Fallible Ideas Newsletter

Philosophy and rational analysis. By Elliot Temple.

Organized Learning

Join FI on Basecamp (free). Basecamp is a project management tool often used by businesses with remote workers. I’ve created an FI project on Basecamp because people should treat learning more like a serious, organized project (if they want to make progress instead of just entertain themselves). I chose Basecamp over rivals because it’s especially simple and easy to use right away. Join us and give it a try.

On the Message Board, I explained an initial project you can do. It’s related to time tracking. Join to read it.


I blogged sharing an article about How Social Status Works.

Discussion has been active at An RSS Reader is the best way to follow the discussions. Here’s something I posted:

[name], do you think you achieved mastery of some significant, new things in your makeup project? If so, you could list those. If not, I think you should have higher standards and stop overreaching.

Can you self-evaluate the correctness of any of your new makeup knowledge with similar confidence to your self-evaluations of counting to three or judging whether the word "with" is spelled correctly? Those are examples of what mastery looks like.

The same goes for all your other philosophical work. Keep it simpler. Practice things. Aim for mastery. Aim for a low error rate where correct criticisms are uncommon, surprising and treasured.

Consider what you do have mastery of and build on it. Plan out projects intentionally with goals and trees, keeping issues like mastery and overreaching in mind.

Where are the 5+ successful past projects at 90% of the size, complexity and difficulty of the makeup project? And at 80%, and 70%, and 60%, etc., all the way back incrementally to simple projects like crawling to a location as a baby.

You don't have good examples of what success looks for to compare your project to. There's a huge gap from the makeup project to your most similar projects that are clear, confident, decisive, unambiguous successes.

And these are not new things that I'm saying.

Start way smaller, get quick, clear wins, and iterate. Start with multiple successful (micro) projects per day. Finish 100+ in a month with a not-decisive-clear-success rate under 10%. Establish a baseline of what you can do that way and get the iteration started.

I think everyone could benefit from this advice. It addresses one of the ways people get stuck. But many people resist it. Reply to this email or post at or Basecamp and let me know what problems you have with this advice. What are the downsides you see? What do you dislike about it? What makes you hesitate or feel bad about it? What’s confusing about it for you? Then I’ll suggest solutions to the problems people raise.

By Elliot Temple. I write philosophical essays and a blog.

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