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We are all optimizers
we are what we optimize
Daily musings #619- Monday, 7 November 2022
Yesterday I talked about how the changes to the shop floor marred my shopping experience. That is because of what I am trying to optimize my experience for. We all optimize various aspects of our life for a variety of things. The optimization of my shopping experiences is one of the several things that I optimize my life for.
All humans are optimizers. Fundamentally we are optimized for the survival of our species at the core. If not, hope would not be an inherent ingrained trait and we would all be extinct just from the lack of it.
A key thing that we optimized for is energy conservation, especially the energy consumption for decision-making of our brain, which though being a small organ consumes 25% of our calorie intake to run it on a daily basis. The brain triggers anywhere between 5000-8000 thoughts per day. And all this consumes energy. And we are therefore designed to make sub-optimal decision-making to conserve energy. Also known as an opinion. Most times we come up with answers without the requisite deep experiences and practice of something, we are close to plain wrong. And yet, we continue this sojourn as shallow thinkers. By design.
We, therefore, optimize for the wrong things. Often the trivial and the reactive rather than the deliberate and the proactive. We are busy using this opinion for flight, fight, feign or fawn responses, rather than deliberate thinking and proactive decision-making.
We are therefore what we optimize for. Most optimize for reactive and shallow value, the mundane and the repetitive. Some of us are designed to be more deliberate and work from first principles, deep thinking, and metacognition using these to our advantage. These are inherent advantages for some and very few others learn these skills and use them to their inherent advantage by deliberate action.
I for one optimize a lot of things in my life by design. Shopping for groceries is one of them. Travel, especially international air travel is another (to my years of travel domain knowledge). Credit and credit systems are another. Habit-forming routines for diet, exercise, and sleep is one more - yes one can optimize through habits too. Habits are pre-decided optimized decisions.
I would like to do a major optimization experiment in my life. Do my work optimized by first principles to see how far I can work all the time to first principles with my decision making. That should be a wonderful experiment. As I am still talking about it and not acting, one can clearly see that I am yet to optimize for it. With action.
We are what we optimize.