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3 Shortcuts to High-Level Thinking

https://medium.com/mind-cafe/3-shortcuts-to-high-level-thinking-7705f6b3e039

medium.com

3 Shortcuts to High-Level Thinking
The human brain is a brilliant pattern recognition machine. To respond faster and more efficiently to the multiple demands of life without having to reinvent the wheel, our brains streamline our decision-making process by creating shortcuts.

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Shortcuts to smarter thinking

Shortcuts to smarter thinking

With time, our brains develop clever artifices to help solve common problems. These repeated concepts are called heuristics: algorithms, procedures or rules of thumb that simplify decision making.

When we rely on heuristics for making decisions and solving problems, we save mental energy for complex or high-level decisions.

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The problem with heuristics

The problem with using this appears we rely too much on using our existing heuristic patterns without modifying them, because that can create a state of mental stagnation.

Mental operations are affected by mistakes such as cognitive biases, if we are not careful.

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Understanding the bigger picture

We like to be right. And to protect our desire to be right, we look for evidence that supports our ideas and ignore evidence that contradicts them.

But to construct a holistic view about anything, we have to aim to understand the big picture and be particularly critical of sources that support our beliefs.

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Comfortable with feeling uncomfortable

In the long-term, comfort is bad for your brain.

Seeking new experiences, learning new skills, and opening the door to new ideas inspire us and educate us in a way that improves mental clarity.

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Michael Merzenich

“It’s the willingness to leave the comfort zone that is the key to keeping the brain new.”

Michael Merzenich

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Cultivate your curiosity

Curiosity is the force that activates and sustains lifelong learning.

A naturally curious mind takes interest in a wide range of subjects to find connections to help solve everyday problems better.

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SIMILAR ARTICLES & IDEAS:

“Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity”

Robert J Hanlon

Hanlon’s Razor Explained

  • We tend to associate completely disconnected events in a unique way, fitting them into our ‘story’, the narratives we build to create our distorted version of reality.
  • The patterns we think exist may not actually do so, but that does not stop us from assuming negative intent or malice in all that happens around us.
  • We need to realize that the world does not revolve around us and try to approach situations and events in a neutral, objective manner.

The Way To Apply Hanlon’s Razor

The basic rules that we need to apply:

  1. Move from assuming bad intentions towards exploring other causes.
  2. Engage in active communication.
  3. Embrace opportunities.
  4. Stay positive and driven.
  5. Stop blaming and focus on creative problem-solving.
  6. Assume a neutral, unbiased position.

Hanlon’s razor is a potent mental model which can be used in any situation where our first instinct is a negative assumption. Any wrong hypothesis related to the bad intentions of others is counterproductive and can play havoc in our lives.

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Every Decision In Life Becomes a Trade-Off

Every Decision In Life Becomes a Trade-Off

... and boils down to what we give up to attain something. Our mindsets are inclined towards pleasure and resistive towards pain. We normally like to think in terms of gai...

Good and Bad Decisions

Decisions are a cost-benefit analysis of risking something small for the opportunity to gain something big.

  • Good decisions can be: Exercising, meditating for 10 minutes daily, finding the courage and striking up a conversation with someone, applying for jobs that you may or may not get.
  • Bad decisions can be: lying or pretending to someone, driving unsafely, sending angry text messages, or staying up late drinking before an important meeting or exam in the morning.

Trade-offs and Life Values

Trade-offs are not something as simple as flipping a coin. Our values guide us towards what we want in life, and it is not the same for all. Example: Buying a house has a trade-off of mortgage for the next ten or more years. This is subjective and depends on what we value in life.

Indecisive people suffer because they don’t know their inner values and what they care about.

Simple rules

They are shortcut strategies that save time and effort by focusing our attention and simplifying the way we process information. The rules aren’t universal- they’re tailored to the particular si...

Boundary rules for better decisions

They guide the choice of what to do (and not do) without requiring a lot of time, analysis, or information. 

They work well for categorical choices, like a judge’s yes-or-no decision on a defendant’s bail, and decisions requiring many potential opportunities to be screened quickly. 

These rules also come in handy when time, convenience, and cost matter.

Prioritizing rules for better decisions

They rank options to help decide which of multiple paths to pursue.

They are especially powerful when applied to bottleneck activities - pinch-points in companies, where the number of opportunities swamps available resources, and prioritizing rules can ensure that these resources are deployed where they can have the greatest impact.