I've been thinking about this idea of self-selection. I think it's a great concept to utilize and it will make life easier for you, especially if there's lots of demand for your supply (i.e. what ever it is you offer).

I now let (at least strive to let) people self-select for me and let their actions demonstrate whether or not I want to work with them, demonstrate how committed or not they are, etc.

An example I was thinking about the other day, which I haven't done but thought it would be a useful illustration to convey the point, is dating * buying a car. It would be cool to have the sweetest car and be able to attract BAEs utilizing that car ("Look at me, I drive a self-driving Tesla!"). However, a better strategy for someone my age is probably to buy a beat up, used car. Reason being, if I was to buy a really nice car, I might attract potential mates with mismatched motivations to me; i.e. they want to be with me because of the car (and the associations around that) vs. being with me for just being me. By driving the shitty car now, I might actually find someone who likes me for me, has similar values, etc. And that seems like a better, more sustainable long-term play to me.

I get asked a lot to chat with people. Many individuals who are 3-5 years out of university and somewhat perplexed about life (if that's you, go here). In any case, I we have a great chat, I give them some ideas and then nothing. I can tell how serious the person is about fixing their situation based on if they follow through with the recommendations I give. Lots of people want to be heard out and be given recommendations (which is fine) but fewer want to take steps to make meaningful change, at least as judged by their actions. I'm kinda like, "Bro, why did you waste both of our times if you weren't even gonna do anything about it once there were some ideas of how you could improve." (I do realize at the same time lots of people aren't in the right headspace for change, say if they are depressed).

Another useful application of self-selection would be with recruiting at a business you own. Let's say you're inundated with applications, resumes and cover letters. You could purposely make the application process more difficult — hide the careers page, add additional steps that people need to go through, etc. This way, the people who do end up applying, well they demonstrate that they truly want to work for you, will go the extra mile. This isn't recruiting but you don't know how many people I get messages from saying they want to talk but never even follow up a second or third time if I forget to respond.

Did you really want to talk, Ol'Sport?

Written (partially): September 30, 2020

Additional resources:

  • Actions speak louder than words
  • This is why I have no "subscribe" field. If people are really into my articles, they actually have to email me (i.e. high barrier to entry) BUT there's a higher probability that they actually will really be into my articles.