Series post #5: Making High-Quality Decisions
What are Core Mental Models; #3-5; continued:
3. First Principles Thinking: Separate the underlying ideas or facts from any assumptions based on them. Once you get down to the essential idea or facts, you can build to produce something new. Elon Musk explains it like this: boil things down to their fundamental truths, then reason up from there.
4. Thought Experiment: A fancy way of saying “use your imagination.” Lay out a problem mentally and extensively think through all the potential consequences. When we can’t find actual evidence, thought experiments force us to confront questions we can’t answer easily.
5. Second-Order Thinking: Almost everyone can anticipate the immediate results of their actions. That’s first-order thinking. Far fewer can think farther ahead and think holistically, anticipating subsequent effects beyond the immediate.