Part of my Knowledge Base.


Premise

Every time you make a decision, pre-commit to making the same decision in all conceptually similar situations in the future.

Key Takeaway(s)

The striking value of TDT is: make each decision as if you would immediately reap the long-term rewards of making that same decision repeatedly.

Source: TDT for Humans - LessWrong

Highlights

  • Every time you make a decision, pre-commit to making the same decision in all conceptually similar situations in the future.
  • TDT runs on an ambiguous “conceptual similarity” clause: you pre-commit to making the same decision in conceptually similar situations. Unfortunately, you will be prone to motivated reasoning and conceptual gerrymandering to get out of timeless pre-commitments made in the past. This problem can be reduced but not solved by clearly stating boundaries.
  • In the same vein, practice predicting your future behavior.
  • The Ten Percent Shift is a thought experiment I’ve successfully pushed to System 1 that helps build long-term habits like blogging every day. It makes the assumption that each time you make a choice, it gets 10% easier.
  • Suppose there is a habit you want to build such as going to the gym. You spend 100 units of willpower dragging yourself there on Day 1. Now, notice that you have magic brain juice on your side. On Day 2, it gets a little bit easier. You spend 90 units. On Day 3, it only costs 80. A bit of math and a lot of magic brain juice later, you spend 500 units of willpower in the first 10 days, and the habit is free for the rest of time.

Practical

Very generally-applicable and useful advice. Essentially about using the power of habit to reduce the decision-making fatigue I experience on a daily basis. An application is something like my Daily Planning Protocol, a document which seeks to formalise the core activities of my day. These types of protocols, when used in combination with a digital tracking app, seek to put the fundamentals of my day on autopilot and free my mind up for superior problem-solving.

Resources