Week 3: Hamming Questions

Part of:
Quantified Self Assessment
Alex Hedtke

Before our class session, please watch the video below for an overview of the subject matter we will be discussing, and familiarize yourself with the background materials linked below.

This week our goal is to introspect on the biggest problems we face, and articulate them onto our Bug List.



Answer the following questions and condense the answers into a pithy statement that describes a bug or goal.

  • What’s the limiting factor on my growth and progress?
  • What’s the key resource I have the least of, or the key bottleneck that’s preventing me from bringing resources to bear?
  • What do I feel I’m “not allowed to care about,” or that I generally don’t think about because it feels too big or impossible?
  • If my life were a novel, what would be the obvious next step?
  • Where is the plot dragging, and what do I need to do to move my story forward?
  • What sorts of goals am I already pursuing, but in a bad/convoluted/inefficient/distorted way?
  • Which problems in my life are the largest order of magnitude?
  • What changes could I make that would result in a 100x or even 1000x increase in either personal satisfaction or positive impact on the world?
  • If I say “Everything in my life is fine, and I’m on track to achieve all of my goals,” what feels untrue about that? What catches in my throat, that makes it hard to say that sentence out loud?
  • What feels most alive to me right now? Alternately, what feels most endangered?



  • Try to keep discussions on topic.
  • If students have questions for the instructor, directly contact the instructor with the question. The instructor may not be able to reply immediately, so try not to let the question hold up further discussion.
  • When leading a discussion, tap individuals to speak rather than waiting for someone to jump in first. Over the course of the session, try to vary who speaks first.

This week

  • Discuss any answers to the homework questions you feel comfortable sharing. Remember, we have not officially begun the process of solving anything yet (although if you have a good idea how to, don’t let us stop you), try to just focus on identifying and articulating the answers.
  • Discuss how these larger bugs relate to bugs you have already identified in the Slice of Life or Design exercises, and notate those relationships in whatever way you like.


  • Create a norm with your cohort of discussing the most important problems in your life, and sharing advice on how to tackle them.


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