R-squared and life

Kgosi Motlogelwa
Jul 17 · 3 min read

Want do you (Kgosi Motlogelwa) want to do in life?

the coefficient of determination (r-squared) is a statistical measure of how close data is to a fitted regression line. In English: if you have a set of data, e.g. some coordinates (x1,y1) ;(x2,y2); (x3,y3) and you have two variable x and y. If you draw a line that best ‘fits’ or shows the average trend of your data. How close will those points be to that best fit line?

I don’t know what I want to do in life, because I don’t know what life wants to do to me. None of life’s R-Squared’s are equal to 1.

I’ve said to myself many times, that I want to become a great man and I still do. But, I need to remember that I will be dead one day. This means:

A — If I focus manically on work that I believe will make me great, I will miss out on a lot of other experiences. And life’s r-squared is not 1, you might not become a great man!

B — Even if I do become a great man, I will be dead one day. I will be one more great man in a functionally infinite list of great men. And maybe the world wouldn’t be better for my effort — maybe the world wouldn’t be better.

C — I don’t really want to become a great man. Kgosi, you thought of utilitarianism independently. You want to be happy. That’s what I want.

SO what do you want to do with your life? How do you plan to be happy and at least, try to make the world a better place?

X is my independent variable. It is what I control. Reading the New Scientist cover-to-cover every week is my X. Being vegan is my X. Going to the Gym is my X. These are true X’s. There are some things in life that may seem like X’s but aren’t. DO NOT confuse a Y for an X. Maximise X — Cal Newport has some great advice when it comes to this.

I can choose combinations of X and Y that will yield high R-squared values. For example: If I exercise and eat protein, I will grow more muscle, feel better and look better. The R-Squared for this scenario is very close to one.

This is BAD: then you’ll never accomplish large goals.

False. A large portion of my ‘goals’ in life, is to be happy. The intense bad feeling of trying and failing to control these 1-deviant R-Squared value activities will lead to failure (unhappiness). To be honest, looking back, all of the best things I’ve achieved in life weren’t achieved consciously. This doesn’t mean I shouldn’t engage in hard/purposeful work. It just means I should make large decisions with my dreamy eyes — memento mori. Don’t listen but listen to Cal. Be so good but remember that they can and probably will ignore you.

There will be obstacles along the way, but live your life to make X as large as possible and aim for a Y that pushes R-Squared as close to 1 as possible.


My Desktop, ‘My Goals’… May be modified in the future.

Kgosi Motlogelwa

Written by

I am John Redlantern

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