Metacognition: how to think about thinking

When you want to learn or build something new, it’s tempting to just get going. Read as much as you can, do some tutorials, work on some related projects. Short-term, this gives you a motivation boost. You feel like you’re making progress. But, after a while, you notice that you’re not progressing as fast as …

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The Cobra Effect: how linear thinking leads to unintended consequences

Have you ever tried to fix a problem, only to make things worse? That’s called the Cobra Effect—when an attempted solution results in unintended consequences. Because most of our cause-to-effect experiences involve very simple, direct relationships, we tend to think in terms of linear chain of events. But the world is much more complex than …

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How to make better decisions with second-level thinking

It’s easy to get carried away when making a decision. We look at the current situation and extrapolate what we consider to be the most likely future outcome. What we often fail to consider, though, are the complex ramifications of the decisions we make. For example, you’re feeling hungry. The fast and easy decision would …

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The affliction of abundance: FOBO or the fear of a better option

FOMO, or fear of missing out, is a term that has become common in everyday language and has permeated most corners of our popular culture. I wrote a long article about the phenomenon and its alternative, JOMO—the joy of missing out. But the author who coined the term FOMO, Patrick J. McGinnis, recently warned people …

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The science of decision making: why smart people do dumb things

Chocolate or vanilla? Trello or Jira? Atom or VS Code? Stay in or go out? Should I click on this link or not? We make thousands of choices everyday, often automatically, using mental shortcuts we have created over years of experience. Decision making is the process we use to identify and choose alternatives, producing a …

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How to ask good questions

Without realising it, lots of the work we do relies on asking good questions: getting a helpful piece of information from a colleague, looking up the right thing, or probing a potential customer during a negotiation. The popularity of Quora is a testament to how much we as humans enjoy asking questions. Yet, we’re never …

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30 mental models to add to your thinking toolbox

Want to save this list of mental models for later? Subscribe to receive a PDF copy. Remember how I told you that you need to build your own mental gym? Well, let’s talk about your mental equipment. Mental models are some of the most powerful mental tools at your disposal. They can help you think …

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My pivotal 2018: from startup founder to indie maker

This year felt longer than usual. So much has happened it’s hard to believe it was only 365 days. It’s been a long time I haven’t written this type of self-reflection article, but 2018 has been such a pivotal year that I wanted to take a moment to look back. Up to 2017, my career …

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