I was having a discussion with one of the guys at UU about his self-published book (mainly for his own benefit) on happiness. One of his seven points is that we are unhappy because we are often not very rational. Earlier this week, I was reading over some of my old trading logs from my senior thesis and was rather surprised at all the insights I had recorded once I forced myself to follow some basic guideilnes before making trades. They reduced my trading costs, risks and more importantly, the emotional anxiety that I often let creep in as a result of just winging trades. Both of these reminded me that I need to be "scientific" about how I do things. I learned value of this at Bridgewater many times over. Intuition is very important, and its value cannot be underestimated, but it needs to be tempered by facts and data. 

In general, I need to make better documentation surrounding issues I am having. This includes basic things like life habits (sleep, food, exercise, hobbies, work) and how they effect my quality of life and overall sense of well-being. Outlining basic causes and effects is easy and only takes a few minutes per day.

This should also include interpersonal issues. I often find myself internally going don't do that because this or that negative consequence will happen if you do. Yet at the same time I lack the resolve to follow through. While it isn't certain that having a clear outline will make me have better self control (nor do I have any desire to turn myself into an automaton once I create a list of rules for myself), I think having better facts will probably help me solve my problems much more quickly and parse through the data that I might otherwise miss. The problem with intuition is that it is also easy to ignore. Data is less easily dismissed. Especially when the observations span weeks and months. It's also nice to have the collection of accumulated wisdom from years past all at my finger times. It's so easy to spend weeks coming to some profound insight about a personal flaw, to recognize, it master it and then fall back into the same habits years later. It's nice to be able to quickly glance at a few pages of notes/principles and asses relative personal progress.

It also goes back to something I discussed on here before about the power of simply writing things down. For the past several years, putting ideas in writing has an almost magical way of helpiong me to accomplish those tasks. This might be a result of the forced articulation of thought that it requires. It forces me to stay on track and allows me to make several steps of progress that I might not otherwise make because of my internal distractions. Writing allows me to pick up right where I left off whereas returning to an earlier thought is never so easy.

It also builds upon my other post about wanting to get rid of my cell phone (or at least break my connection to it).