Daniel Gross on Self Observation

You probably have both long and short term goals you want to accomplish. Some days you feel good. You’re clear headed. You find yourself making good progress. Some days suck. We all have those. The trick is to treat every day as a learning opportunity. If you don’t feel productive this afternoon, ask yourself — why not? What did you do wrong? Did you have a big lunch? Did someone say something annoying to you? Did you get some bad news?

Make sure you learn from success, not just failure. What are the common factors that lead to a really good day? Good sleep? Good weather? If the weather is a factor, should you be moving with a place that has more sun? Etc.

One important note is environmental factors occasionally have a delayed feedback loop. For example, I’ve found that my diet affects my mood with a ~96 hour delay. Make sure to have a wide enough window for data collection.

Another factor that has helped me a lot is meditation. Meditating is like installing gdb in your brain. It allows you to inspect values in the moment — and even change them — instead of just letting your code (mind) run into errors.

I now find myself “scoring” my day every night, attempting to dissect what went well and what didn’t. I’m obsessed with this idea because I’ve seen the improvements in myself. I expect if you try to force the habit for a few weeks, you will too. And then you’ll get addicted to self-improvement.

Read full length here

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