This site is a collection of notes, on personal growth and worldly success, in the spirit of “science-help“.
I am running out of time. I want to see where my limits lie. While I still can.
I’ve set out to perfect myself. This owes as much to time spent coding as to reading about neuroplasticity, the “growth mindset“, “brain envy“, “thinking, fast and slow“, “mental models“, “behavior design“, “deliberate practice“, “quantified self“, and “Zen mind“. It also owes to this post, to a random comment by a wise man, and even to a slogan spotted in passing. And it involves body as much as mind, for what that distinction is worth.
As for the world, suffice to say I’m interested in creating products, businesses, organizations, movements, and communities; in impact and equity; and these notes also serve these.
All in, they include the (painfully) obvious and (hopefully) the non-obvious. And they are presented as a list of commands and elaborations which, already internalized or not, might be worthy of habit, if the aforementioned limits are to be tested. This because: “We are what we repeatedly do…”
A note on the name. The term itself was coined by the sociologist Robert K. Merton, in a paper describing the disproportionate share of credit given to more established scientists. He was alluding to the “social law” articulated in The Gospel of Saint Matthew:
For unto every one that hath shall be given, and he shall have abundance: but from him that hath not shall be taken even that which he hath. (25:29, KJV)
The effect manifests itself in such phenomena as “cumulative advantage“, “compound interest“, the “multiplier effect“, “information cascades“, and “the madness of crowds“; and appears in phrases as varied as “success begets success” and “virtuous circle” and “the rich get rich and the poor get poorer” and “famous for being famous” and “snowballing”. It was illustrated by Malcolm Gladwell in Outliers: The Story of Success.
Finally, while this site exists to record, share, and amass hacks, insights, wisdom, for myself and for you, dispassionately and objectively, the implications of this effect for society are another matter. Context is key. The law has a more prescriptive corollary.