Tsuyoku Naritai! (I Want To Become Stronger)

  • The only proper use of humility is as motivation to make yourself better at whatever you’re being humble about
  • We should take pride in correcting our biases, not in admitting that we have biases
  • The important thing is to keep moving forward

There Is No Try

  • If you remove ‘try’ from your vocabulary, you’re forced to enumerate specific actions, rather than just saying you’re ‘trying’ to solve a problem
  • When we’re sure of our ability to do something, we just say that we’re doing the thing, not that we’re trying to do the thing
  • In order to remove ‘try’ from your vocabulary, increase the granularity of your descriptions
    • Instead of saying that you’re “trying” to do a big thing, describe the sequence of little things that you’re actually doing
    • This helps identify the precise step of the problem that you’re getting stuck on

On Doing The Impossible

  • There are two meanings of the word impossible
    1. Mathematical proof of impossibility, given specified axioms
    2. “I can’t see any way to do that”
  • Perseverance is the ability to look at problems that have the second kind of impossibility and keep chipping away at them until they no longer seem impossible
  • Every unfamiliar field will have problems that look impossible
  • The impossibility of a problem often has as much to do with your ignorance of the problem domain as it does to do with the difficulty of the problem
  • The most important questions in any field look impossible
  • In order to conquer impossible problems, you need the sort of perseverance that allows you to come back, year after year, to problems that seem impossible, and keep working on them, even though you know progress will be slow

Making an Extraordinary Effort

  • A ‘strong’ effort usually returns only mediocre results
  • For truly great results you need to make an extraordinary effort - go outside the orthodoxy of the society that you’re embedded in
  • This can backfire, however, since you’re deliberately casting aside all of the social safety nets that have been built up to keep people on orthodox lines of thinking
  • Even still, for problems that seem impossible, extraordinary efforts may be the only way to make progress