“I think, therefore I am.”-Descartes

What someone thinks about seems like a good characterization of “who they are”.

There is so much variance in what people think about. My friend Monica spends a ton of time on personal introspection. On the other hand, my roommate Michelle hardly ever thinks about herself, but she spends way more time thinking about design and products.

What do I think about? Right now it seems like it mostly consists of (in no order):

  • personal introspection
    • monitoring my own styles of thinking, finding ways to improve myself, etc
  • making plans to accomplish goals
  • thinking about research

1 and 2 have pretty much been a constant throughout my life (although I’ve gotten much better at 2..presumably because of 1). 3 has steadily increased since last year, reflecting how my priorities have become centered on research.

I believe that the amount that you think about something should be proportionate to how much you value it. So, does the amount that I spend thinking about different things reflect my values? Not quite. For example, I spend too much time thinking about pure engineering problems, instead of more scientific abstract questions about cognition that I’m more interested in.

Some people might think that it’s contrived that I try to explicitly match how much I think about things to how much I care about them. My response to this is that it’s too easy to let your actions deviate from your actual values. For example, I also think the amount you spend with different people should be proportionate to how much you value those people. This seems like something that would naturally happen. But it’s actually really easy to let yourself spend most of your time with people who are incidentally around, like people who are in your classes, while forgetting to explicitly make time to be with your close friends.

I’m really curious to know:

  • What do you spend most of your time thinking about?
  • Are there topics you think you spend too much or not enough time thinking about?