It's easy to grow resigned to bugs in our lives. We learn to put up with the problem, work around it, or simply endure it. You might feel that this tendency is a sign of mental fortitude. There's some truth to that, but wouldn't it be nice if you didn't have to shoulder such a heavy burden? And wouldn't it be so much easier to deal with the big, scary problems if you weren't covered in psychological wounds from a host of lesser ones?
One of the first Skills we recommend acquiring is the Unseen Chances line. These Pragmatist Skills are all about identifying the things you want to change about your life — whether that's a grimy kitchen countertop or an ad-infested phone. Each Skill focuses on a different aspect of your life.
This article will walk you through the process of acquiring the first five Unseen Chances Skills. By the time you're done, you'll be at least a Level 5 Pragmatist with a full Task list ready to tackle.
Unseen Chances I: Slice of Life
The first Unseen Chances starts us off with an exercise designed to nudge your subconscious mind into noticing the things that grate on it. Close your eyes and envision your day from start to finish. Note down anything you're unhappy with, no matter how small.
Try to spend five minutes on this, and once you're done, add all the notes to your Character Sheet as Tasks. It's common for novice Pragmatists to start off with dozens of Tasks from Unseen Chances 1, so don't feel bad if your Task list grows by leaps and bounds in this step alone.
Once you finish generating your list of Tasks, resolve one of the smaller ones and request Unseen Chances I in your Skilltree. Maybe you want to sweep the floor or unbox a new computer mouse you've been putting off. The important thing is to build a bit of momentum.
- Do you get up on time so you aren't rushing out the door for work?
- Is your sleep quality anything short of excellent?
- Do you eat a healthy breakfast?
- Do you have to hunt through an unfolded pile of laundry to find your work clothes?
- Is your transportation reliable?
- What about while at work?
- Are there any unpleasant procedures?
- Any coworkers you don't get along with?
- Do you feel burned out at the end of the day?
- Is your hygiene where it should be?
- Do you go to bed on time?
Unseen Chances II - Physical Space
The space around us can help or hinder our goals. You can't seize the day when you spend half an hour searching for clean clothes, or digging through your cabinets for the correct cooking utensils.
Worse, these issues can have a domino effect. For example, if your kitchen is not organized, for example, you may be more inclined to eat out. This could affect your finances, and also lead to a degradation of your health and make your car messy if you're the kind of person who eats fast food in their car. This will build up and lock you in a never-ending cycle of stress.
Get up and go to each room in your house. While in the room, spend a minute or two looking around it and asking yourself how the space makes it harder to achieve your goals. Note down any issues as Tasks. Once again, this is often the first time novice Pragmatists have ever thought about their physical space in this way, and it's common to notice many issues. Remember that Tasks are opportunities for advancement — that's why this Skill line is called "Unseen Chances".
Once you finish all your rooms, resolve one of your smaller Tasks and request Unseen Chances II in your Skilltree.
- Are there remnants on the wall in the form of posters from your regrettable Scene phase?
- Do you have a place to put your keys and pocket items whenever you come home so you don't keep misplacing them?
- Is your desk a chaotic mess?
- Is your fridge clean?
- Does your trash can accumulate rotting garbage?
- Is your bathroom clean?
- Is the air fresh, or does it fill up with carbon dioxide throughout the day?
- Is the air clean, or is it dusty or smelly?
Unseen Chances III - Physical Psychology
The second Unseen Chances focused on the concrete, tangible ways that the space around us impedes our motion, but our spaces also affect us mentally. Messy spaces subconsciously press upon our awareness and beckon us towards chaos. Cold or noisy spaces drain our willpower. Liminal spaces — such as an empty apartment — whisper for us to leave, or to hide in a corner in a nest of blankets.
You deserve a space that supports and enhances your cognition.
Get up and go to each room in your house. While in the room, spend a minute or two looking around it and asking yourself how the space feels on an emotional level. If you feel any twinges of negativity, focus on them. Try to track down their origins — perhaps the space is slightly too cold, or crammed with objects, or the bare walls seem to press down upon you. Note down any issues you find as Tasks. If you feel something and can't find its source, note down figuring it out as a Task too.
Once you finish all your rooms, resolve one of your smaller Tasks and request Unseen Chances III in your Skilltree.
- Are your walls appropriately decorated?
- Is there a comfortable place to sit and eat?
- Are the floor tiles too cold?
- How does the rug or carpet feel?
- Does the space feel inviting? Rejecting?
- Is this a place that makes me feel safe?
Unseen Chances IV - Digital Space
Digital space is just as important as physical space — and if you spend a significant amount of time online, it may be even more important. Cluttered desktops have a similar effect as cluttered desks. Confusing menus nudge us towards avoiding actions we might want to take. Default browsers and default pages push us one way or another.
Take five minutes and look around your digital space, as accessed through your phone, computer, and any other devices. What would you like to change? What would make your life easier? Note down anything that comes to mind as a Task.
Once you finish reviewing your digital spaces, resolve one of your smaller Tasks and request Unseen Chances IV in your Skilltree.
- Are you happy with your wallpaper?
- Are there any sites you access frequently that you don't have bookmarked?
- Are your favorite apps easy to access?
- Can you quickly search for information?
- Can you easily take notes?
- Does your computer boot up quickly, and load into a ready-to-use state with your most important apps running?
- Is your desktop clean?
- Do you have common actions hotkeyed?
Unseen Chances V - Digital Psychology
Similar to how the physical spaces we inhabit influence our minds, the digital spaces we inhabit have a subtle impact on us. Unlike physical spaces, digital spaces are often overtly hostile, particularly online spaces. Distracting ads waste our attention, social media burns our time and replaces it with pervasive negativity, and the endless stream of notifications interrupts us whenever we try to focus on the tasks we want to do.
Take five minutes and look around your digital space, as accessed through your phone, computer, and any other devices. Look for ways in which the experience is hostile or annoying. Note down anything you find as a Task.
Once you finish reviewing your digital spaces, resolve one of your smaller Tasks and request Unseen Chances V in your Skilltree.
- Do you have an adblocker installed on your browser?
- Does your phone have an adblocker installed in its browser? (Secondarily, does your phone's browser support extensions? If not, consider finding a different browser that's less hostile to its users.)
- Is your browser's default page a blank search bar, or a distracting news feed?
- Are you spammed with notifications you don't care about?
- Does your phone beep or vibrate when you get a new notification?
Congratulations on making it this far! You probably spent a good hour or more, not just listing out issues with your life, but proactively taking action to resolve some of them.
If you haven't already, remember to request the first five Unseen Chances and resolve any Tasks you completed.
It can be nearly impossible to notice issues with your life until someone else points them out. That's why we've included a list of 140+ bugs sourced from everyone who's acquired an Unseen Chances in the past. Read through them, see if any resonate with you, and note them down if so.
- Clean the coffee table
- Get new sponges for the kitchen sink
- Buy new pots
- Break my nicotine addiction
- Get a cryonics membership
- Build an exercise habit
- Improve my savings rate
- Get out of credit card debt
- Get better at telling stories
- Add UV lights to the apartment's rooms
- Unbox the item I bought recently
- Drink less beer
- Remember important dates such as birthdays
- Stop bottling up my anger
- Label the kitchen jars for flour
- Clean the kitchen counter
- Delete unnecessary emails
- Learn to listen to people instead of offering solutions
- Delete unneeded programs from my computer
- Deep clean my teeth
- Expand my social network
- Talk to my family more
- Get an extra pair of scissors
- Organize my music library
- Build a habit of referring to a plural friend by the correct name
- Talk to my friends more
- Clean the dishwasher filter so the dishes don't come out covered in grit
- Get an air fryer
- Finish projects reliably
- Notarize my will
- Put more art on my walls
- Break my social media addiction
- Find someone knowledgeable to talk to about meditation
- Replace my scratched pans
- Get more fresh air during the day
- Clean my hairbrush
- Have an in-depth conversation with someone
- Water my plants more
- Get a trash can for my apartment
- Clean out my downloads folder
- Clug the rugs
- Clean my bathroom mirror
- Clean my dust-covered fan
- Decide on a hairstyle for my hair
- Break my fast food addiction
- Find a networking event to go to
- Sort my bookmarks
- Be more honest
- Brush off the dining table
- Find time to exercise in the morning or evening
- Cook more often
- Eat less at lunch
- Stop focusing on sex
- Buy sharper knives
- Practice better posture
- Learn to promise less
- Be willing to stand up for myself
- Eat lunch
- Lose weight
- Learn to dance
- Start an Anki habit
- Get a car
- Eat breakfast
- Learn to lucid dream
- Stop letting food go bad in the fridge and freezer
- Organize my desk
- Get laser hair removal
- Get more color in my wardrobe
- Join a meditation community
- Add an important meeting to my calendar
- Clean my moldy shower
- Get rid of clothes I never use
- Eat less junk food
- Charge my toothbrush regularly
- Replace my spotty wifi router
- Stop buying things on impulse
- Find a way to stop being mildly dehydrated all the time
- Build a habit of coworking
- Show more interest in my children
- Learn to paint my fingernails
- Move the ethernet cable so I stop tripping over it
- Organize my workspace
- Learn con artist maneuvers
- Get a degree
- Find a phone browser that supports extensions
- Do yardwork
- Stop snacking on pastries and chocolates at the office
- Shower more often
- Go grocery shopping with friends
- Clean my grimy windows
- Clean my mousepad
- Cancel unwanted subscriptions
- Go to the dentist
- Buy a replacement glass tumbler
- Automatically turn on the lights in the morning
- Find a better job
- Be less stingy with money
- Stand up to rude customers
- Install an adblocker on my browser
- Hang up a mirror on the wall
- Take my unused website offline to stop paying hosting fees
- Develop an exercise routine
- Stop having emotionally unstable conversations while sleepy
- Compile a list of books to read
- Remember to take my medicine
- Lose weight
- Unsubscribe to unwanted newsletters
- Learn to drive
- Find a better job
- Hang up a tapestry on the wall
- Learn an instrument
- Fix my broken cabinet doors
- Get a professional certification
- Figure out an investment strategy
- Backup my data
- Take the trash out regularly
- Organize my closet
- Go to bed when tired instead of staying up late
- Become more familiar with AI tools
- Vacuum the carpet
- Get new pillows
- Join a book club
- Build a regular meditation habit
- Learn to cold read
- Clean up the Lain-style cables scattered across my floor
- Stop going off on long rants about people
- Adjust my computer screens for ergonomics
- Follow up on relationships
- Wake up energized
- Learn martial arts
- Automatically turn plant grow lights on/off
- Stop answering from the wrong email address
- Find a job
- Start a new project
- Consolidate my email accounts
- Learn to pull apart a log of wood like Captain America
- Cancel unused subscriptions
- Practice showing appreciation
- Fix the broken door
- Add more LED strip lights to my rooms
- Stop laying in bed for hours every morning
- Throw out the discarded toilet paper tubes
- Do more housework
- Get in shape