Book Notes from “How to Fail At Almost Everything and Still Win Big” by Scott Adams

systems > goals

Passion is for suckers. Most people who are passionate end up failing (usually they are long shot odds). A banker doesn’t want to give a loan to someone who is passionate.

He had a long term goal of producing something that was infinitely scalable, that didn’t take his time.

Decided to try a series of things, failing until one succeeded. Claims he wasn’t outcome focused so every failure was just part of a system of failing.

Decide and then pay the price, don’t just wish for something. System is your way to pay the price.

Didn’t pursue things that he wasn’t good at. Said he didn’t have the selling gene so just didn’t sell.

Do things that give you energy. Use this as a barometer for keeping your priorities straight.

Be open to not knowing things. Often others have already figured it out so you can just ask them

Posture can cause focus or sleepiness, same with different spaces in your house

Follow simple plans / simple systems. Complicated systems often fail. Optimize only once you have success (startups often need to do the simple thing while finding success)

Brain is just wet ware that can be programmed. You can program yourself by happiness though exercise, eating, sleeping well, and having ambitious plans

Often there are feedback loops so do what you are good at. For instance, having a lot of testosterone can help you win a competition, but winning a competiton can also boost your testosterone.

We have a very limited understand of the world and why it works. Use delusions that are positive that give you energy if they appear to work (even if they aren’t true)

Often you take on the characteristics of individuals in a group when you see yourself as a part of the group.

Look at what you did before age 10 to get a good idea of what you might be good at. Also, where did you take risks as a kid? Your risk profile predicts future success (because you got so much enjoyment out of doing something that you did it anyway even if you could be embarrassed or caught)

Pure passion often leads you to do stuff, which makes you do it a lot, which makes you good at it.

Try lots of different things and sample before finding your big hit. Bail if things aren’t working out immediately. People often praise sticktoitivness, but very seldom do things work after a long time of not working.

Use customer enthusiasm to guide you on entrepreneurial adventures. Don’t worry about what people say, look at what they do. Would much prefer a small segment who is very eager to talk / share / interact with your project than lots of people who think it’s mediocre.

Success is a formula. What school is supposed to do (but really doesn’t). Parents can be a role model but only if they are successful.

Odds will catch up to you eventually (which is why systems instead of goals are useful).

Every skill you acquire doubles your odds of success. Don’t need to be great or world class, merely good at it. Good + Good > excellent

Good systems should feel easy and natural. Investigate what you find interesting. Learning compounds on itself. The more you know, the more you can know.

See the world as math, not magic. Often there is an underlying pattern that you simply aren’t seeing that is tilting the odds against you. Might take you many many years to see it. Don’t blame animal spirits, bad luck, fate.

Considers luck likely to happen if you become proficient in these skills (not great or a master):
Public speaking
Business writing
Design (the basics)
Overcoming shyness
Second language
Proper grammar
Tech (hobby level)
Proper voice technique

Dale carnage course. Importance of positive reinforcement (most adults get no positive reinforcement).

Psychology is a life long study. Every psychological technique you don’t know costs you money. 10/10 importance for your life. Importance of hypnosis. Most people most of the time don’t make decisions based on reason, they make it based on how they feel – which is why politicians can blatantly lie. People are mostly irrational, and you are setting yourself up for a lifetime of pain and fristtratipn if you assume most people are rational.

Everything in this chapter is useful. Lots of fine grained ideas, esp the part on persuasive phrases.

Sites Stephen covey. 3 additional principles of success: 1) lack of fear of embarrassment. 2) the right kind of education 3) exercise

His books on humor writing:
The joy of work
Dilbert 2.0
Stick to drawing comics, monkey brains

The dilbert future
Affirmations work. Why? Not sure, but sure they aren’t magic. Probably works because they focus you on goals

Luck happens when you hunt in the right areas: trying lots of stuff, staying optomistic, putting in the work, learning as much as he could. (Similar points to “the luck factor”)

Luck comes from the rare long odds payoff that costs zero (except for time, focus and energy) and will eventually pay off if you keep pulling the slot machine.

Experts are right 98% of the time on simple things, only 50% on non simple, non obvious things. Use your gut for the later category.

Spend time with people you’d like to become (average of the 5 friends). But goes further than friends and into your community, where you work, who you hang out with etc.

Happiness is just feeling good. Don’t use pills / drugs etc. instead be happy by doing what you what when you want (time independence). Much easier to have a flexible schedule than to be rich. Happiness is also seen in progress vs absolutes (moving in the right direction is more important than absolute number of things).

Choose a career in which you can generally improve. This should also apply to hobbies where you have lots of room to improve.

Happiness is natural state and occurs and when you have flexibility of schedule, you are healthy, and you have a positive expectation of the future.

Most people are unhappy not because of the news, but because of some deficiency in “the big 5” 1. Flexible schedule 2. Imagination (imagining a brighter future) 3. Sleep 4. Diet 5. Exercise. Exercise is the most important because it makes you more attractive, more optimistic, helps you sleep better, and takes your mind off things

If you are unhappy because you are too successful and have achieved your goals, consider yourself lucky – these are high class problems. Then turn outward to help others which will give your life meaning and purpose.

Diet largely controls your mood. Instead of trying to restrict what you eat, eat as my co as you want when you want, but change what you want (change to eat healthy food and your taste buds will change to desire healthy food).

Think of your body as a “moist, programmable robot” whose outputs are largely dependent on its inputs, who can be programmed (not magic). You are the engineer of your own fate / mood.

Don’t count calories or go vegan / paleo etc. if it doesn’t agree with you. You don’t want to use willpower, because it’s unsustainable. Instead, use your body as an experiment (n of 1). He uses white rice to make himself sleepy after a day with too much coffee, veggies and nuts etc to feel more energized. Never Restrict the quantity. Don’t use willpower as it’s counterproductive long term.

Break the addiction to simple carbs by avoiding them for several months (avoiding any white bread, potatoes, white rice, etc) BUT eating as much as you want of other things. This might make you gain wait short term but cuts the carb addiction long term. Systems > goals.

Start asking anyone who easily maintains their healthy weight how they do it, then look for a pattern.

Power of simplicity. Want simple rules for yourself (otherwise easy to fall off track and requires willpower).

Simple rule for yourself: exercise every day. Just do something physical, no matter what it is. Permits himself to not workout assuming he puts on his running shoes. Usually by this point he wants to exercise (like the “positive exercise subroutine” has been called).

If he doesn’t exercise, he doesn’t feel like he’s failed or a failure – because people can only fail at goals. He actually sees it as a success as he’s abiding by the system. (Note how ego gets taken out of the equation with a system. Also how it should allow him to keep doing it in the future – infinite (not finite) play, like in finite and infinite games. It’s like a blend of hypnosis, Pavlov/skinner, infinite and finite games. Never exercise so much that you won’t want to exercise tomorrow.

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