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  1. #21
    Protocol Droid Athenian200's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ptgatsby View Post
    Most of this is rationalization. What you are telling me is that you have no interest in breaking your current situation. It is external pressure, and the realization that change will come to you one way or another, that is prompting you to think about moving on. In short, you are afraid of what this means and are avoiding the issue.
    Yeah. I suppose so.

    The first thing to realize is that you are saying is not rational - that the extra work for the same standard is also not rational. You can plot this easily - how long can your current standard possible last vs your eventual outcome.
    It looked as if I would have to do extra work to stay right where I was for several years, or even decades, before getting even a few thousand dollars, let alone the $20,000-$60,000 (maybe more) for what I wanted. But then, all I have to go by are calculations that make costs seem impossible to meet, and jobs that don't offer enough to even make it reasonable. And there's so much that's up in the air that there's no way a plan as detailed as most people expect could even work.
    Also realize there is nothing wrong with this. Very few things in life, if anything, are actually rational. What it does mean is that you cannot trust your own reasons for (not) doing something, and look to resolve them so that you can do the best thing for yourself.

    Okay, that makes sense. What's funny is, I never actually thought I was rational enough to use or react so much to rationalizations. I figured that was more something that an NT would do.

    Life isn't really like that, it just feels like it for some... including myself. The analogy I use is the 'grind'. Unfortunately, it's true for a lot of personalities... they find it difficult to embrace things.

    But I think you are still young enough to answer the question - what do you do in your free time? Try to answer it early in life. I don't have an answer anymore. A decade+ into your working life, if you have 'grinded' yourself into a hole, that question just cannot be answered.
    Usually study psychology and computing-oriented topics. It's too bad there's nothing that involves both interests. Psychology stimulates me in one way, computing stimulates me in another.

  2. #22
    Senior Member ptgatsby's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Athenian200 View Post
    It looked as if I would have to do extra work to stay right where I was for several years, or even decades, before getting even a few thousand dollars, let alone the $20,000-$60,000 (maybe more) for what I wanted.
    You are american, right? And I know you are a techy and are likely non-materialistic. Assuming you are 18+, you should be able to follow one of these curves;



    I'll let you guess what interest rate and what the final numbers are; the green square is approximately where the interest would match your income. This is inflation adjusted/etc.

    The point here is that you have an overly pessimistic view of your situation. It is highly unlikely for you not to reach the 20-60 range... if you actually want that. I started below 20k with my first job @ 16... that same job where my manager became my boss, hired me into a different company, which promoted me into a new position, which is now 4-5 degrees seperated from where I am now - and I'm in the process of losing my job, upon which several people asked for my resume, all of which I met during this job.

    It won't be different for you, once you get over the fear of starting... My parents pushed me into my position at 16 because they were tired of me floundering. Ironically, they thought it would motivate me to go to school... did the opposite, but it didn't matter. They were, in the end, right... starting is the hard part. After that, things kind of flow.

    But then, all I have to go by are calculations that make costs seem impossible to meet, and jobs that don't offer enough to even make it reasonable. And there's so much that's up in the air that there's no way a plan as detailed as most people expect could even work.
    Now is a very hard time to do things... recessions are not friendly to new workers. That doesn't matter too much. Doing something, anything, moves you forward. It's like compound interest. The sooner you start, even at a lower rate, the farther you end up ahead. And that ignores that most finance is done at the margin - if your keep your cost of living roughly equivalent for long periods of time, the compounding effect (both in terms of experience, education, etc.) vastly exceeds the linear costs.


    Usually study psychology and computing-oriented topics. It's too bad there's nothing that involves both interests. Psychology stimulates me in one way, computing stimulates me in another.
    There are, but they are mostly academia pursuits, which doesn't sound like something you would be into. I'd say that statistics (economics/behavioral economics) could be worth getting into. Did you like Freak Economics?

    What about something like Dan Ariely asks, Are we in control of our own decisions? | Video on TED.com ?
    Last edited by ptgatsby; 06-08-2009 at 09:58 PM.

  3. #23
    Protocol Droid Athenian200's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ptgatsby View Post
    You are american, right? And I know you are a techy and are likely non-materialistic. Assuming you are 18+, you should be able to follow one of these curves;

    Non-materialistic. Well, pretty much. I could probably make do with nothing more than eating the same food everyday, a telephone, and having no furniture except for a lamp, table, chair, and bed for a while. But if it lasted more than a while, I'd probably eventually need cola, a computer, and Internet access to be comfortable (not sure if it would have to be broadband or not).

    The point here is that you have an overly pessimistic view of your situation. It is highly unlikely for you not to reach the 20-60 range... if you actually want that. I started below 20k with my first job @ 16... that same job where my manager became my boss, hired me into a different company, which promoted me into a new position, which is now 4-5 degrees seperated from where I am now - and I'm in the process of losing my job, upon which several people asked for my resume, all of which I met during this job.
    Ah. I probably do. It's probably based on what I've seen my mother doing. I'm always pressured by other people to worry about worst-case scenarios, not typical cases. Which doesn't help the little bit of pessimism in my mindset already. Basically, I'm a pessimist who doesn't know any optimists.

    Now is a very hard time to do things... recessions are not friendly to new workers. That doesn't matter too much. Doing something, anything, moves you forward. It's like compound interest. The sooner you start, even at a lower rate, the farther you end up ahead. And that ignores that most finance is done at the margin - if your keep your cost of living roughly equivalent for long periods of time, the compounding effect (both in terms of experience, education, etc.) vastly exceeds the linear costs.
    I guess that's what frustrates me. That it's going to be so much harder for me because of this kind of place. I feel like I don't even have a chance to find a job because of it, especially with my constraints.


    There are, but they are mostly academia pursuits, which doesn't sound like something you would be into. I'd say that statistics (economics/behavioral economics) could be worth getting into. Did you like Freak Economics?


    What about something like Dan Ariely asks, Are we in control of our own decisions? | Video on TED.com ?
    Behavioral economics actually sounds interesting, now that you mention it. This is the kind of thing I'm always wanting to uncover about myself and others.

    Some of that actually explains why I see so many people enthusiastic about their decisions because something made them sound good, and I just don't get it. It's like I have a tendency to translate every positive I see into a negative, which makes me (very slightly) less likely to do that kind of thing (though it creates a lot of pessimism and uncertainty). For instance, I wouldn't see the advantage of a print subscription since I'd get the same information either way, and I know that it would pile up in my house, not be as easy to hold on to, etc. The main difference is that I specifically try to avoid thinking in terms of "savings," "best deals," or "bonus" rather in terms of "overall spending," "my goals," and "functional equivalence."

  4. #24
    Senior Member ptgatsby's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Athenian200 View Post
    Non-materialistic. Well, pretty much. I could probably make do with nothing more than eating the same food everyday, a telephone, and having no furniture except for a lamp, table, chair, and bed for a while. But if it lasted more than a while, I'd probably eventually need cola, a computer, and Internet access to be comfortable (not sure if it would have to be broadband or not).
    See, when I say non materialistic, I'm talking about... actually, nevermind. Suffice to say that your "materialistic" version is most people's below-minimalist versions. Hell, I'm more materialistic than you are... and that's just because I like collecting pets in world of warcraft

    So, those curves probably understate how fast you could build up money. It really depends on what you want... and it'll change as time goes on. My original plan was to be retired before 40 (well, my first realistic plan)... that doesn't seem so likely anymore, simply due to getting married, school and so forth. Different curves, but similar principle.

    I guess that's what frustrates me. That it's going to be so much harder for me because of this kind of place. I feel like I don't even have a chance to find a job because of it, especially with my constraints.
    Then why stay there? You need no more than 3-4 months worth of living expenses (likely to be less than $15,000 by any stretch of any place in the US), which you can earn relatively fast, assuming your expense aren't significant at the moment. You can take your assets with you (ie: if you buy a car to work here, you can move it. Same with clothes, etc). You gain mobility and opportunity quickly. Most people do it with much less, so this is extremely conservative... just to illustrate that it is done and possible, not push you.

    I'm sure you realize that the resistance is the same as what I said initially - you are smart enough to know what you need to do. It's doing it that is so hard.

    Behavioral economics actually sounds interesting, now that you mention it. This is the kind of thing I'm always wanting to uncover about myself and others.
    We share a common interest then - quite a few of them, actually, by the sounds of it. And perhaps not exactly common history, but I can relate to what you are saying.

  5. #25
    Senior Member ptgatsby's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Athenian200 View Post
    The main difference is that I specifically try to avoid thinking in terms of "savings," "best deals," or "bonus" rather in terms of "overall spending," "my goals," and "functional equivalence."
    That's a good, rational, thing. You might also like Overcoming Bias and the related site, Less Wrong

    This is the topic that holds the most interest to me, FWIW. Too bad good decision making is not popular, eh? We'd both be rich

  6. #26
    Protocol Droid Athenian200's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ptgatsby View Post
    See, when I say non materialistic, I'm talking about... actually, nevermind. Suffice to say that your "materialistic" version is most people's below-minimalist versions. Hell, I'm more materialistic than you are... and that's just because I like collecting pets in world of warcraft

    So, those curves probably understate how fast you could build up money. It really depends on what you want... and it'll change as time goes on. My original plan was to be retired before 40 (well, my first realistic plan)... that doesn't seem so likely anymore, simply due to getting married, school and so forth. Different curves, but similar principle.
    For the most part, my materialistic version is almost how I'm living now, so that's pretty much all I need.

    My attitude tends to be, if I have shelter, food, a place to sit, a phone, a surface to use, and a place to lie down... I can manage, but be uncomfortable. If I have internet access, a computer, and cola in addition to that, things are great.

    Then why stay there? You need no more than 3-4 months worth of living expenses (likely to be less than $15,000 by any stretch of any place in the US), which you can earn relatively fast, assuming your expense aren't significant at the moment. You can take your assets with you (ie: if you buy a car to work here, you can move it. Same with clothes, etc). You gain mobility and opportunity quickly. Most people do it with much less, so this is extremely conservative... just to illustrate that it is done and possible, not push you.
    Hmm... I guess I should. It's really only a sense of inertia, apathy, and contentment that's keeping me here. It's like I've learned to be satisfied with what I have for the most part, so it's hard to work up the motivation to strive for more.
    I'm sure you realize that the resistance is the same as what I said initially - you are smart enough to know what you need to do. It's doing it that is so hard.
    It's weird, though... I just never feel smart at all because I'm so aware of all my irrational fears, reactions, feelings, assumptions, and impulses.

    We share a common interest then - quite a few of them, actually, by the sounds of it. And perhaps not exactly common history, but I can relate to what you are saying.
    Yep, I think I relate to what you're saying as well.

  7. #27
    Senior Member ptgatsby's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Athenian200 View Post
    My attitude tends to be, if I have shelter, food, a place to sit, a phone, a surface to use, and a place to lie down... I can manage, but be uncomfortable. If I have internet access, a computer, and cola in addition to that, things are great.
    Sounds exactly like me. I needed a computer, internet and a bed. Food was mostly optional (I don't drink cola and the like, really... so...)

    Over time I did expand that. I like eating out a lot, and I like having dishes/cookware. Food is pretty big, as you can see. I have no doubt you'll find other things that interest you, as they become available... That, and I want to spend a great deal on my pet projects. Not sure we share that particular traits...

    It's like I've learned to be satisfied with what I have for the most part, so it's hard to work up the motivation to strive for more.
    Nothing wrong with that. You haven't detailed your situation, but... there is something to be said for having 'more stuff', or at least the option to have more stuff. It's... still somewhat ingrained in us. Doesn't mean you have to be flaunting it, but I think you would be more positive now if you had some money in the bank - if money wasn't limiting your options.

    It's weird, though... I just never feel smart at all because I'm so aware of all my irrational fears, reactions, feelings, assumptions, and impulses.
    To be human is to have those issues. IIRC, you are 1SD above normal in terms of IQ. And you think about things, including yourself. That adds a huge amount of self doubt and friction. It isn't a lack of competence that is holding you back, it's *actual* competence that is. People who are too unaware and just act get ahead... doing is always greater than not, in aggregate.

    Bane of my existence, but true.

  8. #28
    Protocol Droid Athenian200's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ptgatsby View Post
    Sounds exactly like me. I needed a computer, internet and a bed. Food was mostly optional (I don't drink cola and the like, really... so...)

    Over time I did expand that. I like eating out a lot, and I like having dishes/cookware. Food is pretty big, as you can see. I have no doubt you'll find other things that interest you, as they become available... That, and I want to spend a great deal on my pet projects. Not sure we share that particular traits...
    Yeah. What's funny is, after I listed that list... I came up with lots of reasons why it was silly.

    For instance, I only need a bed, table, and chair because I'm irrationally uncomfortable with the idea of being close to the floor. If I weren't, I could cope without those things.

    Also, I thought about how water is healthier than cola, how it generates less trash, and the thought that I could just stick my head under the tap to drink (or cup my hands) instead of having glasses.

    I also thought about how I might not even need my own internet access, and could technically plan to go to a library to use it there for all the things I need, and the idea that not having it to play around on might motivate me to go outside and take walks more often, etc, which would also be healthier.

    Basically, I feel like most of things I assumed I need are concessions to my own irrationality, and it actually kind of disturbs me when I think about it.

    The fact that I think this way kind of reminds me of two things I did that confused but intrigued people in high school. One was when someone stole my pencil, but instead of getting angry or trying to get it back, I just reached into my backpack, pulled out another pencil, and continued working.

    Another one was when there was almost no time to eat lunch after standing in line. Most people just showed up late back to class, but I ended up standing over the garbage can so I could throw the food away as soon as I was finished, using my fingers to shovel the food in more quickly.

    So, I guess the question is... what do you call that obsession with trying to find ways to make do with less? Not many people seem to have it.
    Nothing wrong with that. You haven't detailed your situation, but... there is something to be said for having 'more stuff', or at least the option to have more stuff. It's... still somewhat ingrained in us. Doesn't mean you have to be flaunting it, but I think you would be more positive now if you had some money in the bank - if money wasn't limiting your options.
    I actually have about $1,200 in there already. But that might not be enough. I should try to get more in there.

    To be human is to have those issues. IIRC, you are 1SD above normal in terms of IQ. And you think about things, including yourself. That adds a huge amount of self doubt and friction. It isn't a lack of competence that is holding you back, it's *actual* competence that is. People who are too unaware and just act get ahead... doing is always greater than not, in aggregate.

    Bane of my existence, but true.
    Ah, I see... action > thought. Sounds like the bane of my existence, too.

  9. #29
    Senior Member ptgatsby's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Athenian200 View Post
    So, I guess the question is... what do you call that obsession with trying to find ways to make do with less? Not many people seem to have it.
    I think, in your case, it has to do with a cross wiring on how you manage the external world.

    Most people don't have anyone driving them - the illusion of control over their own actions. The more you study these things, the more it becomes obvious. Some, however, don't function quite the same way... you see it with highly autistic kinds of people, among many... there sits a sort of abstraction layer that makes them question their own reactions, giving rise to a filter. That filter begins retraining the underlying precepts - your pencil is an example of a short cut between theft/social interaction and purpose. My guess it that when you were much younger, you questioned your own reactions. This created a situation where you could 'burn back' negative feedback to your own reactions. To some degree, it's like repression, but a slightly different form of it.

    Doing with less isn't your goal. Your goal is to confine yourself to your own mental model. If you identify that having less will reach your goal, you incrementally strip away things, just as you have said. It's logically consistent... what do you really need?

    In reality, most people want for hedonistic purposes, but if you have shortcuted/repressed/etc. those particular prompts, then you won't really understand when others have them.


    I actually have about $1,200 in there already. But that might not be enough. I should try to get more in there.
    You can probably model a safe amount, and start looking at other places that have more opportunity. You do have one advantage being a 'thinker' - you can plan and investigate. Directed purpose goes farther than anything else... so long as you do

    Ah, I see... action > thought. Sounds like the bane of my existence, too.
    Indeed.

  10. #30
    Protocol Droid Athenian200's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ptgatsby View Post
    I think, in your case, it has to do with a cross wiring on how you manage the external world.
    That's plausible.
    Most people don't have anyone driving them - the illusion of control over their own actions.
    Wait, are you saying that most people have that illusion of control, or don't have that illusion of control? And did you mean that I tend to be driven by other people? If you did, that might be true... the impulses I tend to have are the ones to follow rules, avoid damaging reactions, and give things to/benefit other people, even at my own expense.

    Doing with less isn't your goal. Your goal is to confine yourself to your own mental model. If you identify that having less will reach your goal, you incrementally strip away things, just as you have said. It's logically consistent... what do you really need?
    Huh. I guess I never realized I was that logically consistent or dependent on mental models.

    In reality, most people want for hedonistic purposes, but if you have shortcuted/repressed/etc. those particular prompts, then you won't really understand when others have them.
    Ah, I probably had very good reasons for repressing those prompts. There's always been a certain degree of feeling like some kind of irrational "sense" of myself and impulses linked to it don't match up with my actual physical nature, and the dichotomy pushed me to trust my mind rather than my gut (not my intuition, more my impulses), because my gut was very obviously giving me the incorrect or non-applicable impulses all the time, according to feedback from my environment.

    You can probably model a safe amount, and start looking at other places that have more opportunity. You do have one advantage being a 'thinker' - you can plan and investigate. Directed purpose goes farther than anything else... so long as you do
    I guess I've just got to decide where and how to start, exactly.

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