The Education of Axel Heyst

Where are you and where are you going?
AxelHeyst
Posts: 1518
Joined: Thu Jan 09, 2020 4:55 pm
Contact:

Re: The Education of Axel Heyst

Post by AxelHeyst »

mF - yeah I think I 'get' your posts more now. Also, I tried a yoga nidra last night and got to sleep faster. I'd rather use natural methods to settle out my sleep patterns and leave my cannabinoid receptors as un-messed-with as possible so my use is only highly strategic for purposes of inducing divergent thinking.

scott2 yes - via that podcast. I just about finished it last night. I got a lot out of it. I think a thread on 'how to glean freedom-to wisdom from startup people without turning into a maniac' could be valuable.

jacob
Site Admin
Posts: 14817
Joined: Fri Jun 28, 2013 8:38 pm
Location: USA, Zone 5b, Koppen Dfa, Elev. 620ft, Walkscore 73
Contact:

Re: The Education of Axel Heyst

Post by jacob »

I literally have this in my amazon bio:
jacob's author profile wrote: He is always open to new experiences especially when they concern the solution of hard problems. Compensation no longer required.
In all likelihood, keeping your primary, aka the hero, function in your stack somewhere between Csikszentmihalyi's arousal, flow, control, or relaxation segments and out of the anxiety, worry, apathy or boredom quadrants is crucial to "freedom-to". Second, whatever your freedom-to hero does, the implementation has to be compatible with the auxiliary (parent) function.

For the INTJ, which is my type, the Ni is the hero finding solutions in complex situations and Te is the parent translating them into long-range sustainable models combination is figuratively the crack cocaine of freedom-to. The INTJ challenge is that once a problem is solved, it tends to become boring. In my case, I moved from physics to ERE1 to quant finance to ERE2 and TBH lately to playing 4x games. I have in all cases liked these so much that there was nothing I'd rather do... at the time... until it got boring or I lost faith in it. (See idealist comment in next paragraph.)

Ideally, one also needs to involve the tertiary (eternal child) which for the INTJ is the Fi or the idealist. This gets tough because most complex solutions involve change and humans generally don't like change and so the Fi risks getting bitter about it if getting too emotionally involved in the outcome/adoption of the solution.

Anyhoo ... one can keep going down the stack or even see it as part of an exploration of one's temperament. (For example, I probably took a wrong turn focusing on community building for ERE2 because Fe (the "trickster" or blind spot) is literally my worst function.)

All this to say is that in standard American culture, the hero of the dominant temperament is Si or Fe with the parent being Fe or Si respectively. This is why the freedom-to of the norm(al) person is about experiencing things in the company of other people---siting on a beach, eating food, talking about people, history, and culture. Basically, the SiFe-types collects experience through other people; while FeSi-types connects with other people through experiences. Indeed, "solving hard problems" is deeply buried in their shadow and the most common type has as much interest in that as the INTJ has in terms of collecting experiences or connecting with others emotionally. Basically, the INTJ or INTP preferred favorite is the blindspot of the most dominant types in the US and vice versa.

My point is ... beware of one-size fits all advice.

jacob
Site Admin
Posts: 14817
Joined: Fri Jun 28, 2013 8:38 pm
Location: USA, Zone 5b, Koppen Dfa, Elev. 620ft, Walkscore 73
Contact:

Re: The Education of Axel Heyst

Post by jacob »

jacob wrote:
Mon Feb 06, 2023 5:54 pm
My point is ... beware of one-size fits all advice.
Add: And to be careful to [self-]actualize according with your own temperamental preferences. Not knowing what they are, and many don't having adopted the preferences of others, it's easy to let a societally dominant subpersonality take over. Personally, being an outlier, I get triggered by the presumption of a normative normality ("everybody likes, therefore you should too"). This is of course also works in reverse. There's no shame in enjoying things just because they're popular.

J_
Posts: 806
Joined: Tue Nov 01, 2011 4:12 pm
Location: Netherlands/Austria

Re: The Education of Axel Heyst

Post by J_ »

Ideed, it is what we are experiencing in mmgroup #2: first you have to find out how you character mainly is ( not easy) and than adapt the ere principle's to what fits your personality best.

7Wannabe5
Posts: 8354
Joined: Fri Oct 18, 2013 9:03 am

Re: The Education of Axel Heyst

Post by 7Wannabe5 »

jacob wrote:Anyhoo ... one can keep going down the stack or even see it as part of an exploration of one's temperament. (For example, I probably took a wrong turn focusing on community building for ERE2 because Fe (the "trickster" or blind spot) is literally my worst function.)
I can grok this. Same/opposite problem I have with my Fi functioning. Part of what I am struggling with in my journal currently. For instance, very difficult for me to do The Maximize Your Hourly Pay To Limit of Your Moral Code chapter in YMOYL, because I can't decide whether anything along the spectrum from selling swamp land to confused seniors a la Glengarry Glen Ross to using a plow to break the earth is an "evil" way to make money. Much easier for my tertiary Fe to simply determine whether or not the humans around me are happy when I bake a great new recipe for cookies or find a book they didn't know where to look for themselves. A flow moment that sticks in my memory is rummaging around the basement of an old library, finding an 1899 book on the topic of electrifying the earliest skyscrapers in NYC, and feeling as one with the happy customer who would want to buy that book from me. Ne-> Ti -> Fe -> all syncing up!

AxelHeyst
Posts: 1518
Joined: Thu Jan 09, 2020 4:55 pm
Contact:

Re: The Education of Axel Heyst

Post by AxelHeyst »

I think the primary theme I'm vibing on with this content (Paul Graham, Founders, Naval, etc) is the notion of radical self-direction. These stories are all about the outliers of people who had/got a vision of some sort and got after it with creepily maniacal obsession.

So, okay, the maniacal obsession is almost always a problem. Let's pump the brakes on that. That's the bathwater. (The host of Founders spares few opportunities to warn listeners about this theme, how so many of these founders sacrifice too much for their obsessions and often regret it.) Let's put a pin in that, mark it down as 'well noted', and focus on--

--the baby, which is the internally generated vision and direction.

I was a really good employee during my career. Give me a project and I'd crush it. Point me at a dumpster fire and I'd fireman that shit. Sleep? Fuck off, I'm on this thing. I enjoyed blasting stuff with energy, which I had a lot of. I like being intense about stuff. (Until I started reading about how much of a sucker and an evil capitalist stooge that made me, and then I felt ashamed for being intense about stuff, and so I tried to pretend like I didn't like it...)

This past six months or so of running a 'serendipity-first' strategy, I realized today, involves a similar level of self-direction, meaning, very little. I just waited around (all of a few days) to get hooked up with other people's visions (well PV, neighbors PV, other neighbor's random projects, etc) and soon enough that crowded out time and space to pursue my own stuff.

I've got a bag of thoughts about this:
  • It's comfortable to just do other people's projects. You just have to show up and not suck. It's easy.
  • It's scary to follow your own direction. My idea could be totally stupid! I could make a fool of myself! It could go nowhere! At least if I'm doing someone else's project, they'll give me some money. My risk, monetarily and reputationally, is very low.
  • But being intense and high-energy about other people's vision is... kind of stupid. I mean, if someone else happens to have a vision that syncs completely with my own, then it might make sense to just partner up with them and blast my intensity at it and that'd be fine. But running at high intensity with low self-direction is an excellent recipe for burnout and disillusionment, I think. That was my experience at work. I didn't have enough authority over where my energy went, and so it'd get frizzled away via incompetence or just.. projects that weren't in my opinion worthy of my A game.
  • But all I wanted to DO was bring my A game. 'Kicking ass at stuff' is a foundational component of the kind of life I want to live. Chill, coast, slack, care less, etc is not a sustainable method for me.
  • But I was scared to align my intensity at my own projects, for a bunch of practical and internal-work reasons.
  • Before ERE, I didn't know how to go from the situation I was in to being able to do my own projects and still pay my bills. That's the practical reason. Now, with postconsumer praxis, I've solved that problem.
  • The internal-work reason has to do with a lack of self-regard. I was below the threshold of self-regard required to believe in my own visions. I've talked about this sort of stuff a bunch here. But I'm now above that level of self regard.
  • (PS: ERE/postconsumer praxis is ALSO how I was able to spend the time required to do the internal work on my self-regard. Like... I don't know how to communicate how literally transformative this community has been in my life. "10x more impactful than anything else" doesn't even begin to cover it, because it's a qualitative difference. My life isn't just better, it's not my old life except doper, it's different, it's a totally different life than what I would have had without it.)

So, tldr, what I'm seeing is that I'm now able to take my kind of knuckledraggey "dur, I wanna kick ass at stuff" drive and connect it to my (hopefully) more intelligent source of creative wisdom and vision, and thus kick ass at stuff I actually care about because I own it.

User avatar
mountainFrugal
Posts: 758
Joined: Fri May 07, 2021 2:26 pm

Re: The Education of Axel Heyst

Post by mountainFrugal »

AxelHeyst wrote:
Tue Feb 07, 2023 8:31 pm
  • It's comfortable to just do other people's projects. You just have to show up and not suck. It's easy.
  • It's scary to follow your own direction. My idea could be totally stupid! I could make a fool of myself! It could go nowhere! At least if I'm doing someone else's project, they'll give me some money. My risk, monetarily and reputationally, is very low.
  • But being intense and high-energy about other people's vision is... kind of stupid.
Which is why someone who has a clear vision and lays out initial steps to a vision will have people lining up to to throw themselves at it. The start-up mentality can be boiled down to a person who sees a vision (objectively right, wrong, or gray area) so clearly that their story carries them to the next step. Get a few steps along the path with more and more seemingly smart people starting to see that vision and signing on (objectively right, wrong, or gray area), then the vision becomes a larger company myth that everyone is pursuing. If the company is raking in cash or gathering and maintaining users at an astonishing rate or whatever the metric is then TO THE MOON with the myth because you have external validation that something must be working. The myth is a good way to align everyone on the collective story they tell themselves, their co-workers, their friends and family, the user/customer base. The gotcha with start-ups is that most of them die by suicide (internal politics or equivalent, humans gonna human), not by being out-competed. You have more shots on goal as a repeat founder if you have a large enough bank roll from your family, network, or previous successes. Thus a scaled down version for ERE is to take that hype and belief in an idea, but do it on 1/100000th of the cost. ERE offers potentially many more shots on goal (minus time and aging). It does not mean less impact, just that externalities to the world would likely also be considered if the idea actually scales beyond a esoteric weirdo internet forum. Do this with very little outside influence such as money, power, prestige, and other carrot vectors is the needle that Paul Graham et al. are trying to thread and you have the main ERE takeaways.

AxelHeyst
Posts: 1518
Joined: Thu Jan 09, 2020 4:55 pm
Contact:

Re: The Education of Axel Heyst

Post by AxelHeyst »

mF, I don't have anything to say in response except to note that I've read your post several times now not because I don't get it but because I'd like it to be imprinted in my memory semipermanently.

white belt
Posts: 1331
Joined: Sat May 21, 2011 12:15 am

Re: The Education of Axel Heyst

Post by white belt »

mountainFrugal wrote:
Tue Feb 07, 2023 11:44 pm
Which is why someone who has a clear vision and lays out initial steps to a vision will have people lining up to to throw themselves at it. The start-up mentality can be boiled down to a person who sees a vision (objectively right, wrong, or gray area) so clearly that their story carries them to the next step. Get a few steps along the path with more and more seemingly smart people starting to see that vision and signing on (objectively right, wrong, or gray area), then the vision becomes a larger company myth that everyone is pursuing. If the company is raking in cash or gathering and maintaining users at an astonishing rate or whatever the metric is then TO THE MOON with the myth because you have external validation that something must be working. The myth is a good way to align everyone on the collective story they tell themselves, their co-workers, their friends and family, the user/customer base. The gotcha with start-ups is that most of them die by suicide (internal politics or equivalent, humans gonna human), not by being out-competed. You have more shots on goal as a repeat founder if you have a large enough bank roll from your family, network, or previous successes. Thus a scaled down version for ERE is to take that hype and belief in an idea, but do it on 1/100000th of the cost. ERE offers potentially many more shots on goal (minus time and aging). It does not mean less impact, just that externalities to the world would likely also be considered if the idea actually scales beyond a esoteric weirdo internet forum. Do this with very little outside influence such as money, power, prestige, and other carrot vectors is the needle that Paul Graham et al. are trying to thread and you have the main ERE takeaways.
I'm pretty sure you can substitute "start-up" with "cult" and the paragraph would remain true.

User avatar
mountainFrugal
Posts: 758
Joined: Fri May 07, 2021 2:26 pm

Re: The Education of Axel Heyst

Post by mountainFrugal »

white belt wrote:
Thu Feb 09, 2023 10:54 pm
I'm pretty sure you can substitute "start-up" with "cult" and the paragraph would remain true.
More or less: https://www.ycombinator.com/blog/dont-s ... -mustache/
YCombinator start-up podcast interviews MMM.

zbigi
Posts: 651
Joined: Fri Oct 30, 2020 2:04 pm

Re: The Education of Axel Heyst

Post by zbigi »

mountainFrugal wrote:
Tue Feb 07, 2023 11:44 pm
The gotcha with start-ups is that most of them die by suicide (internal politics or equivalent, humans gonna human), not by being out-competed.
It's not my experience. One failed startup I've worked at failed because it was a moonshot and the moon (i.e. imagined huge market) just turned out to not be there. Another struggling startup I've worked at was struggling because the revenue, even after 10 years of being a market leader, wasn't super impressive and barely covered the cost of development and operations (and the founders didn't want to to take VC money). The politics at the first company were actually fantastic (it's by far my best employment experience), and and the second one were as meh as at any other place, but no worse.

zbigi
Posts: 651
Joined: Fri Oct 30, 2020 2:04 pm

Re: The Education of Axel Heyst

Post by zbigi »

white belt wrote:
Thu Feb 09, 2023 10:54 pm
I'm pretty sure you can substitute "start-up" with "cult" and the paragraph would remain true.
There's a small difference of startups giving equity to initial employees. So, unlike being in a cult, you'll share some of the success, if it happens. (With the large caveat that the equity dillutions are likely to screw you over anyway).

7Wannabe5
Posts: 8354
Joined: Fri Oct 18, 2013 9:03 am

Re: The Education of Axel Heyst

Post by 7Wannabe5 »

I would note that the semi-Green-discard-market-internet-based lifestyle business that I started with $8000 in the bank and the extra space in my very old dilapidated house managed to support me and my INFP sister/business partner and provide my kids and a couple of their friends with after school jobs for approximately 16 years before S-Curve completely collapsed*. I think maybe the ability to do it once vs the ability to keep doing it again and again is what differentiates G-ladder life-style-business-man (on margin between Renaissance Man and Businessman) from a true L-E ladder Entrepreneur. The guy in the warehouse next to mine who sold kits for growing pot, yelled at his top staff/partners, and did some kind of scam which resulted in mentally-challenged adults being dropped off in a bus to work for him for net zero wages, was a true entrepreneur.

*IOW, you need more than one of these S-Curves to equal the SWR on investment.

Also, your description of your work life reminds me of my experience in relationships. Dead easy just to show up and do the work in front of me. Often a waste of my life-energy to try to do more. You probably would have learned this lesson as it applies to work at an earlier age if you hadn't been home-schooled.

AxelHeyst
Posts: 1518
Joined: Thu Jan 09, 2020 4:55 pm
Contact:

Re: The Education of Axel Heyst

Post by AxelHeyst »

7Wannabe5 wrote:
Fri Feb 10, 2023 2:08 pm
Also, your description of your work life reminds me of my experience in relationships. Dead easy just to show up and do the work in front of me. Often a waste of my life-energy to try to do more. You probably would have learned this lesson as it applies to work at an earlier age if you hadn't been home-schooled.
Oh, interesting! I'm sure there's something to that. On other other hand... I might just be kind of a moron. Hard to say. I really like the things about myself that I attribute to being homeschooled, but there's def. some downsides.

I have (had) a similar approach to being in relationships. My implicit goal was to be the world's best boyfriend. For many years, 90+% of my life energy was putting everything I had in to work and in to my relationship, despite 'getting' little back for my efforts except further opportunities for personal development. (my last relationship being a nice exception). My own personal vision/projects got whatever was left.

DxGF seems to be struggling with this at the moment. She's trying to date, but no one is as perfect as I was. I keep reminding her that the version of me that she experienced was a fastidious simulation of 'perfect bf' based on obsessive observation, study, and testing. It wasn't actually a real person, completely. Arguably, it was a monster. We've decided the kindest thing I can do is visit her and just be a dick to her for a few days.

...

Trying to phrase my above post more concisely:
  • By nature, I have two speeds: GO! and ennui. (As far back as I can remember, which is about 6yo, my state is almost always one of these. Picture a distribution graph. The hours of my life are clustered around either end, with very few hours in the middle. The graph looks like a cartoon dog bone bisected lengthwise.)
  • I think I'm okay with this. I've spent a lot of effort attempting to be different, because I thought I was supposed to be more chill more of the time. Hasn't worked out super great.
  • At any rate, for the time being, I'm going to have a go at living my life in acceptance of this 'fact', and observe how that feels. So far, it feels like coming home after being away for a long time. Need more data though.
  • It's difficult to maintain GO! on someone else's vision. I don't feel GO! for money or other external rewards. I've yet to come across someone else's vision that inspires that level of motivation. My old job was close, but I was forcing it. I'd bang between GO! and ennui rapidly, and used various tactics to numb myself to the peaks and valleys of the experience. I could have done all right there if I could have dialed my state down to something like 'consistent and diligent yet balanced' but, alas, I never could manage it.
  • I suspect that I can maintain GO! for much longer if I'm directing it at my own projects. Not just any random project of mine. I suspect it will take iteration, discipline, experimentation, and some time to find meaningful activity that really hits the spot. The search effort seems worth it.

7Wannabe5
Posts: 8354
Joined: Fri Oct 18, 2013 9:03 am

Re: The Education of Axel Heyst

Post by 7Wannabe5 »

AxelHeyst wrote: I really like the things about myself that I attribute to being homeschooled, but there's def. some downsides.
Oh, don't get me wrong, I am definitely in favor of home-schooling. Many years ago I was the math tutor at a resource center for home-schooled kids, and that was a very good match gig for me. I dropped out of school when I was 14 with unapproved-by-any-adult-authority plan to homeschool myself at the library. I was totally a hippie Mom into breast-feeding, family bed, home-schooling, etc. Interesting note would be that upon reflection I would say that the reason(s) I didn't end up home-schooling my own kids were very akin to the reasons why ERE doesn't immediately work well for all personality types. My son was so introverted I was afraid he would become a complete hermit if home-schooled absent large group of siblings, and my daughter was born too well-socialized (kind of kid who is immediately unaminously voted to be on conflict resolution team) to not want to go to school.

My point was that conventional schooling tends to squash many very bright kids into slacker/underachievers, because they learn very quickly that there is no upside to any performance beyond two standard deviations (max!) My sisters and I learned this lesson by the time we were in the second grade. I just mostly spaced out into independent reading. My second sister, who found herself more persecuted by peers, actually faked being stupid by engaging in behaviors such as purposefully getting a couple problems wrong on math assignments, etc. Luckily, (or not, kind of ruined us) we were shipped off to programs for gifted kids starting in the third grade, but they were kind of the 70s affluent public school equivalent of being employed by an organization like Google which gives its employees 20% time to be creative on own projects. In the 9th grade, we (all the designated gifted kids) were made to attend an assembly in which we were informed that a) we were more likely to commit suicide than other kids, and b) we should personally strive to have many children in order to improve the overall gene pool :shock:

AxelHeyst
Posts: 1518
Joined: Thu Jan 09, 2020 4:55 pm
Contact:

Re: The Education of Axel Heyst

Post by AxelHeyst »

Yesterday was our MMG's first meeting of our fifth cycle. Three of us did 15min introductions to our projects/themes for this cycle.

My ERE MMG theme for this cycle is self-directed hustle.

The lesson learned from last cycle is that overreliance on serendipity can easily lead to too many theoretically desirable activities which is an overall bad thing. I proved that I can make >CoL from serendipitous opportunities, but I learned that I don't really like taking on responsibility for other people's projects (even if they're cool projects) and not having time for my own stuff. Duh! That's kind of the whole premise of freedom-from FIRE.

I also got back in touch with the knowledge that I enjoy hustling. In the same way that I enjoy working out really intensely, I enjoy hustling on projects. I'm using hustle here to point at level of intensity and focus, not anything to do with trying to be really clever about making money. I enjoy being totally focused on something and then dialing up the level of intensity and effort to maximum, and then when appropriate bringing it back down and resting / rejuvenating / etc.

The issue is that I can enjoy hustling on other people's projects only to a certain extent before I risk suffering disillusionment. The other person might make a decision about the direction of the project that I think is kind of dumb, and so I'll feel like my hustle is being wasted. Or I'll just get entangled in intrinsic/extrinsic motivational issues related to compensation, relationship dynamics, etc. It's easy for it to get messy.

So these pieces of experience are leading me to define this cycle's theme as self directed hustle.
  • I will finish all obligations to other people's projects as efficiently as possible, and then say 'no' to all further opportunities.
  • I will spend time developing my own vision and plan, and refine my skill of designing and defining personal projects for me to hustle on. For example, should I do one project at a time, or always have several options to choose from?
  • The broad outline of what I'm psyched to work on involves building out Ft Dirtbag to be the NAI-inspired Mojave Solarpunk experimental stronghold test facility I've always dreamed of, and writing, podcasting, etc about it. The solarpunk infrastructure and the media content production are wrapped up in each other. Do stuff, and talk about it.
  • The other main node-cluster in my WoG is going on trips and having adventures - my PCT section, bikepacking, getting back into climbing, getting involved with local volunteer SAR org, etc.
My previous hunch was that if I just open myself to serendipity I'd generate sufficient income. I was correct that I'd make enough money, but wrong that it'd be a good thing.

My new iteration of that hunch is that if I say no to other people's stuff and allow my inclination towards hustling to feed off of the delight I get from self-directed projects, sufficient income will be an incidental yield. I have about five years of liquid runway to see if the hunch is correct.

AnalyticalEngine
Posts: 778
Joined: Sun Sep 02, 2018 11:57 am

Re: The Education of Axel Heyst

Post by AnalyticalEngine »

Looking forward to seeing how the new direction plays out! Following your own passions instead of other people's ideas can be difficult because it requires a greater leap of faith in your own abilities, but I think it's totally worthwhile to take the plunge. It sounds like you have a solid vision for what you want to accomplish.

AxelHeyst
Posts: 1518
Joined: Thu Jan 09, 2020 4:55 pm
Contact:

Re: The Education of Axel Heyst

Post by AxelHeyst »

I also feel like this is a direction I was not capable of making until now, because it's only recently that I've done the internal work necessary to be able to be 'selfish' enough to get after my own vision. Woof, that sentence needs work. I mean: I had to reach some minimum threshold of self-regard in order to be okay with pursuing my own stuff, and being okay with letting other people be responsible for their stuff.

Upon reflection - a follow-up hunch is that pursuing my own interests reinforces itself. The more I do it, the more I'll get better at it.

7Wannabe5
Posts: 8354
Joined: Fri Oct 18, 2013 9:03 am

Re: The Education of Axel Heyst

Post by 7Wannabe5 »

AxelHeyst wrote:The lesson learned from last cycle is that overreliance on serendipity can easily lead to too many theoretically desirable activities which is an overall bad thing. I proved that I can make >CoL from serendipitous opportunities, but I learned that I don't really like taking on responsibility for other people's projects (even if they're cool projects) and not having time for my own stuff. Duh! That's kind of the whole premise of freedom-from FIRE.
This is almost exactly what happened to me rolling into my second "marriage". I was trying out a Semi-Buddhist "just do the work in front of me' practice, and I ended up spending all of my time doing stuff like hand-sewing all the upholstery for his living room, and helping him with his real estate investment business, rather than working more on my own rare book business and other projects. My emphasis might make me sound bitter, but not the case. he financially compensated me Even-Steven at the time, and I'm actually back to being cuddly good friends with him. It was just lesson that I had to learn about the downside of lapsing too far into my "relaxed feminine" (non-striving, open to the possibilities of the Universe) energy.

AxelHeyst
Posts: 1518
Joined: Thu Jan 09, 2020 4:55 pm
Contact:

Re: The Education of Axel Heyst

Post by AxelHeyst »

Aha! You've inspired the perfect code name for this theme: Masculine Overdrive. ty.

(My first idea was 'Self-directed hustle and flow', but then I googled it and realized hustle and flow is a movie about a pimp who becomes a rapper, so I had to bin it. And then I looked up the synopsis for Maximum Overdrive, which came out the year I was born, and see that it's about machines that come alive and try to kill everyone. Perfect.)

Post Reply