3 Minute Monday
I’ve not been feeling myself for the last few months.
I couldn’t really put my finger on it but I knew something was off.
I was constantly slightly tired and drowsy.
Found myself heading to bed at 9.30pm every night, shattered.
My thoughts were super cloudy and muddled.
Thinking is usually like dancing on ice for me, but now it felt like walking through a swamp.
Then I noticed I was forgetting words on podcasts and when talking to friends, multiple times per day.
One afternoon I spent a full 5 minutes internally trying to remember “that seaside town near Manchester”
I was completely blanking on words during episodes, which is not like me at all and really frustrating. You might not have noticed, but they’re there if you listen hard.
I was walking into rooms in my house and unable to remember why I was there.
And I started confusing words like “write” and “right” – something I haven’t done since I was in Primary School.
It felt like there was holes in my brain.
After being defeated by the word Blackpool I decided I needed to work out what was happening.
I’d laughed it off that I had early onset dementia or a slow-growth aneurism but for all the bravado it wasn’t an enjoyable state to be in.
I pride myself on having nimble thoughts and precise language, and it felt like that was being taken away from me.
So I messaged a friend asking what it could be.
(2 months after it started – classic male-denial of medical problems)
“Have you changed any medication or supplements recently?”
Actually – I had. I’d recently been instructed to double the dose of a very normal, boring pill I’d been taking since January.
It turns out that that medication has an anticholinergic effect.
Choline is a key neurotransmitter.
The common side effects at moderate-high doses: fatigue, drowsiness, memory problems, blurry vision.
I’ve managed to knock 30 points off my IQ without realising it and retarded myself to the point where I can’t remember Blackpool.
But at least it’s not an aneurism.
Anyway, the reason I bring this up is because for a couple of months, I’d basically lost the thing I pride most in myself – the precision of my thoughts.
It got me thinking about how brutal cognitive decline is.
You, like me, probably rely on raw cognitive horsepower to get you out of difficult situations.
Even if everything goes to hell, at least you know that your mind will be able to solve the problem and get you out of it.
But when the very thing you rely on to save you is being nerfed, it feels so unfair and vicious.
A friend’s dad suffered with bad cognitive decline and in one of his more cogent moments he wept and said “This disease has taken everything from me, it’s even taken myself.”
If I had a lesson to take from this, it would be to use the machine between your ears to its full capacity.
Experience, enjoy, wonder, discover.
Because one day soon, you won’t be able to experience that richness any more.
And you’ll feel like a pleb when you forget Blackpool.
This week’s upcoming episodes:
Jack Butcher – one of the most exciting creators in the world joins me to discuss how to build a one-man-army business to $100,000+ a month at a 99% profit margin. Great episode.
Julia Galef – how to think better and make effective decisions by one of the most interesting people coming out of the rationality movement.
Theo Priestley & Bronwyn Jones – two futurists predict what will the future of transport, warfare, politics, education, economics, computing and much more will have in store.
THINGS I’VE LEARNED
A fantastic question to ask yourself.
“If you were a character in a book, what would your readers be yelling at you to do?” – Eliezer Yudkowsky
Men are gaslit by their own culture.
If you listened to the David Buss and Adam Lane Smith episodes a few weeks ago, you’d have learned that men have an inbuilt reward function for looking at anything and everything in a sexual manner.
It’s a deeply rooted, innate, adaptive behaviour for men to look at, and be attracted to women.
Regardless of their current relationship status.
The “love” and the “lust” systems are separate.
“We become attracted to other people even if we’re in a loving mating relationship and fully in love with our partner.” – David Buss
Because of our culture’s propagation of the myth of “the one” and “soulmates”, men are told that they should never find other women sexually attractive.
And the only way that they could is if they don’t truly love their current partner.
Not only is this wrong, but think about how many men have split up with their wives because they’ve misinterpreted the implication of finding someone else attractive.
True loyalty from a man is not reprogramming millions of years of evolution to no longer be at the mercy of lust.
It’s finding other woman attractive and remaining faithful nonetheless.
Men being told that heritable, immutable, inbuilt functions of their gender are something to be ashamed of and disgusted by is dumb and destructive.
Dispersal is probably the more common anti-incest adaptation.
In many species, when the young hit puberty and their sexual desires come online, they experience a strong wanderlust which motivates them to leave the family group.
This automatically reduces their chances of encountering, and therefore potentially mating with, relatives.
(from The Ape Who Understood The Universe)
Make Your Request Brief & Simple
When reaching out to someone, respecting their time and energy will improve your responses.
The message needs to be short and easy to answer.
Don’t get bogged down with tons of praise or pre-amble.
Hi, this is me, this is what I want from you, this is how you should proceed, let me know.
A short email is a high-status-signal to the recipient.
Do you think Jeff Bezos or Elon have big winding emails, even if they’ve never met someone before?
Course not, they get straight to the point and make it as easy as possible for the recipient to give them the answer they want.