If you don’t see the world the way it is, you’ll think it works in a way that it doesn’t and make terrible mistakes.
The key to getting what you want out of life is to identify how the world works and align yourself accordingly. This is hard because we think the world should work the way we see it. The word “should” is important. Because we think the world should work in a way that it doesn’t, our approach is suboptimal.
You do not create the way the world works, you can only align yourself with it.
It takes a lot of work to align ourselves with reality. When we don’t get the outcome we’re seeking, the last place we look is inside ourselves. Instead, we blame others or circumstances.
If you want to align yourself with reality, you have to work at it and care about it.
There are two keys to aligning yourself with how the world really works: accepting feedback and stopping bargaining.
We let people, not results, guide our behavior. The world tries to tell us when we don’t see it the way it is. The problem is we don’t listen to the world. Instead, we let others tell us what’s right and wrong, what works, and what doesn’t.
Common actions get common results. Most of our actions come from others. We want what they want. Even worse, we employ the same actions to get it. This isn’t always wrong. If you’re just starting, the quickest path to average is to copy. If you want better results than average, you’re going to have to iterate.
Doing something different means we might look like a fool, and we do not want to look like a fool. Iterating means trying something new, it means you might fail.
If we do what everyone else is doing, we’re going to get the same results that everyone else is getting. Different results demand different actions. If you can’t really fail, you can’t really succeed.
Let results, not popularity, determine your actions. If you’re doing something that doesn’t get you the results you want, try something new. If you’re doing something that seems to work, keep doing it. Consistently repeat successful actions.
Bargaining with the world doesn’t work. A lot of otherwise smart people know what they’re doing isn’t getting the results they want, but because they think the world should work in a way that it doesn’t, they keep repeating them hoping for different results. If you are this person, see it for what it is, and change your actions.
The feedback from the world is often painful. Often, it is this very pain that causes us to no longer delude ourselves with how the world should work and accept how it does work. If you can learn to accept the world for how it is, before suffering, you’ll go faster and further.
Outcome over ego. If you think you know how the world works but you’re doing something that gets suboptimal results because it should work a different way, you don’t really know how the world works.
Rational people take feedback from the world. If you want to know how someone sees the world, look at their actions.
In the end, it’s all your fault. You are accountable for your outcomes. When you take responsibility for your outcomes, you naturally accept feedback from reality. When you get feedback from reality, you adjust your behavior.
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