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Mental models are how we understand the world. They are how we simplify complexity, why we consider some things more relevant than others, and how we reason.
A mental model is simply a representation of how something works. We cannot keep all of the details of the world in our brains, so we use models to simplify the complex into understandable and organizable chunks.
Discernment means you’re aware of the IMPLICATIONS of what you’re observing. It means you can PREDICT where certain behaviors, actions, ideas, and environments will take you.
When you development discernment, you can make powerful choices, because you have both information and intuition. You can’t have discernment without first observing and paying attention.
Brain science shows that making decisions reduces worry and anxiety — as well as helping you solve problems. Make a “good enough” decision. Don’t sweat making the absolute 100% best decision.
So when you make a decision, your brain feels you have control. Which reduces stress & brings pleasure.
The basic premise here is pretty simple: some tasks are urgent and others are not. When you organize those, you can make better use of your time. The matrix consists of a square divided into four quadrants:
Many of the most successful people adopt simple, versatile decision-making heuristics to remove the need for deliberation in particular situations.
Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon.com, asks himself, is this a reversible or irreversible decision?
If a decision is reversible, we can make it fast and without perfect information. If a decision is irreversible, we had better slow down the decision-making process and ensure that we consider ample information and understand the problem as thoroughly as we can.
Bezos compares decisions to doors. Reversible decisions are doors that open both ways. Irreversible decisions are doors that allow passage in only one direction.
Research showed that most business decisions were not made on “gut calls” but rather rigorous analysis. And yet they were poor decisions.
“Our research indicates that, contrary to what one might assume, good analysis in the hands of managers who have good judgment won’t naturally yield good decisions.”
Charlie Munger, explained the reason:
[Projections] are put together by people who have an interest in a particular outcome, have a subconscious bias, and its apparent precision makes it fallacious.
System I is the part of the brain that handles the simple things: sensory input, automatic and unimportant decisions (i.e. I’m going to reach for my drink), casual social interactions, and other inbound signals that can be processed rapidly and rather easily.
System II is the higher-order, logical part of the brain. “It’s the part that thinks at the speed of the voice in your head,” he says. It brings processing power to bear on decisions and problems that require deeper thought.
System I is involuntary; System II is deliberate. System I thinks in black and white; System II sees many shades of gray. System I is has no time for debate. System II is always looking for a problem, because it's skeptic about anything.