Experience Is Compounding

I've been on a real not-learning kick lately. By that, I mean a long stretch of not feeling like I've changed much as a person. See also Learning from Past Experiences and Replace Stereotypes with Experiences. I think I've stagnated a lot post-discovering-rationality, in that I haven't had lots of recent experiences play into informing how I make decisions or into changing my self-concept. (It might not actually be that way. It just feels that way.)

For example:

  • I haven't really figured out how to feel like a college student.
  • I don't think I've updated most of my models about marketing / companies after interning at Google.
  • I don't feel like I'm the sort of person who dates even after actually dating.

The real question is something like "A bunch of cool stuff seems to be happening in the present. So why can't I move faster and let these things in? Why do I feel stuck by past things?"

The answer is that experience compounds. One reason childhood events can be so influential isn't just that they happened when you were at a formative time and developing your models. In addition, the fact that you pick them up early means they've had the privilege of being part of your thought processes for longer. They're more well-worn tools.

Then, there's also the default answer that each additional year of your life is, relative to the amount of years you've lived, a lesser amount. EX: From year 6 to 7, you've gained an extra ~15% of your total lifespan in new experiences. Whereas from 26 to 27, you've gained closer to 4% of your total lifespan in new experiences.

But, I'd like every year to be measured more equally with one another. I feel like cool stuff is passing by me right now, and I'm just slow on the uptake. I'm not taking it in!

Yes, you can get set in your older ways of thinking, and you will have seen more with each successive year. But experientially speaking I'd like to get my brain to also pay more attention to the recent stuff.

I guess on hacky way to do this would be to spend more time ruminating on the present (which is also harder because if you've lived for 30 years, then by the same proportionality argument, there's just less stuff to think about if you restrict yourself to years 29-30).

Last Updated: 2019-08-08 18:04
First Published: 2019-08-08 18:04