Debugging Myself

After reading Peak by Anders Ericsson and Robert Pool, I now firmly believe that anyone can improve to any skill level (barring certain phsyical limitations for certain sports) through deliberate practice. Not only is this insight a scientific breakthrough, but I belive it could become an ideological shift that transforms our culture for the better.

Since reading Peak, I now find myself newly empowered to improve in various parts of my life that I never even considered before: I could learn to sing, dance, play piano, and the list goes on and on. I quickly found myself overwhelmed by all of the ways I could improve, and almost gave up. Instead, I decided to write down all of the ways I’m trying to improve here on my website so I can be less overwhelmed and more systematic about improving myself.

As a computer scientist, I found the way that Ericsson and Pool explained deliberate practice reminded me of the systematic way that programmers fix the errors in their code: debugging.


Alexander Technique

Motivational Interviewing

Reflective Listening

Waking up at 7am and going to bed a 11pm during the week

Ping Pong

Debugging Myself (this page)


Schedule optimization

I’ve been doing a decent job thinking about this on my but I think I can be even more specific on how I want to spend my hours. I want to be much more precise about where I spend my time than I have been. Less ballparking it and more specific numbers. Even to the minute if I can.

Be able to non-awkwardly and non-threateningly approach strangers

Optimizing the food I eat

Getting more knowledge about how different foods affect my mood and energy, like Scott Adams discusses in How to Fail.

Think about which other parts of my personal journal can be open

Could be similar to Mattan’s friend update

Practice bouncing bad from negative emotions

They will happen. Councing back is the thing. And also avoiding places where you often find it. And preparing for those places when you can’t avoid it. Pain is a large location of negative emotions. You can also optimize yourlsef chemically via caffeine, nootropics or psychiatric medicine.

Non-violent communication


Work on various biases (in the Thinking Fast and Slow sense)

Singing well enough to not be embarressed in public

Dancing well enough to not be embarressed in public

Piano well enough to figure out how to play a song I like on my own

Tweet regularly for a period of time

Publish the notes I take on the books I read

Blog regularly for a period of time

I think a good way to go about this is to set aside a period of time each week for blogging (which can include releasing them) in which I can write on any number of pieces. Basically, don’t set a target for the number of released pieces but just the amount of time on the calendar each week. Given that I already write a ton already in various journals, this can mostly be aggregating, clarifying and publishing time.

Marketing for developers (justin jackson)


I don’t need to be an expert but I’d like more confidence in my style than I have now. I’d also like to know a bit about haircutting works, ideally so I can do little things at home on my own, but it that’s impracticle, at least be able to reason about when I need to cut it, and why, and others styles of haircut that might look good on me.








Figure out athletic outlet for winter

Ping pong!