Posts

Motivation and Merciless Commitment Contracts 2013-08-08T00:27:43.472Z · score: 5 (8 votes)

Comments

Comment by peirce on Motivation and Merciless Commitment Contracts · 2013-08-09T19:17:54.705Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

And if you say they should work all the more so the poorer you are, because then you'll have more to lose -- well, I don't want to say "check your privilege", but... check your privilege.)

Sorry I don't quite understand what you mean by "check your privilege" and how that constitutes a counter argument to the idea that commitment contracts should work all the more so if you are poorer. Could you explain?

Simply put, one's willingness to engage in this sort of contract signals that you have the money needed to not really feel the loss, and a general lack of awareness of how much it sucks to actually feel the loss.

I don't quite understand what you means here. I've always thought that commitment contracts work for me because I'm generally aware that losing money sucks, and when I lose money I can't spend it on other things.

I agree that in some situations where you have very little money financial commitment contracts may not be the best idea. What do you think about commitment contracts that are based on social incentives rather than financial ones? or any other kind of commitment contract that isn't based around money? eg. http://aherk.com/

Comment by peirce on Motivation and Merciless Commitment Contracts · 2013-08-08T15:46:46.589Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Some responses seem to be saying that a better tactic would be to train social confidence by performing smaller more manageable actions/ goals rather than aiming for insanely high goals in a very short time span. For example if you create with a graded heirarchy of situations/ actions which induce social anxiety, then you can start by performing the actions that you have rated the lowest, and once you feel comfortable with those actions, work your way up.

This is the approach I've been using so far. For me the method has been working ok, but the main problem I've found with it is that it takes a hell of a lot of time to work through the graded heirarchy to the items towards the top of the list. This is why I'm considering the idea of just starting with the insane goals. If you can do the hardest goals straight of, then it seems that you don't need to waste time with the easier goals. The hardest goals will take a lot more motivation though, and this is where the huge commitment contracts come in.

I'm pretty confident that after doing stuff like that for say, a whole week, I would have enough social confidence for almost all normal purposes, and social confidence would no longer be a problem in my life.

Why do you believe this is true?

Good question. The reading that I've done around this is mostly limited to basic books on Cognitive Behavioural Therapy. I can't site many specifics, but from what I've read so far the idea that if you force yourself into a situation, and keep yourself in that situation until your anxiety level diminishes by around half, then the next time that you are faced with the situation it will cause you less social anxiety. So far this correlates with my experience for situations that cause low or medium levels of anxiety, but I haven't actually tried it for situations which cause huge amounts of anxiety.

Some comments have recommended seeing a professional. Really, for me this is more of a self improvement project rather than me trying to tackle an anxiety disorder. My social confidence I think is probably if anything above average, but It is still something to have more of. Professional help in a project like this would probably be useful, but my understanding is that professional help is expensive.

Comment by peirce on Motivation and Merciless Commitment Contracts · 2013-08-08T15:18:32.140Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I've considered it, but having more social confidence at least in the way I've been using the term in this post, seems to me to be generally a good thing. I recognise that it is not good to be overly confident in your abilities to the point that you are unrealistic and delusional about them. But I'm more talking about training the ability to engage is social situations which you find uncomfortable, and I see type of social confidence as generally a good thing because it opens up your options more, and means that social fear acts as a smaller constraint on your actions.

Comment by peirce on Motivation and Merciless Commitment Contracts · 2013-08-08T09:13:22.241Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Thanks very much

Comment by peirce on Motivation and Merciless Commitment Contracts · 2013-08-08T08:57:44.593Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Ok thanks for the heads up. I tried to change the formatting, but I've either made it worse or nothing has changed. How could I go about reformatting the post? Sorry from the not very computer literate.

Comment by peirce on Welcome to Less Wrong! (6th thread, July 2013) · 2013-08-05T18:58:26.037Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

Hi, I first found this a while back site after googling something like "how to not procrastinate" and finding one of Eliezer's articles. I've been slowly working may way through the sequences ever since, and i think they are significantly changing my life.

I'm very interested in self improvement/ instrumental rationality type stuff. I've been using this summer to experiment with various projects: learning mediation, learning about different types of therapy to systematically overcome fears, learning about biases and some other stuff.. I'm currently messing around with a productivity/ organisation system whereby I allocate point to myself for good behaviours and deduct points for bad behaviours, and either give myself a reward or pay a penalty as part of a commitment contract depending on how many points I've scored (sometimes my self-improvement ideas get a bit obsessive..)

I've just finished secondary education, which was a mess, and so i'm now quite excited to have more control over my own learning. I've been very interested in rationality since I was young, and have been passionate about philosophy because of this. Though, after getting into this site i've been reading some pretty damaging criticisms of the study of philosophy (at least traditional philosophy and the content that seems to be taught in most universities), and now i'm beginning to question whether i'm really interested in philosophy, and if it is valuable to study, or whether what i'm really after is something more like cognitive science.

This leads me to a problem: I've been offered a place at Oxford University for a course of Philosophy and Psychology and I'm considering trying to change to just study psychology or psychology and linguistics. I'm in the process of familiarizing myself with the basics of all of these fields, and i'm writing letters to my old philosophy teachers with this articlehttp://www.paulgraham.com/philosophy.html attached to see how well the criticism can be answered. My problem is though that i'm at best a knowledgeable amateur in these subjects, and i'm finding it hard to make a decision about which subjects to study - I don't know what I haven't studied yet so I don't know how important it is for me to know. Any advice on this or generally how to make the decision would be much appreciated, especially if you are familiar with the UK univeristy system, especially if you have studied philosophy. My overall aim for my education is pretty well expressed by parts of less wrong - i want to become more rational, in both my beliefs and my actions (although i find the parts of less wrong about epistemology, self-improvement and anti-akrasia more relevant to this than the parts about AI, maths and physics).

Also, i found solved questions repository, but is there a standard place for problems which people need help solving - as if it exists it may be a better place for parts of this post...? Cheers

Comment by peirce on Less Wrong mentoring thread · 2013-07-21T23:18:08.329Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Hi,

It looks like I could be a couple of years late, but I could quite do with a mentor.

The things I could do with some help are:

1) I've been offered a place at University in the UK to study philosophy and psychology, but after reading a few fairly damning articles about philosophy, I'm not sure if it's really for me anymore. I'm contemplating something more cognitive sciency.

2) I could do with someone to ask a few basic questions about the less wrong community and how it all works, because i'd quite like to get more involved, but i'm not quite sure how.

3) i'm very interested in self improvement,

Anyone who could help me with any of these things would be great, whether its just to answer a few questions or to become a more long term mentor.

thanks

Comment by peirce on Boring Advice Repository · 2013-07-06T00:41:58.561Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Make commitment contracts for anything important (works best for long term things). Commitment contracts (beeminder.com stickk.com) have basically solved 90% of motivational problems. The more important something is and the lower the initial expectancy of you actually doing it, the bigger contract you make. for example, if you really need to study for an exam, but you know that in this past you have always intended to study for exams but ended up doing nothing, then put a lot of money on yourself doing it. Be wary if there is ever something important that you do not want to make a commitment contract for, as if you actually expect to do it, then making the contract should pose no problem, as you will be unlikely to lose any money.

Comment by peirce on Welcome to Less Wrong! (5th thread, March 2013) · 2013-06-11T01:05:58.691Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Hi,

I first found this a while back site after googling something like "how to not procrastinate" and finding one of Eliezer's articles. I've been slowly working may way through the posts ever since, and i think they are significantly changing my life.

I've just finished secondary education, which i found stultifying, and so i'm now quite excited to have more control over my own learning. I've been very interested in rationality since I was young, and have been passionate about philosophy because of this. Though, after getting into this site i've been exposed to some pretty damaging criticisms of the study of philosophy (at least traditional philosophy and the content that seems to be taught in most universities), and now i'm beginning to question whether i'm really interested in philosophy, and if it is valuable to study, or whether what i'm really after is something more like cognitive science.

This leads me to a problem: I've been offered a place at a well respected university (particularly in philosophy) for a course in which i can choose three out of five of the subjects of philosophy, psychology, linguistics, neourobiology and linguistics, and i'm not sure which to choose. I'm in the process of familiarizing myself with the basics of all of these fields, and i'm writing letters to my old philosophy teachers with this article http://www.paulgraham.com/philosophy.html attached to see how well the criticism can be answered. My problem is though that i'm quite uninformed in all of these areas, and i'm finding it hard to make a rational decision about which subjects to study. Any advice on this or generally how to make the decision would be much appreciated (eg. any recommendations for reading). My overall aim for my education is pretty well expressed by parts of less wrong - i want to become more rational, in both my beliefs and my actions (although i find the parts of less wrong about epistemology, self-improvement and anti-akrasia more relevant to this than the parts about AI, maths and physics).

Also, i found solved questions repository, but is there a standard place for problems which people need help solving - as if it exists it may be a better place for most of this post...?

Cheers