Being alone vs with others

“If you want to run fast, run alone. If you want to run far, run together”


  • Higher ceiling on tasks: Peak performance happens alone
    • More willing to try crazy things, entertain crazy thoughts
    • Ideation seems much easier, pivoting seems much easier
  • No coordination costs!! No meetings or consensus-seeking or updating
  • Easier to do a particular kind of focused thinking
    • Coding, writing, math?
    • I feel like when I’m in a room with other people, I have a “people simulator” process running (sometimes in the foreground, but if not in the background), which eats up processing power
  • Happiness: More content, less anxious or thinking through how other people will feel or navigating social norms

With others

  • Higher floor on tasks: More robust, less likely to fail at a plan because I made a dumb mistake
  • Obviously, more total power to apply at a thing — “many hands make light work”
  • Doing hard things with other people is a fantastic motivational hack
    • Having responsibilities to other people (eg meetings) are great for actually getting myself to do stuff
  • Having to explain something to others forces me to crystallize my thoughts, which can be useful
    • Teaching in particular is a great way of checking to see if I actually know a thing
  • Discussions and conversations create novel fields to explore, that I couldn’t have discovered through self-musing
    • Back and forth arising from different experiences and models
  • Happiness: More likely to laugh, and bask in the warmth of people having a good time