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Viliam_Bur comments on Applied Rationality Workshops: Jan 25-28 and March 1-4 - LessWrong

20 Post author: AnnaSalamon 03 January 2013 01:00AM

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Comment author: Viliam_Bur 14 January 2013 10:50:48AM *  7 points [-]

Let me tell you my situation, a year ago. I wanted to fix some things in my life, and a very high priority was getting a better job. (Not because the job is the most important thing for me, but because if I spend 8 hours daily in a job, and it sucks, then my whole life is colored by this. For example, I get home, I finally have some free time to work on my goals, but I feel so tired and disgusted that I just read a few internet pages and go to sleep.) So I applied for a Rationality Minicamp, and hoped for some good job-seeking advice.

However, I yet had to wait cca four months for the Minicamp. And I imagined: OK, so I get to the Minicamp, we finally get to the job-seeking part, and they would probably ask me: "So, what have you already done?" And I would say "Nothing" and feel stupid. Well... no, I don't want to feel like that. So I guess I should do at least the most trivial attempts myself (at least to have a solid excuse), before asking advice from other people. -- And somehow, I did a few steps, and actually found a new job, with higher pay, less stress, more quiet working environment, and even closer to my home. All this before I went to the Minicamp. I jokingly put it into the "placebo effects of the Minicamp" category. So, before I went to the Minicamp, my most important problem was already solved.

Yet, it was worth going. Hard to describe exactly why (and yes, I am well aware how suspiciously this sounds), because while it did not have one overwhelming impact in one area, it had multiple small-to-medium impacts in many smaller areas. Self-discipline and planning: I got rid of some bad habits (eating sugar, procrastinating on internet every day until midnight), and it was surprisingly painless. Productivity: there is still much left to improve, but my blogging frequency has increases 10 times (still rather low), and I am working on a Java computer game with plans to port on Android and later Ouya. When I compare it with my desires, or with things some people I admire do, it is very little; when I compare it with what I did during the previous years, it is a huge improvement. Also, sometimes other people spontaneously give me feedback that recently I have become more awesome. (This part could be a placebo effect. Maybe I just speak more confidently about my rationality and plans, and this impresses other people. I would rather impress them by real outcomes. Maybe later.)