It's about doing the things that are "worth doing". And about doing them yourself, instead of outsourcing them to someone else. Take responsibility for doing the things that are difficult but worth doing.
Things that people outsource:
Gym - people outsource their Gym attendance to "the experts", Personal Trainers.
Their health - to "the professionals", be those Doctors, vitamin salesmen, or chiropractors.
Music - to professional musicians.
Um, what? Your personal trainer doesn't go to the gym in your stead, they advise on how best to use your time there.
But plenty of people have permanently damaged their knees by consistently running without getting advice on how best to do it.
You don't need a personal trainer for that. But asking someone "to tell me how to run" ain't a bad idea, even if it's a question on a running board on the Internet.
The people who read running boards all the time roll their eyes at stuff like this. Saying that running will hurt your knees is the running equivalent of "The GPL will infect your codebase." It's not true, but it sounds scary.
Usually, if you ask runners how to run, they will say something like, "It's not that complicated. Run more miles, slowly."
For example: https://www.reddit.com/r/running/comments/wi8zq/want_an_easy...
OTOH, "Runner's Knee" does seem to be a serious condition affecting a lot of people (much like "Fencer's Knee", which I'm more familiar with). From the same subreddit:
And a number of people, when discussing the problem, reference bad technique as a causative factor.
However, you're absolutely right that it seems there's little evidence for permanent damage. I found this thread particularly interesting:
I trained with one on the Starting Strength lifts for 4 months. Made crazy gains, but I ended up stopping after an injury. I was not listening to my body the way I would have if I hadn't had the trainer.
I'm starting Crossfit now, and my number one goal is zero injuries. I like that it's more of a class format than it is a one on one training format. I can go at my own pace.
I personally would prefer to just lift. But unless you're pretty lucky, or are willing to invest the time and expense, you won't have access to a gym with decent equipment. Since convenience is a huge factor in lifestyle choices like working out, you need to choose amongst the activities that are close to you. Once I graduated from cardio at Planet Fitness, the only place to go really is Crossfit.
> She does what she does not because she is going to be paid for her services and not because she is the most highly skilled, but because she wants to do it. And she does “the things worth doing,” which are the things closest and most sacred to all of humanity – nurturing a baby, teaching a child the first things, and, in fact, all things.
You're not doing the exercises that are being chosen by the expert who is telling you what to do because you're paying them, you're doing the exercises you want to do purely out of self-interest.
I have seen many people give that up upon getting a trainer. Suddenly they only exercise at trainer appointments.
I think it's fair to say that abolishing all division of labor doesn't make much sense. So what makes some activities different such that they should not be subject to division of labor? Outsourcing work to personal trainers, doctors, and musicians seems like a very good idea to me.
No way, the date is worth going in and of itself.
Same logic with raising children.
You're going to to look back on the experience with nothing but fondness. The experience of raising your child was valuable in and of itself.
Life is not about maximising productivity, you know.
And honestly, I simply can't help disagreeing with the idea that everyone should raise children themselves, just because we will "look back on it with fondness". That seems to me to be the equivalent of saying (pardon the awful analogy) that people should kidnap women off the street and rape them because they find the experience "pleasurable". The way I see it is that by raising a child you are forcing your will upon them, they did not ask or consent to it and have no say in how it is done. And yet, child raising must be done somehow, and therefore you have a serious responsibility to try to ensure that it is done as well as it possibly can. You have no right to force poor parenting onto a child simply because you had a "nice experience".
I realize my views on this may be a bit unusual, but I think it's worth considering.
1) Things you do because you love doing them. Like spending time with your kids - it's not about doing it as-best-as-is-possible, it's just about doing it because you love doing it. It's worth doing for you, so you don't have to worry about how well you do it.
2) Things that are outcome-based. When it doesn't matter if you're the right person for the job because you're the ONLY person for the job and the job needs doing.
Well that's the thing, Chesterton gives advice on that in the quote:
Is it worth doing even if you're doing it poorly? Then it's 'worth doing'. Is it only worth doing if you're doing it at a high/professional/competitive level? Then it's not 'worth doing'.
Of course as pointed out in every third comment, take Chesterton with a grain of salt. Chesterton never said anything that he didn't later contradict, and assert that contradicting himself was in fact proof of the ultimate correctness of both statements.
Another way to phrase this: "How do we live a good life?" People have been asking this for thousands of years. It's one of (or perhaps the?) central question of humanity.
It is absolutely not about taking things like the gym seriously. Chesterton would argue for physical leisure (for men), but only in a fundamentally amateur fashion. Cricket on the village green, "jumpers for goalposts" football, that kind of thing. It's very English (upper class) and not at all Californian.
(Chesterton was a tremendous writer, one of the greats of the English language, but should not be taken as a guide to living one's life in the present day without a pinch of salt)
I really enjoy that turn of phrase
This dogmatic refusal to reinterpret the Second Amendment, in particular, has created a profoundly bizarre (to this Canadian) situation in which the US has a rate of gun death - not just murder, but also suicide and accidental shooting - that has no comparison anywhere else in the developed world.
Of course they'll still do the best they can for people who don't do any of these things, but people who take care of themselves (or have other people - amateurs - to advocate for them) are going to get better use out of the medical system.
jacobr1 is completely right thought, YOU have to take ownership of your health situation. No one can do that for you. Your doctor has hundreds of patients to think about, and only so much cognitive energy available to burn. How much time per month does he/she spend thinking about you specifically? And note that your GP/PCP is likely not up to date on all of the cutting edge research coming down the pike. I'm sure they take their continuing education credits as required by the AMA or whatever, and some probably read a few journal articles and what-not, especially in an area of particular interest. But if you have some uncommon condition, do you think your doctor is on pubmed all day researching every study published on your condition, looking for that one extra bit of knowledge that might make a huge difference. Nah, they're playing golf. Or playing with their kids. Or any of the myriad of things normal people do when they aren't working.
And what if you have, FSM forbid, two (or more) doctors. Maybe you have a GP and a cardiologist or an endocrinologist you see. Who's responsible for noticing and directing attention to conflicting instructions between the two? Who's responsible for making sure each knows about all the drugs you're prescribed by the other? Etc? Yeah, you are.
Of course lay people shouldn't try to be their own doctor, but saying that you have to take responsibility for your health care is totally accurate.
Here, I'll try to edit/snip/boil it down into something easier to read. Money-quote is at the very end. (Original text at http://www.online-literature.com/chesterton/wrong-with-the-w... )
All the educational reformers did was to ask what was being done to boys and then go and do it to girls [...] "Would you go back to the elegant early Victorian female, with ringlets and smelling-bottle, doing a little in water colors, dabbling a little in Italian, playing a little on the harp, writing in vulgar albums and painting on senseless screens? Do you prefer that?" To which I answer, "Emphatically, yes." [...]
There was a time when you and I and all of us were all very close to God; so that even now the color of a pebble (or a paint), the smell of a flower (or a firework), comes to our hearts with a kind of authority and certainty; as if they were fragments of a muddled message, or features of a forgotten face.
To pour that fiery simplicity upon the whole of life is the only real aim of education; [...] To smatter the tongues of men and angels, to dabble in the dreadful sciences, to juggle with pillars and pyramids and toss up the planets like balls, this is that inner audacity and indifference which the human soul, like a conjurer catching oranges, must keep up forever.
This is that insanely frivolous thing we call sanity. And the elegant female, drooping her ringlets over her water-colors, knew it and acted on it. She was juggling with frantic and flaming suns. She was maintaining the bold equilibrium of inferiorities which is the most mysterious of superiorities and perhaps the most unattainable. She was maintaining the prime truth of woman, the universal mother: that if a thing is worth doing, it is worth doing badly.
Thank God I don't have to maintain the bold equilibrium of inferiorities and develop my second bests. Instead I get to do some math -- I am so blessed, although Chesterton would not agree!
And instead of improving the men too, we all regress to competitive monkeys...
Whereas the education of women and all the things he decries are fundamentally pragmatic and directed towards enabling women to do things in the here-and-now. We promote education because it enables autonomy, and promote work (at equal pay rates) for women for the same reason. These things have a fundamentally temporal reward. Whereas the old inequality ("bold equilibrium of inferiorities") was always justified with the promise of redemption in heaven.
I've paraphrased it as if I'm going to be wrong, I shall strive to be DEFINITIVELY wrong which has proven very helpful advice.
"Look at this cool code-trick I found... Maybe it's good?"
"Look at this cool code-trick I found... Warning: Despite the cool part, it actually contains several subtle and horrifying flaws and no sane person should ever trust it in production."
EDIT. Perhaps it's really Terry Pratchett?
From Carpet People:
> If he concentrated, he could just hear Pismire playing the fluteharp; it was easy to tell, even with all the other instruments in the Deftmenes' own band, by the way the notes went all over the place without ever hitting the tune. Pismire always said there were some things you should care about enough to do badly.
1) "Some things you should care enough about to do badly." - Start as a hobby
2) “If a thing is worth doing, it is worth doing badly.” - You work on it some more but you are still mediocre at it
3) "If it is worth doing, it is worth overdoing." - You work at it, again and again and you have a ton of iterations
But you get tired and you question what you are working on; #4,#5,#6 creeps in your head
4) "If a thing is not worth doing at all, it's not worth doing well."
5) "If doing something isn't worth the effort, doing it well won't fix that."
6) "There is nothing so useless as doing efficiently that which should not be done at all."
I see 4,5,6 a lot in "features". Techs spend too much time on features that no one really cares about. Its the same for crappy movies.. lots of talented people work on really crappy work.. 99% of the time its not their own passion project. In todays, work-world, we are forced to do great work on really vapid stuff.
I see 1,2,3 in really passionate people and what the world gets are iterations, variety and meaningful work. *the world is better for it - scientist, entrepreneurs and artist do this. Many variations and angles of an idea. A lot of times, the body of work becomes meaningful.
If something is worth doing, it may be worth doing even badly, rather than insisting it must be done well, resulting in paralyzing inaction.
If you have to worry about how well you do it, it's not worth it for you to do.
I think this applies equally well to things doing the things you love doing - raising kids, making art - as it does to clearing blockers and doing-things-what-need-doing.
Note that the "have to" is a key part - most people will and/or should actually worry about how well they do - the difference is whether you're required to worry.
This definitely doesn't apply to all situations - it missed the entire field of "things you're good at" - but I found it decently insightful for my personal life.
P.S. I love this guy's wit. I came into his works when I researched Catholicism and because of some references from Neil Gaiman. But I would have never thought that this writer would ever be in HN.
Actually, I think it's even better advice someone who is already skilled at something. It's easy to forget that being able to do something well doesn't make that thing worthwhile. Right now I feel this way about my profession -- I need to choose between doing something I think makes the world a worse place "well" to pay the bills versus trying to redirect my skill-set towards something more "worthwhile", but potentially failing.
Obviously there are many factors to consider but I think the main point of the quote is to emphasize the nature of "worth" transcends ability, not just "don't be afraid to try new things!"
re: P.S. And yes, "Good Omens" is an awesome book.
When you start a new venture, you need to be very clear on what your exit strategy is: a viable business or a "disruptive technology" that you can sell. I will discuss the second one first because it is easier.
If you are building a "disruptive technology", the goal is eyeballs. You are trying to get someone to see what you are doing and make them think, "OMG, if we let these people go they are going to put us out of business". In reality, you are building a demo. It doesn't matter whether or not you get the details right. You can get many, many things wrong and it won't make a difference. Your goal is to be impressive and to have the potential to get it all right before anyone else can.
If you are trying to build a viable business, then ideally you want revenue. It is very important that you get the details exactly right, but at the same time you need to get revenue as soon as humanly possible. The way to achieve these seemingly opposing ends is to keep your scope as stupidly small as possible. Write something tiny and details oriented that will get revenue as soon as possible. Grow in very, very tiny increments, making sure to get the details right as much as you can. Make sure your revenue grows proportionately.
The common mistake is that startups often don't think about their endgame and their strategy realistically. So they say, "We'll build a business and disrupt the industry". This is highly unlikely to be successful because the disruption requires high risk manoeuvres where if you pay attention to detail you will be forever at your keyboard and never deliver. But building a business requires low risk iteration with attention to detail, so if you throw in "and nobody has ever done this before" then you will never get your first iteration out the door (or it will be so sloppy that you'll never get any revenue).
The reason that people don't realise this dichotomy is that the "unicorns" are companies that have often struck it rich, like the '49ers of old, by being lucky enough to be able to pick up gold off the ground. They break all the rules but are successful anyway. Do not attempt to replicate their success or you will become the toothless alcoholic sitting at the side of the road mumbling, "I coulda been a '49er".
You didn't read PG's essays  did you?
Does such a website exist?
It started with rap lyrics (as Amazon started with books), expanded to poetry/tech/news, and is on a wibbaldy wobbedly course to break down any body of text or website.
Here's a page on Oscar Wilde quotes: http://genius.com/Oscar-wilde-famous-oscar-wilde-quotes-anno...
Chesterton is often referred to as the "prince of paradox."...
"Whenever possible Chesterton made his points with popular sayings, proverbs, allegories—first carefully turning them inside out."
This relates to weight loss and the dependency on weight loss drugs. I see ads all the time for new weight loss supplements, or new workout machines, or fat burning belts. Stating that this will burn fat faster, with less effort. Society now thinks that in order to look fit you must take a fat burning pill, or some crazy concoction to actually loose weight. >We have left “the things worth doing” to others, on the poor excuse that others might be able to do them better. But in reality it just takes a healthy life style to be fit, so if loosing weight is worth doing, it is worth doing badly.
Are there any quotes that you know of where you feel similarly? Where you have transplanted the quote into your own context, rather than the original context, and felt better about it as a result?
"If it is worth doing, it is worth overdoing."
... and you know he would say that.
"Anything worth doing is worth doing poorly until you learn to do it well."
But the two quotes appear unrelated.
Example: I never baked a cake (ok that's not a large project ;p). I will bake a cake. I know it is most likely not going to turn out well. The result of my work might even be garbage that I have to dispose of. I will bake a bad cake. But the next cake will be better, I learned something from my mistakes.
You buy the box of Pillsbury Funfetti mix, measure out the cup of oil and crack two eggs in and mix it up and pour it into a 13x9 pan. Bake it up and throw some canned frosting on top.
Is this going to be the greatest cake in the world, no; it's ceiling is maybe 80% (or maybe higher, depending on how nostalgic you are for Funfetti). But it's hard to really screw it up.
Were doing it badly not worth doing at all, then the thing is not worth doing - only doing it well is.
It is a good sign in a nation when things are done badly. It shows that all the people are doing them. And it is bad sign in a nation when such things are done very well, for it shows that only a few experts and eccentrics are doing them, and that the nation is merely looking on
Edit: How did this idea ever get upvoted by the progressives here on HN?
It might just be that I live too close to Massachusetts, but we have a whole repertoire of "How many road workers does it take to change a light bulb?" jokes around here.
Similarly, within your own organisation, similar logic applies.
"There is nothing so useless as doing efficiently that which should not be done at all."
That's why we have standards for medical devices. A minimal implementation would still need to adhere to the required standards.