High Agency

I have heard this term being thrown around recently for people who are naturally introverted (which is likely this audience) as something that you should know or try to understand. Really it comes down to how much you are able to rotate within the simulation. Rotate shapes, ideas, the game engine you're in right now.

Imagine you're speeding down a highway and get into an accident. The outcomes are predictable: injuries, police intervention, insurance claims, and potentially going to jail. However, every scenario can be simulated through your mind, and you have the power to step through those simulations within your means.

"The people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do." -- Steve Jobs

Besides what is legally possible you can envision a different reality, one that is only constrained by the immutable laws of physics;  you just need to be audacious enough to do so and ambitious enough to pursue it; breaking free of the constructs pre-installed by our gods (simulators).

In many other instances you can find yourself bound by social and internal constructs activating primal needs for safety and comfort. You seek predictability in income, living arrangements, and daily routines. While those constructs can provide stability, they hinder your ability to decide on a moment's notice to climb on top of Sutro Tower (for the thrill).

Something people who drift through the system of school and employment often experience (and don't question hard enough) is whether they are adhering to those constructs because of peer influence or because it is simply out of habit, allowing them to focus their agency on other meaningful pursuits.

"Take time to deliberate, but when the time for action has arrived, stop thinking and go in." -- Napoleon.

It’s likely good to allocate your agency strategically—minimize it in areas of necessity and amplify it in domains where you want to make a significant impact.

The key is realizing the power you have to render anything in the world. There's no authority figure dictating what they expect from you. When I entered the "real world," I realized the absurdity of addressing middle-aged, college-educated adults as "Mr." or "Mrs.," and the unnecessary anxiety surrounding the use of "Ms." or "Mrs." No one inherently deserves your deference unless they have proven themselves worthy or earned your genuine respect.

the RLHF that colleges perform on smart students seems particularly bad not just because the goals are artificial and gameable, but also because it encourages a default operational loop of 'wait for an authority figure to tell you what to do next.' -- @nearcyan

shape rotator

Shape rotation requires three essential elements: audacity, ambition, and ability.

Audacity and ambition can't be bought — ability can. If you’re able to be “the guy” you can summon anyone and anything into existence through sheer force of will. Sam and Elon's genius lies in their ability to deal in trust within their circles and hope in the people they want to attract. The circles they operate in act as filters, with every introduction serving as a trade in trust. Napoleon -- "A leader is a dealer in hope.” They paint a vivid picture of a better future, one that's so compelling that others can't help but want to be a part of it. They're the ultimate fundraisers, not just of money, but of human capital.

When you mix audacity, ambition, and the ability to inspire others, you become a force of nature. Smart people gravitate towards you, each adding their unique insight to the mix. Together, you become something greater than the sum of your parts – a power that can bend reality to your will. No challenge is too big, no obstacle unbeatable.

This is what it means to truly master shape rotation – to focus your agency and push the limits of our simulation. I had a small taste of this at 19 and 21, but looking back, I was spreading myself too thin, chasing derivatives of tech cycles instead of integrating against them. In the age of AGI, raw skill doesn't mean much anymore. It's taste, your boldness, that makes you stand out.

Skill lacks significance when taste reigns supreme in the age of AGI -- Surya (@sdand)

Even with AGI, making a profound impact in people's lives still takes hard work and unwavering commitment. While also being humble and genuinely wanting to create value for others. I spent most of 2022 unemployed, thinking money would make everything better. But what made me happy was getting emails from people all over the world, telling me how I'd helped them in some way. That beats any penthouse view. And by the time AGI is here, the legacy we leave behind becomes the ultimate measure of our worth—not the fleeting accomplishments or accolades gathered along the way, but the indelible mark we leave on the hearts and minds of those we've impacted.

"Everything around you that you call life was made up by people no smarter than you." -- Steve Jobs

"As you become an adult, you realize that things around you weren't just always there; people made them happen. But only recently have I started to internalize how much tenacity everything requires. That hotel, that park, that railway. The world is a museum of passion projects." -- John Collison

“The world is a very malleable place. If you know what you want, and you go for it with maximum energy and drive and passion, the world will often reconfigure itself around you much more quickly and easily than you would think.” -- Marc Andreessen

Thanks to Chad Byers, Alex Reibman, Swarit Dholakia, Sigil Wen, Andi Andreas, Praneet Kedari, Murat Ayfer, Justin Zheng, Raj Khare for helping review and edit!