This I Believe

January, 10/11 2008 Topic: This I Believe

NOTES FROM DISCUSSIONS:
Belief: Humanity's future is better than its past.
Belief: Intelligence is not magical. How much do you care whether or not people agree with you?
  • If you live your life by your beliefs, and people disagree with them, then they will disagree with your actions.
  • To be a leader, to do something new, you have to accept disagreement. You have to think different.
Ash's Conformity Experiment:
  • 3/4 choose the obviously wrong answer at least once. but, if you add just one dissenter, it drops to 1/10 or less.
  • Imigrants--you are descended from people who had the guts to leave.
How do you test your beliefs?
Can people change? Only if they choose to do it on their own.
Belief: Al of us are interconnected.
Belief: My actions affect my world; I am responsible for my own life
Belief: People are self-interested.
Belief: People are basically good (except for psychopaths)
Belief: People are basically the same
There are "sacred" beliefs, like school, medical care, the environment, aid to developing countries...but the marginal effect of a dollar spent is unbelievably tiny.
  • These are the least connected to the public markets
Why do we need beliefs?
  • Do we need beliefs, or do we need experiences? My beliefs are an accumulation of observations and experiences
Belief / Faith / Science?
You need to have baseline assumptions about the world.
Belief: There is nothing more powerful than love; there is no one so low that love cannot save.
Certain belief structures are more effective--see "Learned Optimism."
Belief: The pursuit of happiness is the most important pursuit
Belief: I embrace my death...the finite nature of my life means that every second counts.
Belief: People respond to the search for dignity and integrity; leadership needs to be response to those needs.
Belief: Poor hypotheses have to do fancy footwork to avoid falsification. (The invisible dragon).
  • Yet, people who hold these beliefs generally have a good model because they know how to anticipate your objections
Belief: Create. Give. Love.
Belief: Spend your time trying to have the greatest impact on the world in a way that others can't -- ie, figure out how you can uniquely impact the world.
Belief: Don't blame others.
Belief: "I believe in the metaphor of Christianity."
Belief: Environmentalism is the fastest growing religion.
Belief: Selflessness over selfishness
Belief: I am an athiest/agnostic who has recurring dreams where I am visited by a woman identifying herself as my guardian angel.
  • The Dalia Lama has a set of anti-beliefs -- what you SHOULDN'T do or believe.

  • Humanity's future is better than its past.
  • Intelligence is not magical.

How much do you care whether or not people agree with you?
  • If you live your life by your beliefs, and people disagree with them, then they will disagree with your actions.
  • To be a leader, to do something new, you have to accept disagreement. You have to think different.

Ash's Conformity Experiment:
  • 3/4 choose the obviously wrong answer at least once. But, if you add just one dissenter, it drops to 1/10 or less.
  • Imigrants--you are descended from people who had the guts to leave.

How do you test your beliefs?
Can people change? Only if they choose to do it on their own.

Belief: Al of us are interconnected.

Belief: My actions affect my world; I am responsible for my own life

Belief: People are self-interested.

Belief: People are basically good (except for psychopaths)
Belief: People are basically the same

There are "sacred" beliefs, like school, medical care, the environment, aid to developing countries...but the marginal effect of a dollar spent is unbelievably tiny.
  • These are the least connected to the public markets

Why do we need beliefs?
  • Do we need beliefs, or do we need experiences? My beliefs are an accumulation of observations and experiences

Belief / Faith / Science?
You need to have baseline assumptions about the world.

Belief: There is nothing more powerful than love; there is no one so low that love cannot save.

Certain belief structures are more effective--see "Learned Optimism."
Belief: The pursuit of happiness is the most important pursuit

Belief: I embrace my death...the finite nature of my life means that every second counts.

Belief: People respond to the search for dignity and integrity; leadership needs to be response to those needs.

Belief: Por hypotheses have to do fancy footwork to avoid falsification. (The invisible dragon).
  • Yet, people who hold these beliefs generally have a good model because they know how to anticipate your objections


Menlo Park Participants:
Name
Email
URL
Ben Casnocha
ben@casnocha.com
http://ben.casnocha.com
Chris Yeh
chris@chrisyeh.com
http://chrisyeh.blogspot.com
Rahim Fazal
rahim@rapouts.com
http://www.rahimfazal.com
Noah Horton
noah@rapouts.com
http://www.rapouts.com
Nancy Tubbs
nancy_tubbs@fullcalendar.com
http://www.fullcalendar.com
Tyler Willis
willis.tyler@gmail.com
http://www.tylerhwillis.com
Dave Park
dpark@recombinantinc.com
http://www.recombinantinc.com
Laura Lauder
mailto:Laura@lauderpartners.com

Jorge Zavala
jorge.zavala@techba.com
http://www.techba.com
Tim Taylor
timothy.taylor@sbcglobal.net
http://ttblogs.typepad.com
Jayne Lange
jayne.lange@gmail.com

David Weekly
david@pbwiki.com
http://David.Weekly.org
Eliezer Yudkowsky
sentience@pobox.com
http://yudkowsky.net/
Bernard Moon
bernard.moon@gmail.com
http://bernardmoon.blogspot.com
Cynthia Holladay
cholladay@uprightmarketing.com
www.uprightmarketing.com
Raja Kapadia

http://www.comcate.com
Tom Cole
tom@trinityventures.com
http://www.consumingambitions.com
Kimberly Wiefling
kimberly@wiefling.com
http://www.wiefling.com
Ken Largman



San Francisco Participants:
Name

Email
URL
Ben Casnocha

ben@casnocha.com
http://ben.casnocha.com
Gabe Rosen

gabe@goodwynpowell.com

Anne-Marie Fowler



Colin Wiel

colin@wiel.com
http://khoeaz.com/
Cindy Mascheroni

cindy.mascheroni@vistage.com
Susan Etlinger


http://www.horngroup.com
Patrick McKenna


http://www.liveops.com
Jeremy Bornstein

jeremy@bornstein.org
http://jeremy.org/
Kai Chang

pjammer@gmail.com
http://pjammer.livejournal.com
Marty Nemko

mnemko@comcast.net
http://www.martynemko.com
Christopher Carfi

ccarfi@cerado.com
http://www.socialcustomer.com
Daniel James

daniel@threerings.net
http://www.threerings.net/
Jessica Guynn

jessica.guynn@latimes.com
http://www.latimes.com/
Eliezer Yudkowsky





INITIAL QUESTIONS:
Belief is one of the most important yet nebulous components of your life. You may have principles, ethics, or a moral code. You may believe in God, or in atheism. You believe in others, and they believe in you. Yet while most of us count belief as an important part of our lives, how often does it actually impact our actions?

In the political realm, belief in either the sanctity of life or a woman's right to choose has polarized American politics over an issue that affects a tiny minority of people. On the other hand, much quieter beliefs, like the belief in social mobility have a much greater impact, yet go unnoticed.

The point is, ask a person what she believes, and the responses that you get may be insightful, self-serving, or infuriating, but are unlikely to tell you a lot about how she actually lives her life on a day to day basis.

For this quarter's Junto, we will be discussing our "core beliefs," defined as the beliefs that have had the greatest impact on your life.

What are your core beliefs? How did you arrive at them? How *do* they impact your life? How have they changed?

We'll discuss the two or three most important beliefs that each of us holds. We'll explore how these beliefs affect our worldview. Do they cohere into a personal philosophy? And we'll discuss the belief-formation process. You may want to spend some time before the meeting reflecting on the beliefs that truly drive your daily choices...you might be surprised at what you find.

If you have been accused or arrested for a crime, there's a good chance that you're going to have to hire an attorney. For the best lawyers in Lexington, KY, contact: Baldani, Rowland & Richardson Attorneys at Law.

We were inspired, in part, by the wonderful "This I Believe" series hosted by Edward Murrow in the Cold War era. NPR of today has continued the tradition and frequently airs first-person essays about personal philosophies. You can visit their web site at: http://thisibelieve.org

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