bigato's journal

Where are you and where are you going?
classical_Liberal
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Re: bigato's journal

Post by classical_Liberal » Thu Feb 07, 2019 11:43 pm

bigato wrote:
Thu Feb 07, 2019 8:54 pm
Another thing that could potentially happen...
The deeper I get into ERE, the more options that present themselves. You obviously have a ton! I'm learning this can be a double edged sword, though. At least for me. Too many options seems to have lead me to an analysis paralysis situation, so inertia always seems to win the day.

Given you've been doing this for a good deal longer, I'm curious how you decide what commitments to take on, how you limit/screen your options. Specifically, the nonfinancial factors you consider.
bigato wrote:
Thu Feb 07, 2019 8:54 pm
My life has been so much happier in the past two years
This makes me believe you are doing something right.

bigato
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Re: bigato's journal

Post by bigato » Fri Feb 08, 2019 3:16 am

Scott 2 wrote:
Thu Feb 07, 2019 9:33 pm
What would you do if a professional did place you well into the autism spectrum? I think I'd land there as well, but haven't seen any benefit to getting a diagnosis. I have found benefit from reading books about people dealing with aspergers and the coping strategies they use in life. I suppose a professional could offer more direct instruction in those mechanisms.
I'm not sure, I want to know for sure if I fit the category, and analyzing oneself without external aid is too prone to biases to be reliable enough. I don't know if having the official diagnosis will ever be useful, but it may eventually have its social uses. For example, I could make use of Microsoft's autism inclusion program if I ever wanted to work there. Also, it could help me negotiating a remote position at current job, because I seem to need a silent or isolated environment to function at my best. Not that only autistic people need that, but the diagnosis would be recognized proof of said need. Maybe there is also some instance where I don't want to delve into details of how I'm different and the official label would suffice.

There's also something to be said about how learning by yourself can lead to blind spots, specially when learning about yourself. I experienced this very intensely in 2018 when I read the book "Woman who love too much". It was such an eye-opener on relationships to me, something that I should really have studied in depth when I was 20 and it would have made my life so much better. I think that if I ever had a professional psychologist analyse me, it would have been pretty obvious to them that I fit those patterns. Because I didn't, I only learned about that by accident into my late twenties. It improved my social relations so much, and it could have saved me from a lot of suffering in the past. Why didn't I stumble on this before? Well this is a case of a blind spot: you don't know what you don't know. I think that while reading about autism may be useful, and maybe even enough, there's also the possibility that I can get great benefit from some professional guidance. It's a cheap bet with huge potential benefits, so why not.
Scott 2 wrote:
Thu Feb 07, 2019 9:33 pm
I've probably found more benefit from my wife reading those books and understanding that I'm really wired differently, not just trying to make her crazy.
Yeah, I hear you on this. When I was married, even before having any idea about what autism was, I took my time to explain to her that I worked differently in several regards. For example, in situations with lots of people. She would then be aware of that and sense when it was time for us to go home or somewhere else. That was an important one, since her social need was higher than mine and this would be a frequently point of friction.
Scott 2 wrote:
Thu Feb 07, 2019 9:33 pm
Work is the best option I have found for reliable in access to do interesting things with really smart people. It's one of the top factors that keep me working. I do find working remote provides enough interaction to satisfy that need.
Thanks, that is an important insight. I may be underestimating how much my colleagues are important in my well being now.

Also, thanks guys for both book recommendations. I have not read them.

bigato
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Re: bigato's journal

Post by bigato » Fri Feb 08, 2019 3:57 am

classical_Liberal wrote:
Thu Feb 07, 2019 11:43 pm
The deeper I get into ERE, the more options that present themselves.
That's why we are into this, isn't it? That's a good thing in itself and if it is happening, you are doing it right.
classical_Liberal wrote:
Thu Feb 07, 2019 11:43 pm
Too many options seems to have lead me to an analysis paralysis situation, so inertia always seems to win the day.
This is not a problem inherent from "having options", but rather the way your decision making process works. You may want to study this a little deeper. There are some aspects of ourselves that we can't easily change even if we want to, but being aware of them usually helps. This may be a case of me seeing everything as a nail because what I have in my hand is a hammer, but the book "Thinking Fast and Slow" by Daniel Kahneman which I'm currently reading may have some usefulness in this regard.
classical_Liberal wrote:
Thu Feb 07, 2019 11:43 pm
Given you've been doing this for a good deal longer, I'm curious how you decide what commitments to take on, how you limit/screen your options. Specifically, the nonfinancial factors you consider.
Every decision someone makes and every actions someone takes is driven by a combination of two forces: escaping from pain and seeking pleasure. Maybe making such a broad categorization is oversimplifying, but I find it useful in understanding the factors that drive me, because it seems that most people are more easily moved by one of these two drivers than the other. In my case, usually it means that I try to avoid pain first. I'm not an optimist nor a great risk taker, although I can make very bold moves when I feel prepared enough. Probably because of that, I seem to follow the Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs most of the time. This probably does not apply to everybody, at least not equally. I am sure you are able to remember someone who is always gambling despite not being able to even meet its most basic needs in full. In my case, the pyramid seems to apply well and that makes taking such life decisions easier. I just take whatever path seems to maximize my climbing in the pyramid. If you feel like you have too many good options and feel stuck by analysis paralysis, it may be often the case that the difference between them is just not big enough to be relevant anyway. That's an indicator that you have climbed the hierarchy of needs high enough that avoiding pain may not be so relevant of a driver anymore. At the lower levels, it's usually more evident what hurts more and what you should fix first. If anything, you should be thankful to yourself that you are located higher already. It's all now a matter of maximizing present and future well being and happiness. It should be, or at least it is to me.

classical_Liberal
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Re: bigato's journal

Post by classical_Liberal » Fri Feb 08, 2019 4:01 pm

@bigato
Thanks for the thoughtful response.

I don't necessarily subscribe to a hedonist philosophy regarding decisions (pleasure/pain only), but I like the Maslow idea. I think you are correct in that the the bottom portions have been filled, hence the increasing difficulty committing/deciding on new path(s).

I have seen Kahnman referenced on these boards before, so maybe I should bite the bullet and read it, thanks for the recommendation.

bigato
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Re: bigato's journal

Post by bigato » Fri Feb 08, 2019 4:06 pm

classical_Liberal wrote:
Fri Feb 08, 2019 4:01 pm
I don't necessarily subscribe to a hedonist philosophy regarding decisions (pleasure/pain only)
It's one of these models of how the world work that I have kept in my head for many years, but while it sounds very simplistic, I haven't found how to challenge it. So I'd be very interested in your perspective on this!

Scott 2
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Re: bigato's journal

Post by Scott 2 » Fri Feb 08, 2019 7:13 pm

I've been hesitant to anchor on a neuroatypical identity in the work place. I suspect people carry biases that would hurt me more than any benefits from special programs. I have pushed to accommodate my unique wiring when negotiating working conditions, and that has gone ok. In hindsight - before I understood my higher sensitivity to stimulus and poor ability to navigate social cues, I pursued a lot of unnecessarily stressful work situations. I was able to fall back on my analytical strengths to get through them, but I suffered for it.

You have great points on the difficulty of self-diagnosing and being blind to the unknown unknowns. One consistent message I found, is that if you've met one person with autism, you know one person with autism. The traits that express, and coping strategies that will be most effective, are unique to the individual. I can see a good professional being very helpful there. My own imperfect model of the world includes a dislike for bringing new people into my life, so I haven't pursued it.


My wife and I have worked out a stable set of accommodations over the 20 years we've known each other. She definitely has to make trade offs on the social side. I encourage her to do things with friends that don't involve me. Sometimes I also go do things with her, where we are both perfectly clear - I am not going to enjoy it. The only intent of me going is to make her happy and I focus on it. Ironically, being tasked like that can make overwhelming environments more palatable.

I also need her to be much more blunt in communication than most people will tolerate. Just tell me how it is, if my feelings appear I'll ignore them, and we can act on full information. Otherwise there's a good chance I'll ignore the message. It's become comfortable for us, but does sometimes bleed into her other relationships with negative consequences. Immediate and direct feedback is not welcomed by everyone.

For me personally, empathy doesn't work very well. With time, I intellectually understand where it should be triggered and can exhibit roughly correct responses, but it's really tough to truthfully feel it. That's especially true during face to face interaction. We've been together long enough that she knows this feature is broken and accepts it. She doesn't always enjoy it, but I don't have to pretend.

We also have worked out scripts for the interactions that are emotionally important to her, that I might not automatically demonstrate. The fact that I take the time to learn and provide them shows I care, even if the wiring isn't there.

Anyway, if you might be wired different, I do think there's a lot of benefit to exploring it. This is a video about it in the software development that I enjoyed:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JrQeAwe4_xw

bigato
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Re: bigato's journal

Post by bigato » Sat Feb 09, 2019 9:14 am

I share the fear of sharing it on the workplace and that not being a good thing. I think my biggest motivation is probably that if I have the official diagnosis, I'll be able to tell some specific friends with certainty. I also share the aversion of bringing people into my life, like I wouldn't like to have someone clean my place even if it was included in the rent. I will probably just take the diagnosis and research the rest myself, just like I did with the "Woman who love too much" book about relationships. When I mentioned the blind spots, I was just answering the generic question of why would one want to have professional help in this regard, but I actually share your same attitude on this. Not so sure it is a good thing for me, tough.

Interesting to read about your arrangements regarding the wife. Resembles my past marriage. And yeah, I also find it easier when I have a task to focus on. Like cooking for people in a meeting or something like that.

It's the same for me on the empathy. Just last week I was explaining to a friend how I don't have the real thing, that means "feeling other person's pain". I don't really care emotionally, but I learned how to deal with it intellectually. I studied some psychology, body language signs, and I can sense and predict people quite well. It also helps that I like to be useful to people that matter to me, specially when they most need it. It's hard for most people to believe that I don't really empathize.

Another funny fact in my case is that I don't recognize faces so well. I recognize people who are close and whom I see often just fine, but when I am seeing a movie for example, sometimes I think a new character is the same person as another one. When I was married, I would often ask her if they were the same, and she would thought it was absurd because they were so different to her. It's easy when there is same very distinctive characteristic though, like very long beard or shaved head. The same happens with recognizing people in pictures and sometimes even in real life.

Thanks for the video, I liked it very much.

Scott 2
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Re: bigato's journal

Post by Scott 2 » Sat Feb 09, 2019 10:26 am

I have a hard time with similar faces as well.

Related is eye contact. I've put a lot of energy into memorizing normal patterns, but I have to remember to use them. I have little natural impulse to look someone in the eye, and it makes people think I don't value them.

One of the things I really like about working remote, is it puts me on more even footing with nuerotypical brains. When communication is over instant message, the signals I cannot process well are not available to anyone.

When my wife and I explored the idea that I am probably autistic, we uncovered a lot of compensatory behaviors I had developed over the years. She was unaware of many, and others, I hadn't even recognized weren't normal.

I think when you disclose to friends or family unfamiliar with the topic, it challenges their preconceived notions and limited understanding of autism as a spectrum. Much easier to dismiss you as imagining something that doesn't exist

Interestingly - I know a couple people that are relatively well versed in the topic. My behavioral traits seem obvious to them. I guess the are some speech patterns that present as well, which I don't fully understand. One day I should learn what they are and how to talk without them, but it hasn't been a big problem for me.

bigato
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Re: bigato's journal

Post by bigato » Sat Feb 09, 2019 11:54 am

Regarding family, when I recently talked to a cousin of mine whom I trust about this, I asked her not to disclose to anyone else. She told me that she and the other cousins already knew or suspected, apparently before i did, ahahaha. And that this was never a problem.

classical_Liberal
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Re: bigato's journal

Post by classical_Liberal » Mon Feb 11, 2019 3:34 pm

bigato wrote:
Fri Feb 08, 2019 4:06 pm
It's one of these models of how the world work that I have kept in my head for many years, but while it sounds very simplistic, I haven't found how to challenge it. So I'd be very interested in your perspective on this!
It's taken awhile for me to respond to this, because I don't have a good answer. Just a "gut feeling" (for lack of a better phrase) that there is more to a happy life. I think you are correct in that their isn't a good intellectual counterpoint to the Hedonistic model once a person realizes/concedes their likely is not a special purpose for individuals in the universe. This, by the way, it where religiousity come into play for many, or parenthood for many more. Creating that special individual purpose, where before there was a vacuum.

However, as I mature in my adult human years, it becomes obvious that almost meaningless human activities, small drops in an infinite bucket, do matter. I do not believe I have yet reached a point where I can aptly articulate this in a logical sense. However, I think this recent comment from JLF is a good starting point.
viewtopic.php?f=9&t=863&start=627

They day may come where I can better articulated this sense of feeling or morality, but I have not reached it yet. However, I no longer believe acceptance of an extremely minute role in universal history should directly lead to the hedonism/nihilism. There is something better. Something I haven't yet fully grasped, yet I know it's there. This breeds, the ever dangerous, idea of hope related to purpose.

bigato
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Re: bigato's journal

Post by bigato » Mon Feb 11, 2019 5:14 pm

Thanks for the explanation. Maybe we could sum it up by saying that sometimes, the greater picture is so much more important that the minute details of why we took a decision in one direction or another are mostly irrelevant?
Also, I just though that I wouldn't know how to falsify this theory of everything we do being driven by either escaping pain or seeking pleasure. And that's usually a bad sign that often means that something is just a false oversimplification.

George the original one
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Re: bigato's journal

Post by George the original one » Tue Feb 12, 2019 3:22 pm

bigato wrote:
Mon Feb 11, 2019 5:14 pm
Also, I just though that I wouldn't know how to falsify this theory of everything we do being driven by either escaping pain or seeking pleasure. And that's usually a bad sign that often means that something is just a false oversimplification.
We take on challenges that often invoke pain or anguish because we get joy from conquering.

bigato
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Re: bigato's journal

Post by bigato » Wed Feb 13, 2019 4:11 pm

I'm trying not to post here every day, but I kind of want to. The intentional increased exposure to the forums that I had lately did its magic and it seems I'm sucked into the ERE rabbit hole again. Since I left the bikepacking single speed obsession behind, my hyperfocus is pointing here and related topics. I'm tracking my spending again, and taking steps towards improving my numbers. Also, running several simulations. The last few days I've been obsessing over the local real estate market in hopes of tackling my biggest fixed expense. Well you see, some posts above I was saying that I did not intend to buy real estate ever again. At least I also mentioned at some point how bad I am at predicting how I'll behave and feel in the future. So here I am biting my tongue. Did a lot of internet research on real estate, walked a lot (15 km yesterday and 10km today) and I'm starting to get a good understanding of the local market. So much so that I did my first offer today, and have around a handful more properties where I may also make some kind of low-ball offers, of the kind that will make them curse my mother or something.

I'm a bit torn between buying something cheap and buying something easier to sell. Those two qualities are more often not found on the same property, both because of the market but also due to details in local laws that I don't want to delve into now. What I'm doing so far is focus on the difference on my cashflow, even if it will be harder to sell afterwards. The difference is brutal, like around 300% difference, due to technical details. There's no middle ground really, and this gap is due to how the properties are classified, boring stuff that won't apply to the readers of this post so I won't detail.

Also it turns out that I haven't looking into this for so long that after looking in detail, if I buy one of these three properties or similar that will be so great to my cashflow, I could probably retire in a year. Also, the value I'll pay on one of them is around one year of my wage. In one simulation, it would take me 6 years of living there so that the savings on rent will pay for it in full, so if I would just give the property away at that point, I'd be in the same position I'll be if I just keep on renting where I am now.

Also since I'm obsessing over this market now, I'm trying to make as many low-ball offers as I can, so low that I feel that I could just put it back on the market just after buying, and sell it for something like a 10% quickly liquid profit. I'm talking to realtors about this and how they will make money twice if they help me on this. So far they doesn't seem familiar with flipping properties like this, it probably is not something people are doing around here. What they always want to know is whether I'm buying to live in it or to invest; but in the latter case they usually assume that investment would mean renting it afterwards. And no, the renting market is bullshit here.

Best case in this strategy of mine is that I make a quick 10% profit over a month or so; worst case is I may end up stuck for a while with a property I would like to buy and live in anyway - thus saving the rent money. Today I went too emotional after seeing a property with a realtor - side effect of not having seen it via internet before, as it is not even published. I really liked it and ended up making an offer about 16% lower than the asking price, which was a fair offer and not a low-ball offer. The realtor will talk to the owner and return to me. It was just too good in every aspect considering what I'm seeing in the market, what I'm looking for and specially my cashflow analysis. At this point I should not be making serious offers yet, but whatever - I'll just try to make other low-ball offers faster and see how it goes.

Together with the real estate obsession, the tiny houses interest also came back. The other property which would be most beneficial to cashflow, is one of those where I'd need to be smart about space, since it is only around 15 square meters - 160 square feet. I currently live lavishly in a place twice that, with the luxury of having owning 5 bicycles - I definitely don't use them that much to justify owning so many. The great thing here is that I have a close local friend who also loves tiny houses and happens to be an architect. All of that and now I'm also thinking about doing the renovation myself, carpentry, etc.

The one I made the offer on, is bigger enough that space won't be much of a problem to my standards. Maybe it's even a bit bigger than my current apartment, or around the same size. It should not need any structural changes. If I close on that, plan would be to learn and build wood stuff for the house myself, potentially with a project from my friend to guide me. I want to do it both because I may end up selling for a profit this way, but also because I really want a house to be the way I want. When I lived in my own houses in the past, I was married and so there was someone else that I would listen to regarding such decisions. Now it's only me.

Well maybe renovating a house the way I want will conflict with increasing its market value, I don't know. But that's something to worry about later.

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