Negativity in Task Reductionism

My initial view of this project was to collect data on habits, and later on self development and mastery. From the data I was hoping that rules and maxims would emerge. Mind you I don’t exactly know the exact difference between rules, laws, maxims, and theorems, etc… but I feel that they have started to emerge.

One recent one is what I’m calling the Law of Task Reductionism.

And I’ll define it like this:

If a complex task is not broken down into its component parts, failure becomes a negative emotional reflection on one’s character.

The corollary to this law is that :

the chances of failure (defined as failure in improving the skill, loss of efficiency, and as abandoning the endeavor in general) increase substantially

Per Timothy Ferriss’ DiSSS protocol, the reverse seems to be true. That when complex tasks are broken down, individual aspects can be improved upon with relative ease, and “mission success” and efficiency increase substantially.

I’ve found this to be the case in my current cycle of improving my writing. When faced with a writing task, things can get emotional. I fumble, efficiency is lost I get nervous, and though I’ll get the task done, it comes with it a large amount of questioning as to my abilities personally and needless expenditure of emotional energy. But when broken down, I’m surprised by the amount of progress I make in relatively small amounts of time.

Character attacks are a critical problem in this type of self help. You push writing, and people mention how much weight you’ve gained. The habit mania - the urge to do multiple tasks all at once (which has little chance of success) increases. And with it comes cycles of worthlessness and other emotions that prevent stability of practice.

When a task is just a thing, not a reflection of who you are, emotions subside and you’re able to progress calmly and steadily.

Which brings me to my Maxim of Character Reductionism:

Do not associate tasks you approach for self improvement as a reflection of your character. This disassociation prevents habit mania and promotes rapid improvement.