In a Nutshell
Transition: I went from being an author and medical doctor to contributing to the effective altruism community via coaching and entrepreneurship. This has involved some scary decisions and enabled me to grow and become a bit more heroic.
Coaching: Coaching changed my expected lifetime impact and personal well-being in astonishing ways and I’m now trying to give the same to others in nuanced, truth-seeking, and cost-effective ways. Getting the opportunity to facilitate the growth of individuals like you is aligned with my purpose in addition to bringing me a lot of joy and growth (especially, when I manage to wholeheartedly do it and get out of my own way).
Three things I’m proud of:
- co-founding Effective Altruism Denmark
- using my MD to do research at Stanford that may prevent pandemics
- co-authoring a book and passionately teaching large-scale courses that have likely been useful to 3.000-20.000 medical students in my native Denmark and neighboring Norway.
Where I’m at: London because I expect that to be wise for my impact and I’m an explorer at heart.
Habits and other such goodness: I meditate for 40 minutes every morning , journal/track every evening , and occasionally bust a salsa move although I’m also getting pretty excited about this ecstatic dance thing!
Professional (non-coaching) contributions and decisions:
I ran a career experiment in biosecurity at Stanford University, SSI, and the US CDC for 2 years. My research was on mortality monitoring using EuroMOMO because I predicted it’d be useful in pandemics (pre-covid). EuroMOMO became pivotal during Covid-19 – providing authorities like WHO with real-time mortality data (Our publication). I decided to transition to EA community building via coaching and entrepreneurship due to impact and exploration.
Author and lecturer
During my undergrad, I wrote a book on how to study effectively together with the former memory champion and best-selling author (Oddbjørn By) and was hired to create and teach a course for all medical students at my university. I decided to pivot away from the early success and contribution because I believed effective altruism and global health were more important (not an easy decision!). I was also deeply in love at the time so that probably influenced my decision in substantial ways too.
Effective altruism - impartial long-term
altruism and truth-seeking
Effective altruism drastically changed my life (too drastic at first). My worldview, relationships, and professional path changed significantly after encountering Peter Singer in 2015. By effective altruism, I mean both the project (doing the most good for team sentience) and the community and its norms (which is great but has room for improvement). I try to extend my morality, love, and altruism towards people close to us and on the other side of the globe. To humans as well as non-human animals. To those alive today and to the rest of our intergenerational family who has yet to be born (see the Precipice). I spent hundreds of hours (likely overthought some of my decisions, lol) strategizing about my career based on 80,000hours’ admirable advice and cause prioritization – although I think they’ve been too confident and unaware of how much naive and validation-seeking people (like my younger self) over-update on their advice. I try to cultivate excellent truth-seeking standards In myself in particular by cultivating a Scout Mindset: the motivation to see things as they are – not as I wish for them to be. I do weird things like indicating probabilities in my beliefs, practice Bayesian reasoning, and steelman the opposite view. With that said, I still do stupid shit to protect my ego. Additionally, I’ve come to realize that my intuitions and passions are incredibly important (“reason without emotions is impotent”) and I eagerly learn from sources that aren’t related to effective altruism (e..g, secular Buddhism).
Media and Public contributions
I got highly deliberate about personal development and invested more than 1200 hours in this. This included living in an exceptional group house in Palo Alto, attending a CFAR workshop, and running experiments with coaching by trying three different coaches (Lynnette Bye, Daniel Kestenholz, and Paul Rohde). The latter turned out to be one of the most exceptional persons I’ve ever met, and he’s now my mentor and coach (57 sessions and counting).