A wooden boardwalk meanders through a wetland with tall grasses, sporadic small trees, and patches of open water. The landscape is bathed in warm sunlight, suggesting early morning or late afternoon. In the background, a denser group of trees is visible against a partly cloudy sky.

I’ll not do this often, and I obviously encourage you to read the original article, but here’s a GPT-4 summary of a fantastic post by Adam Mastroianni from the start of the year.

His topic is getting yourself out of a situation where you’re stuck, which he calls “de-bogging yourself”. I love the way he breaks it down into three different kinds of ‘bog phenomena’ and gives names to examples which fall into those categories.

Insufficient Activation Energy: Describes a lack of motivation to change, encompassing scenarios such as taking on unwanted projects (gutterballing), waiting for a perfect solution (waiting for jackpot), avoiding necessary actions out of fear (declining the dragon), and remaining in mediocre situations due to a lack of motivation to change (the mediocrity trap). Additionally, it covers obsessing over problems without seeking solutions (stroking the problem).

Bad Escape Plans: Details flawed strategies for change, including the belief that mere effort without direction will lead to improvement (the “try harder” fallacy), unrealistic expectations of future effort (the infinite effort illusion), blaming external factors (blaming God), misunderstanding the nature of problems (diploma vs. toothbrushing problems), expecting personal transformation without basis (fantastical metamorphosis), and attempting to control others' actions (puppeteering).

A Bog of One’s Own: Explores self-imposed psychological barriers to progress, such as overvaluing insignificant details (obsessing over tiny predictors) and holding unrealistic views of personal and others' problems (personal problems growth ray). It also discusses the detrimental effects of constant worry over external issues (super surveillance) and refusal to accept simple solutions (hedgehogging), culminating in the belief that personal satisfaction is unattainable (impossible satisfaction).

Source: Experimental History

Image: Maksim Shutov