What do I want in life?

At the most abstract level, I see life as a resource acquisition game

This means the goal of living things is to

1) figure out what they value

e.g.,money, power, truth, status, happiness, health, intelligence, etc.

2) get as much of those things as they need

What do I value most?

  • feeling of growth: sense that I'm pushing myself to my limit, improving at a craft
  • health: if I'm alive I don't want to feel awful
  • sense of safety: knowing someone/something can't just come and hurt me
  • acceptance: feeling respected, appreciated, remembered those i love & respect

How to gain resources: make good decisions

Every day we "decide" to invest our resources in order to gain more resources

you invest your time to go to the gym to workout and gain bodily autonomy
you invest time and energy to build positive relationships so you gain acceptance
💰
you work to gain money

A decision is good if you get more from it longterm than you invested

e.g., spending 2 hours of time on instagram for no return, probably a bad decision

e.g., spending 2 hours at the gym to gain strength: helps you gain bodily autonomy, probably a good decision

e.g., spending 10 hours at the gym to gain strength: probably having diminishing returns + might get injured, more ≠ better

Common ways we gathered resources throughout history

conquering: pillaging villages, looting
  • main setback is that you are competing against others in a zero-sum game and they will similarly attack back. Most people don't just let you have your way. Hence you'll end up sending more and more of your resources just fighting off the growing set of people who resent you. Most famous pillagers of the past were eventually killed.
working: hold a steady job, support family
  • linear gain, but pretty good approach for those who value stability.
  • training: gain strength/bodily autonomy
  • exploring oneself: finding inner peace through religion etc

I think creating value in the world is the best way for me to gain the resources I value long-term

  • Value creation lets you gain billions of dollars in the current western economy (capitalism)
  • Value creation lets you gain social acceptance by helping more people around you
  • I can use money from value creation to buy the other resources I value
  • I believe there is functionally infinite value that can be created in my lifetime, i.e., it's something I won't hit a maximum on, so it's something I can continue to pursue endlessly. This meets my desire for growth in whatever I do.

edits

march-2-2022:

  • simplified wording. "resource-acquisition" written everywhere feels annoying to read
  • tweaked what I value, over last year. no longer feel I value living a long time as much. I value it, just not more than feeling I pushed to my limit + I'm growing. I realized this a couple weeks ago. I've been doing ultra-marathon prep for a few months and ramped up too quick and my kidneys started failing. I suffered due to this and I realized I don't want to kill myself by pushing too hard, but if I am to die I want to know I pushed as hard as I could. I think living a long time is largely dependent on not pushing myself to my absolute limit. So in short, I rather push to my max and die young than hold back and die old wondering what my limits were.