Social Infrastructure

Cal Newport has a great new post on trying to figure out the decision making algortihmes of people how have a high impact. Here is one :
 
  1. If You’re Not Confident, Do Everything You Can to Surround Yourself With People Who Are. This leaves the question of how one becomes confident. In the academic context, the readers who wrote me agreed that this confidence comes from surrounding yourself with people who are already doing remarkable things. “The cultural context here is really, really important,” said one reader. “Eric Lander and Martin Nowak [Erez’s mentors] are powerful.” Another reader agreed: “These folks have grown up in groups/labs in which high impact papers are the norm. Not only do you pick up on how high-impact papers are written, but perhaps more importantly you develop the attitude that of course you can make high impact, such papers are something perfectly within your reach because they were routine in your scientific babyhood.” 

It is easy to get caught up around people who will “censure any extravagance of aspiration” as Seamus Heany put it.
We are social beings and need to put ourselves into a situation where we are surrounded by people who are driven to do great things.
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