July 21, 2020

Why I Speed

It’s the first day of spring and I’m driving down 128 with the windows down and open road. The speedometer points to 65mph and I push the pedal down to the floor.

At the age of 7, I very earnestly thought I had discovered the key to success… Do everything as fast as humanly possible. If could do this, then I would be able to complete more tasks in a given time and free up room to do all sorts of other things. “If only I could make my bed and clean my room in 2 minutes I’d have so much time to play Legos” I told myself.

In retrospect, I wonder if I had made toddler equivalent of the jump from assembly language programming to abstract languages. The answer? No, not quite. The similarity though, is that I wanted to “push down my stack” to create room to do other things. So far, I’ve found that this can be done in two ways:

Operational efficiency. i.e. doing everything quickly or with less effort, but achieving the same result

Abstract implementation i.e. delegating tasks “do my chores”

I thought that operational efficiency was the key to success. In reality, when success is defined as completion of an intent, it is a combination of the two.

This way you can break down ways to achieve goals or intentions into these two methods. For example, with the intent to get to work, you could drive and have the ability to increase operational efficiency by speeding. If you choose public transit, an abstract implementation of self transportation, you can only optimize which routes you take or the departure/arrival times.

It’s worth noting that abstract implementation generally leads to a larger increase in “space on your stack” than operational efficiency, but less direct control.

Does pushing down the stack decrease quality of the work you do? Not if done well. Why should you do it? To reach "space" that you’ve never reached before. These two solutions, operational efficiency and abstract implementation drive productivity forward. They open up the unknown, and those who are aware and eager take advantage of it; progressing forward. Those who take advantage beat on against the stack, moving forward into the future.

So why do I speed? Because how would you want to spend the minutes and hours you’ll never get back; driving down the highway or reaching into the unknown?

April 4th, 2014

Edit -- July 20th, 2020: My views on cars have changed significantly and it is overwhelmingly clear that the abstract solution of eliminating the commute altogether proved to be the most optimal solution.

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