Saturday, October 27, 2012

Relationships are 2/3 made, 1/3 found.

Think about your favorite songs. I'd venture to guess that the reason you like them is not really the content of the song so much (although that is part of it), but the associations you have with them. A friend's recommendation, the first time you heard it, the general life context around when you heard it. It's not that the specific notes resonate with some inherent thing inside you, but rather that you decide you're going to like the song for whatever reason, and then you do.

Now think about your friends. There is certainly an element that you want to find certain people, people with certain characteristics, but really the reason your closest friends are your closest friends is largely because of the experiences you've had together.

I don't know what the exact fraction is, but it's certainly more "made" than "found."

Which leads to the question (of course this had to get back to technology at some point): why do online dating sites treat dating as a search problem? And if you were starting a new one, how could you get around that?

Here's an idea: you sign up on a site, they require a $100 deposit, then they assign you to do a certain (hopefully-fun) thing at a certain place/time. (with someone else, or with N other people.) If you don't show up, they keep your $100. So you show up, with the other people, and you all have an excuse to be there, and then you've started doing a thing with other people, which starts building these relationships.

It's like "forcing you to go on good dates" whether or not you have enough time, knowledge, or imagination to create good dates. (side note: coffee or food is generally not a good date.)

(also related: I've been reading So Good They Can't Ignore You. Your work is more made than found too.)

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Sometimes I'm not sure if I'll ever have a spare minute again

Things I've learned recently:

My mood depends (at least in part) on my productivity. If I feel like I'm getting things done, I feel like I'm kind of swimming at work, and I feel good. If not, I feel like I'm totally drowning. (This is new. On the upside, I'm never bored. On the downside, I feel like a heroin addict; addicts display increased rates of hyperbolic discounting, meaning they can't reason rationally about the future because they're so fixated on the next day or the next hour.)

My ability to work depends (at least in part) on my mood. Also, my mood is my mood; it is nice to be in a good one.
Therefore, it feels helpful to insert tasks that I can make progress on, to keep my mood up, between other tasks that are frustrating and difficult.
This is weird. It's like I've got a little homunculus in my head who controls whether my mind and body will be working right, and I've got to keep feeding him little productivity nuggets. Also, it's nice to do a little reality check if I feel drowney, realize that I won't always feel this way, and realize that maybe I just need a bit of sleep.