Strategies, Tactics, and Guiding Principles

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conor
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Strategies, Tactics, and Guiding Principles

Post by conor »

I'm staggered by the utility of ERE, but I'm struggling with this section of the book. Maybe I just don't get it and am trying to execute without understanding it.

ERE says:
We need to create an initial stage of consilience and resilience based on guiding principles to form a life strategy.

There are modules, which are also goals and contains goals and share goals, which are also projects or actions/behaviors/goals that have effects/consequences, and the effects are actually goals too.
We create reverse fishbone diagrams, which are also "goal structures," to determine the net outcome of the consequences.
We discard non-net-positive actions.
The remaining should have a confluence of goals/effects that combine into modules.
The module's effects/goals combine to form a web, which is then combined with other module's webs to form a larger web.

Once I have a gigantic web, I do what with it?

The examples of actions/goals given in the book (hobby, side business, job) are so simplified that they work gracefully in theory but aren't very instructive when applied to the messy largesse of real life actions and potential actions it instructs us to diagram. Additionally, those examples are not deployed when the example "web of goals" is constructed later in the book making it even harder to conceptualize this process.

I truly don't understand how this is better than:

Here is how good strategizing works.
Here are examples of goals. List your goals.
Here are examples of projects. List your projects and their goals.
Use reverse fishbone diagrams to visualize the net-value of your projects.

Limit your projects to those that:
1. Reflect your goals.
2. Create a net-positive value in money or another form of leverage (the ratio of resources input to the output produced).
3. Generate multiple independent sources of income.
4. Develop skills to replace goods and services to minimize expenses, generate income or another form of leverage.

In comparison, the book's approach obscures how the parts fit together with shifting terminology and concepts that are elaborated and then not clearly explained how they are integrated.

Here's my list of current and potential actions/goals/behaviors, etc.

firearm training
my service business
coffee roasting
video game
kettlebell workouts
elimination diet
yoga
raising chickens
creating a productized version of my business
raw food diet for my dog
preserving food
gardening
BJJ
create a lead generation business
study rationality
learn python
investing
SEO
biking
hiking
music band
camping
writing
politics
driving places
study logic, philosophy, economics
speaking/presentation
video production
statistics
math
persuasion

The modules I came up with are: income, fun, health, savings, wisdom, leverage, meaning, defense.

I have no idea how to put this together in a way that isn't extremely unwieldy and hard to take in. Any help is appreciated.

jacob
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Re: Strategies, Tactics, and Guiding Principles

Post by jacob »

conor wrote:
Mon Jul 27, 2020 4:45 pm
I truly don't understand how this is better than:

Here is how good strategizing works.
Here are examples of goals. List your goals.
Here are examples of projects. List your projects and their goals.
Use reverse fishbone diagrams to visualize the net-value of your projects.

Limit your projects to those that:
1. Reflect your goals.
2. Create a net-positive value in money or another form of leverage (the ratio of resources input to the output produced).
3. Generate multiple independent sources of income.
4. Develop skills to replace goods and services to minimize expenses, generate income or another form of leverage.
It's different in the following sense.

The nodes [in the web] are not independent of each other. The list form and sum form ignore the interconnections. Effects do not sum together. In particular, they are not only measured in money and as such they're not fungible. In short, your way of looking at is simpler and therefore misses certain synergies and resilience (tensegrity in the book).

With the risk of pulling a fast one, consider the focus column in
Image
Seeing things as independent and individually optimizable is level 5. The next level is a beginning awareness that of inflows and outflows of things other than money and that those flows connect to other parts of the system (web). Level 7 is focusing on the system (web) itself rather than the parts that make it up. You seem to have level 5 down. I'd suggest focusing on level 6 and looking for yields or consequences (goals) for all the modules and begin to think in those terms instead.

Elsewhere in the book, there's talk about CCCCCC ... and how compiling (making lists) is different from coordinating (fitting items together in useful ways). Coordinating rests on computing which rests on compiling.

I don't think there's a fast way to internalize this. However, it will eventually come together at the end.

conor
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Re: Strategies, Tactics, and Guiding Principles

Post by conor »

jacob wrote:
Mon Jul 27, 2020 5:43 pm
I'd suggest focusing on level 6 and looking for yields or consequences (goals) for all the modules and begin to think in those terms instead.

...
The nodes [in the web] are not independent of each other. The list form and sum form ignore the interconnections. Effects do not sum together. In particular, they are not only measured in money and as such they're not fungible. In short, your way of looking at is simpler and therefore misses certain synergies and resilience (tensegrity in the book).

Elsewhere in the book, there's talk about CCCCCC ... and how compiling (making lists) is different from coordinating (fitting items together in useful ways). Coordinating rests on computing which rests on compiling.
Thanks for reply Jacob.

I oversimplified my list of activities because I mistakenly didn't think what I omitted was relevant, but each list item fits inside one of the modules I listed (fun, health, income, defense, etc.), which I equated with goals. Is that correct? I imagine the next step is to examine the activities inside each module for friction and opportunities for consolidation.
In short, your way of looking at is simpler and therefore misses certain synergies and resilience (tensegrity in the book).
My understanding of synergy-seeking is the reason I am learning python, which is to increase my leverage by automating various tasks within skills (SEO, PPC, website design, data entry, web scraping) that grow my service business (and prospective lead-generation and product businesses) toward the goal of diversified, resilient income. I can thank the virus for making my dependence on one business extremely apparent.

Its extremely gratifying to find that someone has elucidated both my discontent and resentment with the standard issue lifestyle and offered an escape-philosophy, so basically, thank you for writing this book.

jacob
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Re: Strategies, Tactics, and Guiding Principles

Post by jacob »

I see the connections (flows) between the nodes in the actual web as the goals. Having identified (listed) the nodes, the next step would be to start thinking of all these nodes in terms of the connections/flows/goals instead. E.g. what "learning python" has in terms of flows in the form of (fun, health, income, defense, etc.) and so on. It will probably take time to rewire your perspective to do that (just like it takes time to rewire from automatically thinking of using money to solve a problem to think of some other solution first).

Then check for homeo-/hetero-telicness to see if these flows are aligned... if some nodes naturally sit well together. This forms the beginning of the web. Ultimately, there will be a further abstraction from the flows to the web.

The problem with the book was that I presented it all at once. The pedagogical transitions were less clear back then, but it's nodes/stock->connections/flow->web.

The better the web design, the more it's firing on all cylinders (satisfying fun, health, income, defense, etc.) and the less money has to be used for the same result.

Spending is a sign of friction resulting from bad design.

Scott 2
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Re: Strategies, Tactics, and Guiding Principles

Post by Scott 2 »

Conor, your post reminds me of this thread:

viewtopic.php?f=7&t=11181

jacob
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Re: Strategies, Tactics, and Guiding Principles

Post by jacob »

viewtopic.php?t=10897 might also be helpful.

RealPerson
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Re: Strategies, Tactics, and Guiding Principles

Post by RealPerson »

jacob wrote:
Tue Jul 28, 2020 7:50 am
Spending is a sign of friction resulting from bad design.
Very well put.

conor
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Re: Strategies, Tactics, and Guiding Principles

Post by conor »

For anyone that finds this thread, here is a post that helped clarify yields, flows, and wheaton level 6 for me.

viewtopic.php?p=197282#p197282
black_son_of_gray wrote:
Wed Sep 25, 2019 7:41 pm
Indeed, each of the upper ERE Wheaton levels are based in fundamentally different mindsets, starting narrow and getting broader at each level. Optimization is lower dimensional than yields/flows, which in turn is lower than systems/networks. But the abstract/nominalized (there's a $10 word!) language just sounds like gobbledygook.

So here are some specific examples relating to exercise equipment:

Optimizing: You purchase a brand new Thighmaster on sale for a great price. It is a fine piece of exercise equipment that does a great job on your thighs, and you got a great deal! You dutifully follow the included program and your thighs make great strides for a few years, then the device wears out or you stop using it for whatever reason, and it winds up in the trash or donated to a thrift shop. But you're satisfied with the quality of the thigh workouts and the total price paid.

Yields/flows: You purchase a used set of kettlebells/dumbells. They have some scuffs on them, but for your purposes it doesn't matter - and you got them for way cheaper than new. They are also quite versatile, and you spend the next few years using them for a number of different exercise programs when you get bored or max out your potential with the program you are doing. You use them for maybe an hour after work every other day, and maybe you start to experiment with creating your own routines. When you finally decide to part with them, you are able to sell them on Craigslist for about the same price you paid for them, so the net cost of ownership was close to $0.

Systems/networks: You purchase* a used bicycle with a rack and panniers, and you perform your own maintenance on it. You take trips sometimes solely for exercise, but more often than not you are using the bike to transport groceries (and use the panniers instead of plastic bags), commute to work, or visit friends. You find that you don't need to schedule exercise time into your day in 1 hour blocks anymore (although you can if you want) because you get a decent amount of exercise just from incorporating the bike into your lifestyle. Your commuting costs, resource usage, and interaction with the local neighborhood (etc.) are also beneficially effected. You've also learned how bikes works and have gained riding and repairs skills. You can sell the bike on Craigslist for about what you pair for it - or if you wanted to, you could fix up bikes and flip them for a profit.

*or maybe you share one with a friend, or you find one in a dumpster and repair it, lots of non-consumerist options here.

With optimizing, you are looking narrowly at value and cost. Sure the Thighmaster might be the best thigh-related device, but it's only exercise value is for the thighs, and it has no other non-exercise value. And as for cost, while you got a good deal on a new one, all of the purchase price is degrading to $0 by the end. With yields/flows, value and cost are looked at more broadly in time and space. The purchase price, even if very high, isn't as important as the total cost of ownership, which can be very low if the eventual reselling price is approximately the same as the buying price. Key here is that you are looking at value across the whole span of your interaction with it, not just when it was bought (e.g. optimizing). The weights are also more versatile, which means that their value spills over into different exercise routines that you might want to do. With systems/networks, you start looking at the cost and value of things so broadly that boundaries become arbitrary and fuzzy. The bike is exercise but also transportation, a way to learn a skill, an outlet to experiencing your city differently - and all of those aspects have some value. Biking frequently also breaks down the boundaries around the definition of "exercise", which in the weights and Thighmaster context meant a separate, dedicated time period set apart in your schedule, but now it's all just mashed up together with "living your life". At this level, you're looking at the cost and value not simply of a single thing/behavior over the course of your interaction/participation with it, but across your whole lifestyle and all the other things you own and/or interact with. Does this one thing "lift up" or support numerous other goals/systems/routines that you have in your life? How do the other goals/systems/routines that you have in your life in turn impact this one thing that you are considering? Because the cost and value are spread across so many other aspects of the lifestyle, calculating it for any particularly element becomes perhaps ironically, extremely difficult. This is also why money itself starts to become almost irrelevant once a robust system is up and running smoothly.

Of course, I just randomly plucked those specific examples (Thighmaster, weight set, bike), but I hope that helps with getting a grasp on how mindsets change on the way up the ERE Wheaton levels. For certain particular purchases/behaviors, it's often easy enough for someone at a lower level to just copy the purchase/behavior of someone at a higher level, with good results. However, the change in mindset (which is, frankly, very difficult to bring about) is ultimately the most crucial factor.

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