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How People Think

How People Think


22.7K reads

People are so different, yet have the same reactions and insecurities

There are nearly eight billion people alive today. Everyone has a story. Each has seen something different and thought something unique and extraordinary you can't understand. Similarly,  you have experienced stuff they wouldn't believe.

While technologies evolve and circumstances change,

Tribes are everywhere - countries, states, parties, companies, industries, departments, investment styles, economic philosophies, religions, families, schools, majors.

Everyone loves their tribe because there's comfort in knowing that people understand your background and share your...

What people present to the world is a tiny fraction of what’s going on inside their head

So much of history has been recorded in the world, yet the most prolific over-sharers disclose maybe a thousandth of a percent of what they've been through and what they're thinking.

Most people only share what they want you to see. This gives a false view of success.

... But observers mostly judge you in binary terms, right or wrong.

The idea that something can be likely and not happen, or unlikely and still happen, is one of the world's realities. The best you can do is make decisions where the odds are in your favour. Yet, most of wha...

Nothing too good or too bad lasts indefinitely

When you're in the middle of a powerful trend, it's difficult to think how it can turn the other way.

We often don't see that what turns trends around usually isn't an outside force. It's when a subtle side-effect of that trend starts to erode. For example, when there's a crisis, people...

Optimism and pessimism always overshoot

Jerry Seinfeld had the most popular show on TV. Then he quit. He later stated that the only way to identify the top is to experience the decline, which he wanted to avoid.

Most people insist on knowing where the top is. The only way to find the limits is to keep pushing until we’ve gone too...

We like people who have extreme, outlying success because they do things other people would never consider. However, they are extreme in every way, good and bad.

It's dangerous to admire a person for their good traits but start emulating their bad traits because you think t...

Exploiting an opportunity to its full extent has a terrible side effect: When all opportunity is exploited, and there is no room for error, any system exposed to volatility and accident will eventually break.

For example, people strive for efficient lives where no hour is wasted. But wh...

The best story wins

Wherever information is exchanged – wherever there are products, companies, careers, politics, knowledge, education, and culture, the best story always wins.

Great ideas explained poorly can go nowhere while old or mistaken ideas told compellingly can start a revolution.

Complexity sells better. Charge a client for ten sentences of advice, and they'll leave in disgust. Give them a phone-book-size elaboration, and they'll pay you a fortune and refer their friends.

  • This is because length shows effort and thoughtfulness.
  • Things y...

Your willingness to believe a prediction is influenced by how much you need it

We all want to believe in the outcome we want, even if it's unlikely to come true. The higher the stakes, the truer this becomes.

If you desperately need a solution and a good one isn't known or available to you, the path of least resistance is the willingness to believe anything.

Everyone's a little bit blind to how the world works. The gap between how you feel as an outsider can be miles apart from how you feel when experiencing something firsthand.

Jason Zweig of the Wall Street Journal wrote: "If I ask you in a questionnaire whether you are afraid of snakes, ...

Justifying your mistakes in your own head in a way you can’t do for others.

Daniel Kahneman states that it is "easier to recognize other people's mistakes than our own."

When you make a mistake, I judge it based only on what I see. But when I make a mistake, there's a long and persuasive monologue in my head that justifies bad decisions and add information...

In evolution, time and not the little changes move the needle. We can learn a lesson from that: You do not need extraordinary change to deliver extraordinary results. Take investing, for example. Compound interest gives the best return over a long period. Yet, linear thinking is so much more ...

The hardest part in healthcare is getting patients to do what a doctor asks of them. Patients don't follow advice because they couldn't afford it, or it was too intimidating, or they didn't have time.

Nothing you diagnose or prescribe matters until you've addressed that reality with patient...

We’re bad at imagining how change will feel because there’s no context in dreams

When thinking about future risks you tend to think in isolation. Success can bring pride, contentment and independence. But it’s rarely what you thought it would be before achieving it.

If you think of your future self living in a new mansion, you imagine leisure and ev...

Consider 100-year events. One-hundred-year floods, hurricanes, earthquakes, financial crises, frauds, pandemics, political meltdowns, economic recessions.

The chance that these events will occur is less than 1%, which is very low. But there's a good chance that any of them will happen in on...

The inability to accept hassle, nonsense, and inefficiency frustrates people who can’t accept how the world works.

We can't avoid frustrations, but we can ask, "What is the optimal amount to put up with so I can still function in a messy and imperfect world?"

If you can't tolerate it or are averse to differences in opinion, emotions, inefficiencies, or miscommunication, then the odds of succeed...

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