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comment by Raemon · 2017-09-25T19:24:43.155Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

This piece was quite good, and seems to do two different things that are independently valuable:

1. Help people who are at step zero get a handle on what is even happening that's worth exploring

2. Give a concrete tool to people who already have a rough idea of how to manage state of how to manage it better.

At some point it might be worth having a separate canonical blogpost for each of those, since people who need help with step 1 may not be ready for step 2.

Replies from: Chris_Leong, Conor Moreton
comment by Chris_Leong · 2017-10-03T08:55:10.075Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Seconding the advantages of splitting this post in two eventually so that both of these useful ideas have canonical blog posts.

comment by Conor Moreton · 2017-09-26T06:21:35.357Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Thanks! Do you have any particular thoughts on where expansion would be productive rather than redundant?

Replies from: Raemon, Rossin
comment by Raemon · 2017-09-28T03:35:31.258Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I think it could basically be split in two. At the point where you have a "* * *", you could instead have a final paragraph crystalizing what you mean by the induce-a-state skill, and give some tips for how to practice it.

Then, have another article starting with thee second half of this post, that opens with a paragraph to the effect of "last time I talked about Inducing a State [link]. This time I'd like to take that deeper..."

comment by Rossin · 2017-09-26T07:04:00.889Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I'm not Raemon, but elaborating on using Gendlin's Focusing to find catalysts might be helpful. Shifting emotional states is very natural to me-I used to find it strange that other people couldn't cry on demand-and when I read Focusing I realized that his notion of a "handle" to a feeling is basically what I use to get myself to shift into a different emotional state. Finding the whole "bodily" sense of the emotion lets you get back there easily, I find.

comment by magfrump · 2017-09-25T17:44:09.423Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

This is probably as good a place as any to say: Thanks for doing this writing project! It's definitely a necessary part of making this space good, especially right now when very few people are actively writing.

Replies from: Conor Moreton
comment by Conor Moreton · 2017-09-26T06:22:16.698Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Thanks very much for the appreciation. It's win-win for me ... I've been looking for something to spur me to actually get writing done, and I was hoping it would have the effect of helping the LW2.0 project at the same time.

comment by drethelin · 2018-01-18T08:18:57.906Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I think a relevant factor is that people are fully capable of switching the frame from counting up to counting down depending on how they want to spin something. It's not just a case of "People have personalities where they naturally count up/down", but more that people can (if unreliably) acccess either viewpoint when convenient.

comment by Dr_Manhattan · 2017-09-27T17:03:00.498Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Thanks for the post. I've already noticed that certain decisions, while being rational conclusions of impartial analysis, are easier to implement in a certain emotional state, and having made the decision I've had trouble acting on it when the state was absent. This post suggest that the state can be saved and re-loaded, which is awesome if it works.

Replies from: Conor Moreton
comment by Conor Moreton · 2017-09-27T17:19:14.422Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Note that if initial attempts to do this fail, or partially fail, that doesn't mean "give up." I claim this is a skill that improves with practice. I heard a (possibly apocryphal) story one time about Andrew Critch (former Jane Street mathematician/trader, CFAR instructor, MIRI researcher, founder of Berkeley Existential Risk Institute) doing something analogous with thorny math problems—in the story, he would do something like establish a clear felt sense of the taste of the part of the problem he was working on before pausing to go to sleep or eat food or whatever, so that he could reboot back into the problem without too much effort.

Similarly, I find that when I write, it's often valuable to pick up the thread two or three paragraphs above where I left off. I hit return a few times, start retyping what I wrote previously word for word, and after a couple paragraphs I'm back into the flow and I remember why I wrote those paragraphs and what it felt like and I have a visceral sense of where-to-go-next that I wouldn't have had if I tried to start cold.

Try things! Don't give up until you've proven that this is a skill you can't gain. =)

(not really, of course—tradeoffs, prioritization, Pareto curves, yadda yadda)
Replies from: Dr_Manhattan
comment by Dr_Manhattan · 2017-09-27T18:12:43.791Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Duly updated on worthwhileness of trying harder here :). Interesting story from Andrew (know him). I do what you do with writing for reading, doing if for writing is a great tip, thanks.

Another thing that might be interesting to try is creating associations to "states" memory-palace style. I'm an audiobook fiend and I noticed that places I walk in Manhattan often remind me of the exact place and feeling of the book I listened too there. Maybe this can be leveraged to proactively bookmark states.

comment by abstractwhiz · 2018-01-23T01:34:47.088Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

This seems to be the underlying model for a techniquelet I've used with varying degrees of success. Basically after being extremely productive, I try to memorize the way it felt when I was doing it. That way when I need to be productive in a similar situation, I can try to become that version of me again. I've found this often gets me better results than trying to duplicate the environment that led to the original burst of productivity, since ultimately the only point of that is to invoke this state anyway.

Caveat: The base rate of success in this situation is pretty mediocre. The times when it most consistently works is when I use the memorized feeling of being highly productive to motivate performing a series of actions that basically begin an avalanche, and after a while flow kicks in.

comment by mothlight · 2017-09-30T10:48:55.569Z · LW(p) · GW(p)
 Agentyduck has "Mental Postures" which points to a similar .
Replies from: Chris_Leong, mothlight
comment by Chris_Leong · 2017-10-03T09:03:00.414Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

This comment needs editing.

I added a link to the blog post. Here is an extract:

There are a lot of ways to gain control over your mental posture. Changing your environment will often do it. You can become less distracted, for example, by reducing external stimuli (turning off the television, drawing the blinds, and so forth). You can change your physical posture: Take a deep breath and relax your body as you exhale. Did your mind relax? You can alter your mind's biochemical substrate with drugs, food, exercise, and sleep. You can use urge propagation. Or you can use imagination: For the next twenty seconds, close your eyes and remember as vividly as possible a recent time when you felt joyous. (I'll wait.) Can you see a little bit of a joyous cast, now, as you read on?


And then I began to practice the introductory version of my kata.

  • Simulate confusion vividly enough to actually feel it and notice it as confusion

  • In accordance with the trigger-action plan, activate curiosity propagator

  • Let whatever results from the propagator begin a brief meditation on curiosity

comment by mothlight · 2017-09-30T10:52:03.634Z · LW(p) · GW(p)