The Power of Starting Over

Sean McClure
2 min readNov 8, 2023

Your project starts off clean, planned and low in complexity. Attempting to maintain this state as you build is only possible if you create unrealistic things nobody needs.

The information content of your creations isn’t available until you’ve coaxed it from nature. And that only happens when you build bloated, unmaintainable objects that don’t generalize to real-world utility.

Many people hang-on to their creations because they perceive its value in terms of the effort they already put in. But you’re not after the tangible construct, you’re after the best distillation.

A lot of the struggle in trying to produce nontrivial things that genuinely work is tied up in fighting against the tendency to keep what you made.

But when you have the constitution to start over, your mind only keeps what it remembers, and those pieces of recollection represent the distillation you’re after.

One of the most formidable techniques you can use in life is starting over. It bakes-in a large set of the efforts you would otherwise try to implement manually, in the hopes of preserving what you made.

Evolution works because of its capacity to remove. What is kept is both automatic and correct.

You can either fight complexity or use complexity. Start over, and let nature show you what’s worth keeping.

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Sean McClure

Founder Kedion, Ph.D. Computational Chem, builds AI software, studies complexity, host of NonTrivial podcast.