How to solve problems
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Life’s Impact Pipeline
The core of my writings centers around the question of how we solve meaningful problems together. The goal is to (1) create a rough model of how I achieve impact and what is holding me back, in order to then generalize and (2) build a set of institutions that increase humanities problem solving capability. I currently split my time into the following components that lead into each other like a pipeline.
How can we make time to tackle problems?
First, we need to be ready to even think about solving problems. We must derive meaning from doing so (wanting it), but more importantly our life's have to be in order so that we can focus on solving them. But life is complex and there have to be a lot of things in place before any team can even begin.
How can we learn and prepare everything the fastest?
Solving problems requires understanding the problem, knowing which questions are worth pursuing, who else is thinking about it and getting all resources in place to test conjectures in the physical world.
How can we create new expexplanations?
Problems get solved by coming up with novel good explanations. But this is extremly hard. In the end the progress and survival of our species depends solely on the number of hours highly prepared researchers spent in deep focus together.
How do we spread the solutions to our problems
If no one knows that a problem is already solved they might reinvent the wheel. Or even worse not distribute and apply the solution in the first place. Most of todays suffering is just because the future is unevenly distributed and we failed with rapid post-creation.
Re-iterate: did we actually work on the most important problems and do our solutions work?
Most attempts at solving problems fail at some point. Developed a COVID vaccine, but people can’t get it because they live in poor nations without a good cooling infrastructure? But even worse, most solutions are actually for problems nobody has (looking at you, Playpumps). So this is actually just tep 1 of the next cycle through the pipeline.
Some more notes on this framework
- Don’t do it alone! At all five stages building teams and institutions is the best option.
- For Life:
- What I am looking for in coaching
- For Pre-Creation:
- See more resources in their respective pages
- You don’t have to get all stages right, but if just one of them fails, you will not have any impact. Ill (or dead), because you didn’t exercise? No impact. Being highly productive, but working in the wrong career? No impact! Producing a beautiful paper that no one read? No impact. You get the point.
- 80/20 principle
- Again, you could gain the biggest impact by focusing on what really matters. Which part of the pipeline can you influence the most?