Optimizing your value to the people that can help you reach your full potential

In “If the average person in the room isn’t smarter than you, you’re in the wrong room“, I asked

a huge part of success is getting involved with smart, successful, big-thinking people, thereby raising your standards and learning from their example. But … the problem is, what’s in it for them?

conditionalcognition replied

Talented folks are not talented in all arenas. Regardless of how successful a particular person may be at certain things (i.e. business, basketball, design), there isn’t a person that can be one of the best at everything. Keeping this in mind, people looking to learn from others in a particular field need to identify what skills/talents can be shared with the “experts,” so they value the exchange of time, ideas and talents.

and I agreed

Yes. And, because intellectual diversity (of thinking styles, backgrounds, etc.) is as vital to social/scientific progress as genetic diversity is to evolutionary adaptability, you can probably optimize your value to the people you want to interact with by cultivating those aspects of yourself that are most authentically you.

 

You get more done when you work less

According to Alex Soojung-Kim Pang in an excerpt from his book “REST: Why You Get More Done When You Work Less

For all the attention the Berlin conservatory study has received, this part of the top students’ experiences—their sleep patterns, their attention to leisure, their cultivation of deliberate rest as a necessary complement of demanding, deliberate practice—goes unmentioned. In Outliers, Malcolm Gladwell focuses on the number of hours exceptional performers practice and says nothing about the fact that those students also slept an hour more, on average, than their less-accomplished peers, or that they took naps and long breaks.

This is not to say that Gladwell misread Ericsson’s study; he just glossed over that part. And he has lots of company. Everybody speed-reads through the discussion of sleep and leisure and argues about the 10,000 hours.

This illustrates a blind spot that scientists, scholars, and almost all of us share: a tendency to focus on focused work, to assume that the road to greater creativity is paved by life hacks, propped up by eccentric habits, or smoothed by Adderall or LSD. Those who research world-class performance focus only on what students do in the gym or track or practice room. Everybody focuses on the most obvious, measurable forms of work and tries to make those more effective and more productive. They don’t ask whether there are other ways to improve performance, and improve your life.

This is how we’ve come to believe that world-class performance comes after 10,000 hours of practice. But that’s wrong. It comes after 10,000 hours of deliberate practice, 12,500 hours of deliberate rest, and 30,000 hours of sleep.

“I work,” Parfit replied with a smile, “on what matters.”

[Following up to “The Priorities of Beethoven“.] According to Jeff McMahan in his remembrance of Derek Parfit.

When the ventilator tube was removed and he could again speak, he immediately began to discuss with me the ideas and arguments on which he had been working when I had to rush him to the emergency room. […] The next day […] the graduate student whose thesis Parfit was scheduled to examine, came for a visit, during which Parfit delightedly insisted on discussing the thesis with him for several hours. A nurse, having noticed how many visitors Parfit had had, exclaimed, “Jesus Christ had only 12 disciples – but look at you! You’re clearly a very important man. What do you do?” “I work,” Parfit replied with a smile, “on what matters.”

and

The one exception to his monomaniacal commitment to his philosophy was his architectural photography, samples of which appear on the covers of his four books. But he gave that up many years ago when he came to fear that he might not live long enough to complete his remaining work in philosophy.

There are many anecdotes about the ways in which Parfit simplified his life to take as little time as possible away from his work. He ate only twice a day, with almost no variation in what he had at each meal. He ate cold food only, mostly fruits and vegetables without any preparation. Even when he could have had freshly ground coffee with only a minute’s additional preparation, he drank instant coffee, often with water straight from the tap. He sometimes kept a book open on the chest-of-drawers so that he could read while putting on his socks. His speed in reading was phenomenal, in part because his power of concentration was prodigious. Wanting to preserve his mental and physical capacities, he took an hour every evening during his last decade to get vigorous exercise on a stationary bicycle, but never without reading philosophy (or occasionally physics) while furiously pedalling.

Megalothymia: a need to disproportionately dominate over others in ostentatious and spectacular ways

According to Paul Sagar in “The last hollow laugh: Since Francis Fukuyama proclaimed ‘The End of History’ 25 years ago, he has been much maligned. His work now seems prophetic

Throughout his analysis, Fukuyama insisted on the centrality of thymos (the Greek for ‘spiritedness’), or recognition, to human psychology: what Thomas Hobbes called pride, and Jean-Jacques Rousseau labelled amour propre. This denotes the need to be liked and respected by other people, and to have that recognition outwardly affirmed – if necessary, extracting it by force. Some human beings, Fukuyama thought, are always going to be inherently competitive and greedy for recognition. Some will therefore always vie to be thought of as the best – and others will resent them for that, and vie back. This has the potential to cause a lot of trouble. Human beings demand respect, and if they don’t feel that they are getting it, they break things – and people – in response.

Fukuyama thought, human beings didn’t just exhibit thymos, but also what he termed ‘megalothymia’: a desire not just for respect and proportionate recognition, but a need to disproportionately dominate over others in ostentatious and spectacular ways.

There was every chance that the last men (and women) would be deeply discontented with their historically unprecedented ease and luxury, because it failed to feed megalothymia. If the last men went this way, they would become bored by what Fukuyama called ‘masterless slavery – the life of rational consumption’. The spread of egalitarian values that went along with secular democratic politics would open up spaces of severe resentment – especially, we might now postulate, among those who had lost their traditional places at the top of social hierarchies, and felt cheated of the recognition that they believed they were owed.

“What’s the ONE Thing you can do such that by doing it everything else will be easier or unnecessary?”

According to Dean Bokhari’s summary of the book “The ONE Thing: The Surprisingly Simple Truth Behind Extraordinary Results

Start with “The Focusing Question.”

“What’s the ONE Thing you can do such that by doing it everything else will be easier or unnecessary?”

You’ll want to write that down… because the whole entire book is based around that single question, and the power of organizing every area of your life around ONE Thing (per area).

The Domino Effect

The key to success is figuring out your ONE most important thing in your business/career/life over the long-run. Think of this as your “someday” goal.  Once you’ve figured that out, you need to identify how many dominoes you need to line up – and then knock down – in order to achieve it. Simple right? … actually, yeah. It is. But just because it’s simple doesn’t mean it’s easy.

Rossi E-CAT — 6x power out vs. power in, according to testing report

According to this testing report by Fabio Penon (tip of the hat to Frank Acland), Andrea Rossi’s E-CAT device produced 6x output power vs. input power over the course of a year.

This is the missing “ERV report” mentioned by Mats Lewan

Meanwhile, people with insight to the ERV report that was never released have explained to me that the result presented in the report is conclusive and that the only possible way to attack it would be to attack Rossi, the ERV, and other people involved, for fraud. Yet, based on testimonials I have received, I find the fraud hypothesis highly unlikely. Obviously, it is premature to draw any firm conclusions while the lawsuit is ongoing. Still, my strictly personal assessment, adding all the pieces of the puzzle and weighing them in direct contact with several parties, is that IH was acting logically as a venture capitalist, trying to get hold of an incredibly valuable technology at the lowest possible cost, but that it misjudged the difficulties in dealing with the inventor and other people involved. This does not mean that I find IH’s behavior correct or defendable but again that is for the court to sort out and I have confidence in its ability to do so. At this moment, Rossi is busy with daily actions regarding the lawsuit and the situation might remind someone of what the Wright Brothers went through soon after they made their aircraft technology public. The situation is also similar in the sense that we are discussing a potentially world-changing technology that has been considered impossible from a scientific point of view—just like heavier-than-air flight—yet observations indicate its validity.