The Hierarchy of Engagement and the Pursuit of Our Desires



Jul 12, 20234 min read


The Hierarchy of Engagement and the Pursuit of Our Desires


In today's fast-paced world, where instant gratification is the norm, it's easy to claim that we want something without fully committing to it. We often confuse the idea of wanting something with simply liking the idea of it. But do we really want the things we say we want? This question begs us to delve deeper into our desires and explore the tradeoffs required to pursue them.

The Hierarchy of Engagement:

At the core of this discussion lies the concept of the Hierarchy of Engagement. This hierarchy consists of three levels: growing engaged users, retaining users, and self-perpetuation. As companies ascend this hierarchy, their products improve, become more difficult to leave, and create virtuous loops that sustain their success.

Interestingly, this hierarchy can also be applied to our personal desires and aspirations. Just like companies strive to move up the hierarchy to create self-perpetuating products, we too can progress in our pursuit of our goals and dreams.

Growing Engaged Users:

The first level of the hierarchy involves growing engaged users. As individuals, this translates to identifying what we truly want and developing a deep engagement with our desires. It's not enough to simply like the idea of something; we must be willing to put in the work and sacrifice necessary to pursue it.

To determine how much we truly want something, we need to examine the tradeoffs associated with it. Are we willing to sacrifice our time, energy, and resources? Are we prepared to face the challenges and setbacks that inevitably come with the pursuit of our desires? Only by honestly assessing these tradeoffs can we gauge our level of commitment.

Retaining Users:

Once we have established a genuine desire for something, the next level of the hierarchy is retaining users. In our personal lives, this means staying committed to our goals even when faced with obstacles and temptations to give up. It's easy to lose focus or get discouraged along the way, but true commitment requires resilience and determination.

To retain our commitment, we must remind ourselves of the reasons why we embarked on this journey in the first place. What is it about this desire that ignites a fire within us? How will it positively impact our lives and those around us? By constantly reaffirming our motivations, we can stay on track and resist the urge to abandon our pursuit.


The final level of the hierarchy is self-perpetuation. At this stage, our desires become ingrained in our identity, and our commitment becomes second nature. Just as successful products create loops that sustain their success, our dedication to our goals becomes automatic, and we no longer have to consciously remind ourselves to stay committed.

To reach this stage, we must cultivate habits and routines that align with our desires. By incorporating our goals into our daily lives, we create a sense of consistency that reinforces our commitment. Additionally, seeking support from like-minded individuals or mentors can provide the encouragement and accountability necessary to maintain our motivation.


In our pursuit of our desires, it is crucial to differentiate between merely liking the idea of something and truly wanting it. The Hierarchy of Engagement serves as a framework for understanding the levels of commitment required for success. By honestly assessing the tradeoffs, retaining our commitment through challenges, and integrating our goals into our daily lives, we can progress through this hierarchy and ultimately achieve self-perpetuating success.

Actionable Advice:

  • 1. Conduct a tradeoff analysis: To determine how much you truly want something, honestly examine the tradeoffs associated with it. Are you willing to sacrifice your time, energy, and resources? This analysis will help you gauge your level of commitment.
  • 2. Reaffirm your motivations: During moments of doubt or difficulty, remind yourself of the reasons why you embarked on this journey. What is it about this desire that ignites a fire within you? How will it positively impact your life and those around you? Reaffirming your motivations will help you stay committed.
  • 3. Integrate your goals into your daily life: To create a sense of consistency and reinforce your commitment, incorporate your goals into your daily routines and habits. By making them a natural part of your life, you increase the likelihood of reaching the self-perpetuating stage of the hierarchy.

In conclusion, the pursuit of our desires requires more than mere words. It demands a genuine commitment and a willingness to sacrifice. By understanding the Hierarchy of Engagement and implementing these actionable advice, we can bridge the gap between what we claim to want and what we truly want, ultimately achieving the success we desire.


  1. "The Hierarchy of Engagement", (Glasp)
  2. "Do We Really Want the Things We Say We Want? - Nick Wignall", (Glasp)

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