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We’re Optimizing Ourselves to Death

The Domino Effect

Our past luxuries just end up being necessities in a blink of an eye, once people get used to them.

This also creates new obligations and the domino effect of a further set of expenses and tasks, leading to new kinds of services and optimizations.

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IDEA EXTRACTED FROM:

We’re Optimizing Ourselves to Death

We’re Optimizing Ourselves to Death

https://medium.com/s/buy-yourself/were-optimizing-ourselves-to-death-d41a3e7cc25a

medium.com

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Key Ideas

The Prisoner's Dilemma

It is a famous thought experiment in Game Theory. Two prisoners in separate interrogation rooms have two options: to confess or to lie, and this can lead to three outcomes:

  1. If both confess, they both serve eight years in prison.
  2. If both lie, then they both serve one year in prison.
  3. If one of them confesses and one of them lies, then the liar gets maximum prison and the confessor goes free.

This thought experiment tells us that when we make decisions, the ones which are taken by others also factors in.

The Millennials Dilemma

The Prisoners Dilemma can be reimagined as a life-optimization matrix. When two people have some free time due to a time-saving technique, they can spend it either on leisure or further work. This can have three outcomes:

  1. Both individuals choose to work harder in their free time, remaining in a constant state of acceleration
  2. Both individuals choose to relax and chill out.
  3. One of them works harder and gets ahead, while the other relaxes and is left behind in the acceleration.

The Burnout Generation

Millennials are fast becoming the burnout generation, due to them treating free time as not leisure time, when they can relax and unwind, but as bonus time for them to work harder and up their game.

The hyperproductive, work-obsessed world is hell-bent to automate every to-do list item so that you can work more and create more to-do lists.

Wage Stagnation

Tech companies optimize our lives by providing us services that save our time and money.

They earn absurdly well in the process, making the wages stagnant for the common man, increasing the disparity and inequality to earth-shattering levels.

The Domino Effect

Our past luxuries just end up being necessities in a blink of an eye, once people get used to them.

This also creates new obligations and the domino effect of a further set of expenses and tasks, leading to new kinds of services and optimizations.

Everyone’s Depressed

New kinds of exotic mental illnesses, which almost everyone has, make burnout and the falling health conditions normal to millennials.

The never-ending rat race is a rigged game, with the Millennials Dilemma being played out indefinitely, leading to co-operation. We keep on playing the rigged game, optimizing and working even more.

SIMILAR ARTICLES & IDEAS:

Preserving optionality

Preserving optionality means avoiding limiting choices or dependencies. It means staying open to opportunities and always having a backup plan.
The more options we have, the bet...

Having options

We are faced with options all the time, but life-altering ones often come up during times of great change. These options are the ones we have the hardest time capitalizing on.
If we’ve specialized too much, change is a threat, not an opportunity. Thus, if we aren’t certain where the opportunities are going to be (and we never are), then we need to make choices to keep our options open.

Navigating difficult times

When times are hard is when many investors make their fortunes and when entrepreneurs innovate. They have to see the opportunity in chaos.

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Creating quantitative models
Creating quantitative models

Most of the psychological theories are verbal, but words can be imprecise. If "cooperation is intuitive", it needs to state when. And what does "intuitive" mean?

In order to solve this, compu...

The Sims computer simulation

These models represent collections of individual people described by computer algorithms that capture a specific set of traits, such as a tendency to cooperate or not.

  • You can give them new personalities to see how they would behave.
  • You can observe social processes in action.
  • You can observe time scales, from seconds to generations.
  • You can watch the spread of certain behaviors throughout a population and you can see how certain behaviors influence other behaviors.

The patterns that emerge can tell you things about large-scale social interaction that lab experiments and real people never could.

The human instinct to cooperate

There seems to be evolutionary logic to the human ability to cooperate but adjust if necessary. To trust, but verify. 

We generally collaborate with other people because it benefits us. Our rational minds let us work out when we might occasionally gain by acting selfishly instead.

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Forming good habits

Habits are little chunks of auto-pilot behavior that get burned permanently into your mind. Once you develop a habit, you can never really delete it.

Habits start with a trigger, which se...

Find the trigger point of your habit

Describe your own behavior in detail, and search for clues you might have missed before. Find your trigger.
If you have a habit of making coffee, it might be triggered by entering the kitchen. Some people eat in response to boredom or buy stuff in response to their desires.

Trick yourself

Take an existing cue you have, but trick yourself into triggering a different behavior.
If you want to quit coffee, you could give away the coffee machine and put a box of tea or a glass of water on the countertop.

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Do Less — Then Obsess

Top performers definitely focus on fewer goals — but they also obsess like crazy over them, to produce quality work.

That extreme dedication to their priorities creates extraordinary r...

Deliberate Practice In The Workplace
  • Pick one and only one skill at a time to develop.
  • Dedicate 15 minutes a day to reviewing your performance on a workplace skill. 
  • Isolate micro-behaviors. If you want to give a better presentation, break down what goes into a good presentation and set a goal. 
  • Get feedback. Ask people what you can do to improve.
Feel Passion & Purpose
  • People think passion has to come from being excited about the tasks you perform. It doesn’t. There are 6 ways to derive passion from your work: Task passion, achievement passion, creative passion, people passion, learning passion and competence passion.
  • Purpose is about creating value for others in a way that is personally meaningful to you. It's less about the actual tasks you perform and more about how you frame them.
Surviving Screens In Isolation

There are many people self-isolating due to the escalating pandemic, with their phones being the essential link to the outside world. Technology becomes a double-edged sword, connecting and isol...

The Distraction Spiral

Technology, just like the mind, is a very good slave, but a bad master. The technologies by itself are life-giving and useful, but if we are spending the whole day on Twitter, fighting with whoever we don’t agree with, we are ruining our psychological health.

We tend to spiral into the news black hole for hours, but just looking at the front page of the New York Times or Washington Post once or twice a day should be enough.

Accidental Benefits Of Technology

Technology is neutral by itself, and how we use that tool matters. 

  • An email is a great tool, which completely transformed how an office works, though it wasn’t designed for offices.
  • Similarly, the Facebook Like button was designed as a shortcut to writing a good comment, but it unexpectedly turned out to be a tool to measure the popularity of a post.

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Waiting patiently

Patience is not the ability to wait for something. Patience is our attitude towards waiting.

And the truth is we are becoming more and more impatient, mostly because we are now us...

Mark Manson
Mark Manson

"Patience wins in an impatient world. When everyone else is in a hurry and distracted by the latest Tweetstorm, sitting back and merely observing the planet’s slow, arcing trajectory–and noticing it has been unmoved by almost anything that has happened lately–is the supreme advantage, both in terms of getting ahead, but also just in becoming a stable and non-insane person."

Learn to be still

Block out time to be still. Finding moments of stillness in our lives increases creativity, makes us more productive and also helps us stay grounded in our emotions.

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Self-Control Components

Self-control has two components:

  • Our ability to resist temptations
  • Our ability to exercise control over our behaviour and emotions.
  • ...
Self Control and Eating Healthy

While it’s obvious we need to exhibit a certain amount of self-control while choosing what we put in our bodies, that is not the whole story.

If we educate our bodies and learn about nutrition, longevity and how our individual bodies function, we could be eating a lot healthier.

The Pleasures Of Life

There is a lot of stuff available for us to do that makes us feel better instantly. Watching TV, going to the beach, drinking alcohol, smoking, and almost every other activity that seems pleasurable to us, giving us temporary pleasure in a jiffy. When we keep doing that, the long term effects are bad, and we feel older, weaker, sicker, while not having any achievement in our lives.

This is a natural process of a slow movement towards disorder, is also the second law of thermodynamics, called Entropy.

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Egyptian Senet
Egyptian Senet

One of the earliest known board games, Senet was played in 3100 BC and loved by Queen Nefertari and the Pharaoh Tutankhamun.

Played using a longboard having three rows of ten squar...

The Royal Game Of Ur
  • Also known as Twenty Squares, this 4500-year-old game, first unearthed in ancient Mesopotamia, is impressive in its complex rules and intricate design.
  • The beautiful game board uses twenty squares and has a narrow bridge in the middle part, was played in Iraq, Israel, Egypt, Turkey and many other ancient civilizations.
  • To finish the game as winners, players had to race their opponent to the opposite end of the board, moving pieces according to knucklebone dice rolls.
The Game of Mehen
  • Named after the Egyptian serpentine deity, Mehen is also known as the Egyptian Snake Game and was played between 3100 to 2300 BC.
  • Six players could simultaneously play this spiral board, each having a piece crafted in the shape of a lion or a sphere.
  • The rules of this game are not very clear because it lost its popularity after the decline of Egypt’s Old Kingdom and is hardly found in archaeological records.

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Accepting sadness
Accepting sadness

As we associate sadness with a negative feeling, we tend to try to run away from it.

However, one way to get rid of such fears like being sad is by actually embracing our negative emot...

Embrace your sadness

You might feel sadness from time to time, which actually makes you want to run away from this mood and focus on something happier.

Nevertheless, running has never been a solution and it will certainly not start being one in this specific case, as embracing your sadness is a surer way to control and get rid of it on a long term.

Scheduled sadness

In order to better understand and control your sadness, check out the below steps that lead to a so-called 'scheduled sadness' that will eventually help you reach your goal:

  • schedule a consistent time to focus only on your sadness
  • start by spending ten minutes on the task
  • express clearly the things that have made you feel this way
  • make sure you do not overthink it.