There are two different ways to learn: 1) I am going to learn how to code. I am going to learn to build a program. 2) The former, you start with a guidebook. The latter, you reverse engineer the process, and you learn to code on the go. The former is intellectualization, the latter, is skin in the game.
However, in modern life, you’re forced to start with the guidebook. You’re measured and judged by the guidebook. However, in the real world, you get real-world results through a guidebook (that may or may not be helpful).
To quote Elon Musk:
“Another principle is that it’s important to teach problem-solving or teach to the problem rather than the tools. Let’s say, we’re trying to teach people about how engines work. You could start by teaching all about screwdrivers and wrenches, having courses on screwdrivers and wrenches, and that’s a very difficult way to do it. A much better way would be like ‘here’s the engine, how are we going to take it apart? Well, we need a screwdriver, and a wrench, and so on.’ And then, a very important thing happens, which is that the relevance of the schools becomes apparent.”
I don’t buy the entire argument that learning can only be done from bottom up. However, bottom-up is one of, if not the best way to learn. Philosophy and psychology became a lot more interesting when I had skin in the game. I desired the outcome of being a thought leader in the dating advice industry. Reading David M Buss’s book on evolutionary psychology with academic graphs became a lot more bearable.
Fundamental probability and statistics came alive after I had to construct a model for my paid advertising campaigns (real hard cash). I also started tracking the financial performance of the company month to month, making use of financial ratios in my first year in accounting school: return on assets and return on investment to name a couple. Finance and accounting became alive overnight; not some paper you do just you’ll make an A for your paper.
My views on have changed on researched advice. There are many coaches or authorities with stellar academic backgrounds and theoretical arguments. There is much advice dished out based on ‘science’.
However, I’ll argue a lot of them lack skin in the game. I define skin in the game as the bridge between advice based on research and real-world outcomes. I started out this blog documenting my personal growth and hoping to monetize a skillset I was passionate about.
For a period of time, I decided to remove my personality from the writing and bank on psychologically researched advice to do the talking. If it’s researched, it must work, right? I even signed up for a psychology degree in hopes of furthering my authority in this area.
However, the social sciences are arguably ‘soft’ and you have authorities like Nassim Taleb labelling disciplines such as Economics and Psychology total b.s.
Nonetheless, I don’t place too much emphasis on academic research, even though they can act as useful heuristics and guidelines.
Ultimately, my readers and clients have rarely commented on my ‘lack of research’. They always bought from me because I reasonated.