Beliefs complexity (and thought clarity)

Hi,

Samuele here. How's life in your part of the world?
Here in Bali, the situation remains quiet, with very few tourists (which is super relaxing, at least for me).

Last weekend I started an online course on coding. Developing new skills is so empowering and exciting. Maybe I’ll change my mind when I get to the JavaScript modules.

Are you trying to learn something new?

Ok, time to get serious. Here are our 3 ultra-focused ideas to reduce life complexity, for this week.


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Evergreen notes

It’s hard to write notes that are worth developing over time. These principles help:

  • Evergreen notes should be atomic

  • Evergreen notes should be concept-oriented

  • Evergreen notes should be densely linked

  • Prefer associative ontologies to hierarchical taxonomies | Andy Matuschak

Good ideas produce better decisions. But it’s hard to generate them consistently. And even harder to keep track of them.

Writing evergreen notes serve this purpose. It’s a practice useful to improve your thinking.

In every note, you write down a single concept. You have to connect each new one with the others through internal links.

It’s not an entirely automatic process. To create better internal connections, you routinely re-read your notes. This activity of progressive linking and integration of your ideas clarifies your thinking process.

[Read the full content here: Evergreen notes]

Inspired by this content, I started my own public online notebook (I will link it on my signature).

Dancing with belief

All of us believe things that might be inconsistent, not based on how the real world actually works or not shared by others. That’s what makes us human. | Seth Godin

The human mind tries to maintain internal consistency.

Change = Unpredictability = Danger!

Due to this, everyone tends to resist a change of beliefs. The problem is that reality doesn’t adapt to our ideas. No matter how relevant they are for us.

So you have to question your beliefs.

  1. Are they helpful?

  2. Are they demonstrable true?

  3. What would change your mind about them?

If they pass the test, very good! Otherwise, some change is necessary.

NB Seth Godin suggests one more question: do you need your beliefs to be true? On this, I have to disagree. If you keep “placebo beliefs” (false, but apparently helpful), you’ll damage your reasoning capacity. And reality doesn’t care about your emotions.

[Read the full content here: Dancing with belief]

Why Life Can’t Be Simpler

Complexity is like energy. It cannot be created or destroyed, only moved somewhere else. | Farnam Street

Complexity is everywhere, especially in choices that impact not just us but also other people. There the complexity skyrockets.

Think about the fight over global warming or any issue relevant to you and other family members. In these discussions, there are pros and cons to any decision. Simple solutions seem impossible.

You have two options:

  • you focus on the complexity of a single decision,

  • or you try to move it upward. 

In this second alternative, you face the complexity of your personal beliefs. You force yourself to choose rational principles for your life.

It’s hard, but then most of the "lower-level" decisions become simpler.

[Read the full content here: Why Life Can’t Be Simpler]


Best book of the week (for me)

Bull Mountain, by Brian Panowich

  • Pros →A modern-day western. Fast-paced and with strong good and evil characters.

  • Cons → I don't like how the author undermines the protagonist with alcoholism. And the scene of violence on a young girl is quite hard to stomach.

And you? Which book did you enjoy recently? Let us know. We are always on the lookout for exciting new titles.


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Thank you for reading this newsletter.

Now, I’m curious about you. What decisions are challenging you at the moment? What are the mental strategies that you find more helpful?

Write me back!

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Until next week, 
Samuele

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