My Weaknesses and Efforts to Remove Them, Times I Have Been Wrong and Efforts to Prevent Future Such Mistakes

Examples of other people/groups keeping track of their mistakes

My two biggest weaknesses:
#1 - I'm not spending my free time in accord with a top-down plan. I don't have a schedule. And so it becomes easy for me to spend 30 minutes chatting with people or reading a stupid article because it isn't clear to me what I'm giving up by doing that. The prospect of living in my dream situation is slipping away in these 15 minute blocks in which I'm not sure how to spend my time.
#2 - I have trouble keeping track of large projects that require many different individual pieces, each of which takes more than 20 minutes. I don't get these kinds of projects done very efficiently at all. This is true when I'm working on programming projects and also when I'm working on other kinds of projects (eg working on being better groomed, which has dozens of different parts to it).


  • not putting in enough hours
  • not focusing
  • not making prompt decisions / overthinking / not being productive / efficient
  • not delegating
  • spending too much time making, too little time selling
  • not promoting myself
  • not being persistent enough

Keeping a record of the things you've done to accomplish a goal is a very effective way to keep yourself motivated. Arnold Schwarzenegger himself recommended it in "The Education of a Bodybuilder".

I am not making as much progress as I would like. I AM learning a lot of declarative knowledge ("knowledge THAT"), but I am not making as much progress as I would like on the procedural side ("knowledge HOW"). In other words, there are some habits that I want to have that I still don't have.

So, what is the problem? I'm not totally sure, but here are some guesses:
1) I

The OCD Project: ... prevention

I've had an idea: I was spending ~30 minutes removing the fat from pieces of chicken that I would cook, because I would start to take off some of it and just get sucked into the process. I realized that this was the exact behavior that I needed to stop, so I decided to set a timer on the stove to 3 minutes and only give myself that amount of time to do the job. It really worked. This has made me think that what I need to do is try to figure out how to induce a person's tendency to be a perfectionist, and then have that person force himself to stop getting sucked into making the project perfect.


Self-promotion seems to be greatly undervalued in our society; it seems to me at the moment that most people don't promote themselves as much as they should, and don't know as much about self-promotion as they should.

2012.05.31 - I put a "I <3 Larabar" sticker on my car's bumper. I'd never before put a bumper sticker on my car before because I didn't feel comfortable doing it. I consider this to be making progress w/ self-promotion because doing this will make me more likely to feel comfortable putting a bumper sticker on my car advertising myself.


Dance Video
- make a dance video, where the idea is that anyone who watches the video could try to learn the dance themselves. This kind of thing is what people did before videogames existed. It's the same with music: people would
- idea for a song to use: Phoenix - Armistice (RAC Remix). Use something not widely known but energetic.
- Since you'll want people to be able to duplicate the dance anywhere, you won't want to depend a lot on objects around you. So one way to spice it up without making the dance inaccessible may be to have a lot of variation in where you are, with cool stuff in the background (eg the capitol).


The most successful people are usually different from others in the level of persistence they show; for example, Ross Perot had to call around 80 different potential clients before he got his first sale when he first started his own company. I think persistence is a habit that can be cultivated through practice.

This final grad school adventure would not have been possible without me actively seizing opportunities that I was fortunate enough to have been given. If Robert hadn't told me about the San Jose workshop two years ago, if I hadn't submitted and presented my IncPy paper there, if Margo hadn't liked my paper and introduced me to Elaine, if I hadn't kept in touch with Elaine, if I hadn't spontaneously said hello to Margo again at last summer's conference where I presented CDE, if she didn't send me a gracious follow-up email, and if I didn't take a risk with my unusual counterproposal to her, then I would have still been back at Stanford struggling to find one last project and thesis committee member.

By the time she was seventeen, [Sylvia Plath's] interest in writing had become disciplined and controlled. Publication, however, did not come easily; she had submitted forty-five pieces to the magazine Seventeen before her first short story, ‘And Summer Will Not Come Again,’ was published in the August 1950 issue. A poem, ‘Bitter Strawberries,’ a sardonic comment on war, was accepted and published in the same month by the Christian Science Monitor.

Source: The Bell Jar - First Harper Perennial Modern Classics edition, 'About the book' p4

Pushing through anxiety (feeling sick to your stomach) and doing something you know would be a good idea.

- Focusing on putting one foot in front of the other while going to give flowers to someone, and feeling sick the whole time.
- Coming up with a first draft of something (a paper, an email) when the thought of it makes you feel sick (low-intensity anxiety).


Most people seem to use a person's self-confidence as a heuristic to judge how likely it is that that person is correct. Acting more self-confident tends to make people more likely to believe you.

Business Experience

- I tried selling those flags

Working Productively

  • "She had fired her au pair girl and was waiting for a replacement ‘to help with the babes mornings so I can write...nights are no good, I’m so flat by then that all I can cope with is music & brandy & water.'"
    • Source: The Bell Jar - First Harper Perennial Modern Classics edition, 'About the book' p15