To become smarter than yesterday look at how you solve problems everyday.
Some problems are best solved forward.
Some problems are best solved backwards.
Some problems are best solved sidewards.
Some problems are best avoided.
Seeking brilliance is one way to look at things. Avoiding stupidity is another way to look at things. My preferred method of solving problems is mostly backwards. It is just human nature to feel more negativity than positivity. It is easier to feel pain than to feel delight. Our biology is made a certain way. It is wisdom to work with the system than working against it.
I use this understanding as a hack to look at problems different. The famous inversion mental model by Charlie Munger is my go to model while thinking about working backwards. It is easy to spot what not to do than what to do sometimes.
My favorite question for the inversion model is "what is happiness?".
The better way to ask the question is "What is not happiness". The second question is far easier to answer than the first one.
- Unhappiness is being sick and bedridden
- Unhappiness is being depressed and lonely
- Unhappiness is being stupid and ignorant
- Unhappiness is being broke and scraping bottoms.
- Unhappiness is being unhealthy and struggling with life.
- Unhappiness is dragging self and doing things I don't love
This list of unhappiness was written in 20 seconds whereas it is super hard to write a good list for happiness. Probably it doesn't cover 100% but hey 90% is a good number too.
Now it gets easier to work backwards. The plan may look like this
- Happiness is being disease free, fit and healthy
- Happiness is surrounded by family and friends who love me and enable me.
- Happiness is being competent at work and passionate about design
- Happiness is doing things I love, all day, everyday.
- Happiness is financial freedom (if not freedom atleast stability)
Beyond this list if I can add something for the remaining 10% I can add that later. See how see it gets with inversion model?
Here is one inversion advice for all designers (and other sapiens) out there and that has helped me be less stupid all along.
🥂 to avoiding suckyness!