Window-Openers v Door-Knockers II

Chess v Poker

Hey friends,

Last week, I talked about ‘window-openers’ or ‘door-knockers’, the idea that are you a straightforward decision-maker ie window-opener, or whether you like randomness and uncertainty ie door-knocker.

Throughout the week, a few friends engaged on this idea, and I thought I should probably do another post on it because this is an absolutely amazing question, and I’m going to restate it: Are you a window-opener or a door-knocker?

Let’s take this further.

No one is a 100% window-opener. Everyone is a 100% door-knocker and wants to be a window-opener. Windows mean guarantees and predictability, which we all crave. Doors mean ambiguity and risk, which we all want to avoid.

Since life is uncertain, we are inherently door-knockers, and since we want certainty, we try to become window-openers. It’s like poker vs chess. Quoting a friend, “Navigating life is more like trying to turn a game of poker into a game of chess.”

Poker is inherently random whereas chess is pretty deterministic. (Watch The Queen’s Gambit on Netflix, btw, if you haven’t already.)

But even as we strive for determinism and run away from randomness, we should see that the window is always frosted. Even though we may avoid knocking a few doors and spot a window, chances are that window is frosted, meaning we’re not able to fully determine the outcomes.

And even if the window is clear glass, we can only see so far, meaning, we will never truly see the long-term consequences of our decisions.

Based on the above thoughts, I’m leaning to say that, by the analogy, even if we become window-openers in the short-run, in the long-run, we will always be door-knockers. And so, life is truly random in this sense.

Something to think about. Let me know what you feel :)

Until next time,


The Channel

In this video, let's do a quick dive into using Roam for taking lecture notes, and why Roam's features are so powerful.

The Podcast

In this episode, I catch up with my friend from UC Berkeley, Anjali. We talk a lot about how a 'technical' mindset helps with humanities, how poems especially of Robert Frost add more to our lives, and what real Education is. Tune in for a great, casual chat on Spotify, Google, Apple, or the website.

Our Commonplace Book

  • This video on how to be great and do great work was the highlight! Here’s the transcript.

  • 5 Boring Ways to be More Creative by Mark Manson

  • Richard Feynman is an absolute God, and I’d highly recommend reading this piece on Farnam Street!