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In a stark departure from my usual posts, here is some utterly unscientific nonsense that I mull over from time to time:
- You can convince people to believe you are great, if others simply keep repeating that you are. What’s even more surprising, is that you can even do this without the help of others. Simply praise yourself all day, everyday, and take credit for accomplishments that have involved great help from others. It’s even possible if you had nothing to do with the thing in question, and only in some cases is this fraud. However, this is morally wrong, without question (in my book). Which brings me to my next point.
- If you wish to be moral, you will get beaten out by someone who doesn’t. Ideally, we would want to stick to our morals all the time. However, being moral is effectively placing a restriction on yourself (like a tax), and one which in most cases leaves little to no benefit other than the upholding of morality. The thin line between morality and legality - sometimes even wandering into legality - is where many “successful” (see previous point) people operate.
- If one wishes, they can easily manipulate others. In fact, this is essentially what Dale Carnegie’s book How to win friends and influence people is about. What is more incredible, to me, is that you can even manipulate yourself! I once tried an experiment on myself, where I repeatedly told myself something I didn’t think to be true (that I thought had a < 5% chance of being true). After 2 weeks, I ended the experiment expecting to go back to normal. However, I couldn’t snap out of believing what I used to believe. Unrelated to my next point.
- I believe there are 10x engineers, or even 100x engineers. In other fields of individual pursuit - like sports - there are individuals who are clearly more skilled/capable/talented than others, and this is a non-controversial opinion. As of 2022, I do not see why this would not apply to engineering. Which brings me to:
- One person can - and has - changed the world. This has happened multiple times in history, and will continue to happen again. For examples, Newton, who revolutionized optics, calculus, physics and other fields, Galois who transformed mathematics before dying at 20 and Ramanujan, whose work I do not understand. Understanding? Ah,
- Assuming human intellect is likely on a bell curve (similar to genetic traits like height), it must be really frustrating for people much smarter than me to explain stuff to me. I can see this sometimes because so many concepts are so elementary to them that while their explanations flow, I flounder like a fish on land.
- Hard work can, and does, help. I assume “intellect” lies on a bell curve, but that only serves as a potential or some kind of “max limit” you could reach. This range lies much higher than where most people are, and that is because hard work determines how much of that potential you hit. Now, does the capacity for hard work lie on a bell curve?
- There is nothing wrong with saying “I don’t know” in response to a question, and that is the right answer for most people for most questions
- Social media optimizes for engagement, but when social media companies celebrate daily active users, it is a bit like celebrating giving sugar to a baby (or even an adult). Of course people will love never-ending short form video that supplies unlimited dopamine
- Empathy can go a long way. Would never have thought it ten years ago, but empathy can change a person’s mind more effectively than anything else.
- Many men are immature (or more comfortable being immature?) compared to women, and this might stem from the power disparity in society (which may stem from the power disparity in physical strength).
- Creating the best form of the argument you are responding to, before responding to it, is a great way to have a discussion rather than an argument.