Peter Hollins - Mental Models

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  1. Address "Important"; Ignore "Urgent" to separate priorities from impostors
  2. Visualize All the Dominoes to make decisions as informed as possible
  3. Make Reversible Decisions to remove indecisions and have a bias to action
  4. Seek "Satisfiction" to achieve your priorities and ignore what doesn't matter
  5. Stay within 40% - 70% to balance information with action
  6. Minimize Regret by consulting the future you on decisions
  7. Ignore "Black Swans" to understand how outliers shouldn't change your thinking
  8. Look for Equilibrium Points to find real patterns in data and not be fooled
  9. Wait for the Regression to the Mean to find real patterns in data and not be fooled
  10. What Would Bayes Do to calculate probabilities and predict the future based on real events
  11. Do It Like Darwin to seek real, honest truth in a situation
  12. Think With System 2 to think analytically instead of emotionally
  13. Peer Review Your Perspectives to understand the consensus view and why you might differ
  14. Find Your Own Flaws to scrutinize yourself before others can
  15. Separate Correlation From Causation to understand what truly needs to be addressed to solve a problem

Decision Making For Speed And Context

To the man with only a hammer, every problem looks like a nail.

A mental model is a blueprint to emphasize important aspects of whatever you're facing, and it defines context, background and direction.

Without them, you are only able to see the haphazard, individual elements with no connection to each other.

A chef is someone who has the mental models of flavor profiles, what basic ingredients are needed for a stock or a sauce, typical techniques for different meats, and the conventional beverage and food pairings.

You can think of mental models as life heuristics or guidelines to evaluate and comprehend.

Mental models aren't perfect representations of the world around us, they serve to separate the signal from the noise for a specific perspective.

Too few mental models limit your capability to comprehend.


MM #12: Think With System 2 to think analytically instead of emotionally

This mental model was popularized by Daniel Kahneman - Thinking Fast & Slow.

Daniel says our brain can be modeled as pair of systems.

System 1 is "fast" effortless thinking, automatic, intuitive, instinctive, subconscious. It's "recipe" thinking, and uses low energy because it's "cached". Example are riding a bicycle, recognizing a friend, crying, or fight-or-flight instinct. It acts upon heuristics built from past experiences. This system is focused on doing the fast, efficient thing versus doing the slow, more beneficial in the long run thing.

System 2 is "slow" thinking, analytical, contemplative, laborious. deliberate, methodical, conscious. It uses more energy because it perform more computation and can be more tiring or draining. It's decision-making thinking, that usually triggers in situations that have high consequences, like choosing a college, buying a house, or quitting your job. It's also generally the default system in situations that require more conscious awareness, like driving through a foggy night, striving to hear someone across a noisy room, or learning a complex subject that's new to you.

This means that our biology optimizes for System 1, because it's more efficient. This makes us more susceptible to accepting things at first glance, to not thinking skeptically, being more gullible, and acting impulsively without considering consequences.

System 1 shines the most in dangerous situations when urgency and quickness are paramount. It's also extremely useful when you reach expertise in a skill. A virtuous musician plays their instrument using System 1, it's automated and instinctive, just like walking and talking are to most humans.

In absence of every day dangers in our lives, System 2 is becoming more and more preferable as the dominant thinking tool.

Thinking clearly isn't an instinct to us. Humans are all about survival, pleasure, food, sleep, and avoiding pain. We see the world much more accurately at second glance.

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