Axel Heyst’s Mastermind Group

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AxelHeyst
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Re: Axel Heyst’s Mastermind Group

Post by AxelHeyst »

Great having you @grundomatic and thanks for the write up.

To add to your point that my role as founder is real but not dominant, once or twice I’ve been unexpectedly absent due to finding myself in a location without internet when I thought it would, unable to even send a “sorry I’m not going to be able to make it” message. The group just carried on and had a solid meeting without me, with one member spontaneously stepping up and doing the very minimal facilitation I usually do. Or so they tell me, I wasn’t there. :P

AxelHeyst
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Re: Axel Heyst’s Mastermind Group

Post by AxelHeyst »

Link to my write up on our last call, which was my deep dive on my Skillathon project design:
viewtopic.php?p=282854#p282854

Western Red Cedar
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Re: Axel Heyst’s Mastermind Group

Post by Western Red Cedar »

I was on the hot seat for the MM call yesterday. Initially I planned to focus on a documentary project I've discussed in my journal. I was hoping to get a little feedback on technical aspects of video editing, as well as feedback on the general approach to a project like this now that I have more free time.

Over the fall of 2023 I interviewed my parents about their experience growing up in the midwest and Europe, meeting in a hostel in Europe, their courtship, raising my sisters in an English cottage, traveling across the states in a VW bus, and ultimately moving to the US to build a log cabin and start a homestead. In addition to the interview footage, I have a couple hundred photos that my mom took from the late 60's through the early 80's documenting some of this. The plan is to layer the interviews on top of the photos, in a Ken Burns style documentary, to tell their story. I partially crafted the questions based on the old photos, with a particular vision for the film.

I've been out of work for almost two months now, and my initial plan was to relax and decompress in Thailand for a month, then find a monthly rental in Vietnam to start working on the film. After arriving in Vietnam, I immediately signed up for a monthly gym membership and have been resumed my lifting routine (push/pull/legs&abs) in the mornings about six days per week. Late mornings are usually spent drinking coffee and analog journaling, reading, video calls with family, and hanging out on the internet. DW and I enjoy a delicious and decadent lunch that lasts an hour or two, then I nap or read or watch a show. We have another delicious dinner and a long walk on the beach after the sun is down before winding down with a movie or more reading in the evening. Occasionally we switch things up with a museum, a day on the beach, or something like that. All this is to say that the days have felt full with a lot of simple pleasures; and I haven't felt particularly compelled to start working on editing the documentary.

In fact, someone pointed out that I used the term "force myself" to work on this a couple times as I was describing the project and my current headspace. After confirming that there is no real deadline for the project, and no real expectations for it, I should take things at my own speed. It hasn't been much time since I finished working, and taking additional time to enjoy my immediate environment is healthy.

However, I also pointed out that this is a pattern that played out in my professional and personal life. Procrastination tied to perfectionism. Based on feedback from the call, I'll be sitting with reflections on how I react to sucking at new tasks/skills.

We talked a bit about how sometimes simply starting small leads to a lot of momentum, so I want to make a commitment to start on some aspect of the editing process in the next month or so. I didn't mention it, but I also felt the same prior to the filming process, and simply sitting down and drafting questions was quite helpful, followed by an initial interview. After the call, I thought about some organizational tasks that sound quite interesting in which I'd be creating a digital storyboard tying the interviews and photos together.

We also talked about another project on my plate, which I'm actually more excited about at the moment. This involves a focus on anatomy and muscular imbalances. I've got some postural issues that I've neglected for a while, likely exacerbated by my time as a desk jockey. This is something DW and I can focus on together.

daylen
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Re: Axel Heyst’s Mastermind Group

Post by daylen »

Posted this in our signal chat after the meet and thought the forum scene might enjoy.

Anatomy and physiology from a systems theoretic perspective:

The body is a collection of cells that replicate and differentiate towards an anatomical attractor or body plan. Each cell is aware of how they fit into this plan. If a cell senses that it is misaligned with the plan then it will communicate this by sending distress signals to nearby cells.

These stress signals propagate through the nervous system converging onto a general discomfort/anxiety level. Self-reflection on this discomfort may perturb the body into alternative routines that disrupt how cells are locally configured. This can be thought of literally as local state transitions from cell solids to cell liquids due to a moderate increase in temperature. Cells are inherently semi-solids / semi-liquids.

The space of possible actions or routines the body can engage in is large. This makes it quite easy to neglect various parts of this space (e.g. shoulder exercises). A small amount of neglect can spiral over several months or years to become severe neglect and even permanent disconfiguration likely accompanied by chronic pain.

On the flip side, staying active across this entire space with a wide range of activities can prolong the active arc of the body over decades.

Different types of cells can exist at different locations along the solid-fluid spectrum. Bone-like cells are more solid and thus have more of a crystalline or rigid structure for gripping neighbors. Muscle cells are like parallel strings or strands that can become entangled or knotted from repetitive movement thus being more fluid-like.

Some simple medical treatments like alternating between hot and cold can be explained from this perspective as triggering locally distressed cells to reconfigure into a lower energy state which is by definition towards the anatomical attractor AKA body plan. Hot cells get confused by all the signaling going on and so may act chaotically. Cold cells get more reliable signalling while settling into place. Alternation of hot and cold is effectively how the body searches for alternate states.

With aging various signalling failures can occur. Cancerous cells for instance mutate to forget they are part of a body. Resulting in them replicating uncontrollably because that's what single-celled organisms do. Other failures include little cellular tribes that are locally confused about their role in the body leading to perpetual misalignment. This is inevitable due to the increased entropy of the body with time from iterated failure to correct compounding mistakes. Only to be corrected by some equally sophisticated system other than the body to intervene.

Not that simple but an interesting perspective to explore. Especially alongside systems theory. Open questions being what does the phase diagram of the body look like and how do body states evolve with age? What are some key dimensions along which cells differentiate? To what extent are cells aware of their neighbors and the current body state as a whole? How much cell signalling is going on anyway and what is the exact relationship to temperature? How does metabolism fit into the picture? Are cold blooded animals more prone to misalignment? Can excessive activity lead to permanent misalignment? Do regular massages help with long term alignment? Etc etc

Also worth noting that cells are continuously being replaced through replication. Though some kinda of cells cannot be replaced like in the heart.

Another note being a certain degree of muscular tone is required to support body postures that align more closely to the ideal body plan. The required amount scales with mass. So elephants require relatively more muscle to maintain bodily posture than a mouse. More massive bodies are also at more risk of injury.

Imbalances of muscle tone throughout the body can also result in more injuries. Especially in the context of competitive sports that may incentivise less common actions.

This perspective can smoothly transition into cooking where cells have lost their electrical charge or membrane potential (i.e. death). Without which they cannot signal distress or navigate towards a body attractor. Heat then serves to break cellular walls and cohesion leading to various suspensions of proteins and browning reactions.

Exercise or activity cycles for the musculoskeletal are akin to psychedelic or cross-paradigm cycles for the brain.

Useful metaphor for both being annealing in metalworking where stresses in the metal are minimized through rapid cooling after a high energy shaping. Changing your mind is difficult because it is hard to get the brain up to "temperature" or "chaos" for long enough to re-anneal into an alternative configuration or world view.

In other words, stresses and their responses are difficult to forget and significantly influence how we experience and act in the world.

Quadalupe
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Re: Axel Heyst’s Mastermind Group

Post by Quadalupe »

MMG #1 v7.0 - CHANGE NOTES

In two weeks we start with iteration 7 (!!) of our MMG. We had a good meeting today to discuss if and what we wanted to change.

Some changes in our mastermind group:
  • Introducing a scribe role: someone will do a (rough) writeup of our talks to share on the forums. This way, we prevent darknetting and everyone can forever profit from our great insights (ahem). Quadalupe will be the scribe for now, except when it's their turn to do a deep dive.
  • Reinstate accountability for who wants it: Group members want various levels of accountability for their goals and mastermind group projects.
    We discussed and picked two options (for now):
    • We created a sheet where members can record what they have worked on and want to work on next fortnight.
    • Certain members will get pinged/harrassed/texted by other members to check in with them and keep them accountable.
    We also wanted to keep the MMG a fun and safe space. A second order effect we DON'T want is to put to much pressure on people so that they'll only pick easy goals or disengage from the group. Accountability is a tool, not a goal in itself.
  • Bookclub on the forum: We want to sometimes read books and discuss them, but will experiment with having those discussions on the forum instead of in a meeting. This can lead to more insights and more people can benefit from them.
  • Some deep dives or special sessions can be ERE theory crafting: since we are all ERE nerds, we sometimes want to talk and experiment more with some concepts like WoGs, fishbones and other things we haven't thought of. Doing this interactively, with paint, paper and powerpoint can help to gain more clarity. The results can be shared on the forum.

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grundomatic
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Re: Axel Heyst’s Mastermind Group

Post by grundomatic »

Quadalupe wrote:
Sun Jun 09, 2024 10:42 am
[*]Bookclub on the forum: We want to sometimes read books and discuss them, but will experiment with having those discussions on the forum instead of in a meeting. This can lead to more insights and more people can benefit from them.
Our MMG decided to take something of a summer break, and some of us decided to do a book club in the meantime, reading Reinventing Organizations by Frederic Laloux, planning to discuss it sometime in July. I don't know whether they would want to move it to the forum for text-based discussion, but maybe some of you would like to join us? Maybe we can open it up for others on the forum to join us like I did for the Spiral Dynamics book discussion?

AxelHeyst
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Re: Axel Heyst’s Mastermind Group

Post by AxelHeyst »

MMG #1 v7.1: BEAST MODE

Last Sunday Quadalupe had a deep dive on the topic of "becoming a fit beast".

Quadalupe is in decent shape and a healthy weight, regularly rides bicycles and boulders (and is capable of dawn ascents of Tuolumne trad climbs, I happen to know as a point of fact...) but wants to level up his fitness game. When pressed on his "why", he came back to the idea of wanting to possess the quiet confidence that comes from possessing a high level of strength, endurance, mobility, functional fitness, and the resilience of mind that comes from *knowing* one can do hard physical things.

Further reasons for putting attention to this are that he's 33 and 'getting in shape' is only going to get harder so time is of the essence to lay in a solid physical foundation, and that high fitness is a no-brainer for the Renaissance Ideal. He also channeled an Existential Kink concept, which is that you don't need a rational reason to want something. He wants to be jacked because he wants it, and that's a good enough reason.

He also shared a recent experience where a group of people were doing a difficult physical thing as part of a training program, and they struggled to accomplish the objective well. Not being able to 'win' at the exercise felt bad.

It was a lively discussion because a few other members have been training consistently for some time, and the rest are also in the early phases of pursuing similar fitness goals.

Find people who have what you want to have, and figure out what they do. Take with a grain of salt, because a noob shouldn't blindly copy an elite athlete's program. But they should pay attention to what philosophies of training they do, what their nutrition is like, what their attitude/vibe is, how many hours/wk they train, and the like to get a sense of what it's going to take to approach their level.

One thing you'll notice of advanced athletes is that they've done their homework. They've put in the time to understand training science, nutrition, the history of their discipline, the controversies and opinions that still exist. They also invest a lot of time into skill work, into obsessing over correct form and efficient use of training effort.

If you're just trying to be in decent shape or get ripped for the beach, this level of effort isn't necessary. But for what Quadalupe is interested in, he should view studying and gathering information and skills as an integral part of what he is doing. "Just tell me what to do and I'll do it" will not suffice for his goals.

Quadalupe learns by being shown the correct physical form - it's difficult for him to see someone else do something and copy it. He needs someone to literally e.g. adjust his shoulder and put his body in the right position - and then he gets it. So in particular it seems that investing money in in-person training will pay dividends for him to lay solid skill and form foundations. But also in general we discussed how it's probably an error to be too miserly with respect to booting up a functional fitness system.

A smattering of other thoughts:
  • Start taking measurements now, including pictures. He'll find what metrics he cares about as he goes, but it's better to have as much "before" data as possible. You can't go back and see what you looked like/measured as in the past.
  • Review the VO2-max thread. There's gold in there.
  • The point isn't necessarily to have fun. The point is to make progress. The attitude must be that progress is 'fun' or worth it or fulfilling satisfying.
  • Quadalupe *wants* to push himself, not to play pattycake with himself.
  • Especially at the beginning, unlocking consistency is the most important thing. The perfect routine will fail if it isn't actually done.
  • Ideas for incorporating training into daily life: race bike to work, ruck to work once/wk, etc.
References:
nutrition book: renaissance diet 2.0, https://www.amazon.com/Renaissance-Diet ... 1782551905
Crossfit people
David Goggins
SF Training programs, eg https://sofprepcoach.com/how-to-build-t ... selection/
https://mennohenselmans.com/the-myth-of ... ybuilders/
This rowing forum thread outlines the model about how to prioritize fitness systems related to rowing: https://www.c2forum.com/viewtopic.php?t=97495
Strength and power goals for competitive rowers - https://www.researchgate.net/publicatio ... ive_Rowers

As a result of the discussion we started a new training signal channel for our mmg that functions mostly as an accountability group ("I did all my workouts this week") as well as bragging/encouragement.

AxelHeyst
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Re: Axel Heyst’s Mastermind Group

Post by AxelHeyst »

grundomatic wrote:
Sun Jun 09, 2024 7:45 pm
Our MMG decided to take something of a summer break, and some of us decided to do a book club in the meantime, reading Reinventing Organizations by Frederic Laloux, planning to discuss it sometime in July. I don't know whether they would want to move it to the forum for text-based discussion, but maybe some of you would like to join us? Maybe we can open it up for others on the forum to join us like I did for the Spiral Dynamics book discussion?
Sounds good to me! Lead and (some of us) will follow.

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grundomatic
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Re: Axel Heyst’s Mastermind Group

Post by grundomatic »


Quadalupe
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Re: Axel Heyst’s Mastermind Group

Post by Quadalupe »

MMG #1 v7.2: WoG Writings

AxelHeyst was in the hot seat for the meeting on 2024-07-07. He is writing a book, and we talked about a draft of the book we read. We specifically discussed the chapter about systems thinking. Since we talked about a lot of things, I'll summarize it per subject.

The intended audience: people like himself in his younger years and people in sustainability focused professions dealing with disillusionment or doubt. They already have the ERE/post consumerism dots, but have not yet connected them.

Distribution: AH is not yet sure on how to distribute it. He could sell it on amazon, give it away for free on his site or create a more deluxe hardcopy ecological friendly version. His (zeroth order) goal isn't to make money, but to reach as much people as possible. One suggestion was to do multiple strategies, but spaced out through time. After selling it on amazon for a month, he could lower the price and/or give it away for free to increase market penetration. The group suggested looking at Paul Millerd, who wrote extensively about self publishing (https://pathlesspath.com/selfpublishinglessons/, https://pathlesspath.com/blog-to-book/). They also suggested looking at how to get it on Libby or other library apps for more mass appeal.

Writing style: the setup for the book is AH traveling back in time and talking to himself. This is a cool and unconventional literary device. The group found it sometimes difficult to understand immediately if with was Current AH (CA) or Past HA (PA) talking. They also thought that focusing more on the 'fiction' part, using "show, don't tell" to get the concepts across. A suggested book was Edward Bellamy's book Looking Backward: 2000–1887.

Feedback process: the group suggested that it might be good to get more feedback from non ERE people, to get more relevant feedback.

Content: the group really liked the book/chapter! The chapter on systems thinking is nicely paced. It starts with 'decomposition', an introduction into reverse fishboning. Then there is a part about 'reassembly', creating a WoG. The last part is about 'Resilient Lifestyle Design', looking at system dynamics of your WoG.

This chapter is kind of like the 'workbook' to the 'textbook' that is Chapter 5 of Jacob's book. It has slower pacing and more examples, which can be suited to people with different learning styles or who struggle with the concepts.

Some feedback on this chapter was:
- in the 'reassembly' part, the focus is mostly on $$$. It is interesting to also explicitely include other stocks in the WoG.
- the chapter focusses more on preventing negatives instead of enabling positives. The first is important, the second might have more allure. Having a well designed WoG gives you time and opportunity for various adventures. In other parts of the book this 'freedom to' angle is more explored.
- the group suggested that writing more about self-directing/goal setting/knowing what you want might also be benificial. For a lot of people the 'to' in 'freedom to' can be difficult to know/discover.

Deadlines: the group was somewhat mixed on this. Part of the group felt that a deadline could help AH to stop tinkering with already 'good enough' parts and release the book to get feedback from the intended audience. Another part of the group felt that an artificial deadline was unnecessary given the strong motivation and workethic of AH. It even could lead to a subpar product.

AH's take: he will rewrite some parts of the book to make it more of a story and less of a textbook. He will rewrite the chapter on systems thinking based on the feedback of the group and add the 'freedom to' part here to. He will also write a chapter on the discovery of wants (as opposed to a priori *knowing* what you want). Finally, he will think about if he wants deadlines and what they should entail.

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