The Long Game 152: AI & Health, Majoring in the Minors, Going Slow, Finding Work that Feels Like Play
☢️ Nuclear Power Plants, Gym Bros, Status, Luxury Beliefs, Pinterest, Volume vs. Intensity, and Much More!
Hi there, it’s Mehdi Yacoubi, co-founder at Vital, and this is The Long Game Newsletter. To receive it in your inbox each week, subscribe here:
In this episode, we explore:
AI & health
Majoring in the minors
Finding work that feels like play
Nuclear power plants
Let’s dive in!
🤖 AI & Health
The latest issue of Fitt Insider is a great look into the potential of AI in personal health & healthcare. Here are some of the key points:
AI is being used in a variety of healthcare applications, from disease diagnosis to drug discovery.
One recent development is the use of AI to analyze medical images and assist with cancer diagnosis.
Another use is in developing personalized treatment plans based on patients’ genetic information.
It can also be used to analyze electronic health records (EHRs) and identify patterns that could indicate health risks or suggest treatment options.
One challenge with using AI in healthcare is ensuring the accuracy and validity of the data used to train the algorithms.
Another challenge is ensuring that the algorithms are transparent and can be easily understood by healthcare professionals and patients.
These new capabilities are also being used to develop virtual assistants and chatbots that can provide patients with personalized health advice and support.
Some companies are using AI to develop wearables and other devices that can track and monitor health metrics in real-time.
It’s also being used to develop predictive models that can identify patients at risk for certain diseases or conditions.
One potential benefit of AI in healthcare is the ability to provide more personalized and targeted treatments.
Overall, artificial intelligence has the potential to revolutionize healthcare by improving the accuracy and effectiveness of diagnosis and treatment, as well as enhancing healthcare operations and delivery.
❗ Majoring in the Minors
A great reframing of the “over-optimization” discussion that I’ve been focused on in the last 4/5 editions of TLG is the idea of “majoring in the minors.”
“Majoring in the minors” refers to the tendency of some people to focus too much on small, less important tasks instead of prioritizing the big, impactful tasks that really matter. In the context of health and fitness, the majors might include eating whole foods, working out hard, and getting work done, while the minors might include taking cold showers, reading books, and taking supplements. The minors are not unimportant, but they should be seen as complementary to the majors, rather than a replacement for them.
To better understand this concept, it can be helpful to think of majors as big levers and minors as smaller levers. While both are important, the big levers have a much greater impact on your progress than the small levers. Focusing too much on the small levers can be a distraction from the big levers that really move the needle.
The lesson here is to stop worrying about optimizing everything until you have mastered the big tasks—which usually take a long time. By prioritizing the majors and making them a habit, you can create a strong foundation that allows you to build on with the minors. Don't make things harder on yourself by trying to optimize every small detail before you have a solid foundation. Instead, focus on the big things that matter and build from there.
🧠 Better Thinking
🏎 The fastest way to get rich is to go slow
Here’s the weekly food for thought: the fasted way to get rich is to go slow.
Some other interesting ideas:
Many beliefs are held because there is a social and tribal benefit to holding them, not necessarily because they’re true.
Nothing is more blinding than success caused by luck, because when you succeed without effort it’s easy to think, “I must be naturally talented.”
Social media makes more sense when you view it as a place people go to perform rather than a place to communicate.
Most beliefs are self-validating. Angry people look for problems and find them everywhere, happy people seek out smiles and find them everywhere, pessimists look for trouble and find it everywhere. Brains are good at filtering inputs to focus on what you want to believe.
A big problem with bubbles is the reflexive association between wealth and wisdom, so a bunch of crazy ideas are taken seriously because a temporarily rich person said it.
Logic doesn’t persuade people. Clarity, storytelling, and appealing to self-interest do.
The most important decision most people will ever make is whether, when, and whom to marry. But that topic is never taught in school. It can’t be – everyone’s different, and you can’t reduce it to a formula or a statistic.
Nothing leads to success like unshakable faith in one big idea, and nothing sets the seeds of your downfall like an unshakable faith to one big idea.
The most important communication skill is knowing when to shut up.
Not caring about temporary things, and obsessing over permanent things, is underrated.
The most productive hour of your day often looks the laziest. Good ideas rarely come during meetings – they come while going for a walk, or sitting on the couch, or taking a shower.
Average performance sustained for an above-average period of time leads to extraordinary performance. This is true not just in investing but careers, relationships, and parenting.
I recently came across something called the rule of thirds: One-third of days you should feel amazing. One-third of days should feel OK. One-third of days should be crappy. That’s a good, balanced, realistic life.
The same traits needed for huge success are the same traits that increase the odds of failure. We should be careful praising winners or criticizing failures, because they often made similar decisions with different degrees of luck.
⚡️ Startup Stuff
🃏 Find Work That Feels Like Play
The idea is simple here: you’ll never be able to compete with people that are just having fun doing what they’re doing. So you better find something that feels like play.
I love this idea, and saw it resurface two times this week:
First David Senra quoting Michael Bloomberg:
Second inby Justin Mares:
I’m incredibly grateful that I got out of the dev tools space at 23. It wasn’t as obvious then, but had I stayed in it I would have inevitably been outcompeted by someone else who found dev tools fascinating. I’d spend my nights and weekends talking about health and wellness, while they’d be building side projects and playing with the latest and greatest tools in the space. I could get away with not caring for a bit, but compounded over decades my unwillingness to work/read/think about the topic on nights and weekends would add up. I’d have spent 2 decades learning 5 days a week, while others in the space go 7. There’s no way to make up that gap, no way for me to be the greatest in a space I don’t care about.
As a founder, this really, really matters. Work on things you’re interested in, and you practically get two extra work days for free. Your work becomes play, while others clock out at 5p. How can you help but win?
And when work becomes play… it’s game over. I will regularly have weekend conversations with friends on health and food stuff, just because it fascinates me. And the more that my work becomes part of my life, part of who I am as a person, the more that life delivers interesting people, compelling opportunities, and new ideas to me “for free”. The whole “don’t talk about work at parties” rule may make sense if you live in a suburb full of lawyers. But to an entrepreneur, to someone who is building, why would I NOT want to talk about the things I find most interesting?
This all sounds great, but how do I find what I care about?!
I think finding your passion is (1) hard to do for anyone, but damn near impossible for someone under 25, and (2) not the real goal.
Instead, of finding your passion, find your problem. For me, I kept thinking about the existential health issue in the US. In my worldview, nearly everyone in the US is getting fat, depressed, and sick because our environment is killing us. That seems like a problem! And I’ve spent most of the last 7 years ruminating on ways to solve that Big Freaking Problem.
Finding a problem is far, far better than finding your passion. Passions come and go, problems are lasting. Probably, people will want to be healthier for as long as I’m alive: problems are an infinite game, passions are finite.
I also like orienting one’s career around a problem rather than a passion because it unlocks the long game. For me, “fixing the food system” is a problem I can dedicate my life and career to. Fixing that problem will likely involve many approaches, multiple companies, and span the gamut from angel investing, starting companies, funding non-profits... if everything I do is oriented around solving this problem, my career becomes legible in a way it may not otherwise. And with every new person I meet, with everything I learn, it all can play a role in the larger game I’m focused on.
This problem orientation also allows you to ride the inevitable highs and lows of any industry. If you worked in crypto through the 2018 bear market or remained in tech after the Dotcom Bubble, you likely did pretty darn well. If you’re following the money or chasing the latest news cycle, I’m not sure that you hang around through either downturn.
📚 What I Read
🚫 Stop Treating Women Like Men
Like all educated women, female Stanford students won’t just settle for any job. However, after a few years post-college wholly encompassed by their careers, women are hit by the sudden realization that their biological clocks are ticking and are forced to settle for suboptimal personal lives. In our current culture, there is a generation of women deprived of their ability to choose a traditional life due to social stigma and pressure to be like men, who can afford to be completely immersed in their careers in their twenties. Our culture desperately wants to frame women and men as equal such that we take away from a woman’s autonomy to be a woman. By telling women they are like men, they plan their careers like men—until the day they realize that they are not men and their biological clocks tick away much faster.
Pair with: I Got Standards Bro and this episode.
👛 I’m Glad I Listened to My Adoptive Mom and Not the Luxury Belief Class
Poor families can't afford to cultivate entitled self-importance.
Milano’s comment is a picture-perfect example of a luxury belief: Ideas and opinions that confer status on the upper class, while inflicting costs on the lower classes. Saying “take care of your mother while I’m gone” isn’t insinuating that women can’t take care of themselves. It’s a reminder to boys that they have a duty to their families. It’s a cue to young males—who have a tendency to be self-obsessed—to think of someone other than themselves. It is intended to suppress entitlement.
Maybe rich families can afford to let their kids be self-centered. They can literally pay people to do things. Poor people don’t have that. If they’re lucky, they have families they can rely on. But the luxury belief class doesn’t like the idea of poor people getting an ounce of enjoyment from things money can’t buy. Like strong relationships with other people. Maybe because so many members of the luxury belief class are unhappy, and they want to spread their misery.
👔 Status Not Sex
This article discusses how social status plays a significant role in determining human behaviour and relationships, particularly in the realm of mating. It argues that individuals are more likely to choose partners who have higher social status than themselves, regardless of their own gender or sexual orientation. This preference for higher-status partners is seen as a result of evolutionary psychology and the desire for resources and security. However, the article also notes that social status can be fluid and influenced by a range of factors, including wealth, education, and social networks.
A better explanation for the ability of some powerful men to get away with abominable behavior is that high-status people, both men and women, receive preferential treatment. They are lionized; people naturally defer to them; and people often allow them to get away with otherwise opprobrious behavior. In many ancient law codes, including Anglo-Saxon and Roman among others, high-status people were explicitly treated differently from low status people. And although modern Western laws codes discarded this explicit preference, it stems from a natural propensity that persists. This propensity leads to the promulgation of norms that protect high-status people from scrutiny and punishment. This is not misogyny; it is a kind of classism.
☢️ Why Does Nuclear Power Plant Construction Cost So Much?
This an interesting article on the costs of nuclear power plants. It presents a detailed analysis of the factors that influence the cost of building nuclear power plants. Here are ten key points from the article:
Nuclear power plants are expensive to build due to their complex design and safety regulations.
The cost of constructing nuclear power plants varies widely depending on the country and the specific plant design.
Factors that influence construction costs include site preparation, materials and equipment, labor, regulatory requirements, and project management.
The construction phase typically accounts for 60-80% of the total cost of a nuclear power plant.
Delays in construction can significantly increase costs due to inflation, financing costs, and extended project timelines.
Some countries, such as South Korea and China, have been able to build nuclear power plants more efficiently and cost-effectively than others.
The use of standardized plant designs and modular construction can help reduce costs and improve construction timelines.
Advanced nuclear technologies, such as small modular reactors, have the potential to reduce construction costs and improve safety.
Regulatory reform and streamlining approval processes can also help reduce construction costs.
Despite the high upfront costs, nuclear power plants can provide long-term economic benefits through reliable and low-cost electricity generation.
🍭 Brain Food
🚨 How I Mistook Freedom for Feminism
In the cultural arguments around what it means to be a feminist—or, for that matter, a woman—author Mary Harrington asks: If individualism, domestic emancipation, and sexual freedom are the happy spoils of the last forty years of feminism, why do so many women feel like something is missing?
This is a thought-provoking piece. Here’s the TL;DR:
The author initially saw feminism as a way to achieve personal freedom and escape gender stereotypes.
She believed that feminism was primarily about individual empowerment and breaking down barriers to personal success.
However, the author later realized that feminism is also about challenging systemic power structures that perpetuate gender inequality.
The author reflects on how her own privileged upbringing and access to education allowed her to overlook the experiences of women with less privilege.
She describes how her desire for personal freedom led her to engage in behaviors that reinforced patriarchal norms, such as prioritizing her male partner's needs over her own.
The author recognizes that her initial understanding of feminism was limited and incomplete, and that true liberation requires collective action and systemic change.
She acknowledges the importance of recognizing and addressing intersectional forms of oppression, such as racism and classism, that affect women's experiences differently.
The author emphasizes the need for empathy and understanding in feminist discourse, and the importance of listening to diverse perspectives.
She recognizes the ongoing challenges of navigating gender and power dynamics in both personal and professional settings.
The author concludes by affirming her commitment to feminist principles and the ongoing work of dismantling oppressive structures.
Pair with: The Girls Are Getting Tired Of Hook Up Culture and Hook Up Culture Is Bad For The Boys Too and Birth Control & Taste in Men
🎥 What I’m Watching
🏋️♀️ How Gym Bros Became Self-Help Gururs
🔊 10 Reasons Volume is King for Size & Strength
🔧 The Tool of the Week
Nothing new here, but I restarted using Pinterest recently for inspiration.
My current mood board:
🪐 Quote I’m Pondering
The greats never stop learning. Instincts alone won't get you there.
— Tim Grover
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