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 I choose progression over perfection!

To perfect or not to perfect?

Perfection is an idea. The idea of ‘perfection’ in my mind is most likely different to what perfection in your own mind is, which means, it must be subjective as with most things in life. So when we say we are ‘perfectionists’ or wanting something to be perfect, we want it to be it’s most ideal case. This idealistic view can be motivating, and it can also be very dangerous to our productivity. Think about it, when we start at the bottom of the mountain and look up, we see a mammoth task ahead of us. Now, imagine that perfection personifies the mountain. The mountain is an ever growing one, which means we will never reach it no matter how high we go up, because we will always see the flaw in our idea or creation. When we compare what we have with our idealistic view, or perfectionist state, it causes us to get frustrated and confused. Worse still, it can even paralyse us because we feel so inadequate, even though what we have actually done is excellent.

Progress over perfection

The idea that progression is the way forward is much better for our psychology and well being. That’s because, we are focusing on our improvement and that excites us and motivates us. How many times in your life have you felt extremely happy that you accomplished something, however minor it may seem, like tidying up your house, or getting that raise. This is very true to when we apply it to our goals, as long as we are going one step closer to our goals and seeking progression toward them, we are living our dream. This helps us live in the moment and not in the future, which is what the idea of perfection does.

The idea of living now means that you are truly living your life to the fullest, you are able to sense all the small things that you wouldn’t have noticed before.

Progress with high standards!

Not being a perfectionist does not mean that we still do not have high standards for our goals and dreams. We still make sure that we are doing our work to the best of our ability, and to the standards that WE set. It keeps us much more motivated to consistently hit our standards, and continue our excellent work.

The key is to practice being in the moment, and having presence now, coupled with discipline and routine, we can achieve tremendous things with these powerful forces.

The other thing I love about progression is that, although it is a never ending task, it means that you will always be improving, while living in the moment. This does wonders for your well being, and mental attitude. It’s a much more positive way of living. This is why I choose to focus on progress over perfection 🙂 What do you think? What are your thoughts on this matter? I’d love to hear them.

Why it isn’t what happens to you but how you handle it that matters

I remember when I was young, I grew up without a father to properly help support me but my mum and the rest of my family kind of made up for that in a lot of ways. However, in some other ways I still used to feel the emptiness. I used to question why this happened to us, why were we subjected to this hardship? What did I do to deserve this? Sound familiar?

It may sound familiar because we all feel self pity at some point in our lives. We all want people to stop and give you a helping hand or drop whatever they have to aid us. Sometimes it’s necessary, but often I’ve found that doesn’t help a great deal. I’ve kicked myself mentally and wondered why I can’t change my situation.

The key is closer to home than you think. I started to understand that things will always happen to you, be it good or bad. We can’t change that, we can’t even change the environment that we may find ourselves in easily, sometimes. But it’s not what happens to you, it’s HOW you deal with it and how QUICKLY you can get back up.

Life is a boxing match

In a boxing match, the two fighters can take a beating, imagine if one boxer took a little break every time he got hit. How would that make the boxer feel? Probably like he is never going to get the upper hand. But that’s not what they do, they quite quickly get their composer back and figure out how to get their opponent down!

This same mentality can be translated into our everyday life. Life is that other boxer who is hitting you every now and again. You are the fighter taking the hits but not doing anything about it. Let that punch hit you if it does, so what? Now you come back, gain your composure and strike back with action! The only way to fight back is to fight back with composure and calmness.

So whenever life is hitting you and overwhelming you, just take a step back, find a place and a time in the day to block everything out and decompress. Do this by taking three long deep breaths from the diaphragm. You can stay there longer if you want. Now go back out there and plan your way to fight through to success in your own heart.

“Nobody is going to hit as hard as life, but it isn’t how hard you get hit, it’s how much you can take and keep moving forward. That’s how winning is done!” – Rocky Balboa

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.