Some Version of The Guide to Easier Life

Ideas Sep 26, 2021

I don't know about you, but I am easily overwhelmed in life by all the tasks I ought to complete on a day to day basis, or quantitative goals that I am expected to reach, or other tedious things to consider.

Most of those tasks involves things that I am considerably more interested in than others; the rest of them, maybe not so much. To say the least, however, all of these tasks are "mandatory" for me. There will not be some literal punishment for me if I don't complete them, but it will inevitably lead to my own loss.

Now, there are many definitions of easier and your's might not be the same as mine, but this is my philosophy, which, under parental influence and my own observations, has developed into something quite interesting.


Easiness

Before It Gets Easy

We want it to be easier, but what makes life hard in the first place? I have the least idea about that. But, I do understand how futile attempts to achieve something along with social pressure yields stress. And that stress ultimately leads to an uneasy cycle for many.

You can't make it easy either because capabilities aren't aligned well enough, because the task isn't to your liking, or because there is too much tasks to be handled. The last possibility largely depends upon the individual; you should definitely restrain from cramming too much into one day. If you are someone who is struggling with time management, I would suggest not cramming that much (if that even helps).

If capabilities or the work itself is what makes your life hard, there are several ways to solve that. If your tasks are not to your liking, well, find one that is. If that's not possible, try to find something interesting out of the boring work that you are in and let that make your life easy. And, if that doesn't work, we are back to the option of finding something new that interests you. Free yourself, if the slightest possibility exists, and explore new things to try them (I am realizing this is going in the direction of a big talk which is not what I want).

Anyways, do that, and still, what I am about to talk about retains its value as something to look through. It's all just my thoughts anyways.

"Easy"

Summing up, my definition of "easy" can be evaluated by the following:

  • Things that I appreciate doing makes itself easy even if it is hard.
  • Things that I am more than competent in is easy to complete.
  • Things where net utility is positive accounts for the hard part itself.

I can say now, without you reading any further, that the idea I will be mentioning does not align well with these three conditions for "easy", but it does go with "easier" in my sense.

I mention this ("easy") to show how ways to make it "easier", which I will talk about later, is pretty different from making it "easy".


Right, Not Wrong

Now that we have discussed easy, there comes the part that is not in the name.

We want it to be easier, but we also need it to be right / aligned / fulfilling. Before we make it easy, how do we make sure that our life is good?

"Good" in itself is an evaluation, and that evaluation can come from many paths. What we normally regard as the pinnacle of "good" is likely perfection; it is the ultimate form for any sort of task.


Judging

When we think about how much work one can do or level one sought to reach, there isn't really an upper bound as to how high you can get. The short story is, you can always be told that you could've done better.

And that is, in almost all cases, true. We probably could have done better by improving our methods or plans or simply having a better brain(no kidding). Whenever we look back and make assertions of the stupidity of our actions back then, we are not judging anything inherently wrong, but just in many ways mislead by hindsight bias.

Ruling out the possibility of obvious misconducts back then (you should probably reflect a bit if that is the case), there is absolutely no reason to even bother for such comments. After all, commenting on someone else's situation later on is simply not cool. Regardless of whether hindsight bias is present, there are many unknown factors that can't be fully incorporated to a single comment. Slight variations in such factors can lead to dramatically different results in different individuals.

By this it is sufficient to say that our results don't really matter even if somebody else judges us. Here's the catch though – does the judging always comes from others; do you not have your own judge that is constantly making evaluations for your past actions? If so, how do we judge our own actions and prevent ourselves from seeing our past as regrets instead of positive successes?

This is the question that I aim to give my perspective to.


Perfecting

The first thing to remember is that nobody is perfect or we are not living inside a movie; we are not Sherlock (I mean even Sherlock is simply bluffing sometimes). You ever heard of the aphorism "fake it until you make it"?

This fact is quite obvious in itself...

What is perfection ? According to Collins, perfection is

the quality or condition of being perfect; extreme degree of excellence according to a given standard

There is no clear boundary for perfection since it involves referencing a "given standard." Thus, perfection is a subjective matter. Everyone can be perfect in their own wonderland (or reality).

I am mentioning perfection because I have been seeking my idea of mental perfection for quite a while now. This perfection is really rough and it might not even be called perfection: being competent or over competent in knowledgeable matters that I am interested in (writing, for example, is one of them and I am far from competent).


Input per Period - \(IPP\)

The Knowledge Input per Period

Over the years I have realize, based on my short and easy life, that I have not the time (\(t\)) nor the intelligence / experience (\(i\)) to do that. If we see intelligence / experience as the rate at which we gain knowledge / acquire competency, our knowledge base (\(K\)) is probably just

\[ K_{total}=\sum_{}^{}t \cdot i\]

\[i = f \cdot C \]

\[ C \propto intelligence \cdot experience \]

\(C\) in this case is a constant for a certain time period and \(f\) is a changeable factor for every individual.

My theory is that every human has a \(IPP_{K}\) (Knowledge Input per Period) value that is evaluated by

\[ IPP_{K} = t \cdot i \pm loss\]

\[ \Delta f \longmapsto loss \]

Your \(IPP_{K}\) value might gradually increase (most likely slightly) during the first part of your life, but it will probably decrease (as you grow older and older into a sage who no longer learns. jk 😆 ). The \(loss\) mentioned is any form of decrease or increase in your \(t\) and \(i\) at any moment. All this satisfies this expression

\[ IPP_{K} \mp loss \geq t \cdot i \]

What does this mean?

You can up your efficiency at any given time period, but the respective length of time you are able to complete in that time period with that level of \(i\) decreases as a result. Your maximum knowledge input in a certain time period is defined by \(IPP_{K}\), that is, you can still spend less time (\(t\)) and be running at lower knowledge input (\(i\)), but it can never exceed your \(IPP_{K}\) value accounting its loss.

\(IPP_{K}\) or \(IPP_{U}\) ?

Needless to say, nobody can indefinitely increase their \(IPP_{K}\). Given that my theory was never empirically proven, I assume a lot of unpredictability and some confounding factors in it. But, I believe its general idea is correct, and, in the long run, there is just so much you can acquire from this world, considering its thousands of years of developments.

It is still important to maximize our \(IPP_{K}\) as much as possible though. Given that it might increase and larger total knowledge input is always a good thing. Now, I am assuming here that learning and understanding new things is one thing that will increase your utility. And, this might sound utilitarian, but maximizing our utility can ultimately make us more fulfilled. To that end, \(IPP_{K}\) doesn't have to be Knowledge Input; it can be Utility Input or \(IPP_{U}\), which will generalize more life scenarios where one might not always be learning. The idea can be framed to fit other situations.

\(IPP_{Total}\)

Total Input per Period - this is the most bare form of my theory. It is the total of all inputs that are being absorbed by an individual.

\[IPP_{Total} = \sum_{}^{}IPP_{i}\]

\[= IPP_{K} + IPP_{U} + \ldots - E_{IPP}\]

note that

\[IPP \propto OPP\]

where \(OPP\) is Output per Period
and \(E_{IPP}\) is the overlap between inputs

I mention all this just to say that there exist a limit for our input and output in a given period. Thus, our criterion for sufficient work done in a period should not go beyond this limit; else, it is neither tangible nor plausible as a goal for ourselves, which will then lead to an even harder lifestyle.

With this restraint in mind, it's time to plan within it.


Priority

Priority Ladder

A priority ladder is essential for the effective planning of what constitutes our limited time frame. Without priority, finding what to add to your queue of tasks for this period would be like looking for a needle in a hay stack (海底捞针). I had related inspiration of this with the focused vs unfocused scenario.

There are things that you want to do most; there are also things that you need to do most. Combine these two together and you get your priority ladder; it's that simple.

Although many people don't think about this, they already have a hidden priority ladder. Their execution of the priority ladder might not be "top notch", but they do prioritize certain things over others. Every human does. The only difference now, with or without a standard priority ladder, is how consistent one executes it.

Priority, But Customized

Now, I am not saying that we should absolutely abide to the priority ladder – it won't make sense some times even with the absence of a dire situation. The priority ladder is something hard but we are not; we are flexible. In situations where the priority ladder feels way too annoying (say your top priority is to study for a test next Tuesday but you don't at all feel like studying right now), you can abandon the priority ladder for a period of time and try later on to put it back into operation. A low rate of execution or a low \(IPP\) more time on the priority ladder is less than a high \(IPP\) less time or not on the priority ladder. Customize it like that.

Utilization

As a person with a desire to excel in many areas and a limited \(IPP\), my dilemma is this: what can we set as the "perfection" for ourselves so that we are satisfied, or at least eased in our minds for our own previous works and events, given that our output is rather limited?

Or, if we are only able to learn so much of something, what is the extent which we can be at eased (\(\neq\) satisfied)? To what limit do we have to pursue? Since perfection is not a plausible goal, how do we qualify our past selves instead?


Fill It

There is no perfect life that is for sure. My proposal here is then simply trying to fill your potential, your \(IPP_{Total}\). No one is demanding you to work at your maximum \(IPP\). You should try to fill your current IPP with things that you "truly want to do", according to your priority ladder. Fill it until you can no longer fill more of it; fill it until it is full. At this point, you can no longer use more of your \(IPP\) capacity since all of it is gone.

And that is the goal to set. Just add the goal of increasing your \(IPP\) over time. With these two ideas in mind, we maximize what we can actually do and also increase our \(IPP\) over timer.

These is no regret at this point. We have done all we can do. Although that might not make us the most successful person in the world, we have done ourselves the favor. And that, for me, is good enough.

$$\tag*{$\blacksquare$}$$

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