Life can be thought of as a path-finding problem where you start with a limited number of moves and a lot of uncertainty about the map:
The “What” part is the things you crave (i.e. the things you don’t have and want badly), whereas the “Why” part is better described as an absence or a lack of something. Sometimes the craving will lead you right, as when you crave a food that has a lot of some micronutrient you’re missing, and sometimes it will lead you wrong. That’s why wisdom is key.
The trick to setting your direction effectively is to start by asking what you want (e.g. big tiddy goth gf), understanding deeply why you want it (a great marriage ticks 80% of the human happiness boxes), going back and reconsidering the what part like an adult this time (nice virgin church girl from somewhere with no internet), and finally working out the how part as an ongoing counterfactual where you constantly “adapt, improvise, overcome”:
The primary strength of the GUToW is its recognition that the how part in the middle is actually quite narrow, like a bridge between two sheer cliffs.
I.e. In order to defeat the bourgeoisie, we must wake up early and work hard like the bourgeoisie, or whatever that quote was. It’s hard to google.
The easiest way to conceptualize all of this at once is to think of the path-finding problem as a tree where the Why part is the roots, the How part is the trunk, and the What part is the leaves (whose ultimate purpose is to reach toward the unattainable ideal of the sun).
No matter what form your happiness ultimately takes in the branches and leaves, or what form your motivation takes in the form of ideological, materialistic, or religious values, everyone has to pass through the common trunk of money, health/fitness, deep relationships, etc.
The GUToW does the “How/What” part pretty well, at the junction of the trunk and the larger branches, but assumes too much pre-conceived certainty re: the “Why” and the “What”, and doesn’t do a good job of teaching the fundamental skills necessary to achieve the level of discipline it demands. Plus, most people today have a lot of basic life skills missing where the trunk meets the ground (e.g. I’d never heard of systematic goal-setting, even in an athletic context, until I was
28 [Correction: I was 30]).
The only part of the tree where I’ve really narrowed the available information down to my own satisfaction is the part just below the ground, where you turn wishes into goals, then goals into plans, and finally plans into action. This could generally be described as bootstrapping a sense of self-efficacy. You can get comprehensive coverage of this area with:
- Brian Tracy’s Maximum Achievement (summarized very briefly in this presentation)
- Jordan Peterson’s Future Authoring Program as the homework for that (it’s better than Tracy’s worksheets, probably because the audience is de facto autistic), and filling in the skills for the trunk execution phase with
- Self-Directed Behavior (includes homework),
- Drive (requires no homework other than self-assessment),
- Getting Things Done (this summary is better than the book),
- Peak (see Self-Directed Behavior for homework), and
- Deep Work (see Peak -> Self-Directed Behavior).
That’s a manageable amount of detail. Probably the best form of presentation in the modern day would be a series of long-form podcasts/lectures.
There are also some common dysfunctions that will become apparent between this stage and the middle of the trunk, where the big generic life skills are (e.g. sales for spergs, study skills, moral courage for normies). It would be good to address this in the roots but, as a number of people have pointed out, my moral roots are a rare strength from early life that I take for granted and so it’s not an area where I’m comfortably articulate yet (other than my tentative foray into parenting advice, which I’m told is a surprisingly useful reference).