Each night, I lay in bed pondering on a philosophical question till I doze off. It’s my way to get to know myself just a bit better, everyday. It started as a coping mechanism for my overstimulated brain. As I’ve become older and more at peace, it’s evolved into a resolution of hard problems.

The fun part is always picking the question. I go with the flow till I find a problem that grates against my soul. Over a few weeks, I find an answer I can live with. Not in the sense that everything reveals itself magically. In the sense that I know what search terms to explore and find some books to read. Enough to build a framework.

The latest conundrum got me to fit multiple unknown unknowns in place. What if I had a life threatening disease and there is no proven cure. Just an experimental drug, less than 10% chances of survival but severe side effects guaranteed. Would I bet on the treatment with reduced quality of life or choose to die in peace?

It’s hard because I’ve lived a good life with few regrets. It’s also hard because my default risk profile is distorted. When confronted with a problem, I find the one reason things succeed and ignore the 99 that make something fail. There’s a reason why I love building in startups.

A wise woman once said that the work that you do shapes your nature [citation needed; both for said wisdom and for nature being plastic]. This hits home really hard.

When we shift homes, in the first week, I work like a dragon to ship the minimum livable project me and my wife can call home. Everything is a bloody mess but I can cook, there is wifi and a comfortable mattress to sleep on. Then my engineer wife steps up to the plate and spends 3 months clearing up my technical debt. She uses me as manual labour and is clearly the brains of the operation.

If this sounds exactly like what I’d do in my day job, it is. Fast and impactful with a high tolerance for error. I’ve done this for over a decade and this default has seeped deep into my bones.

It’s not an optimal way to live since I fall on my face often, but it’s the only way I know how to be happy. That’s the only objective function I care deeply about.



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