The 1 thing you need for decision making

If anyone has ever read Poor Charlie Munger’s Almanack, a fantastic insight into the partner of one of the best Investors on the planet. You will know what I mean when I say using multiple mental frameworks for making decisions.

I wholeheartedly agree with attacking things from multiple angles. When testing software such as apps or websites, you must have in mind the user, the product manager and the developer. Then attack from all those angles to improve the value of the software.

Charlie Munger though, takes it a lot further. Suggesting that we should use the basics of Maths, Psychology, Engineering, Biology including evolutionary biology to solve our problems. Suggesting to derive some 80 different types of mental frameworks from these subjects. Of course,  you can broaden the topics you find your mental models from, but not shrink them.

A very interesting and useful concept. It may seem difficult and odd to think of solving problems on these levels, but it can be done. Plus, it’s extremely effective in weeding out some of those things that you hadn’t thought about, because you are using multiple viewpoints.

For example, setting up new businesses, in the new world of software, we want to give the customer fast feedback on what is being created. This is so that you don’t waste huge amounts of effort that will not be useful to the customer later on.

This simple principle can be applied into any aspect of setting up a business. If you have an idea in mind, it’s much better to try it quickly and cheaply, then gather feedback and iterate over the idea.

Starting up a new business from an evolutionary perspective, you would try an array of ideas and pick the ones that shows promise and iterate over that until 1 or 2 ideas have wings.

I’ve just used a few mental models here to show you, but these can be broken down and looked at from even more mental models, like quality, decision tree theory, basic algebra, efficient ecosystems, human psychology and many more.

I believe that what we learn in one discipline is transferred in other disciplines. As you can see, things that I have learnt in software engineering have been transferred over into other areas like business and vice versa. I don’t see why you cannot transfer lessons learnt from martial arts and transfer those into your daily lives, while on the job or with your family life!

What opportunities do you have to attack problems from these new and wonderful viewpoints? If you’re not doing so, why not give it a try? You will be amazed at what you will find!


Why you need to focus on yourself first

I remember the times when I was trying my hardest to help those around me get better from their problems. I’d be there for them any time and I would drop everything to help them out. This isn’t always a bad thing, the problem was that I was also bottling up things inside myself. I would feel like I wanted them to come and help me without them even knowing that I was hurting inside! How was I supposed to help others, but not help myself? I would constantly give advice to my friends and rarely take that advice myself. How many of us have been in that situation before? And before I knew it, I was exploding my bottled feelings to the nearest casualty, usually the same friends/family that I was trying to help previously.

I realised the act of building these things up inside of me was not very healthy at all. I needed some way of overcoming these emotions and the best way, I realised, was to help myself get better by taking necessary steps to ensure that I was looking after myself, before I was able to help anyone else.

This isn’t a selfish thing to do, because you need to make sure you are well before you can offer advice to others. If we are giving advice that we do not follow, doesn’t that make us hypocrites? If this is still difficult for you to understand, then look at it this way; in an aeroplane when there is an emergency and the oxygen masks drop down, they tell you to put YOUR OWN oxygen mask on BEFORE anyone else’s. That’s right, before the old man next to you or the little toddler that’s opposite you. You do that first and foremost, THEN you help the other person with theirs if they need it.

Okay, the above example is life and death, but it’s psychologically the same thing here, if we help others before we help ourselves, then we are left with lots of problems built up inside that aren’t being addressed.

So, what are some of the ways that you can help yourself?

1) Make sure you give yourself time to follow your hobbies and passions.

I like to bang on about following your passions because this is a great way to express yourself and immerse yourself in these actions.

2) Learning to say no to requests

It may be difficult to say no to requests and invitations to social events but you need to be fair to yourself and give some time to yourself too.

3) Giving yourself plenty of rest

This is more important that anything, it’s vital to do this since how can you do anything well when you’re always tired?

4) Add some structure and routine to your life

Adding structure breeds discipline and discipline breeds structure. Doing this will help you manage your life in the best way.

Please be aware that I am not saying you should become self-centered and only think of your own gains. Rather, that you need to understand your own needs and put your wellbeing at the forefront. People like you and me, we like to help others. I’ve found that in doing so, it’s because I expect an outcome or literally put all my effort in all the time and not taking the time to rest yourself.

Ironically, helping others makes us feel good, and to practice this daily would be a good thing for us. Though not to the detriment of your health. Life is a balance and without a set of principles to discipline you, it will do with you what it likes. However, before you can help others (unless you’re forced to) you must know and understand yourself. If you understand yourself, you can understand others better.


How to walk like a leader

Everything you project to the world is developed consciously or subconsciously. The fact that you can train yourself to do certain behaviours subconsciously means that you can really wield your mind and use it to your advantage.

There is no better example of this than walking. How you walk can really make a difference to how you feel about yourself. People walk with their head down when they are in thought, or slouch if they feel upset. So in these cases, your mental frame of mind has affected your physical. Like I say a lot, your physical state affects your mental state. So, when you walk as if you have a purpose, then you feel strong and begin to walk like a leader. Like nothing can stop you.

This also has the added side effect that you will look like a person with intent and people will respect you for that.

I’ve compiled a checklist for you to make sure that you’re walking like you mean business! This is what I go through in my mind when I sometimes find myself slouching slightly. I usually keep a mental checklist of these points but you can easily write them down:

Face full of purpose

Firstly, you need to believe that you have a purpose in life, which you do. Like you belong in this world and are unapologetic about it, like the mountains that stand tall. You want to relax your face by exhaling, have a very slight smile and enjoy your walk.

Check the head

Make sure that your head is upright and looking forward toward your destination. The chin should be parallel to the ground.

Ground yourself!

Relaxing your shoulders so they’re being pushed down by gravity will help ground you, don’t forcefully do this as it’s supposed to feel comfortable. Slightly push your chest out, again this should feel natural and comfortable, you don’t want to put a strain on your lower back.

Straight spine

Your spine needs to be straight and aligned, so that means no hunched backs! It also helps if you push your head to the sky, it’ll help straighten that spine out.

Sure footed

With every step that you take, you want to feel like you are planting it down and making your mark. Be sure of yourself and you become a leader in your own mind. Own each step as if each step you are marking down your legacy.

Be you and be natural

Above all, keep in mind that, although you may find that you will feel slightly uncomfortable in the beginning (depending on how differently you walk), if you start to feel any pains, stop doing it because you may not be executing it correctly, it’s probably best to talk to your physio or book an osteopathy appointment.

Although, this may all seem a little over the top, it starts the process of ultimate self belief, because if you don’t believe in yourself, who will? Your internal dialogue will go from self defeating to self uplifting.