2018 Resolutions

Bursting bubbles and jumping down bandwagons

One of the most valuable concept that I learned in 2017 is that there are things I know, things that I don’t know, and most interestingly, things that I don’t know that I don’t know. Knowing that there are things that I don’t know that I don’t know served well as a guiding candlelight for me, and inspired my 2018 resolutions.

Every person has a fundamental frame of thinking that is deeply rooted in the early life experiences, family, and culture. This personal mental model is complete with reasoning behind every other person’s actions, the way the world works, how to react to difference scenarios, and how much value to put on things. I’ve always viewed the world using this one universal model, which wasn’t too bad. An analogy of this concept is that everyone is a planet in the universe, but has their own observable universe spheres. One can only see so far, but never the complete picture of the universe. In an attempt to optimize life for the better, everyone tries to approach the center of gravity visible to them, at various speeds, and eventually achieving a local maximum. However, if people use a small portion of their time for pure exploration, they might find out about things that they didn’t know they don’t know. These realizations can’t be achieved by goal oriented thinking or goal oriented learning, but through open-minded courage to do or read things that have never been done or read before.

As much as humans are “conscious” and have free will, we are ultimately tightly bounded by our environments. Actions are often implicitely controlled through significant rewards and punishments. One of the challenges that I will do in 2018 is to do things that are completely out of the blue, and read books that I would normally never give a second thought, and meet people that I don’t normally interact with. Do explore another world view that will give foundamental new insights into how the world works. Do understand another person’s view that might shatter darker parts of mine and render them obsolete. In other words, bursting the bubble and escaping the echo chamber that every tech platform is trying so hard to create using machine learning powered recommendation engines.

Another goal for me in 2018 is not to follow the herd. In a busy and complicated world, critical thinking is hard. However, there are instances where putting a lot of thoughts into what I actually wanted paid off way better than if I just went with the trend. I will try to have a strong personal opinion on topics, informed by the opinions of the general public, but not mindlessly influence by it. Understanding the ideas from the unpopular opposition can be very valuable in forming a reasonable personal opinion. The arguments for the opinion should be strongly backed by unbiased truths.

Also I’d like to continue to do things that optimize for the long term when the results are known. Exercising more is a habit hard to keep up because it’s tiring to think about when trying to step outside the door, but studies have shown that excercising significantly reduces the chance of many diseases, and improves the overall body functions. I’ll try to overcome the short term dissonance associated with excercising, and do the right thing for my health in 2018. Same for mental health I should point out. On the other hand, a lot of things in the world are constantly changing. Like when creating a business, people would recommend having a less detailed business plan and focus on the the MVP and user feedbacks for the product because the market is so unpredictable. Short term planning is usally the best way to go in these cases.

In summary:

- Do random things to burst bubbles when time allows

- Jump down bandwagons in general (Unless it’s social, in which case jump on)

- Focus on physical and mental health

- Long term thinking when possible