Leveling IRL - followup

post by cousin_it · 2011-09-14T22:45:01.362Z · score: 13 (15 votes) · LW · GW · Legacy · 11 comments

I have finally achieved level 1, so I can talk about these things again!

It seems that our concept of leveling conflated two different ideas of self-improvement that should've been kept separate. The first idea is about trying out new things, like making pancakes, solving a trivial programming problem or playing the intro to "Smoke on the Water". Trying out new things is a lot of fun, but as many commenters have noted, it doesn't necessarily give you a long-term upgrade. (NB to everyone who considers me a strong rationalist: you'd change your opinion if you saw my pancakes!) 

The second idea is about establishing habits of practice. Some goals force you to set up a daily routine before you can achieve them. In retrospect, that daily routine always turns out to have been the main thing of value, and the actual result is almost an afterthought. For example, my routine over the last several months has looked like this: cold shower every day, jump-rope workout and drum practice every weekday, strength training twice a week, travel every weekend. Once you get into the groove, you don't wanna get out.

So maybe instead of designing level 2 we could somehow incentivize each other to pick up (and keep) rigorous habits, e.g. write N words every day without exception? Any ideas?

11 comments

Comments sorted by top scores.

comment by Will_Newsome · 2011-09-15T00:29:11.593Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

I've noticed that if I decide for myself that something is supposed to be a test then it provides some positive motivation, but if I intuit that someone is trying to manipulate that part of me by suggesting a test then there are parts of me that react violently (so to speak) and my motivation drops to zero and I basically stop caring about the test subject entirely, I suppose as a strong signal that I am not so easily manipulated. I suspect this isn't uncommon. Just something to watch out for.

comment by JAlfredPrufrock · 2011-09-15T03:34:25.170Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Wrt strength and endurance, what do you think about fitocracy?

I only know about from xkcd, but this seems already set up to have physical goals for leveling up explicit in the design.

comment by cousin_it · 2011-09-15T07:13:56.931Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Never heard of it. The idea seems fine. But my own chances of keeping or dropping a habit seem to be independent of whether I keep a written log.

comment by pewpewlasergun · 2011-09-15T02:22:36.523Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

In the previous post it was suggested that to be Level 1 you should be able to do any of the Level 1 tests at any time. Perhaps have a quarterly testing schedule, with the date chosen at random? Post a table for each of the attributes showing Levels and actions, and have something like you can consider yourself a level X if you do at least Y actions at that level.

This would encourage building habits rather than ramping up for a week or two and testing yourself, like one-and-done leveling does, as you would have to be ready for a test at any time. If it works how I hope it would, you feel like you're steadily grinding your way up over the months/year.

One thing I'd like to strongly suggest is avoiding any task that requires special equipment a significant portion of the less wrong readership may not have easy access to. Unless you're in college or already belong to a gym, it would cost around 150$ (gym activation fee and a month or two of membership) to do the level 1 tasks.

comment by cousin_it · 2011-09-15T07:30:09.077Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

At this point I'm wondering if we should just skip the tests and incentivize the habits directly. There seem to be one or two awesome exercises in each area that are almost guaranteed to make you better if you do them regularly. Such exercises can be pretty hard to find, though. In particular, I'd be really interested to find an exercise for "social stuff" that was as good as Project Euler or jumping rope.

comment by [deleted] · 2011-09-15T02:17:06.089Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

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comment by cousin_it · 2011-09-15T07:08:08.599Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Several minutes of 8 on a hand, then several minutes of paradiddle, all with a metronome. Then some random free playing.

comment by [deleted] · 2011-09-15T12:57:30.865Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

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comment by cousin_it · 2011-09-15T13:19:09.562Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Don't know, I just kind of stop when I'm tired... My level is still pretty low though, maybe that's why I can get improvements from such simple exercises.

comment by [deleted] · 2011-09-15T13:26:38.006Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

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comment by cousin_it · 2011-09-15T13:30:38.211Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

(Sorry for editing.) No, will try!