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A Few Principles for Thinking Clearly

Manage your identity

The more a particular issue is wrapped up in your identity, the harder it is for you to think clearly about it.

Also, when people are exposed to evidence that contradicts their identities or tribal affiliations, they’ll actually double down and become more confident in whatever they believed. This is why it’s important when trying to think clearly, to avoid identifying with any particular tribe.

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A Few Principles for Thinking Clearly

A Few Principles for Thinking Clearly

https://medium.com/the-polymath-project/a-few-principles-for-thinking-clearly-d18a74a2ebe9

medium.com

5

Key Ideas

Read widely, with maximum curiosity

The clearest thinkers tend to be those that draw from multiple disciplines.

Develop the habit of reading and eliminate/reduce the things that might stop you from doing that (e.g. mindless TV watching or checking social media constantly).

Put reality first and theory last

Confusing models with reality is a cardinal sin of clear thinking. 

If you believe too strongly in your models of the world, you can start to ignore evidence that your model is wrong.

Campbell’s law

The basic idea is that when you reward people for a particular measure — clicks, dollars, likes, etc. — people will find a way to “game” the system.

For example: If journalism is fueled by clicks, journalists are going to write sensationalist clickbait.

Having principles

It’s easy to sell out or self-censor because you’re afraid of (a) financial or (b) status pushback.

The cure might be to hold fame and financial success in low regard.

Manage your identity

The more a particular issue is wrapped up in your identity, the harder it is for you to think clearly about it.

Also, when people are exposed to evidence that contradicts their identities or tribal affiliations, they’ll actually double down and become more confident in whatever they believed. This is why it’s important when trying to think clearly, to avoid identifying with any particular tribe.

SIMILAR ARTICLES & IDEAS:

Components of a good essay

Many people think a good essay is persuasive. But more importantly, an essay should be useful.
There are four parts to a good essay:

  • correctness
  • s...

Correctness

An essay should be correct. However, to be correct is not enough if it is vague. 

Don't publish anything unless you're sure it's worth hearing. Write the first draft of an essay quickly, trying out all sorts of ideas. Then rewrite it very carefully, being sure to sift out anything that you're not sure of, or that is not true. Useful writing makes claims that are as strong as they can be without overstating it.

Strength

Strength comes from two things: thinking well, and the skillful use of qualification.

Qualifications can express many things: how broadly something applies, how you know it, how happy you are it's so, even how it could be falsified. As you try to refine the expression of an idea, adjust the qualification accordingly. The more you refine an idea, the less you'll need to qualify it. However, don't underestimate qualification. Learn to use its full range.

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Time Is The Most Precious Resource

Time is the most precious resource. Death gives a sense of urgency, as any moment could be your last. It humbles you and should also deeply motivate you to not spend your time thoughtlessly.

Emotions Come From Within

Outside forces don’t make us feel things, our perceptions of them do. It’s easy to think otherwise, but doing so harms us and undermines our self-discipline.

The next time you run into an obstacle and feel resistance, don’t look at what’s around you. Instead, look within.

The People You Respect

Whatever you do, there are individuals that you can learn from. If you can’t talk to them, you can study their story, works, techniques, successes, and failures, and discover patterns of success you can apply to your life.

Be careful not to turn it into an exercise of comparison and expect your progress to be the same as theirs. Their teachings and principles are supposed to help you grow, learn, and create. 

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The Diderot Effect

The Diderot Effect

It is a term that characterizes the tendency for purchases to generate new purchases.

Example: We set up a gym membership, and then we think we need better workout clot...

History of the Diderot Effect

The French philosopher Denis Diderot became a wealthy man at age 52 and was able to afford small indulgences.

He started with a scarlet robe and continued with other items, because they were not matching the elegance of that robe. The joy of everything he bought was short-lived. Piece by piece, Diderot replaced every item in his home.

When the Diderot Effect loosens its grip

We live better lives than Denis Diderot and his peers and yet we always crave for more. We decide our refrigerator isn’t nice enough; not when the latest models are wifi-enabled with touch screens.

But our situation is more forgiving. We can always simplify. We can downsize into modest homes. We can shop less and give away more.