Writings Yixin Lin


I wrote this a while ago.

Life is easy. Life is simple.

It is YOU who complicates.

In your effort to be deep and worldly, to have your intellectual fingers in every pie, to prop up your self-importance and look for a sense of progress, you lose any steam whatsoever. Brownian motion. You think your ideas clever, your methods sophisticated, your execution close-to-perfect.

Intellectual masturbation.

Nearly nobody gets the fundamentals right. Because they’re seen as fundamentals, they’re repeated until they pass into that realm of things you “know.” People approach the fundamentals as obvious things, which becomes the things they can’t learn. And then they marvel at the superhumans around them, wondering about a magic spark or a hidden secret.

Stop. Just stop.

It (i.e. life) is easy. The fundamentals are easy. Which makes you think you can do it without trying, which means you don’t do it well, which means you wallow about… building ever-towering precipices of “knowledge” and “experience.”

The dangerous thing is not that you fail. You won’t fail. You’ll achieve a modicum of success. You’ll think your ideas are true.


Eat well. Sleep well. Exercise.

Pick goals. Do everything to achieve them. When you fail, figure out your mistakes and never make them ever again.

Don’t lie to yourself. Know what you know, and know what you don’t know.

Focus is paramount.

Don’t stop.

Everybody knows this, understands this, forgets this.

The way to actually USE this is to drop literally everything until you’re absolutely sure you’re doing it.

Sit down every single night and record any deviation from perfectly executing these simple ideas. Don’t lie to yourself or justify. Be machinelike. Then wake up and try to do it perfectly this time.

That is the difference between knowing and knowing. This is why little kids can play hard music and Yudkowsky is fat. This is why there are people better than you at the things you care about.

Stop thinking so hard. Life is simple.