Friday, December 24, 2021



In one of the podcasts with Tim Ferris, Entrepreneur Marc Andreessen talks about the concept of Red Teams that Marc uses to test out his investments. The role of red team is to take the stance against investing. With the intention to destroy his investment ideas, they produce strong counter-arguments. If the idea survives this attack, then conclusively it is possibly an idea worth investing.

Legendary investor Charlie Munger once said “All I want to know is where I’m going to die, so I’ll never go there.” and he credits the success he and Warren Buffet managed to achieve was by trying to be consistently not stupid, instead of trying to be very intelligent.

So, what's the point here ? It is that you can achieve success in any endeavor by thinking "what would make it successful" or by simply avoiding "what would cause the project to fail" (or both).
A Tennis player can win a match by hitting winners or simply by avoiding unforced errors (or both).

These examples, in a manner of speaking, are the foundation of an underrated, yet powerful mental model called as 'Inverse Thinking'.

Inversion is about asking yourself upfront "What the ways you can fail" and doing all that's needed to avoid those situations.

In context of thinking Romeen Sheth in this extraordinary thread says that one can achieve clarity of thoughts by avoiding cognitive distortions (irrational thoughts) and suggests 10 such distortions. My sketchnote(s) summary of the thread included here. (click on the image to read both the sketchnotes)

e.g. Ambiguity Effect is about our tendency to choose an action in where we know the exact probability vs. not taking the actions where the probability is unknown. We often tend to choose the former path because we tend to to think it's safe whereas most of the times the chances of rewards are more in the (risky) areas where probability isn't as exactly known.
To think better, try and avoid Ambiguity effect and other distortions called out.

What are the ways you think you can use Inverse thinking ?

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