The perception of time

Written on 21 January 2020, 04:03pm

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The perception of time changes constantly, depending on our age or on the activities we’re engaged in. Old people tend to perceive time as moving faster.

The reason? Our brain encodes new experiences, but not familiar ones, into memory, and our retrospective judgment of time is based on how many new memories we create over a certain period. In other words, the more new memories we build on a weekend getaway, the longer that trip will seem in hindsight.

Why Does Time Seem to Speed Up with Age?

Most of the memories that we carry with us are from the age 15 to 30. That’s because there are more ‘firsts’ at that age compared to the late fifties, for instance. This effect is known as the reminiscence effect, or reminiscence bump.

If we want life to slow down, to make moments memorable and our lives unforgettable, we may want to remember to harness the power of firsts.
If you always eat in front of the TV, it might make the day feel a little more extraordinary if you gather for a family dinner around a candlelit table.

There’s an art to happy memories — you can make more by experiencing more “first”s

There is also the common feeling that you have less and less time. While this can be often explained by bad planning, the situation is more complex. One of the activities that are taking up our time is the household work. The technological progress gave us the impression that they should be a thing of the past. After all, we now have washing machines, dryers, vacuum robots, better cooking devices, and so on. Yet, we spend more or less the same time around the house. “New home tech also created new kinds of work that absorbed the extra time”: see the refrigerator + supermarket cycle.

In the 1950s, a British civil servant coined the term Parkinson’s Law to explain the phenomenon that “work expands to fill the available time.” The rule first described the seemingly infinite busywork of government bureaucracies. But it might also apply to housework. Expectations rose, and work expanded to fill the available time.

Three Theories for Why You Have No Time

(somehow related, it’s the Jevons paradox: Increases in energy efficiency generate savings. History shows all savings are spent).

Then, there are the children. According to a recent study, the amount of time spent by parents on childcare in the United States began to rise dramatically in the mid1990s. The fact that the college tuition keeps rising certainly doesn’t help.

There’s so much of “place” in the world. There’s less time because the time has to be spread extra thin over all the places, like butter.

The Room movie

Some notes after reading 2 books

Written on 26 December 2019, 05:45pm

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The subtle art of not giving a f*ck

In essence this is a book about focusing on the the things that really matter. But there are a few subtleties, as detailed by Mark here:

  1. Not giving a f*ck is not the same thing as being indifferent.
  2. Not giving a f*ck about something means that you do give a f*ck about something else, more important.
  3. We all have a limited number of f*cks to give. Prioritise!

On top of that, there are other gems that you can find in this book:

  • “it’s the mildly dissatisfied and insecure creature that’s going to do the most work to innovate and created”
  • “happiness comes from solving problems. The keyword here is ‘solving’ (…) happiness is a constant work-in-progress”
  • “healthy values are achieved internally. Bad values are generally reliant on external events”
  • “fault is past tense. Responsibility is present tense”
  • “Many people might be to blame for your unhappiness, but nobody is ever responsible for your unhappiness but you”
  • “When we learn something we don’t go from ‘wrong’ to ‘right’. Rather, we go from ‘wrong’ to ‘slightly less wrong'”
  • “Certainty is the enemy of growth”
  • “Our brains are meaning machines”
  • “Work expands so as to fill up the time available for its completion” (the Parkinson law)

“If you lack the motivation to make an important change in your life, do something – anything, really – and then harness the reaction to that action as a way to begin motivating yourself”

Mark Manson – The subtle art of not giving a f*ck

Thinking in bets: making smarter decisions when you don’t have all the facts

Poker is a game of decision-making under conditions of uncertainty. The primary goal in the game is to reduce uncertainty in order to make decisions easier for yourself. The secondary goal is to make the opponents’ decisions harder.

Poker players have to make multiple decisions with significant financial consequences in a compressed time frame. This makes the poker table a unique laboratory for studying decision-making.

Annie Duke – Thinking in bets

A few interesting concepts:

  • Resulting = equating the quality of a decision with the quality of its outcome
  • Hindsight bias = the tendency, after an outcome is known, to see the outcome as having been inevitable.
  • Gambler’s fallacy = mistaken belief that if something happens more frequently than normal during a given period, it will happen less frequently in the future (or vice versa).

A few more notes:

  • All that matters is the quality of your decisions, not the outcome of your decisions.
  • Going first in any negotiation is bad. Even kids know that 🙂
  • “Chess is not a game. Chess is a well-defined form a computation”. Real life is not like that. Real life consists of bluffing, of little tactics of deception, of asking yourself what is the other man going to think I mean to do”
  • The quality of our lives is the sum of decision quality plus luck.
  • Getting comfortable with “I’m not sure” is a vital step to being a better decision-maker.

1. Liverpool FC. I am supporting Liverpool since the legendary 2005 Istanbul CL final and watching them closely since 2012-2013. In 2019 they produced one of the best comebacks in the history of football, they won 3 trophies and, after winning the Club World Cup, they can claim they are the best football team on Earth.
Would absolutely love to see them also winning the Premier League trophy in May 2020.

2. A book: The subtle art of not giving a f*ck. It’s about focusing on the important things in life and stop giving f*cks about the rest. Some notes here.

3. Nintendo Switch. Because it can bring the family together in amazing ways during the long, winter evenings. And because it allows the players to actually move while playing (with games such as Just Dance, Fitness Boxing, etc)

4. Security. I know, it was also present in the 2018 list. But guess what, I am pretty sure it will still be present in 2020. I am working in this field and I am enjoying every minute of it. I built how2factor.info, I attended a great workshop and learned a lot from a lot of sources.

5. A blog: Daniel Miessler. Because of his energy, newsletter and writing style. Second close – John Gruber.

6. A person: Greta Thunberg. Because our way of living needs a change. And meaningful change needs a leader.
Second close – Elon Musk, after reading his biography.

7. A place: southern Spain. Because of their over 300 days of sun every year, friendly people, affordable living and great cuisine.

8. A device: the Apple Watch. Because it changes my well-being in a subtle, but massive way.

9. A series: Stranger Things. Because it’s about childhood, friendship, courage and the atmosphere brings back nostalgic memories.

10. A game: Heroes of Might and Magic III. Because I still enjoy playing it after 18 years…