Mental Models For a Pandemic
Compounding is exponential growth. We tend to see the immediate linear relationships in the situation, e.g., how one test diagnoses one person.
The compounding effect of that relationship means that increased testing can lead to an exponential decrease in disease transmission because one infected person can infect more than just one person.
This is a professional note extracted from an online article.
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A few months ago, the world seemed reliable, but now it is changing so fast and has so many unknown dimensions, it can be hard to try and keep up.
Mental models can help us understand the world better, especially during times of confusion. A mental model is simply a representation of how something works. It is a way to simplify complexity and provide direction for our choices.
In the absence of enough testing, we need to use probabilistic thinking to make decisions on what actions to take. Reasonable probability will impact your approach to physical distancing if you estimate the likelihood of transmission as being three people out of ten instead of one person out of one thousand.
When you have to make decisions with incomplete information, use inversion: Look at the problem backward. Ask yourself what you could do to make things worse, then avoid doing those things.
Using mental models will help in understanding the dynamics of the large-scale social response.
We are currently seeing first-order negatives (closing businesses), and 2nd- and 3rd-order positives (reduced transmission, less stress on the healthcare system.)
We need to encourage the thinking, analysis, and decision-making that considers the effects of the effects of the decisions made. Then we need to use a feedback loop. This will give us a better chance of making good decisions.
As we watch the pandemic and its consequences unfold, we see that leadership and authority are not the same things.
Disasters expose the cracks in our leadership. We also see people that display strong leadership without needing any authority.
One quality of an ecosystem is its resilience - the speed at which an ecosystem recovers after a disturbance.
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“Technological progress requires above all tolerance toward the unfamiliar and the eccentric.”
“Invention occurs at the level of the individual, and we should address the factors that determine individual creativity. Individuals, however, do not live in a vacuum. What makes them implement, improve and adapt new technologies, or just devise small improvements in the way they carry out their daily work depends on the institutions and the attitudes around them.”
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Moving away from analogy = Removing iterative steps based on other or older experiences and biases and prejudices
Determination. Do something that you have willingly chosen to do. Have a sense of autonomy and self-empowerment.
Bring on companions. Shared memories and experiences are far stronger motivating factors.
Be impatient. achieve your goals as quickly as you can.
Stay curious. Do not just dream, but see the benefits for yourself.
Avoidance. Make the most out of your time and win the final pay off.
Identify the Problem
What is something that I want to change in my life?
Deconstruct the Problem
What are the causes of my problems? How does it affect my life?
Solve the Problem
Start creating your new framework. You could think of multiple ways to achieve your goals easily.
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