All of the people with whom I regularly associate in either my private, professional or ‘online’ life are firmly on the right hand side of the intelligence bell curve. Despite all of these people having roughly similar levels of intelligence, there is a marked difference in the level of objectively quantifiable success many of them have in certain areas of life, whether it be financial success or success with women. Since I myself only seem to experience average levels of success in my life, I often seek to determine what the difference is between the people I know who are successful and those who are not.
The answer actually came to me when thinking about conspiracy theorists. I’m sure you know they type, they are easily found on many forums online. They “know the truth” about what the government and elites are ‘really’ up to. Maybe they have large reserves of bitcoin, guns or food stashed away. What ever there particular theories, they seem pretty smug that they have some special, privileged knowledge that the average ‘sheeple’ do not. This makes them feel superior. Yet, despite this ‘special’ knowledge they are no better or worse off than the average person. The reason for this is simple. Their knowledge, whether real or imagined, has no utility.
I define the utility value of knowledge as the ability of a set of knowledge to have some form of quantifiable real world impact on your life outcomes. All knowledge that lacks such utility is effectively useless, and is at best interesting trivia.
When I realized this it immediately became obvious why there is such a difference in success levels between intelligent people. Whereas unsuccessful intelligent people seem to focus on obtaining knowledge just for the sake of it, successful people obtain knowledge as a means to an end. They have something they want to achieve, and as they take action they gain knowledge.
Intelligent people often have their intellect handicapped by the need to acquire knowledge and understanding, and to be ‘right’. They seek intellectual perfection over useful utility. This becomes very apparent in the software development profession. Many practitioners in this field are more concerned about their software being 100% correct and efficient. On the surface this may seem like a positive, but it’s not what the important people who pay them their salaries actually want from them. They want utility, in the form of software functionality that actually reduces costs or increases revenue. From the software developer’s point of view they’d rather spend 1000 man hours producing perfect software, over spending 100 man hours producing software that although imperfect (e.g. inefficient, has some minor bugs) generates the exact same revenue as the perfect software because it fulfils the business requirements adequately. They fail to care that the extra 900 man hours produces no utility. It’s hard to imagine such people ever becoming rich if they were to go into business for themselves.
There are many examples of people who are smug that they hold special knowledge, even though that knowledge does nothing to improve their lives. Some examples:
- People on the manosphere who often discuss the red pill truths which allow for success with women, yet they never actually cold approach any women. They may know better than the average man, but don’t get laid more than the average man.
- The game denialists. They pick holes in the theory of game, call it pseudo science, and ask for large scale, peer reviewed scientific studies using the scientific method that proves game works. They’re right that there are many flaws in the theory of game. They’re right that some of the evopsych stuff it’s based on is probably wrong. They’re right that game hasn’t been scientifically proven. Despite this game practitioners still get laid way more than them, so their being right on some counts has no utility.
- Men who know all about nutrition (5 meals a day, 1g protein per lb of bodyweight) and will happily tell me my intermittent fasting is scientifically incorrect. Despite this knowledge they have, I still manage to drop fat faster than they do when I want to, and carry more muscle than them. This is because the knowledge that has the most utility when it comes to nutrition is this: a slightly imperfect diet that you stick to because it fits your lifestyle / eating preferences the best will show better results than a perfect diet that you keep breaking because it’s so tough to maintain.
- People that seem to know all about business and investing, calling other people suckers for doing things differently, who despite this have an average income.
To many people this may seem obvious. It’s almost the theory vs practice thing, but slightly different. Yet, to me this was an important revelation. As I age I feel the clock ticking, and I am still very mediocre in most areas of my life. I fee like from reading the manosphere and ignoring the mainstream I have a body of valuable knowledge that most people do not. Despite this I look at the real world outcomes I have obtained comparative to my blue pill peers, and wonder what the knowledge has actually done for me. In some areas (sexual success) this knowledge has shown great utility as I have had objectively better outcomes than them. In other areas, I have got nothing from it. I work 9 to 5 in an office like them. I earn about the same money as them. I live in shitty little London flats like they do. I don’t want a life like theirs, or like mine is at the moment. I want something better. Something out of the ordinary. At the moment I don’t seem to be achieving this. It makes me feel I’m actioning the wrong knowledge, or spending my time the wrong way.
I need to make a major change in my life, but the path ahead is unclear.