The Guild of the ROSE is proud to announce the full launch of the Practitioner's Path 2.0, a new framework for structured self-improvement.
Two years ago, we founded the Guild to provide structure and community for people interested in self-improvement. Since then, we've realized that our old strategy of weekly workshops and community groups needed a revision. People liked our workshops, but more often than not, they struggled to translate abstract ideas into tangible life improvements.
One idea that had floated around the Guild since its creation was the dream of a Skilltree for life — what if self-improvement was as easy as leveling up a new videogame character?
The Practitioner's Path 2.0 is our attempt to make that dream a reality. Self improvement is ultimately rewarding, but that doesn't mean it's easy. Our goal is to design systems that will remove the barriers to self improvement, whether by reducing the cognitive load of wondering what to work on, providing extrinsic social motivation, or playing into a completionist challenge-and-reward mindset.
This article introduces the Practitioner's Path 2.0, starting with the three aspects of the Path:
- Skills: discrete blocks of achievement
- Attributes: long-term, concrete metrics
- Tasks: specific goals you want to accomplish
Afterwards, we'll briefly discuss the future role of workshops in the Guild and wrap up with some changes to our pricing model.
Part 1: the Skilltree
The heart of the Path 2.0 is the Skilltree. The Skilltree is one part map, one part achievement log, and one part reputation system.
A Map for Self-Improvement
Each Skill in the Path has a certain number of prerequisites. For example, Basic Life Enhancement I (fixing problems in your life) requires you to acquire Unseen Chances I (identify problems in your life) first:
Lines and arrows indicate prerequisites.
The example above is simple, but it illustrates the power of having your self-improvement path laid out before you. Rather than trying to figure out an optimal path (and potentially choice-paralyzing yourself into inaction), you can simply look at the Skilltree and work on the next Skill available.
The three states of a Skill.
The style of a Skill indicates whether:
- Unlit: you're missing prerequisites (unlit)
- Dim: you can work on it next (dim)
- Bright + double border: you've acquired it
An Achievement Log
Every time you acquire a Skill, it's permanently associated with your Character Sheet. This means you can always open up your Character Sheet and reflect on what you've accomplished — especially since acquired Skills have a section describing what you did to acquire them.
Skills remember what you did to acquire them.
Having a concrete record of what you've accomplished is far more motivating than having a vague sense that you did 'something' a few months (or years!) ago.
A Reputation System
Our subconscious loves social prestige, and the Path system takes advantage of this by linking self-improvement and social reputation.
Each Skill has a certain amount of XP associated with it. This is the XP you gain by acquiring the Skill. Thus, XP and doing things are tightly linked. Being high level means you've done much to improve your life — everyone on the Path will know that the level 100 Pragmatist is a badass who knows their stuff.
Each time a member levels up, we announce it to the Guild. (Announcements are batched weekly to avoid spam, similar to how we announced Path 1.0 level-ups.)
A Character Sheet contains a lot of potentially sensitive information, especially since it remembers what you did to acquire each Skill. In the interest of privacy, Character Sheets will never be made public — only the broad details such as current level will be announced.
For example, suppose you acquired Mind over Matter I, which requires that you identify three beliefs that harm you. In that case, the beliefs will not be made public, but your new Meditative level would be announced.
We feel that this strikes a good balance between privacy and celebrating accomplishments.
Skills in the Path are organized into three main Archetypes: Pragmatist, Meditative, and Empiricist. Acquiring a Skill will only level up its Archetype — so you can be a high-level Pragmatist but a low-level Empiricist. This division allows you to specialize in a given tree and pursue the Skills you find most exciting and rewarding.
We opted to avoid number bloat. Most Skills are worth 1-4 XP.
- Pragmatist (red): Take direct action, make money, and expand your social network.
- Meditative (green): Make art, improve your mental and physical health, and live a good life.
- Empiricist (blue): Learn new skills, teach others, run experiments, and think clearly.
- Generalist (gold): Crossovers between the other three Archetypes.
We'll go through the three main Archetypes next.
Archetypes: the Meditative
More than anything, the Meditative wants to live a good life. What counts as a 'good life' varies from one Meditative to the next. One Meditative might focus on their artistic skills, another might become a beloved community leader, and a third might strive for perfection in mind and body.
What unites Meditatives is the way they approach the world. Rather than seeking to exploit or codify the world in rigid data, the Meditative wants to experience it. They see the world through narratives, and they understand their place in it. They face their fears and live their passions.
In the Meditative tree, you'll find Skills focused on:
- Mental and physical health
- Artistic endeavors
- Growing the garden of community
- Understanding and using narratives
Some people might call the Meditatives aimless or excessively open-minded, but the Meditative knows that a relentless focus on one part of life leads to dissatisfaction and burnout. A Meditative's first priority is themself — not in a selfish, hedonistic sense, but in a setting-good-boundaries sense.
Introductory Skill Examples
Meditatives nurture their garden of community.Meditatives enjoy experiencing art.Meditatives take care of themselves.Meditatives hone their body.
The Archetypal Meditative
Morgan Vesper always loved drawing — and their parents always said art wasn't a proper career. That shadow whispered in Morgan's ear when they went to college, and again when they graduated into a job in a field they hated.
It took another three years for Morgan to realize that their life was on a dead-end course. Now, a decade later, Morgan is a max-level Meditative with a underground hit webcomic, Inkwitch.
During the day, Morgan works on their webcomic. Sometimes they look back and marvel at how much their art has improved since their early posts. Probably from the daily practice, though it never feels like work. Drawing is just too much fun.
In the evening, Morgan works out three times a week with an eclectic routine that varies every time. (It helps stave off boredom.) They also hold regular parties at their house. Most of Morgan's friends aren't anyone 'of note' — but they don't care. Status games have no place in their life.
Archetypes: the Pragmatist
Life is a game, and the Pragmatist plays to win. Each Pragmatist defines 'winning' differently — one person might want to change the world, another might want to achieve financial independence, and a third might want to become filthy rich. What unites Pragmatists is the lens they use to evaluate new ideas: is this useful? They take what works and discard the rest.
In the Pragmatist tree, you'll find Skills focused on:
- Making money
- Expanding your social network
- Directly improving your life
Pragmatists want to cut through the fluff and get to the heart of the matter. Problems exist to be solved — and they will be solved, at least if the Pragmatist has any say.
Some people might call them selfish, greedy, or hedonistic, but Pragmatists know that sacrificing yourself for others doesn't help anyone. Money is just power, and power is morally neutral — it's what they do with it that counts. And if they've put in the work to climb the ladder, isn't it only fair that they reap the rewards?
Introductory Skill Examples
Pragmatists identify and resolve issues with their lives, no matter how minor.Pragmatists network with a purpose.Pragmatists rise above their station.
The Archetypal Pragmatist
Paul Coren was once just another failed entrepreneur buried beneath a mountain of debt. Now, ten years later, he's a max-level Pragmatist with a net worth in the tens of millions.
At work, Paul meets with clients and investors for his startup, Synthica. His schedule has been polished to a flawless finish, with just enough downtime to ensure he never burns out. Like its founder, his company hums along, an efficient engine that produces a steady revenue stream. Paul reinvests most of the money in the company, but if it weren't for the grand ambition burning in his mind, he could retire today and live a wealthy life.
At night, Paul spends time with a carefully curated circle of friends. One night he's networking with the local mayor, the next he's hosting a dinner party with half a dozen lobbyists at his well-appointed home. He knows his friends only like him because of his money, but he tells himself that's just how the game is played.
Archetypes: the Empiricist
The Empiricists see life as a puzzle, a complex system that can be manipulated into producing a desired outcome. Empiricists love to learn new facts and skills, even if they're not immediately useful. Theorizing about the world is fun too, but what the Empiricist really wants is to be right — and that means checking those clever hypotheses against the only judge that matters: reality.
In the Empiricist tree, you'll find Skills focused on:
- Synthesizing and distilling information
- Learning and teaching
- Thinking clearly
Some people might call Empiricists excessively logical, but the Empiricist knows that's a mischaracterization. Intuition is just as important as reason, and the Empiricist's ultimate goal is to practice thinking clearly so much that it becomes automatic.
Introductory Skill Examples
Empiricists devour information and form complex opinions.Empiricists pass on their knowledge to others.Empiricists learn new skills.Empiricists hone their mind to perfection.
The Archetypal Empiricist
Eva Davis started her career as a nameless chemical technician with a slowly fading passion for science. Today, ten years later, she's a max-level Empiricist advancing the field of anti-aging medicine.
At work, Eva is a brilliant lab scientist for a biotech startup, Everlife. She devises experiments, runs them, and uses the results to, someday, allow the elderly to spend more time with their children and grandchildren. The reaper's scythe-hand weakens one day at a time.
Eva spends most of her time at work, but when she allows herself a rare moment of relaxation, Eva applies her razor-sharp mind to the world around her. Knowledge is everywhere — from the science papers she reads, to the natural history museum she frequents, to the endless stream of books she devours. She stays up late into most nights reading, telling herself that the exhaustion the next day is the price of knowledge.
Archetypes: Intuition Pump vs Reality Cleaving
The Archetypes are not an attempt to accurately model reality. Knowledge and abilities are not sorted into three — or even thirty — neatly separate groups. The Archetypes are also not a personality test, and real people typically embody traits from all three Archetypes.
We use the Archetypes because we've found that it's essential to get buy-in from your subconscious. It's not enough to brute force your self-improvement journey with willpower, because you will inevitably burn out and quit. Archetypes are our attempt to make an intuitively appealing vision of the future — that's why each Archetype has a character associated with it. Our minds respond to fiction as if it were real, and the Path 2.0 leverages that for self-improvement. It's much easier to keep moving forwards when you have a clear, appealing vision of what you could become.
Skills are not automatically granted, to prevent people from gaming the system. (This is necessary since the Path functions as a reputation system in addition to a self-improvement system.)
Request a Skill by clicking the ACQUIRE SKILL button.
This will take you to a form where you can describe what you did to acquire the Skill — this is also how the Skilltree remembers what you did as described in the An Achievement Log section earlier.
After you submit the form, the Testing Board will review it and, in most cases, grant the request.
To avoid the potential for favoritism and other forms of corruption, the Testing Board is comprised of four people, and requests are approved by a majority vote.
- Alex: @Bae's Theorem#7347
- David: @DNYoussef#8019
- Raven: @Raven#8336
- Matt: @moridinamael#1693
This is the same as the old method of granting Path 1.0 levels, which we've found to work well.
Part 2: the Attributes Page
The second part of the Practitioner's Path 2.0 is the Attributes page. Attributes represent long-term metrics about your life, such as your Stamina, Net Worth, or Reach.
The Attributes page.
Not every Attribute is relevant to every person. Unlike a traditional game where you fill out your Attributes at the start, Path Attributes are filled out as you progress through the Skilltree.
For example, if you don't care what your Net Worth is, that's fine! You don't have to acquire the relevant Pragmatist Skill, and can simply leave the Net Worth Attribute blank.
Clicking an Attribute brings up more information.
Not every aspect of self-improvement can be reduced to a single number. That's why the Attributes page is supplementary to the Skilltree. Intangible things like 'learning how to draw' are recorded as a series of acquired Skills rather than an arbitrary metric.
Part 3: the Task List
The third part of the Practitioner's Path 2.0 is the Task List. Tasks represent discrete things you want to accomplish and can be as simple as "clean the dishes" or as complex as "start a new religion".
Tasks have four parts:
- Name: a descriptive label for the Task.
- Impact: a number from 1-5 indicating the impact on your life that resolving this Task would have. Higher numbers are more impactful.
- Solvability: a number from 1-5 indicating how easy this Task is to resolve. Higher numbers are easier.
- Notes: a free-form text field for your notes about the Task. This can be used to elaborate on what's needed or break the Task down into smaller steps.
Impact and solvability are then automatically multiplied together to produce a final priority score, which is used to sort the tasks in your main dashboard. This makes it easy to identify the best places to allocate your effort.
If you've been part of the old Practitioner's Path 1.0, the Task List will likely be very familiar. The big innovations over the old system are the integration into the website (no more janky spreadsheets!), the automatic sorting, and the extra notes field. We also decided to reframe from "Bugs" to "Tasks" based on user feedback.
Since resolving Tasks doesn't directly award XP, you can resolve a Task at any time without review by the Testing Board. However, many Pragmatist Skills require you to resolve a set number of Tasks. Other Skills ask you to resolve a certain type of Task — such as one involving other people — or to resolve a Task using a specific technique. For these, the Testing Board will also review the Tasks resolved to make sure they aren't spurious.
In general, people who resolve a lot of Tasks will end up higher level than those who don't.
We understand that many people have an established task management system. If that's you, don't worry! You're not required to use the Path's built-in task list. The important thing is that you keep track of your Tasks somehow, whether that's a notes app, a todo list, or just a free-form text file. Whatever works best is what you should use.
Path 1.0 Progress Transfer
Nine people made it to Level 1 on the Path 1.0. As a recognition of the effort that went into this (Path 1.0 levels are far harder to achieve than Path 2.0 levels), all members who were Level 1 will receive the following Path 2.0 Skills:
- The first five Unseen Chances Skills. These Skills are roughly equivalent to creating a Path 1.0 Character Sheet.
- Basic Life Enhancement I. This Skill is equivalent to acquiring three Path 1.0 Feature Badges.
- Helping Hand I. This Skill is equivalent to the Path 1.0 Service Project.
This means that if you were Level 1 in the Path 1.0, you will start the Path 2.0 as a Level 5 Pragmatist and a Level 4 Meditative.
When you make your Path 2.0 Character Sheet, you won't immediately see these Skills in the tree. You don't need to submit a request for them — we'll manually grant them within a week.
Workshops have been at the core of the Guild for two years, and that's not going to change. We'll still run weekly workshops on a wide variety of unconventional topics such as Prompt Engineering, Molochian Systems, and Felt Sense Introspection. In addition, the cohort system — where we sort Guildmembers into small groups of 4-8 people — won't change.
With that said, some Skills interact with the workshops, such as the Empiricist's Student chain, which requires you to simply attend a workshop. Other Skills involve community building and doing nice things for people — and your cohort offers an easy way to acquire them. The monthly Level Up Sessions will also now focus on the Path 2.0.
We've never wanted money to be a reason for people to not join the Guild. To that end, we've always offered a no-questions-asked membership waiver to anyone who requested it (about 30% of our members). We also publish all of our workshop material online, instead of gating it behind a paywall, and we introduced a one-month free trial period with no credit card required, so that people would feel safe trying us out.
It's time to take that to the next level.
The Guild of the ROSE is proud to announce the addition of a new free membership tier: Seedling. Seedling members have full access to workshops and cohorts, with no time limit.
In addition, Seedling members can advance to Level 15 in each Path Archetype. (Level 15 represents 3-12 months of self-improvement). Flower members ($15/month) have full access to the Path, so if you're already subscribed, you don't have to do anything.
We hope this change will make the Guild more accessible to those who need it most. The barriers to self-improvement have never been lower — if you've been on the fence or been putting it off, sign up now and start your Path!