Notes to Self on Self

This document should be amended as you age.

Work to implement your values in all you do. Act towards the things you value—agency, generosity, empathy, kindness, energy, efficacy, avoiding excess, acceptance, sustainability, interestingness, etc.

Do what you say you will. The best way to start working in this direction is being very, very careful about what you say “yes” to. Be liberal and gentle with saying “no”.

Touch it once. Do not split tasks into multiple parts unnecessarily. Do not defer. “Do easy” and keep the task contained within itself as best you can.

Seek out primary sources, and be wary of secondary sources (even newspapers). Don’t read the science digest, read the science. If you can’t understand a primary source, this is a great learning opportunity. Study what you need to understand.

Aim for an actively balanced life. Don’t find balance by standing static in the middle of everything—instead, hit the extremes and let them stabilize each other. (Some exceptions apply.)

Always be sowing seeds. Learn new things relentlessly. Keep that beginner’s attitude. Every new person is an opportunity for resonance. This nurtures a system of support and interest arounds you.

Have a borrowing mindset. Treat things with kindness and utility. Stay liquid and don’t buy until you’ve tried. Don’t get something until you’ll need it, and celebrate what you have.

Take good care of your body and mind. They need to last your entire life. This also requires taking care of the space you inhabit—remember to clean and tidy, and be conscious of your media diet. Get enough sleep. Eat enough good food. This is not a place for extremes, contrary to #5.

Love manifests as appreciation and generosity, not possession. Enjoy what is in front of you. Give! A grip too strong can crush. On that note…

Everything changes. It will end. It is beautiful regardless. (Consider the flower.)

Invest in entropy. Work towards antifragility. A fairly minimal lifestyle assists in this. This also requires establishing systems that make decisions for you, and encourage you to live well.

Regularly reflect and reflect-through-action. Look at yourself, check yourself, then adjust. Encourage experimental living, as it nurtures acting on reflection. Use your life as n=1. (This requires travel, unplugging, and newness).

The thoughts you have, actions you take, people you talk to, and culture you immerse yourself in make permanent marks on you and your identities. Your experiences and thoughts are objects of their own right. Make art to give the attention they deserve.

You are a product of immeasurable privilege. Use your time, energy, and money to learn and act to the benefit of those without excess.

Recognize the value in habits. More than explicit habits, consistency is key to making effects. Build patterns that work to your strengths and weaknesses. Block your time, remove distractions. Practice focus. Mornings are best.

You learn it by doing it. Synthesis comes through action; don’t sit and think too long. Gestures don’t need to be big. Small actions will lead to new insight, new questions, and momentum.

Do stuff with your friends. That’s what you have them for. Ask for help! Go to things, or start them. Entertain questions. Generate energy.

For you, the most rewarding social time is one-on-one. Prioritize that.


Wear the uniform
Think long term (like 30 years from now)
Build stories and languages, not things
Create your own universe (or join ours)
Collect samples
Be a sample for somebody else
Look for loyalty, not for a skill set
Do not build utilitarian products. However, use them as a medium to express yourself
Do not exploit introverts — doesn't work long term. Learn to be an introvert yourself
Travel more
Do not work for corporations. Old corporations were meaningful when their founders were alive, but now, they have outlived their relevancy. They exist only to keep their numbers growing
New corporations are no better. They have scaled up features, and today’s founders want hyper-growth for growth’s sake (it seems like every line of code, every feature deserves its own corporation — it sure doesn't)
So, fuck the corporations
Tell the truth (bullshit never works long term)
Study and research fashion
Your phone is a temporary feature — don’t spend your life on it (like you wouldn’t spend it on a fax machine)
Fuck likes, followers, fake lives, fake friends
Remake your environment. Build it for yourself, and people will come
Only trust those who make things you love
Move to LA
Don’t buy property
Don’t go to Mars (just yet)
Use only one font, just a few colors, and just a few shapes
Use spreadsheets, but only to map out 30 cells — one for each year of the rest of your life
The next three are the most important
The past doesn’t exist — don’t get stuck in it
Don’t go to Silicon Valley (it’s not for you if you’re still reading this)
Remind yourself daily: you and everyone you know will die
We must build the most beautiful things
We are 2046 kids