What’s a skill you have spent deliberate effort in developing that has paid off a lot? Or alternatively, what is a skill you wish you had spent deliberate effort developing much earlier than you did?
I hear the vague umbrella term “good judgement” or even more simply “thinking well” thrown around a lot in the EA community. Do you have thoughts on how to cultivate good judgement? Did you do anything—deliberately or otherwise—to develop better judgement?
What is your process for deciding your high-level goals? What role does explicit prioritization play? What role does gut-level/curiosity-/intuition-driven prioritization play?
For you personally, do you think that loving what you do is correlated with or necessary for doing it really well?
Do you (or did you) ever have doubts about whether you were “good enough” to pursue your career?
(Sorry for posting after the deadline—I haven’t been on screens recently due to a migraine and just saw it.)
As a second data point, my thought process was pretty similar to Claire’s—I didn’t really consider medication until reading Rob’s post because I didn’t think I was capital D depressed, and I’m really glad now that I changed my mind about trying it for mild depression. I personally haven’t had any negative side effects from Wellbutrin, although some of my friends have.
I’m guessing it’s mostly because I put less emphasis on them filling it out. When I started coaching, I got more information from new data than I do now, so I put more effort into getting as many people as possible to fill it out. Additionally, I got feedback that it seemed strange paying clients were spending so much time giving me feedback. So now, e.g., I haven’t been following up as much if people don’t fill it out, and the ask is probably easier to ignore.
Larger groups, coaching busier clients on average, and only asking at the end (instead of also after the first four calls) might also contribute.
Unfortunately, I don’t have an easy control group to do such a trial. I do my best to take on every client who I think is a great fit for me to help, so there isn’t a non-coached group who is otherwise comparable. Additionally, as a for-profit business, there’s an understandable limit to how much my clients are willing to humor my desire for unending data.
I just checked, and 43% of clients who started coaching in 2020 filled in the survey, compared to 81% of clients who started coaching in 2018.
A couple tips that seemed to help me:
If you notice yourself endlessly scrolling job boards, making lists of possible jobs, and never actually applying to them, then try out a rule that you have to apply as soon as you have three jobs you’re excited about. That way, more of your effort is focused on actually getting apps send.
I found job hunting really aversive because felt like I was trying to sell something. A few conversations helped me view it more as a mutual exploration where we’re trying to work toward the same goal—finding if this is a good fit for both sides. I don’t think it will help in all cases, but it worked wonders for me.
I made a folder of shortcuts to the relevant job boards/company sites, and then checked the whole list at some interval that I don’t now remember. Having the list reduced the worry that I was forgetting someplace.
I agree that option value is important, but I think there’s a trap where preserving option value means never testing one path. I lean toward trying to rapidly and cheaply test multiple paths, while preserving option value.
Thanks for the comment, Meerpirat. This is the latter, but felt closely enough related to use the same terminology. I’d started writing the “Getting Excited about Efficiency” post and realized that the idea didn’t resonate with some people because they didn’t viscerally grok why getting more stuff done was valuable. So I wrote this post about why people should care about the ideas in Half-Assing It, or my later Noticing and Getting Excited posts.
I find it useful to stagger asking for advice, roughly from easy to hard to access. E.g. if I can casually chat with a housemate about a decision when I just need a sounding board, I’ll start there. Once I have more developed ideas, I’ll reach out to the harder to access people, e.g. experts on the topic or more senior people who I don’t want to bother with lots of questions.