Strive for Greatness

  • counterintuitively, overly ambitious goals might be better than achievable ones, as they force the style of thinking/doing that's required to get far - and force us to get more serious about getting there!
  • when striving for greatness it's important to think qualitatively, not quantitively
    • it's often mentioned in "The Mundanity of Excellence - An Ethnographic Report on Stratification and Olympic Swimmers" - best swimmers don't train more hours than mediocre ones, but they do swim qualitatively differently (and are probably much more Deliberate in their Practice)
  • Richard Hamming talks about modifying the problem, so it's one of a larger class, in an attempt to Not Solve Isolated Problems
  • references:
    • thinking Great Thoughts
    • this is a reoccurring theme in "The Art of Doing Science and Engineering" by Richard Hamming

Every time I tell someone this it helps them a lot, and I do honestly believe it so I'll just blanket say it for each of you

I think you're likely radically underestimating the ceiling of what you're capable of in basically every way, and I'd bet on it at a large multiple

— Nick Cammarata -

(...) Knowing you can achieve radical things makes you use different tools / think longer term / more ambitiously which makes you more likely to get them

— Nick Cammarata -

"The most counterintuitive secret about startups is it's often easier to succeed with a hard startup than an easy one." - Sam Altman

I think there's a similar secret in psych. It's sometimes easier to become happier than anyone you've ever met than it is to just cure low mood

one reason is that with the ambitious path you'll need powerful tools and tons of self introspection to understand how you work and why you're not 10/10 already

whereas if you aim for marginal gains you may try symptomatic treatments that end up doing nothing at all

— Nick Cammarata -

Szymon Kaliski © 2022