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How to read less news but be more informed, according to a futurist

Bursting The Bubble Of Information

We need to ‘unsubscribe’ from what everyone else is reading, and randomly pick books or magazines, and even talk to strangers for creating a twist in our information consumption routines, exposing us to fresh new insights.

A good network of people who can guide our thinking can become a better source of curated knowledge.

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People who want to hire us, invest in our companies or collaborate with us increasingly look at our digital footprints on LinkedIn, Facebook, Google and Twitter to ‘profile’ us.

As we go more and more online, the way we are perceived digitally, in our display pictures, zoom videos, emails and social media provides a mountain of data for humans, and machines to make judgements about our personal and professional attributes.

Working With The Algorithm

As companies and individuals access our digital avatars and make their judgements, we have the ability to curate them and tell them a story that we want them to hear.

We need to understand the algorithms that are formulated to identify signals and patterns, and ‘hack’ them to our advantage.

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Intentionally moving forward

The best decision-makers purposefully avoid almost all of the options available.

To commit to one decision means closing the door on everything else. It takes confidence to say, "This is what I'm serious about. I can't be distracted by everyone else's noise and agendas." If you're serious about achieving goals, you must create an environment that shields you from other noise.

Strategic ignorance

Strategic ignorance is not about being closed-minded. It's knowing what you want.

It's realizing how easy a person can be derailed. You even avoid amazing situations that you know is really a distraction. You create boundaries and live your priorities and values and dreams.

“Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity”

Robert J Hanlon
Hanlon’s Razor Explained
  • We tend to associate completely disconnected events in a unique way, fitting them into our ‘story’, the narratives we build to create our distorted version of reality.
  • The patterns we think exist may not actually do so, but that does not stop us from assuming negative intent or malice in all that happens around us.
  • We need to realize that the world does not revolve around us and try to approach situations and events in a neutral, objective manner.
The Way To Apply Hanlon’s Razor

The basic rules that we need to apply:

  1. Move from assuming bad intentions towards exploring other causes.
  2. Engage in active communication.
  3. Embrace opportunities.
  4. Stay positive and driven.
  5. Stop blaming and focus on creative problem-solving.
  6. Assume a neutral, unbiased position.

Hanlon’s razor is a potent mental model which can be used in any situation where our first instinct is a negative assumption. Any wrong hypothesis related to the bad intentions of others is counterproductive and can play havoc in our lives.