aiming takes a lifetime

One way to get better at things — really anything — is just to start brute-forcing your way to perfection. What I mean by that is probably simpler than you may think. What I mean by that is that one way to improve, one way to get a lot better relatively quickly, is just to massively increase your volume. It’s not really enough to marginally increase your volume. What I’m talking about is increasing it by an order of 10 to 100x. For example, if you think you want to be as good as LeBron James at basketball – or really pick any topic, pick the GOAT of any sport or activity, if you think you can do that – what my suggestion is to guess 100x more than you think you would need in order to arrive at a similar level of competency. I think we tend to underestimate just how hard it is to actually arrive at a level of mastery. They say that some people make things look too easy. That the pros make everything look too easy. And that’s true. But even knowing that expression. Even then. I think we still tend to make the mistake of thinking that we could do things with just a bit more work or focus or care or attention. When in reality, we actually are off by a lot. Like an order of magnitude or two.

And so, if you are asking yourself – how do I get better at everything, or anything more specifically. I think we, and now I’m talking for me for sure. I think we tend to think we need some clever plan. When in reality. The simple naive solution is generally quite good. The simple naive solution which is just to increase your volume by a lot and spend a lot more time on it – well that tends to be plenty. If you just do that, that alone can be enough. And well, I think it’s not always the most satisfying answer. But it’s one that’s available to all of us.

I mean it may put your goals into question. You may think to yourself – is it really worth doing all this extra work? Is it really worth trying this hard on something? Am I really willing to sacrifice nearly everything in order to get where it is that I want to go? Or… when I actually start to look at the numbers and see how hard things are to achieve, do I get afraid and start well shying away and making all these excuses? I feel like our brains are always looking for excuses. Like we are on the hunt for reasons why things won’t work. It’s the free energy principle or whatever. We are looking for reasons why not. And we find them a lot of the time. But if you just have this underlying point of view that you are going to commit to something for some ridiculous amount of hours, and then it’ll all work out. Well, that may change your point of view. What if instead of exploring we were forced to commit 1000 hours to any area of study we were interested in. Serious study, too. We couldn’t fake it. We could not do homework that was bs. We actually had to try and learn things. Be it art or physics or piano or math or whatever. Like I think we would all be surprised by how good we would get at things simply by trying really hard. Again, really hard is like really, really hard. Lots of hours. Way more hours than we are generally comfortable with. I think we would be surprised by the difference between good and great and the difference between an insane expert and someone who is just good or even bad. I think the difference is huge. Like words don’t do it justice I don’t think. One of those see-to-believe types of things. And so, with this in mind, in knowing that mastery really just takes time (although there may be exceptions to this rule of sorts, it’s not the point) — knowing this – how do we decide what to do? Well, I think a lot of people, myself included, get stuck picking. We get stuck exploring. I mean, the first order issue probably is that people don’t explore at all. They just follow. But then they learn to explore. And then they overthink. And do nothing. And so the final thing is that they need to figure out how to explore the right amount while balancing this idea that you really gotta do in order to get stuff done. You gotta keep the chains moving. You have to try things. So how do you try though when you know that the pressure is so hard? Well, it feels like the worst thing you can do – again talking at myself – is nothing. Not taking any risks. Or even taking small risks. That seems like a waste. When in reality, the move is to take bigger swings. More volatility. Higher upside. But do so in a way that you’re hedged or you can’t lose basically. All that being said – this constant idea that you want to mix motion with direction. You need both. Speed with no motion is 0. So, you again need to be moving. A lot of people are never moving. But once you learn to move, then you can learn to aim. I think some people go through life learning to aim before moving. What happens then is they never learn to move. They just learn to aim. They just do strategy. They are learning to learn and get stuck in a spiral. Even smart people. Where they never get anything done. They never ship anything. They never deliver. And that’s really sad. Sad for them but mainly for the world. I think we should probably learn to move before we aim. I think aiming is perhaps impossible. Wrong word. Hard. Just really hard. That is me projecting. Aiming is a lifelong journey.


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