09: What You Care About
Biggest takeaway this week was to practice the game of judgment. It helps you determine what you care about and what motivates you.
Finished Dark Horse by Todd Rose and Ogi Ogas.
An interesting book about there being a path to success for everyone. It’s about getting better at what you care about most, and not trying to be the same as everyone else.
A few notes:
Personalized success: living a life of fulfillment and excellence.
You achieve personalized success by harnessing your individuality in the pursuit of fulfillment to achieve excellence.
Four elements of Dark Horse mindset
1. Know your micro-motives
- our schools and jobs were never designed to help you figure out what whets your appetite
- these institutions believe in universal motives, but one size doesn’t fit all
- use the game of judgment to define your micro-motives
3 steps to the game of judgment
a) become aware when you’re judging someone/something b) identify feelings, vivid reactions, when you’re judging someone/something c) ask why you are experiencing those feelings
The game of judgment isn’t about other people/things at all. It’s about you. It’s all about the details. The specifics.
- motives can be contradictory - want to be around around people and be alone
- don’t follow your passion
- engineer your passion
2. Know your choices
- be the same as everyone else, only better - that’s not choosing, it’s picking
- picking is like using a menu at a restaurant
- choosing is going to the grocery market and cooking dinner
- choosing is an active process
- picking is a passive process
This is all about fit - the match between your individuality and your circumstances.
The true power of choice is to find and select opportunities that activate the greatest number of your own micro-motives.
- luck isn’t a dark horse strategy
- dark horses are ok with the worst-case scenario too
- what separates dark horses is how they evaluate risk
Standardization mindset says risk is determined by odds.
Dark horse mindset says risk is determined by fit.
Because if something is a good fit, the opportunity is low risk. If a poor fit, the opportunity is a high risk.
Susan Rogers story - she took a job as a receptionist at a studio. The odds say an average person successfully going from receptionist at a studio to musical engineer are low. But Susan said there was a good fit between her motives, so it wasn’t a high risk.
A small difference in fit can lead to a large difference in fulfillment and excellence.
3. Know your strategies
- standardization says there is one best way
- the truth is there are alternatives
- knowing your strategies is a new way of thinking about the nature of your strengths
Your micro-motives are part of your core identity, these are resistant to change. When we want something, we feel it.
You know with confidence whether you want to go skydiving or eat a plate of eel sushi or watch the latest Marvel movie.
Strengths are the opposite - inaccessible, contextual, and dynamic. Fuzzy.
- everything you label as a strength is a artificial construct or ability
- abilities like programming or performing ballet are done through effort, learning
How naturally gifted are you at riding a hippopotamus?
The only way to know is to try. You discern your strengths through action, not introspection.
Contextual strengths: say you have trouble reading text
- that’s a shortcoming if you want to be a literary critic
- if you want to be an astronomer, it might be an unexpected strength
- if you have trouble reading, your brain is better detecting images like black holes
- empathy is an asset for a nurse, and a shortcoming for a drone pilot
- being tall is good for an NBA player, and bad for a coal miner
Dynamic strengths: improve with practice, deteriorate through neglect
Your approach should be different when choosing a strategy than when choosing an opportunity.
It’s all about trial and error not staying the course or choosing the one best way.
- you should expect failure
- it’s necessary to develop excellence with strategies
- it unearths your fuzzy strengths
In summary, when you learn to know your micro-motives: - you engineer your own passion - which endows you with energy and authenticity
When you learn to know your choices: - you engineer your own purpose - which provides you with meaning and direction
And when you know your strategies: - you engineer your own achievement - which gives you a deep sense of pride and self-worth
4. Ignore the destination
- unlearn things
- destinations are catastrophic for fulfillment
- standardized time (120 credit hours, MBA, certain degree) is to benefit institutions, not you
- fixed dates makes it easier to assess people
- this makes you believe that getting better is simply a matter of time
Dark horse mindset:
- time doesn’t matter
- the correct answer is it depends because time is relative
- don’t ask how long it takes to master something?
- instead ask if this the right strategy for me to master something?
Ignoring a destination is not the same as ignoring goals. A goal emerges out of your individuality. An active choice you have made.
A destination is someone else’s idea of an objective that you acceded to. It’s always contingent. For example, getting into Harvard Law is a destination.
A goal is winning your next debate club match, reading more philosophy books, and trying to get an internship. It’s possible you will end up at Harvard Law. The self-knowledge you gain from these goals will open up new opportunities for you.
Gradient ascent: it’s like climbing to the highest peak. First, you start climbing in the direction of the steepest slope. Next, you pause and look around to gain a new vantage point to see if that’s the right path to the peak. It’s not fast. You repeat this until you reach the peak.
Get better at thing things you care about most.
Second part of the book is all about how the world is tied to this standardization mindset.
- talent isn’t rare, there is a talent quota
- this makes us believe very few have the potential for excellence
- standardization mindset selects talent
- dark horse mindset is about developing talent
- a lottery system would be the only way to meet a quota and objectively evaluate candidates
- use a jagged profile to show that everyone has talent
- quotas lead to a negative-sum game (you win, I lose, if I win, you lose)
- all animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others
- standardization qutoacracy, you don’t need talent or hard work to climb the ladder, you need the right family or a fat wallet
- redefine equal opportunity as equal fit
- dark horse mindset says your goal is not to become the best in the nation, but to become the best version of yourself
- equal fit is about guaranteeing individual choice
- ask if an institutions provides both personalization and individual choice?
- choice without personalization is picking (food menu)
- Summit Public Schools example
- Summit students have a dedicated mentor who meets with them one-on-one every week
- Summit uses a lottery system to accept students, everyone has an equal chance
- Southern New Hampshire University started College for America, it eliminated grades and credit hours, replaced with competency-based evaluations
- every student has a mentor helping them make the best educational choice
- no formal instructors, only academic coaches and reviewers
- greater freedom of choice comes greater personal accountability
Quote I like this week
You must not fool yourself - and you are the easiest person to fool.
Put together one of my first scatterplot using R, shared here. A lot more video work as well for Dadgum Box Scores.
R code for the scatterplot:
trip.data <- read.csv(file="trip.csv") View(trip.data) ggplot(data=trip.data, aes(x=PP, y=PA, label=Team)) + geom_point() + geom_label_repel(aes(label = Team), fontface = 'bold', box.padding = unit(0.50, "lines") ) + labs(x="3PT Percentage (%)", y="Percentage of shots from 3PT land (%)", title="Carolina Opponents: 3PT Attempt Rate Compared to 3PT Percentage Since Start of '17-18 Season", subtitle="Up & to the right means a high percentage of shots were from 3PT land and a high percentage went in, up & to the left means high 3PT attempt rate and low 3PT percentage.", caption="Brought to you by the letter dadgumboxscores.com") + theme_ipsum()