Sunday, November 23, 2008

Mindless Repetition

Every so often, one may see some quote that inspires one and draw considerable motivation from it. Examples might be,
"Make gradual progress and never stop"
"Don't let your emotions control you; they're not the boss of you".
One remembers them, and repeats them—and they quickly lose their meaning. One slips back into the irrationality that the quote initially solved.

Irrationalities are hard to eradicate. They're not much easier to alleviate. Be careful when you think you have solved an irrationality; you almost certainly haven't.

Quotes from


  1. Only if you rely on just that quote to motivate you. If you think about the idea the quote is talking about and focus on that and internalizing than, then the quote shouldn't matter after a while.


  2. This is why one needs to learn more than a single quote in order to get rid of an irrationality. One needs to learn about it more in-depth, and internalise it, and think about how it applies in lots of different situations, and know arguments against it and their refutations. When you have a quote that sums it up like that, you have to consider all of these things, or you'll forget and it'll 'lose its effect'.
    This link explains that there is no 'magic bullet' to doing stuff like this. There's no mechanical method you can implement unthinkingly. There's no shortcut to knowledge.

    Rihatsu said, "Be careful when you think you have solved an irrationality; you almost certainly haven't."

    I don't think this is precisely accurate. First of all, different people have different ability to judge whether they've solved an irrationality. Some people are bad at it and think they've solved it as soon as they recognise it and say 'oh, I just won't do that'. Some people have high standards, and only think they've solved it when they actually have.

    Second, strictly speaking it's not probability. It's not that there's a degree of certainty; there's a *reason* you may not have solved it.

    Also, I suspect that this 'motivation' stuff might be another way memes try to make you feel bad about doing good things. "I don't wanna, I'm not motivated enough" is common. It's just a feeling. Screw it. Push through it and you'll *get* motivated, focussed, creative -- whatever is needed to engage with the thing you're doing -- you don't have to wait until you're motivated to start.