torsdag 28 augusti 2014

Pros and Cons

PROS

A professional life-hacker like Ludvig Sunström utilizes a structured method for writing and thinking. This, e.g., is what he just off the top of his head scribbled down in my comments:


Alright. My favorite strategy for using the subconscious is when I am writing or thinking, and I follow a stream of thought up to a point where I can't make it any further. Then I sit down and quickly write my reasoning down up to that point. Then I write down that question. 

If it's seems important I'll put it in my "daily lessons" section (in OneNote), which I review from time to time, and always once monthly. If it's a very important question, or if it pertains to business, I will put it in a section I call "The Questions". And in there I have an excel table with 4 categories/segments. 

1 = date 2 = description 3 = pros 4 = cons
Then I write things down there and review from time to time.

Then I'll go for a run, go lift weights, read a book, or do something else for a while. And often the answer will magically pop up for me. But the key is to first get it out of my head, follow the reasoning as far as possible (indicate to the lazy brain that it was something important worth the energy & effort) and write it down.

It could also be that I am one of those people who learn things better from writing. We all have different learning styles. No system is infallible. Mozart, for example, wrote several pages (by hand) per day and left behind a pile of journals when he died. But he never looked in those journals, he just wrote to learn. Once he had written something ONCE he forever remembered it. He was a special guy.

Of course, then there are audible learners like Churchill. He could memorize large segments of lectures verbatim, just from listening. . .

. . . And people who learn by speaking, like Hitler, who had the habit of giving monologues. Because he had this habit wired into him strongly, and because he early in life prioritized his learning, he mostly hung around people who liked to listen. So that he could talk for himself all the time.

That is just amazingly disciplined, efficient and inspiring. Anybody wanting to improve his problem-solving or enhance his writing should heed Ludvig's advice. Check out his blog here.


CONS
Contrast Ludvig's intelligent and conscious approach to a con-man, a has-been, a camouflaged charlatan (previously successful in another area) like me. My style of thinking or preparing blog posts or analyzing can be summed up in the following bullet points:


  • ad hoc
  • lacking ambition
  • no method
  • no structure
  • intuition
  • go with the flow


However, I do like to make lists, just not for decision making. But I still don't take notes or have a schedule for reviewing them. And definitely not several different note categories and different reviewing schedules. I am such a loser compared to Ludvig, when it comes to structured thinking and problem solving.

I used to make elaborate pros and cons lists, but eventually realized that if the choice was that hard then it really didn't matter. For a while I often just flipped a coin (when I bought my first car, e.g.; a BMW) or threw a die. And the times the decision wasn't hard, it wasn't due to 10-5 wins or so, it was always just one item that decided the whole thing, no matter if there were 10 good reasons to go for the other choice. Gradually I learned to quickly identify that one item without making a list. I think it is partly because I know myself so much better now.

But please pay attention to this sentence in Ludvig's comment, which explains why making serious pros and cons lists works, even if you rely on your subconscious for the actual decision: (indicate to the lazy brain that it was something important worth the energy & effort

What I do make lists for is to remember and to de-stress. Anything written down is a problem managed&forgotten or a future solution remembered. Actually, that may be the most important reason why I am blogging, i.e., to remember; to create a repository of solutions and of to-do:s., if there ever would come a time I'm bored (never happens).

5 kommentarer:

  1. Hey,

    Thanks for this -- I feel honored.

    "I am such a loser compared to Ludvig, when it comes to structured thinking and problem solving."

    --Wow, you're too humble. I'd love to be in your shoes when I get older. You are awesome.


    "or threw a die."

    --I did this as an experiment for a week once. It turned out to be a crazy week.

    "it was always just one item that decided the whole thing, no matter if there were 10 good reasons to go for the other choice. Gradually I learned to quickly identify that one item without making a list."

    --This is really interesting. I would like to develop this skill within the next few years. Do you have any tips for how I may practice this?

    Btw, would you say this is part of your investment philosophy as well?


    PS:
    For anyone interesting in pros & cons, elaborate decision-making, and writing as a tool to increase intelligence, I encourage you to study Benjamin Franklin. He's a great role model for this.

    SvaraRadera
  2. Alwaysbebrucewayne/StorOchGrofv:
    I read SGM but now that I've been perusing your site a bit I will read it too.

    Ludvig: Thx for the tip!

    SvaraRadera
  3. If I had to put money on a blogger who is going to become really influential in intellectual spheres within the coming years, it would be Ludvig. He can just come up with great things off the top of his head, and his blog posts are some of the best thought out and quality posts I've come across. You seem a little hard on yourself though. Your site is another one of the best I've seen. It is nice to see someone who has made it be as humble as you and share their experiences. People process in all sorts of different ways. I plan out some writing, especially blog posts, because when I'm writing on a computer straight from my head, it ends up at about 7th grade quality. When I can look at my hand writing the words, and feel the paper, it ends up a lot better.

    "Anything written down is a problem forgotten or a future solution remembered."

    This is a huge reason I think for many writers. We can only remember so much. But we can share the things we can't. You are really good at that.

    SvaraRadera
    Svar
    1. Thank you so much for your kind comment. I'm going away for a week and won't have much time online, so don't hold your breath waiting for new posts for a while ;)

      Radera
  4. I agree with John, thank you for your blog.
    I find your stuff very complementary to Ludvig's.
    You guys are like two sides of a very precious coin.
    You two really made an impact.

    If anybody is interested in learning more about yourself and all this efficient and structured way hasn't worked out for you, I found this interesting:
    http://badassu.net/find-your-place-in-the-universe/

    SvaraRadera