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May 2, 2022

Knowing all of the long-term and short-term consequences of your actions is impossible ahead of time. Some of the anticipated benefits might not happen, while unexpected positives might emerge. A good way to try to understand a complex system (real life belongs to this category) is by disturbing it a little and observing the reactions.

I don't believe in planning things too far ahead. I believe in heuristics. If it seems like a good idea, the best endeavor currently in store, give it a go. It is different for every person because it depends on what you want out of life. Some things that I look out for are things that may have long-term benefits, things where considerable improvement is possible (i.e. is hard but gets easier over time), things that only I can do, and things that are in line with my core values.

For long-term effects to become visible, things need time. This is the hard part because one will never know if all the returns are just around the corner, even though there have yet been none. This kind of thinking is what leads to the commonly given (poor) advice to entrepreneurs to keep going for as long as you can, no matter what, because someday there will be a magical breakthrough. That need not necessarily be the case.

But for things to happen, thinking itself is not enough. starting and continuing are both necessary.