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3 Shortcuts to High-Level Thinking

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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3 Shortcuts to High-Level Thinking

3 Shortcuts to High-Level Thinking

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

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Key Ideas

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.

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.

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.

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.

Michael Merzenich

Michael Merzenich

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

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.

SIMILAR ARTICLES & IDEAS:

Work on the right decision

The way you frame your decision at the outset can make all the difference. 

State your decision problems carefully, acknowledge their complexity and avoid unwarranted assumptions ...

Specify your objectives

A decision is a means to an endAsk yourself what you most want to accomplish and which of your interests, values, concerns, fears, and aspirations are most relevant to achieving your goal.

Decisions with multiple objectives cannot be resolved by focusing on any one objective.

Create imaginative alternatives

Your decision can be no better than your best alternative.

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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.

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Decision-making errors

Most decision-making errors boil down to:

  • logical fallacies (over-generalizations, comparing apples and oranges, circular thinking)
  • limiting beliefs (underes...

Confirmation Bias

If you already have an opinion about something before you've even tried to figure it out, chances are you'll over-value information that confirms that opinion.

Think about what kinds of information you would expect to find to support alternative outcomes.

Attribution Bias

The “fundamental attribution error,” is when we excuse our own mistakes but blame other people for theirs.

Give other people the chance to explain themselves before judging their behavior.

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