FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
What is UP?
The Upgrade Program (UP) is a 100 year, science-based, step-by-step program outlining how to set, plan, and plausibly achieve your life goals. We do this through a novel combination of emerging technology, behavioral science, and applied rationality.
Is UP a life coaching program?
Upgradable is way more than just a coaching/self-development/mentorship program. It’s a customized coaching-based program that encourages the client to allocate his or her resources more effectively towards his or her life goals. It follows a rigorous experimental design consisting of 10 steps and lasting 100 days, 1 year or 100 years.
What makes UP different from other coaching-based programs?
We have 22 key differentiators:
- UP aims for your theoretically highest possible ROI
- UP builds a quantitative model of your values
- UP builds you a personal team
- UP is your systems integrator
- UP does much more strategic life planning
- UP optimizes your exocortex
- UP practices open science
- UP aims to beat your counterfactual outcomes
- UP does team-based forecasting
- UP is heavily rationality-based
- UP operates from a first principles perspective
- UP is an experimental intervention
- UP is much more comprehensive
- UP is heavily technology-centric
- UP operates from a radical accountability perspective
- UP does extreme personalization
- UP is heavily science- and evidence-based
- UP designs for your extended self
- UP does intensive environmental design
- UP does intensive incentive design
- UP is much more meta
- UP does intensive 1-on-1 education
Who can do an UP?
• Individuals: This is the basic version of UP. We take into consideration your personal and professional relationships, but we do not focus on improving those around you unless that is directly necessary for your growth.
• Families: This upgrades immediate or extended family members. Special consideration is paid to aligning individual needs with family needs, communication norms, and role expectations.
• Groups: This upgrades groups of individuals (e.g., best friends, fellow community members).
See Who Does UP.
Why would someone do an UP?
It’s a genuine chance to live the life you’ve always wanted. You can save literally thousands of hours not reinventing the wheel, doing grunt work, or attempting doomed projects.
How is UP structured?
What is UP’s theory?
UP is built around on a theory that describes how to live a maximally valuable life. This is a high-level overview:
- UP Definitions: strategic, systematic self-development
- UP Philosophical Foundation: pragmatic skepticism and hedonistic utilitarianism
- UP Life Metrics: Total Well-being Adjusted Life Years, Total Life Congruence, Life Goal Value Attainment, Life Goal Attainment
- UP Developmental Stages: Level v0.1-0.9, Level v1.0, Level v2.0, Level v3.
- UP Development Signatures: change mastery, life mastery, holistic understanding of self and the world, pursuing life’s work
- UP Agency Levels: Levels 1-12+ of number of hours dedicated to one’s values
- UP Achievement Model: focus on one’s single highest expected value action at all times
- UP Protocol: Generic Upgrade Program
- UP Plan: Tailored Upgrade Programs for specific clients
How long does it take to complete an UP?
A full UP is approximately 94 primary steps, 295 substeps, and 780 subsubsteps, for a total of 1,169 steps. This takes approximately 1,957 hours for the client and 191 hours for the UP Coach, for a total of 2,148 hours. Roughly speaking, this gets the client to a point where they are moderately optimized.
What are UP’s modes?
- Life Mode: The aim is a maximum amount of value created over a lifetime (<122 or thousands of years). The focus is on meta-level thinking, strategy, systems, and projects that have very long time horizons. This is ideal for clarifying life purpose, strategy, goals, and values. We will attempt to develop your agency to the level you need to effectively accomplish what matters most to you, which we expect to change as you grow.
- Annual Mode: The aim is a maximum amount of value created in 365 days. The focus is on meta-level thinking, strategy, systems, and projects that have moderate time horizons. This is ideal for designing and executing large upgrade projects that have positive ROI over a year. It’s a mix between big picture thinking and aggressive execution. This is the most common UP mode, especially if you’re not in a position to do a very deep and potentially challenging dive into self.
- Max Mode: The aim is a maximum amount of value created in 100 days. This mode is ideal for finishing projects that simply “need to get done now”. It’s analogous to a jet using an afterburner: you’re the jet and we max out your velocity by guzzling fuel. It’s unique in that it allows for short-term practices to enhance focus (e.g., excessive use of stimulants, etc.). But it will ultimately attempt to transition you into a lifetime of sustainable growth.
How can an UP run for 100 years while the global human life expectancy at birth is 73 years?
It might be more accurate to say an UP lasts for thousands of years. We don’t necessarily expect you to live that long—although with our focus on optimizing your health and the possibilities of life extension that is debatable—but we do expect your legacy to last hundreds or thousands of years.
What are the requirements of doing an UP?
This is not a program for the meek. At a minimum, it will require:
- A significant level of agency
- A deep, unrelenting hunger for growth
- Hundreds of hours of focused time to invest in yourself
- Thousands of dollars to invest in salaries, tools, products, and programs
- Deep epistemic curiosity
- Significant courage
- Significant patience
- A cursory understanding of at least 50% of the key terms in the Concepts page
- At least a cursory understanding of epistemic and instrumental rationality
How much does UP cost?
UP is designed to be adaptable to a client’s financial situation. Most UP programs are designed around a set period of time and billed as a package. The three most common set lengths are: 100 years, 1 year, and 100 days. You can choose to start with a shorter UP and decide to extend into longer versions, if that makes sense for you. See Pricing.
What does Upgradable do?
- Research: We research and develop novel strategies and tactics for maximizing human flourishing.
- Application: We work with clients to upgrade them as efficiently and effectively as possible.
- Teaching: We speak about our work to companies, organizations, and communities globally.
What is Upgradable Life Areas Taxonomy?
It is 42 classifications of life areas that you may use to focus your upgrading to yield the greatest and highest ROI. See What Can You Upgrade.
Why should I trust Upgradable more than the other players in the self-development space?
Why do you publish your mistakes?
We do this to potentially save others who are doing similar work from repeating our mistakes, as well as to help prospective clients understand our full track record.
What potential outcomes should I expect in a full UP?
Very roughly speaking by the end of your UP you will have:
- Set your life goals
- Written a life plan
- Built a qualitative and quantitative “self-model”
- Built a team of 2-15 talented people aligned to your highest values
- Created a forced-rank list of 10-1,000 upgrade projects
- Created a 1-15 page, 5-50 step plan for each major upgrade project
- Used your team to execute each project sequentially or in parallel
- Iterated to new plans for each of the projects when necessary
- Learned 450+ concepts helpful for reaching your life goals
- Made significant progress on your life goals
Specifically, you could choose to focus on:
- Optimizing your finances
- Advancing your career
- Improving your health
- Strengthening your emotional well-being
- Tackling any major barriers you’re currently facing
- Or thousands of other valuable upgrade projects
The tools and resources you get access to for doing an UP are substantial. They’ve taken many thousands of hours to create—time which you don’t have to spend yourself. See What Comes With UP.
What if I fail my UP attempt?
Failure is perfectly normal! We interpret that as evidence we should probably change the client’s goals—perhaps by making the short-term actions they’re taking more manageable. We generally review progress on a weekly basis so there’s plenty of opportunities to course correct. If someone feels as if their UP is failing them overall, then we’d either rethink our approach and try something substantially different or mutually decide to stop working together. That’s perfectly okay! An UP is hard and not for everyone.
Do you offer refunds if I'm not able to complete my UP?
Unfortunately, we don’t currently offer a money-back guarantee.
UP doesn’t sound like a fit for me. What other options do you recommend?
Here are a few alternatives you could consider: (1) continue with your normal approach to self-development, (2) do an UP-like program completely by yourself, (3) do an UP-like program with a team you manage yourself, (4), do an alternative self-development program, (5) choose to not focus on self-development. See If Not UP Then What.