Turning the dial to eleven

I have a local lesswronger, he likes to use the phrase, “turning the dial to eleven”.

I think XKCD emphasises it well:

There’s something sweetly satisfying about turning the dial TO THE MAX just to see what it does. The really beautiful thing about this idea is that you can apply it to any goal seeking, more specifically any behaviour that can be done can be done in an extremely studious way.

Do all the things!


This is not always applicable, we know things like, working yourself ragged is not a virtue, as well as Systems not goals which preaches framing plans in terms of systems, not in terms of the finish line.

There are also some domains where this is a really bad idea.  For example: exercise – if you decide to exercise constantly you will discover that you can’t actually do that;  or if you decide that exercising every 3-4 days is not enough, and you want to cut out the rest days, and instead exercise every day, you will have made a beginners mistake and not realised that exercise is a process of using muscles and days off repair the damage caused by the use of muscles on the active days.  So simply turning the dial up to 11 on exercise without doing your research first will be a detrimental idea.

Nevertheless there is still some satisfaction to be gained from turning the dial to 11.  Specifically, the question:

“If I were to go all out on this goal, what would that look like?”

Followed by

“What is stopping me?”


There is a certain joy that comes from trying to turn the dial up to eleven just to see what happens.  Pursue your goal with all means necessary just to see what comes of it.  This ties into Nate Soares’ half assing it with everything you’ve got.

If you are still reading;  put this down on the list of experiments (post coming soon) to try “next time I have a goal” to test it on.

Try turn the dial up to eleven you won’t believe what happens next.


meta: This took 1.5hrs to write.

Written as a tribute to Tim.

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