FI Learning

For learning with practice. Posts are not private and could end up on Bing.

'Do easy things' is hard advice to follow.

That's what I feel. I haven't thought about it in depth. I started this message board to discuss my confusions and get help on them. Also working this out in writing seems like the right thing to do.

First confusion: how can doing easy things help me improve? Here's an example: Adding two numbers is an easy thing to do. If I keep doing that how will I improve?

I want to make this a category 1 idea.

PS: anyone who hasn't read my previous discussions will find this detail interesting (I think a few people will have this confusion) so I'm adding that in PS. The detail is: I was mistaken in thinking that if I make something a category 1 idea then I will be self motivated to follow whatever implications lead from that category 1 idea. That is wrong. You still have to make a plan. You always should make a plan.

Comments & Events

Elliot, Fallible Ideas
We need better names than category 1 and 2
Category 1 = Alpha backbone
Category 2 = spineless
Elliot, Fallible Ideas
In Objectivist terms, it's using your own motor vs. trying to use someone else's motor. or being a second hander or not.

The Fountainhead (my bold):

 In the last few years Toohey seemed to have forgotten her existence. But he knew that she was enormously aware of him in her silent, self-effacing way. He was seldom first to speak to her. But she came to him continuously for minor advice. She was like a small motor running on his energy, and she had to stop for refueling once in a while. She would not go to the theater without consulting him about the play. She would not attend a lecture course without asking his opinion. Once she developed a friendship with a girl who was intelligent, capable, gay and loved the poor, though a social worker. Toohey did not approve of the girl. Catherine dropped her.
Elliot, Fallible Ideas
First confusion: how can doing easy things help me improve? Here's an example: Adding two numbers is an easy thing to do. If I keep doing that how will I improve?

you do a few easy things successfully. this checks that you aren't over-estimating what's easy for you. then you start doing stuff that's a little bit harder so you're only learning a little at once. it's overwhelming trying to learn lots at once. it's better to do lots of small steps and finish the steps quickly instead of trying to do big, hard slow steps. it's a lot easier to find and correct errors with small steps instead of being like "well i guess there's an error somewhere in the last month of work i did".
Got it. That was the only confusion. Perhaps I should rename the message board.

'Do easy things' is a shorthand for start by doing easy things and increase difficulty slowly. Easy things are those which you have great control over. Increase difficulty slowly is the right method of making progress according to our best known knowledge.
Elliot, Fallible Ideas
the things you do should always be easy, ideally including:

  • low error rate
  • not overwhelming
  • not consuming too many resources
low error rate takes into account your goal. if your goal is to try something and see how it goes, then you need a lower error rate at that (you're able to successfully try it out and see how it goes, but you don't have to succeed at the actual thing).

it's more efficient to learn stuff until doing X is cheap/easy/low-errors instead of trying to do X earlier when it'll cost lots of resources, have a high failure risk, maybe make a bunch of different errors at once and get overwhelmed, etc.
let's say doing X = writing a 1000 word post.

replacing the variable,
it's more efficient to learn stuff until writing a 1000 word post is cheap/easy/low-errors.

What is the stuff I am learning in this case? Is it the subject matter of that post?
Elliot, Fallible Ideas
some ppl try to write articles or essays when it's really hard for them, big struggle, takes a long time, emotionally draining, etc. and the results usually aren't very good. so it uses up a lot of resources to do the activity, and it's kinda overwhelming and often fails at goals like readers understanding your point.

it's better to work your way up by learning smaller, easier things, and then actually start your blog (or substack or whatever) when writing 1000 word articles isn't that hard for you. you can write tweets, write IMs, learn some grammar, read a lot, explain ideas verbally, and lots of other things before doing a 1k word essay, depending on what's easier or appealing or useful to you.
Fucking brilliant mate. Got it. Thanks.

you can write tweets, write IMs, learn some grammar...

How does one identify a smaller easier step that builds up to X? One way is you can ask an expert and they can help. Any other methods to break down?

For ex in learning learning to drive a stick shift (I have mastery in that) first learn how to release clutch while giving a bit of gas to slowly start the car.
Elliot, Fallible Ideas
just brainstorm a bunch of stuff. try to think about what smaller parts of it are, or prerequisites, or relevant skills or resources that'd be useful. or get a teacher or some educational materials like a book that tries to teach it to you. talk with others about it, especially ppl who are already good at it or who are interested in topics like how learning works.

breaking things down is itself a skill that you can practice (so is brainstorming), starting with things that are easier to break down. there are lots of examples where there's some pretty common knowledge about how to break it down, like with driving ppl learn about the controls (like buttons, wheel, pedals) before driving, and then drive in a big empty parking lot before on a road.
The overreaching article on fallibleideas website says that

Many mistakes are actually due to overreaching.

I get a sense that mistakes due to irrationality are also included in this 'many mistakes'. Is that the case? If yes, how?

Also if that is the case how does improving in a non-overreaching manner help you become more rational? How does it help you stop making mistakes due to irrationality?