like they understood me better and realized I wasn’t trying to be pretentious, and I was making a bunch of mistakes and just as flawed as them, if not more flawed, in many ways. I had a lot of respect for what they were doing with their lives, I was just stumbling over and over again. Maybe I go through phases of needing to feel superior to then try to justify my own failures and existence? I don’t know. I’d like to be at a point where it doesn’t really matter what other people are doing and I’m not viewing myself as inferior or superior or bashing or praising them, but kinda just learning from whatever I see others doing, asking for perspective and advice, and then trying to implement it and seeing what happens.

I think everyone has the potential to be growing, but I don’t think everyone really wants to or chooses to. I mean I struggle with this too, so I wouldn’t put myself out of that boat. Maybe the problem is I’m also putting myself on the wrong comparison scale, e.g. viewing myself as inferior or flawed because I quit FI/CF while other people did not. If I’m doing that to myself, then I’d be doing it to other people as well and comparing them to me on that scale. I don’t think that’s what I’m doing but I admit it’s possible. The more I think about it the more it seems reasonable. I do admire and respect the people who participate a lot in FI/CF and seem to value growing philosophically, and of course you/curi for starting it and keeping it going for so long, and for creating so much freely available high quality content around it.

But I think a lot of that respect and admiration is unreasonable, in the same way that the potential disdain or contempt or superiority you’re seeing in my text is, because rather than being based on actual explanations and high quality ideas about the world and people, maybe it’s based on status and social reality or confused and incomplete ideas taken from all the stuff I’ve read and thought about.

Maybe I have these feelings and don’t know about them consciously. But I should find a way to become aware of them, admit them, and slowly change them. I think the first step is to say that I will not bash people on the forum or put them down, and if it happens again, I should want to be told and be open to it and treat it as a second warning of sorts so that I can realize that it’s an even bigger issue than I thought. Thanks for pointing it out. I will be more conscious of it now. The nice thing I guess is that my text will reveal more about my thinking than my own self-awareness of my thoughts, so if I’m open to critical analysis of my writing, I can learn more about myself faster than if I close myself off to that source of information. I think I was emotional when I started writing this, but I am less emotional now as I finish writing it. Progress.

I will try to add more detail to what led me to writing this. I think part of it was a conversation I had with an ex-colleague where we were trying to figure out why we were drawn to each other and he explained that he has lots of smart friends but they seem to want to exert effort to watch Netflix or just engage in entertainment/consumption rather than their own projects or learning stuff. I do realize that all of that has a place, and can also be part of learning and progress. But it reminded me of this part of this article: Fallible Ideas – Persistence

do you do stuff in order to have breaks? or do you take breaks in order to do more stuff?

When I re-read this part I thought about it and realized that most of my life I have just been doing stuff to take breaks. When I was a teen, around age 14, I read Robert Kiyosaki’s “Rich Dad, Poor Dad” book and wanted to get into real estate investing. He wrote about passive income and I thought that if I invested in real estate, I could retire early and never work again. I told my high school friend about it and he said, “So you want be to a landlord or property manager?” and I kind of dismissed him. But I later realized he was right. Of course investing in real estate is a ton of upfront work, and there is lots of knowledge and risk involved, and property maintenance is its own entire task. Yeah, I can outsource it, but that’ll cost me and it’s not so easy to just make that a “passive” income. I was pretty naive about it, and I was engaging in wishful thinking at the time, since if I had looked into what my friend said, I would have learnt more quickly. I’m still friends with him, and he was one of the people main people who helped me learn about my pretentiousness ~7 years later when I was 21. I respect him a lot, in part because he seems way better at handling reality than I am, and he’s never used CF/FI. So there’s something he’s doing and thinking that’s great. I’ve had lots of conversations with him to ask about it and try to figure it out, but I haven’t really gleaned much.

I think a lot of the conflicts I run into are confusing to me in part because I can’t tell when people are giving me advice because they want me to improve along the path to my goals, or when they are telling me stuff because they think I should change my goals to be more stable/less risky. I think both could be good advice but I guess I feel threatened when I get the sense that sometimes people me feedback based on their potential insecurity or fear of risk rather than wanting me to grow.

But maybe the solution is to make my best effort to assume that they want what’s best for me and try to learn from it as best as I can to fit it into my understanding of the world and my goals. Doing this with my dad would be good practice potentially since I want to learn his perspective on things. He seems way more cautious than me but he also has a lot of life experience that I can learn from, and I like hearing his stories. Sometimes it feels like he wants to see me take a more stable/reliable/less risky route in life, and I can’t blame him for that, but I guess I bristle at that because it feels like reliable/predictable = more likely to end in mediocrity. But I think that’s irrationality from me. Of course there must be a way to reliably plan a life that can become great. This forum could help me plan my next 5 years to do exactly that and it wouldn’t exactly be risky because I could learn a lot from the failures/mistakes and make adjustments as I go.

I have been trying to think more about myself, but I’ve noticed that I’m pretty bad at doing both well. I seem to either become too self-centred and self-focused, or too anxious about what I’m saying about other people and then censoring myself too much. I think even when I do just one of the two, I tend to do it poorly rather than well, because if I’m focused on other people and judging them accurately rather than too negatively or too positively, I should be able to do it without anxiety or fear, but I am not able to do that.

Thanks for pointing this out. I don’t know what to do about it, other than to write more carefully to try to think about the implications of my writing and how it’s basically accusing other people in an indirect way (which is maybe even more nasty and socially mean than just directly putting an example and asking a direct question or making a direct accusation, because then people can analyze it and point out what really happened), or to put disclaimers, or to just try to only mention these things when I can pull a specific example, and otherwise don’t mention it at all until I find the example. I think I like the last option best. What do you think? Or is there an option I didn’t list that is even better? I have to go to bed soon as I have an interview in 5 hours (I planned my day poorly, I should be getting more sleep than that before 2 interviews back to back. Means I messed up planning my day and executing it for my priorities)

I also really want to record me reading at least one of the CF intuition articles before I go to bed because I hate that I’ve procrastinated it for 2+ days. I also did 10 minutes of PM work just so I could do something there and have a non-zero day on it, since I’ve been procrastinating that too. Will post the video in the Apricus - Meta-Discussion of my Emotions and Diagnosing My Difficulty Engaging with FI Long-term - #25 by Apricus thread

This is an example of second-handedness. I think it’s pretty important that you take these phases very seriously and do some introspection when you find yourself thinking this way to try to understand it more deeply.

Even if you’re better than all the people around you, does that make you right? No. Does it mean you can’t improve? No. There will still a lot of stuff you don’t know no matter how well you compare to the people in your life.

If you let this sort of mindset have influence on your life you can end up doing bad stuff e.g. keeping people you consider worse around just for the validation of thinking you’re better which is mean (using them) and dishonest (lying to yourself). If people realise you think of them this way they will likely react negatively too, so you’ll need to keep it hidden (more lies). There are many more examples in The Fountainhead (the character Peter Keating) and Atlas Shrugged (the character Philip Rearden and quite a few others).

It may help in these phases that if you want to compare yourself to someone, compare yourself to past you. Think about how much better you are than who you were before. New skills you’ve learned, new things you’ve done, etc.

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Video recorded and uploading. Only got through ~25% of the first article, so didn’t do as much as I wanted to, but I’m glad I took the first step. Hopefully it’ll be easier to do it a second time.

Posted here: Apricus - Meta-Discussion of my Emotions and Diagnosing My Difficulty Engaging with FI Long-term - #28 by Apricus

Quick note: I remember wanting to write at some point that I don’t want to end up like Peter Keating, in specifically the sense that he loved painting as a kid, but he let himself get pressured by his mom and other factors and he went into architecture and became more and more second-handed and respected the main character (Roark?) who was actually competent at and passionate about architecture and was first-handed. And then at some point if I remember correctly, Keating kinda “makes” it financially and is financially stable, and goes off to a cottage or something to paint in a remote area, but he finds that it’s too late and he can’t connect with that same childlike sense of wonder and passion he had for it when he was young.

BTW is it ever too late to reignite a passion for a skill and get into it creatively and get really good and first-handed? Intuitively I think it isn’t, but I do think it can get harder and harder the more I invest in second-handedness rather than figuring out what I truly like and pursuing that

I think the longer someone goes on being second-handed, the more they build their life around that way of looking at the world and the more change (and potential loss) they’ll have to make if they change it. Like Gail Wynand’s entire empire was consciously, purposefully built around second-handedness and the moment he tried to live fully honestly (rather than just in his private life) he discovered he couldn’t change The Banner like that.
IRL you see this with people who join in tribalist thinking (e.g. academics and celebrities), then get cancelled when they say something that disagrees (or even sounds bad even if it doesn’t really disagree) with the status quo.

I don’t think it’s ever too late to reignite a skill you’re passionate about. Even if you think you’re going to die tomorrow, wouldn’t you want to do things you’ve always wanted to do but kept finding reasons to put off?

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. . .

Yes, I would want to do those things as soon as possible.

Was that because The Banner’s culture was already built to please other people or deliver them journalism in a second-handed way? I’m kind of remembering now. I thought what also happened was that the other character (Ellsworth Toohey) staged a coup and was maybe waiting for an opportunity to discredit Wynand and take control of the Banner. I should re-read that part later.

So if Gail Wynand was doing honest, high-integrity journalism and reporting, like (Dominique?) was doing, would he have had more trouble growing The Banner initially? Like with Howard Roark and his initial struggles as an independent architect. But then as it grew, maybe it would have grown more healthily and in line with the values he wanted to apply later to the company, like honesty and reporting stuff even if it might not be popular at first. It seemed like he respected Howard Roark’s ability to choose integrity from the start and I think it was Howard who ended up inspiring Gail to try to make The Banner better, right?

I’m trying to think of some examples. Maybe: Tracking Cancel Culture in Higher Education by David Acevedo | NAS

Academic cancellation usually goes something like this: 1) a professor, administrator, or student says or writes something considered heretical by progressives; 2) outcry ensues among the faculty and student body, who demand institutional discipline; 3) administrators cave to the mob and punish the “culprit.” In most cases, it really is that simple.

. . .

Consider the recent experience of Professor Gordon Klein, a lecturer in accounting at UCLA’s Anderson School of Management. He declined to accommodate demands to award lenient grades to his African-American students in the wake of George Floyd’s death. His email response was as follows:

Thanks for your suggestion in your email below that I give black students special treatment, given the tragedy in Minnesota. Do you know the names of the classmates that are black? How can I identify them since we’ve been having online classes only? Are there any students that may be of mixed parentage, such as half black-half Asian? What do you suggest I do with respect to them? A full concession or just half? Also, do you have any idea if any students are from Minneapolis? I assume that they probably are especially devastated as well. I am thinking that a white student from there might be possibly even more devastated by this, especially because some might think that they’re racist even if they are not. My TA is from Minneapolis, so if you don’t know, I can probably ask her. Can you guide me on how you think I should achieve a “no-harm” outcome since our sole course grade is from a final exam only? One last thing strikes me: Remember that MLK famously said that people should not be evaluated based on the “color of their skin.” Do you think that your request would run afoul of MLK’s admonition? Thanks, G. Klein

Abrupt? Perhaps. Racist? Of course not. And yet, Professor Klein has been “canceled” for his “woefully racist response”: he has been suspended, his classes have been assigned to other professors, and he is in police protection after receiving multiple death threats. Klein later stated that he was used as the “sacrificial lamb” to placate “those who threaten to riot.” And so, the cycle continues.

Oof. Something seems really wrong here. I don’t know if this example fits what you were writing because I interpreted it as someone joining the tribalist group agreeing with them and then finding themselves in trouble when they say something controversial or that might be disagreeable with one of the group’s ideas. In this case I don’t think the professor joined academia agreeing with the ideas, since he made this decision and wrote that email. But maybe his choice to continue to remain in academia or join it in the first place is subject to criticism, if he could reasonably be aware of the culture there. But he stood up for this so that seems good. He risked his career (and it seems like possibly his personal safety) to stand for the principle of treating people based on merit.
I’m unsure.

If you have any examples ready available, please share them with me. I’d like to understand if I’m interpreting your statement there the way you wanted me to understand it.

I am glad I quit my job and am trying to do stuff I intrinsically enjoy doing. I feel more creatively free, and I also feel less afraid to speak my mind with my friends and family. I’m also finding that they react positively and also build on my ideas and share their own experiences and I learn a lot from them. So I think most of my fears of how people will react if I say what’s on my mind were manufactured and not realistic. People are pleasantly surprising me every day.

Is there a way I can measure progress towards first-handedness? How can I try to test myself and develop first-handedness (or reduce second-handedness) over time and track my progress towards improving at it? I figure there is no endpoint where I’m done improving at it, but other than just my own intuition/gut feeling, is there a way to concretely try to measure being less like Gail/Peter and more like Howard? BTW, was Dominique as first-handed as Howard, or was she less first-handed than Howard but more first-handed than e.g. Peter Keating? It seems hard for me to judge or measure these things

Agreed. I’m not certain I have these phases, or that I view myself as superior to other people during them, but I am open to the possibility so I will aim to introspect more deeply whenever these phases happen (if they occur again).

Agreed. I think it just makes it hard sometimes to connect or belong, but maybe that’s something I can also improve at and get better at. Relating to people no matter what, and having a genuine, baseline sense of human respect and compassion for them regardless of anything else. Also a kind of optimism that anyone can get better at anything, me included, and we’re all flawed together and can work on stuff we want to work on, and collaborate where it’s mutually beneficial/we both want to do that.

These possibilities concern me. This reminds me of a few things. I will only quote one though as I don’t want to let myself go on too many tangents and potentially dilute the post I’m writing, even if it is exciting to delve into old ideas and share them. It helps me learn to prioritize and value + choose some ideas over others too. The Valve Employee Handbook has this section in it about T-shaped people, and they mention in there about the value in hiring people higher-powered than oneself. I remember thinking that the first time I read that, I had never considered that I would have a tendency to hire people lower-powered than myself. I’m not even sure what lower-powered would mean, maybe in some sense non-threatening (but why would I be threatened by someone I am looking to work with? Maybe if I’m worried they can take my job or make me look incompetent because they are way more competent or something like that?)

(Source PDF)

So I think you bring up a good point. I want to ensure that mindset, or any other mindset, doesn’t influence me into keeping people around just so I can feel better about myself. That would be unfair to them and also would slow down my own growth and progress.

I think the idea of keeping my true feelings or thoughts hidden as dishonesty is somewhat intuitive to me but hard to execute. It’s difficult for me to tell in life when I am proactively disclosing and revealing things and living out my values proudly in an appropriate way where e.g. if my values have problems, I’ll find out because people will tell me, or if they can’t convince me to change them, then I just keep going about my business and they just collaborate with someone whose values they like better as a fit for their own. And I guess I can look into my values more on my own over time to figure out ways to improve them as well. I do feel like the times where I hold back on saying or doing something that felt right to me at that time, I tend to regret it a lot more than the times when I did something I thought was right, but it turned out awkward and I apologized for saying/doing that thing, and admitted I was wrong about it. Basically I think inaction felt worse. I think one reason might be because I never got to see my fears manifest or got to find out if they were real, so I’m then stuck with the doubt of not knowing whether I really needed to hold back/not try that thing I wanted to try saying/doing.

I like this idea. It’s not the first time I’ve come across it but I always appreciate being reminded of this. Thank you. Reminds me of Bruce Lee’s saying:
(I ended up unable to find the one I remembered… I thought he had one about progressing as one’s self, like being better than I was yesterday, but maybe I confused who said that with someone else. I will look again next time and try to find the quote/idea I remember being inspired by in the past. In the meantime I found some other quotes relevant to the thread which I posted below)

And here’s some that are related to second-handedness and first-handedness:
Bruce Lee:

In order to realize our true self we must be willing to live without being dependent upon the opinion of others.

Always be yourself, express yourself, have faith in yourself, do not go out and look for a successful personality and duplicate it.

I’m not in this world to live up to your expectations and you’re not in this world to live up to mine.

It’s hard for me to look up any individual Bruce Lee quote without wanting to dive into a bunch of them and think about + share them with others. I haven’t fact/source checked these though. I’ve heard many Bruce Lee quotes are unfortunately misattributed or kinda modified from what he actually said.

So I have to remind myself of these ideas when I’m noticing that my thoughts or emotions are indicating that I’m comparing myself to other people rather than comparing them to my past self or to the traits and qualities I’d like to cultivate and improve. And maybe I should be breaking down my comparison of myself and focusing on specific ideas and skills to try to improve rather than just comparing myself as a whole, because that’s hard to judge and measure and more easy to be biased about. It’s just less productive I think.

Toohey could only achieve that coup because Wynand had built The Banner second-handedly. If The Banner had been an honest creation of Wynand, the coup couldn’t have worked as it wouldn’t have had so many employees and readers that disagreed with Wynand’s actual values.

I don’t know if Wynand wanted to make The Banner better, he wanted to use it to help Roark (which may have incidentally made it better had he succeeded).


My awareness of the problem has been incremental from seeing it come up over time and I never recorded any of the articles. I think the idea that cancel culture is unreasonably destroying the careers of professionals as uncontroversial. But I did some looking.

There are a lot of examples.

Note I’m not endorsing these results as truthful and have not read them all, but it seems like a good place to try if you want to find a lot more.

I looked a little deeper myself to find a specific example. This one seems accurate. Similar to your example, he gave a hyperbolic response to racism (by Biden) and was cancelled for it.

Though they didn’t do a very good job with their sources (citing a Tweet with a screen cap rather than finding this official statement).

I haven’t looked into The College Fix before but it seems to be reasonably honesty so far.

I guess if you want to measure it, you could make a record of moments you find yourself behaving in a second-handed way. Then calculate how the frequency over time changes. It wouldn’t take much technical knowledge (I don’t know how much you have) to do this in a spreadsheet, for example.

As you pay attention to it more, you’d also get more alert for it and be better at spotting it so your results may increase at first even if internally you’re thinking in second handed ways less often.

Yes I think those are examples of why people hire lesser-skilled employees.

Though I don’t think that’s the only reason people do it. Hiring lower-skilled people is also cheaper, so another reason that hirers may typically hire lower-skilled people is thinking of just needing someone who meets minimum requirements of a role and doesn’t think that someone who can grow out of that role is of enough value to be worth extra cost.

I think the concept can apply to friends as well. E.g. someone second-handed might avoid new friends who are “too good” that might change the current friend circle conventions and influence dynamics, like the second-hander might think they’ll stop being important to their friends’ circle for a specific skill because the new person will do it better.

Yes, it’s something I’m working on in my personal life too. Some subjects (mostly: politics and philosophy) I avoid with certain people because I don’t think they have enough honest interest in the subject to discuss it. I find these people will have “opinions” that they’ve taken from e.g. the media but it’s just part of their social behaviour to repeat these things to each other, and not a genuine interest in the subject material. So if they bring it up I might make a comment to try to point out some flaws in it (because I don’t want to imply that I agree by being silent), but I wont try to start a debate on it.

Though the idea of trying to be better than your past self is fairly conventional, I want to emphasise I’m suggesting it in a specific way that is not conventional and connects to the idea of (avoiding) second-handedness. I think you may be conflating the way I used it with your examples and prior contact with an idea that is similar but not the same so I want to reiterate the key difference.

I’m specifically saying: focusing on your own improvement instead of comparing yourself to others may help reduce second-handedness and help improve how you measure your progress.

I think Dominique’s media persona was to be a troll and provocateur, she intentionally wrote articles she knew were factually incorrect and didn’t communicate this to the reader. I don’t think I’d consider that high-integrity.

Though yes I think she had the skill and honesty to be a good honest journalist if she thought she was in a world that would value it, and she chose to live second-hand like Wynand by making her professional life operate by the values of others. I think she wanted to break Roark at first because she didn’t believe he could be real owing to her world view.

This is the impact Roark has on all the good characters - Dominique, Wynand and Mallory are all approximately convinced they live in a world where honesty is a mistake. Roark shatters their evasion of reality by only dealing with people honestly.

She wrote intentionally misleading and provocative stuff but I don’t recall her writing something factually false if read carefully and literally. Do you have examples?

I went through looking for articles. Articles in The Fountainhead written by Dominique:
The Riverside Drive house - page 78
The Enright House - page 194
A short excerpt commenting on Roark - page 208
The Enright House, post site visit - Page 211
Her court testimony - page 260-262 (which I’m counting as she would put it in per column but gets fired instead (page 263))

To answer the question: No I don’t, I was mistaken. Misleading is accurate, I don’t recall how I had concluded “inaccurate”.

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