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reflections on 'Why I Live' draft & idea in general

Date: 2020-11-01

original context: a post on

Some reflections on #18534


The title (“Why I Live”) is at worst dishonest and at best inaccurate. In reality my actions don’t always line up with what I said in the post or the things I was planning to add in future drafts. A better title would be something like “what I want to align my life to”. It was dishonest b/c I was essentially claiming to make better choices than I do. Some of my choices line up with the post, but lots don’t. Not just in minor ways, but like major ways. Why procrastinate from ~everything to binge a game for like 20 hours? That’s choosing the crappy path.

context before writing

I was thinking about what curi and I had talked about in tutoring 51 + earlier stuff about goals. I realised that I hadn’t really written much about my goals when curi and I discussed that topic (2 sessions mostly I think). What I’d done was closer to writing my goals down as opposed to writing about them. The ‘why I live’ post is closer to talking about my goals, but there’s a lot of implicit stuff. I think the implicit stuff (which relates to me personally) is fine because the post was meant to be more general than about my specific goals, more like framework/context stuff that informs what goals I think are good or not and why.

I was thinking about being unhappy with not writing, and about my goals and prioritisation etc. I had some thoughts like ‘why be unhappy with it, you could work towards that now’, and ‘write about goals instead of just writing them down’. I started brainstorming and came up with the title and stuff later.



I had some anxiety when I checked the next morning for posts on curi (because I hoped there’d be some feedback) - even before knowing whether any were in microblogging. That was unexpected and notable.

I wonder if there’s some interaction going on between:

  • my desire for a life with meaning / greatness

  • fear of failure / mistakes (i’m not sure how much I feel this but it’s a pretty common static meme)

  • the idea of choosing to fail (deliberately not trying) instead of trying and failing

  • my desire for lacking responsibility sometimes – it’s not persistent but I sometimes want it so much that I renege on commitments or withdraw and ignore msgs and things. That behaviour doesn’t go beyond reason but is definitely to some extent.

I was also surprised when I thought that the post might be dishonest/misleading. Part of me wasn’t, but part of me was because a lot of the stuff in the post (or stuff that’s implied by or implicit in it) are things that I want to believe about myself.


If I believe things about myself that are better than the situation in reality actually is, does that inhibit error correction substantially? Can it hide blockers that would otherwise be more apparent and easier to fix?

I feel ‘yes’ is the answer for some things.

Obvs thinking e.g. I’m 50th percentile playing poker when I’m actually 35th percentile isn’t going to matter much, esp compared to thinking I’m 99th percentile but actually 90th percentile (which would have potentially big consequences for variance, consistency, and volume of earnings).

In this case I think it might be an issue b/c thinking I make better life choices than I do (and do so more consistently) can mean I am overconfident, which could have consequences like starting big projects too early / without enough planning / etc.

Maybe, then, this ‘insight’ is just like another aspect of overreaching and Oism?

‘negative’ feedback?

I’d like to know if anyone thought it was low quality, overreaching, vapid, dishonest, etc.

I don’t think FI ppl would have avoided telling me this in abstract, but I could see ppl not providing feedback if they thought like ‘there are so many issues it’d be effort to know where to start’ or the like.

I think the dynamics between curi and I might be different b/c of the tutoring sessions – like anything that needs to be discussed could be done there. I don’t know how/if this would affect something in particular, but it occurs to me now & might be relevant.


on the whole I didn’t think the writing was too bad considering it was a draft. There are some things that I don’t think are clear enough from what I wrote; e.g. intended audience. I wonder if I might write a less clear post if there are conflicting goals for the post. e.g. I wanted to write something for me (to spur myself on, as such), and I also wanted to write something that could become enduring (after more drafts) and would be useful or general in a philosophy-and-life type category. Maybe I’d do better by separating the two; writing at all helps me some, and I can do some of the more self-centric stuff in private journaling or in the brainstorming phase and copy those bits elsewhere s.t. they wouldn’t be in the main post.

I also wonder if I’m overreaching at this stage trying to create anything that’s enduring. I suspect there’s not much I can do with a low enough ER s.t. it lasts decades.

Actually, there’s lots I could do like that, just not stuff that I’m interested in doing. e.g. I could write a guide on how & why to tie your shoelaces could be enduring on the scale of decades. i think I might do myself a service by lowering those standards for a while. I can always revisit them later and I don’t need to have them to actually produce enduring work (you can always go above your own standards).

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