Structuring life without becoming a slave

Nassim Nicholas Taleb says “If you know in the morning, what your day looks like with any precision, you are a little bit dead — the more precision, the more dead you are.”

This quote really fucked me up, at a time where I was already fucked up, particularly on this theme. My heroes are people who are great in whatever domain they are passionate about, particularly MJ, Kobe, and Elon. They taught me that you should take aim, calculate (or at least estimate) a path to that goal, and work like hell to get there. That path takes the form of some daily routine — MJ and Kobe were in the gym for most of their day, every day; and Elon said “work every waking hour.” On a tangent, these are individuals all-consumed by their one-dimensional target, whereas most normally chemically-regulated human beings have more complex, multi-dimensional targets, and it can be dangerous optimizing you actions too hard on just one dimension (which I found out the hard way and a topic for another discussion).

So if the only way to succeed is to always execute your calculated daily plan, then your life is rigid and you can recap each of your days with “I worked, and now I’m tired and am going to consume now.” I think that the solution is to actually plan spontaneous and new experiences into your schedule, while allowing you to improve your trajectory towards your life goals. These planned experiences will inspire your working hours to finish before an exciting deadline. In most cases this should mean reserving the night for social events, especially exploratory and spontaneous ones, or what I’ve been doing during Covid is just planning new recipes that I have to cook. So far it’s been working well and adding more life to life, but I’ll update how it goes under a more stressful upcoming school schedule.

Written on September 27, 2020