Thoughts on how to be exceptional by Sigil Wen on Oct 2nd, 2022. Updated on Nov 13th, 2022
And most importantly to caveat everything, To be exceptional you need to make exceptions. There's a limited amount of things you can choose in your life and every decision sacrifices something. First is realizing you have more agency than you think, then it’s intentionally choosing the exceptions you want to make!
- Understand Mimetic Desire- avoid echo-chamber environments and groupthink, the biggest limiter of human potential. Challenge the "Mimetic Truths" of that bubble by diversifying environments and independent thought.
- Leverage mimetic desire to your advantage. You are the average of your 5 closest peers. The average of 5 highly driven builders is a great builder.
- Stop caring what people think. Be selective of those whose thoughts you care about. Internal validation cures the need for validation from others.
- Learn to think Independently. Independent thought comes from first principles thinking, independent reflection, curiosity-driven learning, and an intentional information diet.
- Incredible minds build incredible infromation diets. Pursue your natural curiosity with blistering intensity.
- Protect your mind from the Attention Economy. Behind TikTok, Instagram, Media, and YouTube are a thousand silicon valley engineers economically incentivized to addict you to the app. If you do use these apps, block feeds, and maintain a great creation-to-consumption ratio. You can program the recommendation algorithms in your favor.
- Don't conflate schooling with education. The fact that many people can pass a course implies classes are designed for the lowest common denominator. Break free through directed learning supplied with smart people who can answer your questions. These very well might be the students who've taken the course.
- Everything falls under power law distributions. Being first often rewards 10000X more than being second. Everyone knows Usain Bolt, not the "Second fastest man in the world".
- Because many things are winner takes all, once you figure out what is the right thing to work on, pursue it with determination and blistering intensity.
- If you don’t know what to work on. Learn technology, and seek an understanding of what the future looks like. Is that default future one that you want to live in? What could you do to shape it to be better?
- Diversifying focus is a hedge against your own success.
- Perceived risk is often greater than actual risk. The only risk is not taking the chance forward. Often people live in their worst-case scenarios, limited by their fear.
- "It’s becoming easier and easier to be social, but exceptional people are built in solitude" - Naval Ravikant
- Serendipity (1/2): In an era where you can reach anyone you want over email, what matters most isn't your first impression. Keep showing up, consistently, better than before. That's how you catch the eyes of the most exceptional people.
- Serendipity (2/2): Authentically update important relationships when you have made meaningful progress (Proof of Work). An email, text, or Twitter DM increases the likelihood that they think about you by a couple of standard deviations.
- Everyone is human. Peer Relationships > Hierarchical Pedastalling
- Ask for what you want
- We tend to regret the things we don't do rather than the things we do