Setting up for intuition

Setting up for intuition is all the planning and preparation that goes in to the beginning of a project. It will help you work more focussed and immersed in the ‘creative’ part of a project.

The creative part of the project begins somewhere around what Venkatesh Rao calls the lifeline as opposed to the deadline.

Rather than spending a lot of time thinking about how much planning to do for a project, Rao suggests to spend your time thinking about the difference between planning to start and planning to finish, ‘which is often a much simpler question’. Ie. what things do I want to be in place for me to get started working – this is called mise en place in the kitchen world and is essential to an enjoyable and efficient session over the flames.

You have to do a lot of artificial work, scaffolding and preparation, to set you up for working in this submerged, slow and infinite way.

This is a way of optimising for enjoyability, which in turn can lead to deeper (or more easily attainable) states of flow.

Refer here to the idea of intuisjonskalibrering or ‘calibration of intuition’ in the book Det 5. trinn av Dag Andersen.

Plans are worthless, but planning is everything

Mise en place

Planning to start vs planning to finish A short podcast by Venkatesh Rao on the Ribbonfarm Studio substack.

‘Planning to finish’ requires planning that leads to a deadline.

‘Planning to start’ requires planning that leads to a lifeline. You’re ‘installing a system’ rather than ‘getting to a goal’.

  • The difference relates to what Scott Adams called the difference between systems and goals. When you plan to start, you undertake planned activities to end in a functioning system where habits can flow.
  • Another connection familiar to many of you is to James Carse’s notion of finite versus infinite games. Planning to finish is playing a finite game to win it and exit it. Planning to start is working to enter an infinite game and continue playing it.
  • Whatever you choose to call it, you should probably spend more time thinking about this difference than about how much planning to do, which is often a much simpler question.

See Open-ended systems, Top-down vs bottom-up planning