A summary of every Replacing Guilt post

post by Akash · 2022-06-30T00:24:14.013Z · EA · GW · 4 comments




I recently finished the Replacing Guilt series (by Nate Soares). 

I don't struggle much with guilt. I consider myself a happy and energetic person. I also spent several years studying psychology, and I'm familiar with many techniques from cognitive-behavioral therapy.

So I was surprised by how impressed I was with Replacing Guilt. Elegant writing, memorable stories, useful advice, and dark humor. 

There are few things I would put in the category of "pretty much everyone I know should spend 5 minutes reading this to see if it might be helpful, and at least 20% of them should keep going." I feel this way about Replacing Guilt.


As I read, I wrote a few sentences summarizing each post. I mostly did this to improve my own comprehension/memory.

You should treat the summaries as "here's what Akash took away from this post" as opposed to "here's an actual summary of what Nate said."

Note that the summaries are not meant to replace the posts-- in fact, they're intended to get you to read the posts (especially the ones that seem interesting, though I recommend starting from the beginning).


Here are my notes on each post, in order. I've also posted a tier-list [EA · GW].

Half-assing it with everything you’ve got

Failing with abandon

The Stamp Collector

You’re allowed to fight for something

Caring about something larger than yourself

You don’t get to know what you’re fighting for

Should considered harmful

Not because you should

Your shoulds are not a duty

Working yourself ragged is not a virtue

Rest in motion

Shifting guilt

  1. Refinement: Turns listless guilt into specific guilt. When you have vague/general guilt, ask what it wanted you to do instead. Sometimes the guilt goes away. Sometimes it gets more targeted/specific (which is a success!)
  2. Internalization: Gets rid of “shoulds.” Ask yourself whether it would be OK to drop the obligation entirely.
  3. Realism: Turns guilt around a specific action to guilt around a pattern of behavior. Ask if the guilt is realistic. Ask if you are moving effectively through the streams that you want to be moving through (not if you were moving as fast as you physically could in a given moment).

Don’t steer with guilt

Update from the suckerpunch

Be a new homunculus

Not yet gods

Where coulds go


There are no bad people

Residing in the mortal realm

Being unable to despair

See the dark world

Choose without suffering

Detach the grim-o-meter

Simply locate yourself

Have no excuses

Come to your terms

Transmute Guilt into Resolve

The best you can

Dark, not colorless

Stop trying to try and try

There is no try

Obvious advice

The art of response

Confidence all the way up




How we will be measured


Comments sorted by top scores.

comment by Miranda_Zhang (starmz12345@gmail.com) · 2022-06-30T00:44:04.066Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

Thank you for doing this - never thought I wanted this, but I definitely do! I also took notes but very messily, and it's so useful to have a summary (especially for people who haven't read it yet).

comment by Lucilius · 2022-06-30T10:54:35.021Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

Love this summary <3. Would be awesome if more things like this existed (e.g., summaries of the R:AZ essays).

Your final parag hits especially deep:

We will be measured by what actually happens. We will be measured by how our actions shaped the future.

comment by jskatt (jakubkraus07@gmail.com) · 2022-07-04T04:06:08.046Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

When we use the word “should”, we make one choice seem like the option that makes us a good person and one option seem like negative infinity.

I really like this sentence. I think it applies in many other scenarios beyond using "should." I have experienced plenty of unproductive perfectionism arising from a mistaken belief that the perfect option is good and everything else is terrible.

comment by Vasco Grilo (vascoamaralgrilo) · 2022-07-02T09:37:51.413Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

Thanks, I think this is really valuable!