My personal newsletter now has a name: The Seemingly Unrelated. I’ll be sharing articles and ideas that shed light on underlying principles of the world.
This edition touches on Outcome Dissociation.
First, learn about this science thing
I’m starting to think that CRISPR (low cost gene editing technology) could define the trajectory of the next 100 years as much as AI supposedly will.
But the story behind the story here is about how CRISPR was first found. CRISPR/Cas9 was discovered very much by accident by Dr. Jennifer Doudna and her unfortunate colleague with a long name who will be lost to the dustbin of history because people writing newsletters would rather write run on sentences than type it out.
Their work is the result of wandering. They kept working on something even though it didn’t seem to be going anywhere for some time.
Next, read about Bernard Loiseau
Bernard Loiseau was a world renowned French chef who committed suicide in 2003. Many speculate that it occurred as a result of Bernard’s premonition that his restaurant was about to lose its 3rd Michelin star.
He was an artist. And when his art was under attack it was a personal failure.
Now, remember that humans misjudge literally everything
I think what Andrew Wilkerson is doing with Tiny is really interesting. He’s building the ‘Berkshire Hathaway of the Internet.’
He just posted a brilliant and totally unusual marketing video. It is an abridged version of a famous lecture given by the great Charlie Munger in 1995.
Munger believes humans all suffer from unhelpful patterns of thinking that cause us to view reality improperly.
He turned this theory into billions of $$$.
Ok, now here is the connection.
The reason scientists can stumble across novel new things is they know that experimental results are not reflections of scientific ability. Failure in science is data. Success in science is built on the shoulders of giants.
Failure (negative reviews) in art is often viewed as a personal attack by the artist.
Because art is such a vulnerable and intimate pursuit it is hard to decouple self-worth from the perception of one’s work.
I see this happen in Startupland all the time. Young founders are more like artists than scientists. We correlate self-worth with financial outcomes on the regular.
And as a result we end up working for the ’Echochamber’:
General Principle: Practice Outcome Dissociation
Outcome Dissociation is the habit of uncoupling your self-worth from the success or failure of your work. It could have saved the life of Bernard Loiseau.
Scientists do it by focusing on process. This is the hidden feature of the Scientific Method. It’s a methodical way to decouple the data from the collector’s self-worth.
Think about this in your own life. Are you too heavily influenced by the reviews of your art? What about the performance of your startup? Maybe you are just constantly refreshing your Instagram for like counts?
If so, you are not a free person. You are imprisoned by outcomes.