3 Minute Monday – Groupthink, Kings & Reading

3 Minute Monday

Hi friend,

Some cool news – I’ve been booked to do a TEDx Talk in a couple of months.

It’s gonna be a sprint to get it written and rehearsed in time but I’m really looking forward to it.

Will be my first foray into giving a proper public speech so I’m pretty excited.

Weirdly, public speaking feels a lot scarier than podcasting.

I guess you can always just hide behind the other person and pretend to be interesting if it’s a conversation.

Anyway, it’s happening.

I’ll keep you updated with the progress and maybe preview some elements of the talk in here as I develop it.

In other news – I pissed off quite a lot of people on the internet this week.

Firstly from my video about the Capitol Hill Riots, then from talking about existential risk, and THEN from featuring John Sweeney on Modern Wisdom.

I’ve told you about similar situations previously, but it’s a really interesting look into how people view individuals on the internet in 2021, so let’s explore it a bit more…

Humans like people who they can predict easily.

This is why archetypes are used in movies – it speeds up our understanding of the character.

The hero is always muscular, the nerd always has glasses, the maiden has big eyes, the villain wears black.

We take one element of the person, and extrapolate that out to infer the rest of who they are.

This suits our brains just fine because it requires almost no work.

Our brains are energy-saving machines – so the more assumptions they can make about the world, the less thinking needs to be done to work out what’s ACTUALLY happening.

The problem is encountered when someone does something which is outside of the predictive model our brain had them filed away under.

Someone is a gun toting conservative but also supports abortion.

Someone votes Labour or Democrat but also believes in stringent immigration checks.

Someone attends BLM marches and supports their cause but is critical of Antifa’s aggressive tactics.

Someone is a club promoter but promotes sobriety as a productivity tool.

Before the whataboutisms appear in your brain, I’m not saying that any of these stances are even slightly incompatible.

There will be tons people who actually have those blends of beliefs.

But very few of them appear in discussions online.

And anyone who does is immediately destroyed.

Why is that?

Firstly, having a non-typical perspective on an element of your group’s ideology is often seen by the other side as weakness or a lack of conviction.

It’s viewed as a signal that you’re actually an uneducated hypocrite who doesn’t know what they’re supposed to believe.

It’s much safer to go out all guns blazing with the most extreme views possible, leaving no chinks in your armour.

Secondly, having a non-typical perspective is seen by your side as a lack of commitment or belief with the shared values of your own group.

“If you disagree with us on this topic, then what ELSE can’t we trust you about?”

It’s much safer for people to avoid bringing attention to themselves due to holding a nuanced view, so they just adopt the group ideology wholesale.

My least favourite sentence on the internet is “because of your view on ISSUE X, I can’t take your opinion on COMPLETELY UNRELATED ISSUE Y seriously.”

Come. On.

Like, how much of a donkey do you need to be to think that’s a smart way to exist.

This is why everybody hates centrists.

At least when you’re out on the extremes, you’re guaranteed agreement from one side.

But when you’re in the middle, you get disagreement from both.

On my video last week about the Capitol Hill riots, some people from both the left AND the right considered the analysis unfair, but for the complete opposite reasons.

It’s so funny.

In short, I am incredibly skeptical of anyone who has taken their ideology wholesale.

If I know one of your beliefs and from it I can accurately predict everything else you believe, then you’re not a serious person.

All of the interesting parts of personal development lie in being able to hold increasing levels of complexity in your mind at one time.

Acquire wisdom, disregard groupthink.

MODERN WISDOM

I do a podcast which has had 9 million+ downloads. You should subscribe on Apple Podcasts or Spotify.

This week’s upcoming episodes:

Monday.
Donald Robertson is Scottish, trained in Cognitive Behavioural Therapy and an expert on Stoic Philosophy. Outrageously good.

Thursday.
Andy Ngo. The #1 enemy of Antifa joins me to reveal the inner workings of America’s militant left including when he went undercover in CHAZ for a week.

Saturday.
Brian Muraresku on the psychedelic origins of Western Civilisation. Was Plato, Marcus Aurelius & Jesus getting off their faces on Ergotised Beer? Learn all.

THINGS I’VE LEARNED

1.
Kings Of The Wyld is great.

My new pre-bed obsession.

Awesome fantasy series, super accessible, engaging characters, easy to pick up.

Perfect nighttime read.

Shop on Amazon.

2.
The leader of the Russian Opposition is a badass.

Alexei Navalny was the subject of Saturday’s podcast episode.

The guy has survived Novichok nerve agent poisoning, been imprisoned tons of times and still not died.

My favourite story is that he had green dye mixed with acid thrown in his face.

The doctors told him he may lose his sight.

His response:

“Is not so bad, perhaps I now get to be like a pirate with eye-patch.”

#boss

3.
“Self-esteem is just the reputation that you have with yourself. You’ll always know.” — Naval Ravikant

LIFE HACK

Readwise

Every day I share highlights from things I’ve read on Kindle on my Instagram.

Readwise is the tool I use for this.

It automatically syncs your highlights from Kindle, read later apps like Pocket & InstaPaper plus loads of other locations.

Then you get a daily email with a random selection.

You can even use it as a spaced repetition learning platform to make your highlights stick in your brain.

Sick tool. Highly recommended.

Sign up here. (I think you might get a free month)

Big love,
Chris x

Listen to me on Apple Podcasts or Spotify.
Say hi on Twitter or Instagram.

PS
If you ever think a friend would enjoy this newsletter – just send them this link to sign up: https://chriswillx.com/lifehacks/

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