How to be productive: The Great Mental Models and Occam’s Razor



Using the following mental models (the image is from the link below):

Here’s a summarized version of the nine mental models (I am only going to highlight the most important ones)

  1. The Map is Not The Territory: Maps (this also includes guides, manuscripts, etc.) can help us navigate through a foreign terrain but they are not the actual place – they are not reality. They are a summarized version of something. They can serve us well, but we shouldn’t rely solely on them to make decisions. Consider the information presented on a map, but don’t stop looking around. Don’t stop adding up on your knowledge.
  2. Circle of Competence: Both what you know about a specific topic and what you don’t know about the same thing form your circle of competence. When you know where your skills are lacking, you are aware of your limitations. Thus, you have a clear idea of what you can improve. While building competence is a slow process, you can accelerate it by reading books and talking with experts in the field.
  3. Inversion: In essence, inversion is about looking at something – a problem, a situation, a task, a goal – from the opposite side. If you rush to solve problems without looking at what’s “behind,” there’s a huge chance that you’ll miss some detail and potentially make a mistake. Consider the following example of inverting something: Instead of trying to be genius, you can simply focus on avoiding being stupid.
  4. Occam’s Razor: Whether you’re thinking about starting a business or about solving a particular problem, the simplest solution is usually the best. Occam’s Razor is about finding simplicity in things. The world is already too busy and noisy. You don’t have to complicate things further. Aim to explain and to do things simply. When there are fewer parts in the engine, for example, the likelihood of this motor to run longer is greater.

(I usually prefer this website for an “actionable summary”. It helps me to avoid reading those books which appear useful on the exterior, but they have long winding arguments about whether I need its insight or not. It helps me to save time and focus on other critical aspects of my life. Highly recommended!)

I’d focus on the last- Occam’s Razor. Keeping life simple is a complex herculean task. We end up with relationships, for example, that wear down an individual. Needless “politics” at the workplace is another.

Avoiding burnouts without distractions is a problematic proposition but the right direction. Keep things simple. That is one key to productivity.

via Actionable Book Summary: The Great Mental Models (Vol. 1) by Shane Parrish |