Re-Evaluating Life Goals (Part 1)

Over the past N years at MIT, a number of things in my life have changed — lots of problems, successes and the like, but one thing that I haven’t done in a period is to rethink what I want out of my life, what I want in the next “N” years, and how to get there.  In many ways, this is prompted partly by learning from Ouqi, who’s success in at least one of her goals has reflected (and restored my faith in) the power of planning and executing step by step.  Her “I don’t do things like that” statements (regarding just jumping into a situation, or finding them too hard at the outset of and then giving up) have shown me that one doesn’t have to run after their goals and dreams stupidly, nor feel trapped if they are not turning out as desired.  One only has to plan, set reasonable steps, and execute.  This is also a good time to do it because I did not register for any classes this semester, and am only taking time to catch up on projects that I had fallen behind on.

For me, the first step really is reassessing where I am and and where I want to be in the future, and then break down derived goals into subcomponents, which essentially act as a “feature vector”, against which I match proposed activities in terms of their projection on those features, and thus the long term trajectory in goal-space.

One of the major things that I noticed is that a great deal of my goals have been predicated upon notions that I’ve taken for granted — that my parents will be young forever, that individually I am “more capable” (whatever that means) than others, and that my health is also eternal.  If one takes away each of those ideas, so many of the goals that I had seem silly and what’s more, pointless.

On the plus side, a number of the more ridiculous goals that I had, I actually have been somehow successful at, and now I take them for granted… which I shouldn’t.  Failing to appreciate what’s been accomplished, both from my self, and in terms of others is well, bad, but also leaves one extremely myopic in terms of the achievement-capacity of the future.

So without further ado, the simplistic list is:

  • [self] Objectives
    1. Change “apparent” field to physics/math/inventor; I do most of this already in computer programs, but I hate computers and would like to reduce by interaction with them to zero, while increasing my human-idea-experimental interaction
      • a. Proofs [Math]
      • b. Experiments – creating and running large (and interesting) experiments with real results
      • c. Invention – Development and deployment of new technologies
    2. Family Stuff: Get married/Start family/ be in position & location to support my famz
      • a. Put self in a position to find a partner and have kids/etc.
      • b. Facilitate/Contribute to family goals, not just my own
      • c. Be in a position to support parents
    3. Martial Artz, Healthiness, Fitness-Athletic-type-goals
      • a. Endurance – get into “continuous” 3hr-sprint shape
      • b. Flexibility – regain splits and full muscle and joint range (along with the power delivery that comes with it)
      • c. Strength – target a steady-state bicep curl strength of 75lbs.

    So that is the major hierarchy. I’ve found that a major percentage of accomplishing one’s goals is about “putting one’s self in the position/location” where similar goals are accomplished and letting history run its course, but that only works for single-goals — the entire system, while helped by that, can be facilitated by a little planning.

    Taking the Third goal as an example, it consists of the feature vector <Endurance, Flexibility, Strength>, then activities that I choose can measured in terms of it — so Yoga for instance has (I feel) the following projection:

    • Endurance/internal cardio-state:  .6
    • Flexibility: .3-.5 (depending on the instructor)
    • Strength: .4
    • New-Skills: 0.0  (I decided to assess how well it adds new skills to my repertoire, since I’m clearly learning nothing, though the “balance” contribution might be non-zero, so ok, I’ll give it a .1 there)

    Then my Cardio class:

    • Endurance: .9
    • Flexibility: .1
    • Strength: .2

    And so on.  What I have to do now is find activities for the other two, and determine the rate of change per unit of activity time.  (unless of course the feature vectors above are already amplitude and time normalized)