Comment by alasarod on Working hurts less than procrastinating, we fear the twinge of starting · 2011-01-02T17:39:51.298Z · score: 9 (9 votes) · LW · GW

I'm on board but frame it differently.

Here's my frame:

That twinge is something like anxiety. Consider this: for some the same task could be fun that for others is working. Why do you feel a twinge for a particular task? Because there's something at stake. So there's fear. And what's funny is the task itself doesn't even have to be the one you fear. It only has to be associatively related. For example, I might avoid the usually fun task of checking my e-mail because of a difficult one I keep putting off writing. (This is called Relational Frame Theory.) Or, put off an only slightly uncomfortable work task because it connects to a larger one that scares me.

"Reading internet articles" is avoidance.

There are many tricks. Fear is is a wall 1000 miles wide and a mile high, but only tissue paper thin. A la Harry Potter running through the brick wall to the train station.

The trouble can be even recognizing that you're doing it -- avoiding. Mindfulness & meditation have been helpful for me, but a lot of things can do it. Beating yourself up, making lists, and dopamine-fueled planning seem reasonable until they don't work for the 1000th time.

Comment by alasarod on Too busy to think about life · 2010-04-25T23:07:10.901Z · score: 5 (5 votes) · LW · GW

I recently did this for "career" specifically and I'd like to share it. It's not well written but that's not a problem. If I applied a critical lens I'd lose a lot. My next domain is friendships: What kind of friend do I want to be?

Anyone else care to share their equivalent for work? I find it does help me to hear how others phrase their values and understand meaning in their life.

  1. I want my work to be important and the things I do on a daily basis to contribute to a goal. I want to work for a business that I respect and that is a positive contribution to society. I want work that is intellectually stimulating.
  1. a. I want to work in an environment that rewards hard work and where there is room to grow, both personally and professionally. I would like to work in a job where continued education and learning pays off.

  2. b I would like to work in a place that treats its employees fairly and like adults, values results, and doesn’t breathe down my neck.

  3. I would like to work in a cooperative environment. I want to learn from my coworkers. I want to be respectful and professional when needed but share parts of my life with my coworkers.

  4. At work I would like to do my fair share as well as help others when they need it. I want to be reliable. I want to be willing to admit when I’ve made a mistake so accomplishing goals is the highest priority. I want to take pride in my work and work efficiently. I want work that is something that I am good at.

Comment by alasarod on The Fundamental Question · 2010-04-22T03:27:27.552Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

You're right on both accounts. I admit I'm new to commenting on LW. It's intimidating but I've decided to learn from practice rather than observation. Thanks for the input!

Comment by alasarod on The Fundamental Question · 2010-04-21T16:50:24.890Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

I'm sorry to do this because I'm sure it's off topic, but Tim Minchin (comedian) just did a 10 minute piece that will make skeptic that's had to sit through exchanges about auras, and magic, and how science is "just a theory too," just holler.

Isn't this enough? Just this world?

Comment by alasarod on The Fundamental Question · 2010-04-20T13:45:52.041Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Why explore a more mainstream business? I could go on and on and on, but sorry -- time to write the help file.)


It's possible to feel meaning without those questions having a final answer. As in, those whys really can string on indefinitely, but when I'm involved in a task, the meaning can be apparent to me, but not in a way that language captures.

I'm not satisfied with the answer that a hidden, higher-order goal or a secondary reinforcer is at work here. I think the action of carrying out a meaningful task has meaning in itself, not something that terminates in a final "because."

Is this clumsy of me to say? I honestly don't know what value this community would place on a claim that starts with "language is unable to capture it" - sounds pretty fishy, no? Am I just giving too much credit to what is really a preference?

Comment by alasarod on Attention Lurkers: Please say hi · 2010-04-19T20:38:09.585Z · score: 8 (8 votes) · LW · GW

thinks everyone here are robots or soulless automatons because of the lack of respect for intuition.

A coworker was telling me that the law of conservation of energy means that the energy in our soul cannot disappear, only move.

I explained that the law includes that energy can transform, and that when we die, the "energy in our soul" serves to warm the panels of our coffin.

We haven't talked about it since.

Comment by alasarod on Attention Lurkers: Please say hi · 2010-04-19T05:12:36.416Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

I see a lot of karma etiquette talk here. Are there guidelines for awarding karma points?

One issue comes to mind - the popularity sort combined with the fact that many people often only read the first few comments on any blog.

Comment by alasarod on Attention Lurkers: Please say hi · 2010-04-19T05:09:53.375Z · score: -2 (4 votes) · LW · GW

Oh snap!

Comment by alasarod on Attention Lurkers: Please say hi · 2010-04-19T05:05:50.769Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Or should that be "decreasingly inclined to"? Or are they equivalent? (See, this is why I don't post much.)


Comment by alasarod on Attention Lurkers: Please say hi · 2010-04-19T04:58:46.702Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

You sound a little too confident when you say "In order." Oughtn't you hedge that statement?? :)

And hi.

Comment by alasarod on The many faces of status · 2010-04-18T18:27:20.091Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Calvin and Hobbes on status

Comment by alasarod on Ugh fields · 2010-04-14T23:21:12.812Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

The subtlety with the Ugh Field is that the flinch occurs before you start to consciously think about how to deal with the Unhappy Thing, meaning that you never deal with it, and you don't even have the option of dealing with it in the normal run of things. I find it frightening that my lizard brain could implicitly be making life decisions for me, without even asking my permission!

Relational frame theory is a theory of language cognition that attempts to explain this. The basic idea is that we form associations between thoughts, and when we think of an element in a relational network with another element that causes a painful emotional reaction (shaped as you describe), we have that flinch, even if the element we think we are reacting to is benign. And as you describe, this can lead to behavioral avoidance.

I'm currently in acceptance and commitment therapy which teaches you how to distance yourself from those thoughts and see them as language (and not the proverbial "tiger in the bush"). I'm not proselytizing (one of the more distasteful inclinations of a therapy patient), nor describing it in enough detail to be therapeutic, but I've found it much more helpful than straight cognitive or positive therapy.

Comment by alasarod on Open Thread: April 2010 · 2010-04-01T23:54:18.081Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

I took it for at least 8 weeks, primarily on weekdays. I found after a while that I was waking up at 4am, sometimes unable to get back to sleep. I had some night sweats too. May not be a normal response, but I found that if I take it in moderation it does not have these effects.