🧠 Why I write

If you don’t use tools to make sure your actions are aligned with your long-term goals, you’ll get off course in no time. Sure, you’ll still be moving. But you won’t make any progress towards goals you care about.

Sounds trivial and I’d heard it a thousand times. But something about the way Sebastian Marshall framed it made it click for me for the first time ever. His writing kicked me in the butt and catapulted me out of sleepwalker mode.

I’ve been converted. Now I’m using spreadsheets religiously to track my daily progress and how I spend my time.

I had a similar experience when I tried to understand quantum field theory. After reading several books I certainly knew all the techniques and equations. But I didn’t truly understand them. I hadn’t internalized them. Luckily I then came across Robert Klauber’s Student Friendly Quantum Field Theory and everything fell into place.

Robert didn’t invent Quantum Field Theory, Sebastian didn’t invent spreadsheet-driven personal productivity. Instead all the value is in how they frame existing ideas.

I’m certainly not the first person to make this observation. But I’m writing it down because my framing might be exactly what you need right now, just as I needed Robert’s and Sebastian’s framing.

But to be totally honest, this is not my primary motivation. I write because it’s therapeutic. Getting ideas out of my head onto the screen, makes room for new ones. I have no idea how and why it works, but it does.

There’s also a third reason: writing is proof of work and brings like-minded people into your life.

Everyone can say they care about a topic, that they’re open-minded, or that intellectual honesty matters to them. Everyone can put “Contrarian Thinker” in their Twitter bio. But these are just empty words and I don’t pay any attention.

However, when I’m reading someone’s writing, I can sense immediately what he truly cares about. Even if I’m not learning anything new, I can see if he’s wrestled with the concepts, whether he tried to incorporate them into his life.

Each piece of writing you put online is like a personal little Bat-Signal that brings interesting people into your life. That alone makes it totally worth it.

Written on May 30, 2021

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