Congratulations! You found my very first blog post. I hope most of the views come from readers of future quality posts who are curious about my growth and maturity over time and how it all started.
I should start by saying that I have never claimed to be an expert at anything. One day I hope to be an expert at many things, but that is certainly not the case today. All the ideas I have now are being molded from a brain with only a bachelor’s in statistics and some dilly dallys in a few graduate programs (with no degrees so far–but maybe soon). All the expertise I seem to have in other academic areas, skills, and hobbies will be created and practiced in the future, through strategies I hope to talk about here.
The strategies won’t begin as well-researched, empirically-backed hypotheses, but rather as principles that just seem to be true in my own learning experiences. I hope to be able to point to specific studies that are relevant more and more with time. One day I know I’ll look back at my older posts and be embarrassed at my initial misunderstandings. I hope that seeing my original thoughts, even if they are wrong, and the corrections and addenda that follow them will serve to show the reader that maturity of understanding is not immediate, but comes in time. My posts aren’t about being correct, but sharing the inner workings of the world as I currently understand them. In many ways, I’m sure you and I have equivalent levels of knowledge and experience. Equivalent, but probably pretty different. If you share my thirst for understanding, this may be the blog for you.
So what am I even talking about? For around 5 years now, I’ve been distracted from my daily life by an idea. I think I hold it so dearly I may even call it a dream. In short, I want to be good at everything. I’m naive, I know. But as you’ll soon see, having an insurmountable task is my only path to happiness. Sadness is not my enemy, but boredom. The time between my quests is my lowest. I’ve always been one to shoot for the stars, knowing that I’ll fall short, but still probably end up higher than if I had aimed with my true self-confidence.
It was only about two years ago that I began to consider that other people may experience this same drive. I’m not much of a gamer anymore, but growing up, it was my biggest pastime. I was never satisfied with just finishing a game’s main story. To me, the game wasn’t finished until I beat it with 100% completion, got perfect scores, or maxed out all of my stats. Today I see this strategy of play breathe new life into old games, with speed running being the first that comes to mind. But in real life, we don’t get the same easily-defined measures of success that we do in games. We can’t live life perfectly or complete it to 100%. But in more ways than may be immediately noticeable, life can be played like a game.
As I’ve learned through talking about this passion with more people than I probably should, most see an impossible goal as one not worth having. Some even seem to get mad at me. If being good at everything is fruitless, why should we attempt it? If we can’t 100% complete life, why would getting 85% completion be better than getting 75% completion? I believe that drive for improvement is contagious. If more people actively put time into improving themselves, they are likely to want to use their new knowledge and skill to raise the quality of life of those around them. Having a drive to do something, anything, rather than nothing is the way to push humanity forward.
With this in mind, I would like to create a product, called Self-Actualized Living, initialized as SAL. SAL is a guided methodology for comprehensive self-improvement. I hope it comes to be known as the TurboTax of personal development. When someone wants to learn something new, SAL is their beginning. SAL can give a curriculum to learning anything, similar to how universities provide layouts for academic programs. It can recommend resources and practices, ordered by difficulty, to learn anything. In this way, SAL streamlines the process of beginning a new interest all the way through becoming an expert in it and being a part of the cutting edge changes within that community.
I can’t give many detailed examples, because as I said, I am not notably knowledgeable in practically anything. Here’s perhaps my best effort. If I were a member of some other academic discipline, say Chemistry, and I wanted to learn about Computer Science, SAL could be an effective alternative to attending classes for the motivated individual. SAL would recommend a sequence of books for a beginner to read to most quickly and effectively become a competent member of the CS community. In addition to books, it could also recommend Youtube videos/channels/playlists, online courses, websites, podcasts, documentaries, etc. as other resources. Within each sub-discipline of Computer Science, it could give lists of the professional organizations and their conferences and academic journals, along with the recommended topic maturity before mingling with the professional community. The chemist of my example could learn the basics of Computer Science, and once he or she feels comfortable enough with the field in general, start learning about computational chemistry without skipping a beat. With the guidance of SAL, the guesswork of resource consumption is eliminated.
But SAL is about more than growing your academic breadth. Anyone can also use it as an introduction into any hobby or media. Want to learn how to woodwork? Want to box? Want to watch a new show? Want to learn a new language? SAL will show you how to start and master any of these. In addition to resource organization, SAL can also be used as a personal information management system. You can track the time you spend and the resources you finish seamlessly within SAL. It then uses this data to visualize your performance over time. You can compete with other users to be the most improved and the most versatile person in the world.
This post went into more detail than I had originally planned. To change back to the focus of this post, this blog will be about progress I make with SAL, both in putting together the product and developing these skills myself. Perhaps to my future regret, I may also use this blog to keep track of my personal life–kind of like a public journal. These posts may have vastly different tone than the ones strictly about self-improvement. I don’t want to limit myself in posting variety. I hope you enjoy reading the blogs to come, and I hope this will become a bigger part of my life. I also hope the writing quality improves!