Future of Coding

Future Authoring

This is taken from Jordan Peterson’s Future Authoring course.

“Sort yourself out. Marshal your arguments. Put yourself in order, so when someone pushes you farther than you should go, you can say no” - Dr. Jordan Peterson on the Joe Rogan Podcast



The full future authoring exercise has 2 different stages, each with a number of steps In Stage 1, you will write generally about your goals. In Stage 2, you will specify and clarify the nature of those goals, and begin to strategize. We recommend that you complete the process over two or more separate days. People who allow themselves some time to sleep when they are making important decisions appear to do a better job and to benefit more. The entire exercise will require approximately two and a half hours. On the first day, you might want to complete Stage 1. On the second day, you could complete Stage 2. You will need to concentrate and process what you are writing, so try to complete this exercise when you are feeling alert and relatively unrushed. Simply follow the on-screen instructions as you go along. Press the “Next” button to move onto the next screen. If you need to take a short break or two of 5-10 minutes to get up and walk around during the process, please feel free to do so. You will be asked to write down your private thoughts and feelings. Please type them directly into the box provided. At times, you may be asked to write non-stop, without regard for grammar or spelling. At other times, you may be asked to revise what you have written. This exercise is meant to benefit YOU personally. Everything you write will remain accessible only to you and those you designate as recipients. The report you produce will summarize your personal goals and strategies. You and your recipients, if any, will be emailed a copy of this report shortly after you complete the exercise. During some sections, you will be asked to write for specified amounts of time. Please try your best to write for the amount of time specified (so, if it asks you to write for 1-2 minutes, please write continuously for at least 60 seconds).


During this exercise, you will be presented with a series of pages either providing you with information, or asking you to describe aspects of your personality and experiences. You may proceed through the exercise by clicking the Next button. You can go back to previous pages by clicking Previous. Each time you click Next or Previous, the data you have entered on that page will be saved. You can also save your data while remaining on the same page by clicking Save. In addition, many of the pages where you are asked to write for longer periods of time will automatically save every minute or so. You may quit the exercise any time by clicking Exit/Home or shutting down your browser. If the current page is a page you have been writing on, remember to click Save before exiting. The text that you entered on previous pages will have already been saved. You can come back to the exercise later, and resume your work. All your previous work will be waiting for you, and will be taken to the last point in the exercise you had completed.


On many pages, you will not be able to successfully click Next or Previous unless you have provided a minimum of necessary text. If you do not, you will receive an error message, and the text box in question will be highlighted in red. Text boxes also have a maximum length. Pay attention, as you write, to the numbers above the text boxes. Numbers like [180 / 1000] indicate that you have typed 180 characters out of a maximum allowable of 1000. When you go over the maximum, the numbers above the text box become red. Clicking Next, Previous, or Save will result in an error message and you will not be able to proceed to the Next or Previous page. To resolve this, edit your text until the number of characters is less than or equal to the maximum. These limitations have been established so that you do not get stalled at any point in the process. We do encourage you to write in some detail, however, subject to those limitations. Our research indicates that better results are obtained as the amount written by participants increases. There is a progress bar in the top right portion of the screen, which displays the percentage of the exercise that you have already completed. If you hover over the bar with the mouse, you can see approximately how much time it will still take to complete the exercise. **You may use the Index to jump to any page you have already completed. Clicking the [Index] link will open the index. Clicking it again will close it. Remember to click Save to save any work on the current page before using the index to jump to another page. After you have completed the exercise, you will be taken to a Summary page. You can use that page to email yourself a copy of your writing.

The Ideal Future: Preliminary Notes and Thoughts

In this exercise you will begin to create a version, in writing, of your ideal future. William James, the great American psychologist, once remarked that he did not know what he thought until he had written his thoughts down. When he didn’t know what to write, he wrote about anything that came to mind. Eventually, his ideas became focused and clarified. Brainstorm. Write whatever comes to mind. Don’t worry too much about sentence construction, spelling, or grammar. There will be plenty of time to write polished sentences later. Avoid criticizing what you write. Premature criticism interferes with the creative process.

Imagining Your Ideal Future

You will start with some exercises of imagination that will help you warm up to the task of defining your future. These will include 8 questions such as “what could you do better?”, “what would you like to learn about?”, “what habits would you like to improve?”. After briefly answering these 8 questions, you will be asked to write for 15 minutes about your ideal future, without editing or criticism. Let yourself daydream or fantasize. You are trying to put yourself into a state of reverie, which is a form of dream-like thinking that relies heavily on internal imagery. This kind of thinking allows all your different internal states of motivation and emotion to find their voice. It might be best to concentrate on your future three to five years down the road, although you may have reasons to concentrate on a shorter or longer timespan (eighteen months to ten years).

1.1 One Thing You Could Do Better

If you could choose only one thing that you could do better, what would it be? Think and write for at least two minutes, then move on.

The first thing that comes to mind is being less reactive. I mean this mostly in conversation with other people. If I could learn to be more patient and respond more thoughtfully, my conversations would have better outcomes.

Part of this could be allowing myself to take notes during conversations as an outlet for what I want to say so that I feel “heard” and not scared of forgetting but don’t interupt the other person. Even just a word or two would be good. I don’t want to lose track of what the other person is saying while I’m writing. I guess it would be helpful to have a notepad or pen for writing on napkins or a phone or tablet out during conversations.

1.2. Things to Learn About

What would you like to learn more about, in the next six months? Two years? Five years? Think and write for at least two minutes, then move on.

In the next six months, I’d like to learn about AT, dance, various programming topics such as databases, FRP. But most importantly I want to learn about how to live life for a cause, and get on the path to figuring out my crusade.

In the next two years, I’d like to learn about meditation because I think that will help me with my goal of less reactivity and more responding. I’d also like to learn about communication and how to inspire and motivate others.

In the next five years, it’s difficult to imagine which skills I’d want to learn then. I’ll be 28. If I’m still dating Sarah, we’ll be talking about marriage and kids (if we haven’t done either before then), so I imagine I’ll be wanting to learn about those sorts of domestic things and/or scaling my crusade to areas where I don’t have skills.

1.3. Improve Your Habits

What habits would you like to improve? -At school? -At work? -With friends and family? -For your health? -With regards to smoking/alcohol/drug use? Think and write for at least two minutes, then move on.

I’ve been doing a great job of improving my habtits at work, including waking up at 7am, going to bed at 11pm, planning my schedule, writing in my journal, releasing podcast episodes, reflecting on my progress, getting advice from mentors and experts, allowing time for all of these important meta tasks, including getting to inbox zero every day. I would like to improve the way I organize my thoughts. Currently they feel a bit scattered. I wonder if this is a tools problem or simply a time problem, in that as my brain is pickled in these ideas and thoughts, it will become easier to organize them over time.

With my friends and family, I would like to set up a system where I contact them all more regularly. I have tried in the past but it’s a big project. Will do at some point.

For my health, I’m trying to not pleasure or bordeom eat as much. Also, trying to deepen my AT practive.

With regards to drinking, I definitely don’t like it that much and it’s not healthy so I’ve resolved to do it much less. Only when I really want to, similar to Eli.

1.4. Your Social Life in the Future

Friends and associates are an important part of a meaningful, productive life. Take a moment to consider your social network. Think about the friends you might want to have, and the connections you might want to make. It is perfectly reasonable to choose friends and associates who are good for you. Describe your ideal social life. Think and write for at least two minutes, then move on.

The obvious one is that I really would like to be friends with Docks. Let me write a note to text him in my inbox.

My social life at the moment is pretty great. I love seeing at lot of Jonathan. We are on the same wave length at the moment. Eric is also a great friend for me. Zach Valenti is good but I do have trouble because I “make him wrong” some of the time.

1.5. Your Leisure Activity in the Future

Take a moment to consider the activities you would like to pursue outside of obligations such as work, family and school. The activities you choose should be worthwhile and personally meaningful. Without a plan, people often default to whatever is easiest, such as television watching, and waste their private time. If you waste 4 hours a day, which is not uncommon, then you are wasting 1400 hours a year. That is equivalent to 35 40-hour work weeks, which is almost as much as the typical individual spends at his or her job every year. If your time is worth $25 per hour, then you are wasting time worth $35,000 per year. Over a 50-year period, that is $1.8 million dollars, not counting interest or any increase in the value of your time as you develop. Describe what your leisure life would be like, if it was set up to be genuinely productive and enjoyable. Think and write for at least two minutes, then move on.

I definitely like dance. I also enjoy running and working out in general. I joined ClassPass this morning and am going to a barre class with Sarah in a few hours. I also love to read. I do enjoy a bit of television here and there, and it does relax me before bed. I also really love brunch. I think at some point I could see myself picking up a musical instrument but let’s start with dance first. Also I could see myself picking up drawing, because it’s a way to train your brain to see in a different way.

1.6. Your Family Life in the Future

Take a moment to consider your home and family life. Peaceful, harmonious family life provides people with a sense of belonging, support for their ambitions, and reciprocal purpose. Describe what your ideal family would be like. You can write about your parents and siblings, or about your plans for your own partner, or about your children, if any – or about all of these. What kind of partner would be good for you? How could you improve your relationship with your parents or siblings? Think and write for at least two minutes, then move on.

At this very moment, my family life is pretty ideal. I am totally in love with my partner Sarah, we see each other throughout the day, and my relationship to each of my parents and siblings is really strong and enjoyable. It’s difficult to think about whether I want kids or not as some point from my current perspective. Clearly right now I wouldn’t want them. I think I might feel differently after I choose my crusade and make some sort of signifiant progress towards it. Also it might feel more possible and exciting when I’m more finacially secure.

1.7. Your Career in the Future

Much of what people find engaging in life is related to their careers. A good career provides security, status, interest, and the possibility of contributing to the community. Take a moment to consider your school or work careers, or both. Where do you want to be in six months? Two years? Five years? Why? What are you trying to accomplish? Think and write for at least two minutes, then move on.

In the next six to twelve months, I’d like to make progress on 1) my crusade or 2) a finacial way to support myself while not losing much flexibility.

In the next two years, I’d like to have a corpus of work that I am proud of and that earns me a small amount of acclaim within my community.

In the next five years, I’d love to have my crusade nailed down and have begun working on it in earnest. Potentially this will look like starting a research lab, or starting a company or startup, or creating a Kickstarter, or getting a job at a think tank or lab that I admire.

1.8. Qualities You Admire

People you automatically admire have qualities that you would like to possess or imitate. Identifying those qualities can help you determine who it is that you want to be. Take a moment to think about the two or three people you most admire. Who are they? Which qualities do they possess that you wish you had? Think and write for at least two minutes, then move on.

I admire Docks, Bret Victor, Juan Benet, and Elon Musk. What all of these people have in common is strong principles and priorities that they live by in such a way that the people around them and the broader world is effected by them. It’s really the combination of integrity and vision.

The Ideal Future: Complete Summary

Now you have written briefly about your future, and have had some time to consider more specific issues. This step gives you the chance to integrate all the things that you have just thought and wrote about. Close your eyes. Daydream, if you can, and imagine your ideal future: -Who do you want to be? -What do you want to do? -Where do you want to end up? -Why do you want these things? -How do you plan to achieve your goals? -When will you put your plans into action? -Write about the ideal future that you have just imagined for 15 minutes. **Write continuously and try not to stop while you are writing. Don’t worry about spelling or grammar. You will have an opportunity to fix your mistakes later. Dream while you write, and don’t stop. Write at least until the 15 minutes have passed. Be ambitious. Imagine a life that you would regard as honourable, exciting, productive, creative and decent. Remember, you are writing only for yourself. Choose goals that you want to pursue for your own private reasons, not because someone else thinks that those goals are important. You don’t want to live someone else’s life. Include your deepest thoughts and feelings about all your personal goals.

There are a few things on my mind here. First of all, I want to live a conscious life. That means that I will set aside plenty of time on my calendar for reflection time (like this) so that I can meditate on my priorities and goals, which will in turn help me persue them better. In this way I am seeing that integrity and vision are interrelated. If you have integrity without vision you don’t really have integrity because you have no basis for making comitments. If you have vision without integrity, you are just an idle dreamer. If you have both, you are a force of nature. That’s what I want to be. I want people to ask how can one person get so much done? and how can one person have it all? and be really be confused, because they don’t see that the secret is priorities and then living them.

I want my reflections on the impact of my past work on the world to immediately bring a smile to my face. I want to be able to recall specific people and problems that my work has ammelieorated. I want to jump out of bed each morning and collapse into bed each night fufilled.

I want my relationships with my partner and close family to be empowered. I want to be a light in their lives and a rock and resource for them through their difficulties. I want the lives of everyone I touch, from the waiter a resturant to a person I meet over coffee to my best friends, to be lighter for my prescense.

I want an inner calm and peace. I want confience in myself so that when my reptile brain feels like it’s being attacked, I can calm it down quickly so that I can respond and not react.

I want to live a model life and share it publicly so that others can read my progress and model themselves after me. The medium of my life is the message and I want to make that message as detailed as possible.

I plan to achieve my goals through a fairly straightforward proccess of:

1) reflecting on anxieties, problems, wants 2) coming up with various plans for each of these things 3) engaging with friends and mentors for advice on these things and my proposed solutions 4) put the best solutions into action 5) repeat

This proccess works at a micro level for little issues I have with my mom on a given day and macro issues about my goals for my entire life.

I want to produce thoughts. I want to inspire others. I want to literally change the way others brains work by adding in different analogies and patterns of thought. I want to empower people. I want children to grow up in love with their brains and be thankful to me for getting them there, just like I am thankful to Seymour.

Wait a second: thankful for brain. Love thy brain. Is that my crusade. I want people to fall in love with their brains. That really sounds like it could be.

Here’s where my head is at: before I found the Alexander Technique, I hated my body. Not from a body image perspective but from a back and hand RPI pain perspective. It always hurt and so I subconsciously rejected it and tried to distract myself from it and its signals. I daydreamed about uploading my consciousness to the cloud so I could be free of all my bodily pains. I worry that many people feel the same way about their brains, including:

We all have various forms of self-loathing. One of my main insights is that loving your thinking brian is so wonderful. It is so empowering. So freeing. So powerful.

Wait a second. I just had another thought. What about tools? If I think about how I fell in love with my brain, it was always around different technologies that augmented it, be it a note-taking strategy, LOGO, or learning to leverage a full piece of paper for scrap work.

Holy shit. One of my main things is: you cannot seperate man from his tools. A human literally is the tool-making animal. Augmented humans. That was Douglas Engelbart. Mine is so similar. But it’s a bit more: humans = ape + tools. That’s really what I’m trying to fight for. We are our tools. That’s why tools are so important. They mean everything. That’s why important ideas are so important: they are tools. Words, the idea of human rights, analogies: these are all tools to think with as much as a google doc or a piece of code. HOLY crap humans = ape + tools. Is that my crusade?

If it is, then how do I measure it’s progress? Ok, well no humans = ape + tools is an insight but it’s not the problem. It’s more like:

1) humans = apes + tools 2) tools (including ideas, patterns of thought, software, etc) are the way that humans design the next version of humanity 3) We have to take them with us everywhere, otherwise we’re cutting off our arms and are diminished.

So my crusade could be really owning tools as part of us, and building the tools in such a way that brining them with us literally everwhere is a pro and not a con. This takes into account all the negative things with our current tools, like bad notifications, etc.

A Future to Avoid: Complete Summary

You have now written about the future you would like to have. Clearly defining your future can help reduce the uncertainty in your life, and reduce the amount of negative emotion that you chronically experience, in consequence. This is good for your confidence and for your health. Having well-defined goals also increases your chances of experiencing positive emotion, as people experience most of their hope and joy and curiosity and engagement as a consequence of pursuing valued goals (and not, as people generally think, by attaining them). It can also be very useful to deeply imagine the future you would like to avoid. You probably know people who have made very bad decisions, and who end up with a life that nobody would want. You also likely have weaknesses yourself. If you let those get out of control, then you might also end up with a miserable, painful life. Most people know how their life could go downhill if they let it. Spend some time, now, thinking about what your life would be like if you failed to define or pursue your goals, if you let your bad habits get out of control, and if you ended up miserable, resentful and bitter. Imagine your life three to five years down the road, if you failed to stay on the path you know you should be on. Use your imagination. Draw on your knowledge of the anxiety and pain you have experienced in the path, when you have betrayed yourself. Think about the people you know who have made bad decisions or remained indecisive, or who chronically deceive themselves or other people, or who let cynicism and anger dominate their lives. Where do you not want to be? Dream while you write, and don’t stop. Write at least until the 15 minutes have passed. Let yourself form a very clear picture of the undesirable future.

I’d say the worst future would be being dead. That would be sad. I defintely want to remain alive so I will be very careful about things, including my healthy and not doing dangerous things.

Next, I think I would be really good at being a drug addict. Heroine and cocaine sound like a lot of fun. Making sure to never try either of those things is a great idea. Given the resources I have and the reputation I have where people trust me and don’t expect this from me, I could really fall deeply into this hole and possibly even kill myself.

I think I could also get myself in trouble with some sort of sexual misconduct if I’m not careful, as is the case with all men, especially these days. Luckily for me, I am currently happily monogomous. However, Sex At Dawn warned me about how the honeymoon phase only lasts 1-2 years, 5 max, and then begins the long phase of less exicing sex. I can’t really imagine what that will be like but I will have to be conscious of it and deal with it in an intergrous way, either by doing thigs to spice things up, opening our relationship to other partners, etc.

Having a child I don’t really want or getting married too early could definitely throw things for a loop.

Making bad finacial decisions could make things much harder.

Getting into bad ways with my parents would definitely decrease the quality of my life. They are the wind beneath my sails currently so keeping that up is key.

Getting into a funk or depression would be bad for me. I definitely have been known to get into funks in the past.

Getting sick or in pain for long periods of time. Getting addicted to opiods.

Ok and more about my work: flitting around from one research project to the next without finishing anything. That would probably be the worst thing, even worse than picking the wrong thing but seeing it through. Actually on second thought, the worst thing would be picking the wrong crusade and succeeding and then being super sad about the impact. Imagine if I convinced everyone to take their tools everywhere but didn’t make the tools enhance their lives. That could get real distopian real fast.

If I become famous to any degree, I could see that getting to my head and making me more of a dick or less able to focus on the actual work.

I could see all sorts of glittery opportunities and friends coming my way the more success I have and letting those things distract me.

I could see myself not being able to get a job and being a leach on my family and friends if I don’t prioritize the sustainability of my work.

I could see myself being less impactful because I can’t work well with others.

Stage 1: The Ideal Future: Preliminary Notes and Thoughts has been completed

Congratulations! You have now realized a vision of your ideal future, and outlined a future that is best avoided. You can use the summary of this vision to help you complete Stage 2 of the Ideal Future planning process. Clicking the “Print Friendly Report” link will open an additional window with a printer friendly version of this report. You can either leave this new window open or print it out. This summary will help you with the next stages.

User [your name, account, email]

One Thing You Could Do Better [your written answer to 1.1]

Things to Learn About [your written answer to 1.2]

Improve Your Habits [your written answer to 1.3]

Your Social Life in the Future [your written answer to 1.4]

Your Leisure Activity in the Future [your written answer to 1.5]

Your Family Life in the Future [your written answer to 1.6]

Your Career in the Future [your written answer to 1.7]

Qualities You Admire [your written answer to 1.8]

The Ideal Future [your written answer to ‘The Ideal Future: Complete Summary’]

A Future to Avoid [your written answer to ‘A Future to Avoid: Complete Summary’]

Stage 2: Specific Goal Identification: Introduction

In this stage, you will first be asked to define and personally title your overall future plan. Then, you will be asked to take your general plans for the ideal future and break them up into more specific goals. Each of these separate goals will also be given its own title. This step will help you clarify your goals.

Please specify a title and brief description for your ideal future as a whole. This can be as simple as “My Ideal Future,” in both fields, or, if you have something more personal in mind, you can specify that. Imagine that you are both specifying and summarizing your ambitions with this title. This will help you remember what you are aiming for. In later screens you can define, prioritize, and analyze specific goals.

Goal Title: My Life & Work Plan Goal Description: Living consciously, living for a cause

Please break down your ideal future into 8 goals. You can re-word, re-write and organize the relevant material from Step 1 for your goal summaries, if you wish, or you can rely on your memory. The exercise allows you to specify a minimum of 6 goals, but people who identify 8 have better results with this exercise. These specific goals can be from a number of different domains. -A personal goal might be “I would like to be healthier.” -A career goal might be “I would like to be more interested in my job” -A social goal might be “I would like to meet more people”. The summaries you write about each goal should be reasonably brief and memorable. Make sure that each goal summary includes nothing but the most important information. You will have 10-15 minutes for this part of the exercise. Feel free to revise and edit.

Goal 1 Goal Title: Respond more, react less Goal Description: Through mindfulness practices like the Alexander Technique and potentially meditation and retreats, I want to be more calm and collected about all of my actions, either alone walking, while working, and while in conversation with others.

Goal 2 Goal Title: Construct my crusade Goal Description: Read, write, reflect, and collaborate myself to a simple mission I can dedicate my life to

Goal 3 Goal Title: Long-term financial sustainability Goal Description: For my crusading

Goal 4 Goal Title: Build and/or use catch-up system Goal Description: A system that allows me to more consciously manage who I catch up with on a regular basis. Kinda like a CRM but for my friends and family.

Goal 5 Goal Title: Contribute meaningfully towards my cause Goal Description: I guess this will depend on my cause, but I could imagine writing an essay like Learnable Programming or giving a talk like The Future of Programming or Chris Granger’s most recent keynote at SPLASH would be in the right ballpark.

Goal 6 Goal Title: Positivity and inspiration Goal Description: I want to be a light in the life of everyone I touch, from strangers I run into to close friends and family.

Goal 7 Goal Title: Build partnerships and/or a team Goal Description: It takes a village to pursue a cause. (Potentially once I’ve figured out what my cause is, it would be the right time for me to take the Landmark SCLP program. Or I could just do it my own way.) Even if I’m just a solo writer, I will depend on others, collaborators, partners, teammates, etc. Finding and working with these people is key.

Goal 8 Goal Title: Build my reputation/brand Goal Description: In order to be taken seriously, the ideas come first. At the same time, ideas that don’t ever see the light of day are just a tree falling in the forest: not making a sound. I need to improve my twitter, essay writing, event-throwing games.

2.3. Prioritizing Your Goals

Please organize your goals. Give your most important goal a rank of 1, your next most important goal a rank of 2, and so on. You can use the update button at any time to to re-order the list.

[List them in order of importance]

Goal 1: Respond, not react Goal 2: Construct my cause Goal 3: Contribute meaningfully to my cause Goal 4: Positivity and inspiration Goal 5: Long-term financial sustainability Goal 6: Build partnerships and/or team Goal 7: Build reputation/brand Goal 8: Catch-up system

2.4. Strategizing About Your Goals

Now you will be asked about the following elements or feature for each of the specific goals you have identified: Evaluating Your Motives -Considering the Broad Personal and Social Impact of Goals -Considering the Detailed Strategies for Goal Attainment -Identifying Potential Obstacles and their Solutions -Monitoring Progress towards Desired Goals Thus, the five pages that contain these elements or features will repeat until all your goals have been assessed.

[This section asks questions about each your goals (1-8) in the order you decided on in 2.3. Answer questions 2.4.1-2.4.5 for goal 1, then repeat for each goal]

2.4.1. Evaluating Your Motives

For this goal, you might want to consider issues such as the following: -Do you truly believe that pursuing this goal is important? -Would you feel ashamed, guilty or anxious if you didn’t? -Do you want to achieve this goal personally, or are you doing it to please someone else? (It is often a good thing to do something for someone else, but you should know when you are doing that.) -Are you pursuing this goal because the situation that you find yourself in in seems to demand it? -Is the pursuit of this goal enjoyable, stimulating or satisfying? -Is this goal part of a deeply felt personal dream? Please spend a minute or two writing down your reasons for pursuing this goal:

Goal 1: Respond, not react

Yes I truly believe this is important. Reacting is animal. Responding is human. Responding and not reacting is key to integrity and integrity is what makes things work. I feel a yearning to accomplish this, like a challenge. I am doing this partly to be a better friend, partner, and son for my love ones. It’s a challenge, but not in the tradition sense where “trying harder” yields better results. I have always wanted some sort of enlightenment and I feel this is a step in the right direction.

Goal 2: Construct my cause

Do I really want to live this way? Yes. It’s hard to imagine a better way to live. Shooting for the hedonic happiness of the people around me is fine but I want to live for more. I want to live for a cause. And thus constructing the cause is the first step. Living for the wrong cause — while probably more fun — is definitely worse for the world.

Goal 3: Contribute meaningfully to my cause

Just as how before I started The Coding Space but knew that my identity was an entrepreneur and it felt strange to not have started any companies, it now feels weird to be a researcher/writer person without an article that goes reasonably viral in the community. Like 10k reads minimum and front page of hacker news. But I’d prefer 100k reads and #1, 2 or 3 on HN. Yes this is partially a status and ego thing, but it’s also a real thing. I can’t contribute to ideas without people engaging with my ideas.

Goal 4: Positivity and inspiration

Because why not? There are some people in my life — Potluck is the epitome — who just make me smile to think about. Why not be that person for the people in my life?

Goal 5: Long-term financial sustainability

I would feel like a leech if I wasn’t able to support my lifestyle through my work. Knowing that Robert Moses didn’t earn a salary until he was 40 or something will help with my self-judgement (as long as I can see my work having an impact). And I don’t need to make much. I simply don’t want to be a financial burden on anyone, or for money to be an issue for me, and between me and my loved ones.

Goal 6: Build partnerships and/or team Goal 7: Build reputation/brand Goal 8: Catch-up system

2.4.2. Considering the Broad Personal and Social Impact of Goals

Goals can have an impact beyond the obvious. Our specific personal goals are connected to larger, more important life goals. These higher-order goals reflect our most important ideals. The specific goal of spending more time studying or reading, for example, is a specific element of the more important goal of being a well-educated person. Achieving other specific goals, such as becoming more assertive, help us to move closer to our ideal self.

You will now be asked to write about what more globally important things might be affected by your attainment the goal listed below: -How would disciplined success change the way that you see yourself? -How would other parts of your personal life change, in consequence? -How would this affect the way that others perceive you? (You might also consider fears of being successful. Sometimes people are afraid to succeed because of the responsibility this would entail. Sometimes they are afraid of even becoming conscious of their true goals, because then they would be aware when they fail. These are not good strategies.) -How would attaining this goal affect the lives of the people around you? -What broader beneficial social impact might your success have? Please write a short description of how attaining this goal would change additional important aspects of your life, and the lives of others.

Goal 1: Respond, not react

I would see myself as more of an adult, more in control of my own life and of the entire world. People who react with way, and with integrity, and with a cause, are forces of nature, like Elon, Docks, Juan. Others would perceive me as calmer and wiser. It would make my conversations clearer, less frenetic. It would allow me to speed up by slowing down in all parts of my life.

Goal 2: Construct my cause

My whole life would make more sense in the context of an articulated constructed goal. I would get better and better at explaining it to all sorts of audiences over time. I would be able to attract collaborators to me like a magnet. I would be able to track and optimize my progress. I would be a man on a mission.

Goal 3: Contribute meaningfully to my cause

People would begin to see me as I am beginning to see myself: as an intellectual who has things to say. Someone who absorbs ideas like a sponge and produces quality ones at a prodigious pace. Someone whose ideas will inspire others and change the world. Of course, the ideas is that this perception will be rooted in the reality of the impact my ideas have upon people who engage with them.

Goal 4: Positivity and inspiration

In the short term, being a light of positivity makes the people around me happier and more capable of solving problems in their own lives. In the longer term, my positivity will attract people to me. It will also make it easier for me to help people and be helped by people.

Goal 5: Long-term financial sustainability

I would have more pride in myself and less anxiety about my finances. Sarah and I might “treat ourselves” a bit more, travel a bit more.

Goal 6: Build partnerships and/or team Goal 7: Build reputation/brand Goal 8: Catch-up system

2.4.3. Considering the Detailed Strategies for Goal Attainment

Goals are related to lesser, smaller sub-goals and behaviors, as well as connected to higher-order, more important abstract goals. Sub-goals are easier to achieve, but are still fundamental to reaching our greater aspirations. Sub-goals can thus be thought of as strategies for greater goal achievement. Thinking about what specific things need to be done in order to achieve your goals allows you to create practical strategies for realizing your dreams. Please take some time to write about the concrete daily or weekly things you might do to further your goal. Deeply consider what particular behaviors this goal is built upon. -Should you spend more time planning at school or at work? -Do you need to spend more time with your friends, or your children? -Do you need to discuss household chores with your roommates, partner or spouse? -Specify when you are going to work on your goal. Specify how often. Specify where. Think hard about how you are going to implement your plans. Make your plans concrete. Write down those concrete weekly or daily things you might do to further this goal.

Goal 1: Respond, not react

Continue taking lessons once or twice a week with Rebecca and doing my Alexander Technique homework. Experiment with different meditation practices, potentially working with Michael Taft or going on retreats. Continue reflecting in my journal.

Goal 2: Construct my cause

Pickle myself in ideas, which I’m doing, and reflect on my past projects, and work on new projects and reflect on them. Also, go to Dynamicland and chat with them about all this.

Goal 3: Contribute meaningfully to my cause

This means that I need to spend a meaningful amount of time writing a polished piece. The level of research and polish I put into it will have to be far beyond what I’ve done in the past. (Or there’s also the churn out a lot of little pieces, but I’m less excited about this model at the moment because it feels to half-baked for the level of quality I’m now shooting for. But I can definitely revisit this.)

One way to get an easy win under my belt here would be collaborating with someone, such as Nicky Case.

Goal 4: Positivity and inspiration

Learning to respond and not react is key. Also not making people wrong is really really key. Another one is speaking in terms that they understand. Another one is talking less. Asking more questions.

Goal 5: Long-term financial sustainability

The work is key. Start with producing good ideas. Use your savings as seed money. Then once we’re on the right track, then look into grants, Patreon, fellowships, research positions, etc.

Goal 6: Build partnerships and/or team Goal 7: Build reputation/brand Goal 8: Catch-up system

2.4.4. Identifying Potential Obstacles and their Solutions

Thinking about achieving a goal is obviously easier than going out and getting it done. Many things related to the natural environment, the social group and the self can stand in your way. It is useful to anticipate these difficulties, so that you can plan to overcome them. Consider your goal, once again. Write down all the potential obstacles you can think up. Write down ways to overcome these obstacles. How might you interfere with your own plans? How can you ensure this won’t happen? Sometimes change is threatening to people we know and love. Will the people you know help you, or interfere? How can you communicate with them, so that they will support you? Think of realistic and worst-case scenarios. What are your options? What are your alternative plans? Write down potential obstacles to this goal, and specify the ways you might overcome them.

Goal 1: Respond, not react

Running out of money before feeling “done” with lessons with Rebecca. Not super likely. Parents can always help.

Getting into a funk of some sort and loosing my practice. Or moving away and not being able to find a teacher I like as much as Rebecca. Both seem unlikely.

Goal 2: Construct my cause

I could see myself flitting around from cause to cause. As long as I reflect with myself and mentors, seems avoidable. I’m ok with it taking a few years if necessary to come up with a cause.

I could see myself getting tired of not having a clear direction and just wanting to work for someone else who has a cause that I can latch onto.

Goal 3: Contribute meaningfully to my cause

Being stuck on constructing my cause and not working on any meaningful work. I will have to realize that contributing will help me construct the cause over time.

Noting finishing things, always moving onto the next one. I am aware of this and will make sure to reflect upon it and catch it if it’s getting out of hand.

Allowing my essay to get bigger and bigger as I try to make it more and more perfect and complete, eventually turning into a book or Magnus opus. Basically not shipping. Again, I think I and my advisors would catch me on this within a few weeks.

Goal 4: Positivity and inspiration

Me being in pain. Making sure I’m on top of AT is key.

Me being in bad moods. Potentially meditation (or AT) will help with this.

Me feeling attacked. Responding, not reacting is key.

Goal 5: Long-term financial sustainability

Not being able to find enough people with enough disposable income who resonate with my crusade enough to give me enough to be comfortable.

Potentially I could see this happening by fixating on the wrong sources, such as Patreon, at the expense of other less sexy sources like government or foundation grants. Reflection will help me catch this and keep the funnel mentality.

Goal 6: Build partnerships and/or team Goal 7: Build reputation/brand Goal 8: Catch-up system

2.4.5. Monitoring Progress towards Desired Goals

We need to know, concretely, whether or not we are progressing towards the attainment of valued goals. Of course, this is not an easy task. When we want to complete very specific tasks, feedback on our performance is relatively easy to monitor. However, if our goals are less short-term, this becomes a little more difficult. You are now being asked to identify personal benchmarks that will allow you to evaluate your own performance. -When would you like to achieve this goal? Be specific. Even if you have to revise a deadline later, it is still better to set one. -What sorts of things will you accept as evidence that you are progressing towards your stated goal? -How often are you going to monitor your own behavior? -How will things in your life have to change, measurably, for you to feel satisfied in your progress? -How can you ensure that you are neither pushing yourself too hard, and ensuring failure, or being too easy on yourself, and risking boredom and cynicism? -Your benchmarks should be personal indicators of success. It doesn’t matter what others may think defines progress towards your goal. Write down those accomplishments would truly indicate positive movement on your part. Feel free to write as much as you feel is necessary. Write down how you might monitor your progress with regards to this goal.

Goal 1: Respond, not react

The thing about being more mindful is that the more mindful you are the more you notice yourself being mindful. That is, someone with little mindfulness may think of themselves as mindful because they can’t detect what they can’t detect and mindfulness is the process of making the unconscious conscious. Thus this is a trickier one to detect inside my own head. Yet, I can still tell when my I don’t check in with my body and my posture goes to shit. Same with interacting with people in a reactive, not responsive way. On a macro level, I would expect that when I’m better at this that I am calmer. Speak less in conversation. Have easier conversations. Have people smile more when they talk to me.

Goal 2: Construct my cause

As far as process goals, as long as I continue to wake at 7am, sleep at 11pm, do 4-6 hours of work per day, producing ~5k words, I’m on the right track, particularly if I’m also spending some of that time that time talking with the right people.

Goal 3: Contribute meaningfully to my cause

Large number of reads of an article or stars on a GitHub library. Between 10-100k reads. Front page of HN, higher the better. Being cited in other articles that I read later on various sites and places. Being contact by collaborators, people who want to be on the podcast, work together.

Goal 4: Positivity and inspiration

More smiles around me. More people magically solving their problems after talking to me. (Yes, this really has happened simply from positivity. We didn’t even talk about the problems. Simply a positive outlook was enough to liberate them to solve the problem 100% without my advice.) People around me being more fulfilled, pursuing their lives with gusto.

Goal 5: Long-term financial sustainability

Pretty straightforward to measure. $2k per month is base. $3k per month is less anxiety about nice stuff. $4k per month and above is contributing to my savings every month.

Goal 6: Build partnerships and/or team Goal 7: Build reputation/brand Goal 8: Catch-up system

2.5. Future Steps

People often worry themselves unproductively by constantly revisiting their goals, instead of concentrating on their attainment. It is easy to undermine yourself, by always questioning your aims and intentions. Am I doing the right thing? Have I chosen the correct goals? This leads to chronic worry, unproductive behavior, and lack of opportunity to learn. -Now that you have set goals, it is best to concentrate on a daily or weekly basis on implementing the strategies you have devised for their attainment, instead of worrying about the goals themselves. It is just as important to stick to a plan, as it is to make a plan. -If you implement your goals, even if they are not perfect, you will learn enough during the implementation phase to make better goals next time. As you continue to repeat the process, you will get wiser and wiser. -Set aside some time every week or two - no more than ten or twenty minutes - to mentally review your performance. You will gather all sorts of useful information that you can use to reconsider your plans, down the road. Researchers have found that if someone performs goal-setting tasks multiple times over a long period, there is a greater chance of health and productivity improvements. As a result, you might wish to engage in this sort of exercise on a regular basis, every four, six, or twelve months, as your situation changes.

Your Ideal Future Below is a copy of your Ideal Future including the essays you wrote during Stage 1 and the goal setting and analysis you performed during Stage 2. [This is another printable page, with every single question as a header, and what you wrote as an answer]

Project Complete

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