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Second-order Thinking

Second-order Thinking

Second-order thinking is a tool that you can use for making decisions that are not just beneficial in the short-term but are also nondestructive over a longer period of time.

What looks like an investment now might turn out to be a liability later. What looked like a good decision earlier is now a bad one.

Second-order thinking is a is a mental tool that will help you examine the long-term consequences of your decisions, thereby helping you make decisions that will stand the test of time.

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How To Use It

You can use second-order thinking in two ways:

1. As a purely mental exercise

2. You can write it down on paper

Consider a decision you have to make.

Look at the most immediate (first-order) effects of making the decision. Then for each effect ask yourself: "And then What?"

That is how you examine the second-order of your decisions consequences.

This exercise can be repeated for as many orders as you find practical.

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Alternative

Alternatively, think about the decision in different timelines. Ask yourself: what will be the consequences of this decision in:

1. 5 minutes

2. 5 hours

3. 5 days

4. 5 months

5. 5 years

This means you get a chance to consider the short-term, medium-term, and long-term consequences.

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CURATED BY

tebohomatsoha

An aspiring writer. Loves reading, walking and spending time with my wife.

CURATOR'S NOTE

A mental tool for better decision making.

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