Lifestyle, Productivity

Mini Blog Series 1: On Trying New Things

In the quest for a more productive lifestyle, the significance of habits and routines is highlighted again and again. Because when you have worked out a set of optimal behavioral patterns why would you want to deviate from them? It’s like if you know the most efficient route to work, why would you walk a different route? But while this route may get you to your destination in the least amount of time, there may be other routes that are more scenic that you have not explored. What I am trying to say is every now and then we should break our habits and experiment.

In such an attempt to experiment with new things and hopefully improve the way I am living my life or at least gain information about things that do not work for me, I have decided to write a mini blog post every day for the next 7 days (I will start small and then increase this period) and try to be less of a perfectionist. A couple of weeks ago I talked about how it’s more important to focus on completion rather than perfection. And one of my goals for 2021 is to spend less time fussing over minute details and work on more things instead.

I think we all have a set approach, path, and routine for how we live our lives. And there’s no doubt that this approach is a fairly good one as it helps us get things done. It’s a model that works. But in a world that is constantly evolving, there are a bunch of ways to improve the quality of our lives. Even if we have a model that works for us, what’s the harm in looking for other ways that could have greater physical or mental benefits for us? While I do not believe that there is an “absolutely perfect” model that works for everybody, there are always ways to learn to live a happier, healthier, and more fun life. To give you one example from my own experience I can say that my life is better now than it was six months ago due to the incorporation of Yoga into my morning routine.  That’s the beauty of trying new things. In the event that you find something that you find valuable, you can keep doing that. Even if the experiment returns unfavorable results, a break from the usual cycle would be refreshing and inspiring.

Even a rough Fermi Estimate suggests that an experiment that eg makes me 1% happier is a very good use of time. Mathematically, empiricism is necessary. For a Bayesian optimizing agent in an uncertain world, information has positive expected utility, and experiments have positive expected information. In 1889, Charles H. Duell, the Commissioner of the US patent office said, “Everything that can be invented has been invented.” But we kept looking for new things anyway and today we have watches that can take an ECG.

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