You are a morale-driven machine

by: Brian Timar & Alexey Guzey

  1. To have high morale is to believe that you are able to do the things you want to do; to have low morale is to believe the opposite.
  2. Either state is stable, and your brain will act to reinforce it, so that reality matches its expectation.
  3. Everything - everything - either increases or decreases morale.

Morale is your motive force, and you live or die by its maintenance.

10 things that increase morale

  1. publishing a blog post
  2. Dancing
  3. When you ask a beautiful woman out and she smiles and gives you a job building rockets
  4. Posters of warfare, heroes, or aggressive slogans in bold font
  5. Coffee
  6. saying “i want”
  7. doing things that increase morale
  8. going to bed and getting out of bed at a time you previously decided
  9. talking to brian timar
  10. talking to guzey.
  11. doing

10 things that decrease morale

  1. Being a coward. Moving to #1 because it is.
  2. saying “i should”
  3. Scrolling twitter and having someone cram a narrative into your brain
  4. not knowing what the next step is
  5. When you walk past a coworker and expect to make eye contact with them, and attempt to do so, but they deliberately don’t look at you at all. People not acknowledging that you exist
  6. Being alone
  7. Any time something is bad and you think you can’t control it
  8. regretting (doing or not doing)
  9. spending time on a task and not feeling closer to finishing it
  10. sleepiness
11. entering the complex plane


Thanks to Diana Leung & Isaak Freeman for discussions & feedback on the draft.

more things that increase morale

  1. feeling 1/10 upon waking up but getting out of bed because you have a train to catch in 20 minutes and by the time you make it a minute before departure you forgot you were sleepy at all
  2. feeling ahead (of enemies or schedule).
  3. going outside
  4. this video
  5. remembering that even ceos took vacations
  6. remembering that i could’ve spent literally all day watching youtube (did like 5 days of this in 2023) and i would have 0 new tasks & made 0 progress, except some old tasks now expired. so just doing nothing decreases number of tasks. so doing things literally can’t increase number of tasks.
  7. Deliberately working for a small number of hours - like 4 - if you’re doing something hard
  8. watching basically any christopher nolan movie, or master and commander
  13. stopping a thief
  14. getting a text from someone you think is cute
  15. Meditating and asking myself what should I be doing? why?
  16. Going out of your way to show how you care for someone
  17. liking the guy staring at yourself in the mirror
  18. exhausting yourself by running
  19. traveling to your favorite city
  20. generating like / laugh reactions in any kind of chat or twitter
  21. reading this paul graham essay
  22. remembering that paul graham is one of the greatest writers of all time because he literally just decided to be one day
  23. having a single task of “generate 0 problems for 2 weeks” from my boss and hanging out at home not doing anything, just generating 0 problems
  24. writing down things that are floating in your head and causing you to worry and making them explicit
  25. task list size decreasing
  26. making concrete progress towards a specific goal
  27. scheduling the day fully the day before & following the schedule
  29. humor
  30. meeting people
  31. learning
  32. answering questions
  33. thinking of interesting questions
  34. going to a rave
  35. making a decision
  36. “getting in” to something you really wanted - school, job, …
  37. writing with brian and diana
  38. Being fit
  39. Beautiful things
    1. atlas
    2. In the car overlooking a pretty city with a good friend, while the sun sets
    3. The aesthetic of a stone thrown by a human arcing through the sky; flying with all the inertia from millions of years of evolution that trimmed that human’s physiology towards being so good at throwing things
  40. flying
  41. sitting straight up
  42. being specific
  43. falling in love
  44. helping people
  45. creating art
  46. learning
  47. america
  48. being unapologetic about being yourself
  49. deciding what you want to do the next day in the evening
  50. someone you respect giving you an assignment
  51. doing everything above with friends
  52. becoming more like your role models
  53. deciding the top 3 things you want to do in 10 years
  54. doing things that make you happy
  55. laughing at your own jokes
  56. bullying friends
  57. sunlight
  58. good pen and paper
  59. colorful pens
  60. being intentional
  61. isaak’s room
  62. talking to someone intentional
  63. following inspiration
  64. gc with 3 friends in which everyone does 1 courageous thing a day for 9 days

more things that decrease morale

  1. no coffee
  2. no adderall (oops)
  3. believing that you are sick
  4. being in the east bay
  5. feeling ugly
  6. actually not existing


  1. approved by ppl we care about
  2. being courageous
  3. finishing things
  4. proving that we exist
  5. momentum
  6. feeling of getting closer to the completion of the task
  7. knowing what to do next
  8. knowing that there’s _just _enough time
  9. stimulants
  10. having clear criteria for the MVP of a post that I’d be happy to publish
  11. remem your destiny



  1. Thinking that a decision you have to make has large scope when it actually has small scope (e.g. asking “should I try an executive assistant” and weighing a $800/month recurring charge, vs $200 one-time cost to just try it)
  2. apartment that has trash in random places
  3. spent the day doing things out of order e.g. processing things at 2pm, now feel like i haven’t done anything real workwise even though i was working at 6am in the morning on saturday, and i have so many notes in my notebook that i feel overwhelmed with them. i.e. feel like spent day not completing tasks, just adding them instead, feel terrible for morale.
  4. being a coward
  5. punting decisions
  6. potentially being a coward being it prevents brain-body communication
  7. calling yourself a coward
  8. being a coward
  9. judging people (including yourself)
  10. kitchen table right third dirty
  11. kitchen table right mid dirty
  12. kitchen table right left dirty
  13. giving your future self tasks at random times
  14. starting a task and not finishing it but neither deciding when to finish it nor
  15. being impulsive
  16. bad for morale when you try to make eye contact with someone you know and they don’t acknowledge. do you exist?
  17. top 1 took morale: worrisome emails

courageous acts

  1. increasing burn rate. forces you to make money and the only way to make money is you have to make ppl approve of you and your work. good for morale
  2. making a beautiful girl laugh at your joke
  3. if you want to move fast you have to hire people

“no impact on morale” is fake!!!

all information you perceive affects your brain and tunes it consciously or unconsciously

if you don’t pay attention the brain doesn’t generate a prediction so it doesn’t have an expectation of an outcome so it can’t affect your morale

asking myself: “any worries/anxieities?” empty. then: “anything decreasing morale?” poster i’m not excited about. took it down. what’s the sign on the morale?

can just decide not to let something affect your morale which actually increases morale

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