On my path towards Winning, I think it is important to leave a Line of Retreat.
For firefighters entering a burning building, it’s important to make sure they have a path to escape in case the fire spreads too much. For employees preparing in case of a natural disaster or other emergency, it’s important to remember evacuation plans and assembly areas. For poker players seeing a good hand, it’s important to be able to figure out when to hold ‘em and when to fold ‘em. For rationalists trying to find the Truth, it’s important to identify what they believe, why they believe that, and if they should continue to believe that. For us Single Players trying to Win, it’s important to recognize when our thought processes and actions are actually leading us to Lose.
“As a matter of self-respect you should try to believe the truth no matter how uncomfortable it is.”
As we build our beliefs about truth up, like laying bricks on other bricks, we must be able to see which beliefs are dependent on other beliefs, and which beliefs are strong enough to form a solid foundation. We shouldn’t overly favor or ignore certain beliefs; each brick should be inspected and evaluated fairly for their truth-iness.
“Be a true coward, and plan out your retreat in detail—visualize every step—preferably before you first come to the battlefield.”
As we build these beliefs up, we must also be ready to trace back and remove these bricks in case we laid them incorrectly. We may believe Y, which depends on belief X. If we later see fault in belief X, then it only makes sense to re-examine belief Y as well.
“You must at least be able to admit to yourself which ideas scare you, and which ideas you are attached to.”
Humans are not wired to be complete rationalists. We have biases and calculation errors. We may have our pet theories and hidden lies. The better we are at not lying to ourselves, the better off we will be at finding and building upon the right beliefs.
“What is true is already so; owning up to it doesn’t make it worse. You shouldn’t be afraid to just visualize a world you fear. If that world is already actual, visualizing it won’t make it worse; and if it is not actual, visualizing it will do no harm.”
Winning is the ultimate judge. Whether our theorycrafting or strategizing leads us to approach Winning a certain way, in whatever forum we are trying to Win, the world does not care how much time we devoted or how much sweat we put in. After acting, we will either have Won the way we wanted to Win, or we will have Lost.
While trying to Win, we should also recognize how we might Lose. While walking down our paths towards Victory, we should also be preparing a Line of Retreat.