When lots of people are doing something and valuing it as a part of their lives, it cannot be changed by fiat, no matter how good the arguments on paper are for doing it.
A good rule of thumb is that diversity of opinion is essential anytime you don’t know anything about something important.
I’ve found there are two types of thoughts especially worth avoiding—thoughts like the Nile Perch in the way they push out more interesting ideas. One I’ve already mentioned: thoughts about money. Getting money is almost by definition an attention sink. The other is disputes. These too are engaging in the wrong way: they have the same velcro-like shape as genuinely interesting ideas, but without the substance. So avoid disputes if you want to get real work done. Corollary: Avoid becoming an administrator, or your job will consist of dealing with money and disputes.
The single worst argument Siskel and I ever had came after a coin flip, when we were unable to decide what we had been flipping for. We eventually had a two-out-of-three flip to settle the question of the original flip.
Rarely do I have any shittiness that stays shitty. I either resolve it or walk away. Rarely do I let shit linger.
It’s hard to beat the entertainment value of people who deliberately misunderstand the world, people dying to be insulted, running around looking for a bullet to get in front of.
Taking a moment to hunt for an interpretation that makes an argument good — before you denounce it as a bad argument — is a nice heuristic that forestalls the tempting leap from “There exists an interpretation that makes this a bad argument, but it may not be what he had in mind,” to “This is a bad argument!”
Philosophy Referee Signals. Created by Landon Schurtz of the University of Oklahoma. Q.E.D.!
Odds are good that you primarily know one sort of person: highly educated, high-achieving, extremely cerebral, etc. Odds are also good that you give too much weight to feedback and ideas from this sort of person, while discounting arguments and complaints from people who don’t know the right way to persuade you. Try to keep that in mind.
You can tell when rhetoric is empty — and therefore should be cut — because it would never be possible to say the alternative.
When Charlie and I disagree, Charlie says, “In the end you’ll see it my way, because you’re smart and I’m right!”