First Principles Thinking

First Principles Thinking

First Principles Thinking is first-principles reasoning, which means going back to first things first and getting the basics right before moving on.

It’s about starting with what you know first and then building from there. The goal of first principles thinking is not just to solve problems, but also to create a solid foundation for further advancement.

In short, it’s critical for innovation in any field of endeavor.

First Principles Thinking has been around for centuries, but was given its name by Thomas Edison who said “Invention consists of seeing what everybody has seen and thinking what nobody has thought.” And he knew firsthand because he had invented hundreds of devices that were never thought of getting the basics right before moving on.

Step 1: Identify and define your current assumptions

The first step of first principles thinking is identifying, clarifying, expanding and refining your current assumptions. These are words or phrases that people automatically assume are true without examining their validity or truthfulness.

For example, an assumption like “Failure is bad” may not be true for someone else. They may view failure as good because it provides them with valuable feedback on how to improve themselves in the future.

The first step of first principles thinking is figuring out what your assumptions are and then determining which ones you need to question first. Once you do that, you’ll be ready to move on to the next step of first principles thinking.

Step 2: Question your assumptions

After identifying your first principles thinking assumptions, it’s time for further examination.

First Principles Thinking is about breaking down problems into their component parts. It requires us to question everything and admit what we don’t know before looking for patterns and solutions within them.

If there are any parts of a given situation that aren’t clear, first principles thinking proposes questioning those parts first. Questions are the means by which first principles thinking moves forward by measuring what isn’t known against what is known as well as rationalizing new knowledge based on previous experience.

Once again, Edison was an expert first principles thinker who used questions as a first tool for problem-solving. Edison was known to ask himself the same question over and over again throughout his career. One notable example of this is how he kept asking himself “why?” about all of his previous failures until he came up with the lightbulb.

Step 3: Find first principles thinking answers

The first step of first principles thinking is not just identifying your assumptions, but figuring out if they are true or false; then dissecting them into their component parts; followed by using questions to help narrow down what you know and what you don’t know, and finally moving on to find solutions after assessing where you stand now based on everything else you’ve learned along the way.

Finding solutions takes time and effort, but once you understand how to use first principles thinking, you’ll be able to create your own path out of the darkness without having to rely on anyone else to do it.

Illusory Correlation

Illusory correlation is a cognitive bias where people think there is a relationship between two things when in reality there is not. The most common example of illusory correlation is the gambler’s fallacy which states that if something happens more frequently than normal during a random period of time, it will happen less often in the future and vice versa.

Illusory correlations are one of many biases that can impede rational thinking and decision-making. It’s important to identify illusory correlations so you can account for them during your critical thinking process. There are many other illusory correlations including hindsight bias, availability heuristic, confirmation bias, post hoc ergo propter hoc, illusory control, and the illusion of external agency.

The first thing you should do to identify illusory correlation looks for data or evidence that suggests there isn’t a relationship between two phenomena.

For example, if someone tells you that autistic people are very creative, ask them to provide evidence for this claim beyond their own anecdotal experience.

It would also help to review the existing studies on creativity in individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD).

People often assume illusory correlations lead to illogical reasoning but illogical reasoning can happen without illusory correlations present.

Confirmation bias only requires one’s cognitive mechanism of wanting information that supports your hypothesis so it can be rationalized as true. On the other hand, illusory correlation requires one’s cognitive mechanism to overrun facts that may disagree with your hypothesis.

Illusory correlations are actually very well documented in psychological research.

History of Illusory Correlation

Illusory correlation is a cognitive bias that causes people to overestimate the relationship between two events. It was first described by psychologists Thomas Gilovich and Amos Tversky in 1993, who defined illusory correlation as “the tendency for the perceived association to be biased towards what an observer expects.” They explained illusory correlations are often due to confirmatory biases or selection biases.

People create illusory correlations across many categories, including race, gender, age, weight, height, car accidents, income levels, homeownership, education level, employment status, typhoons, temperature, crime rates, rainfall patterns, illness outbreaks. This phenomenon has important implications for the way people think about their society and others.

Example of Illusory correlation

An illusory correlation can be thought of as arising when two variables are related but one variable is not the cause of the other variable. For example, suppose you see someone wearing a green shirt on Monday and then again on Wednesday. You might think that green shirts have some effect on mood since this person was more cheerful each time they wore it – even though there’s no connection between shirt color and mood.

Why Is Illusory Correlation Important?

This is important. It shows how people perceive things. People think that they know something is true, but it’s not really true. It happens because of the way people think sometimes. When this research first came out, some people thought that stereotypes were caused by personality or that they came from underlying reality.

Studies of distinctiveness-based illusory correlation demonstrate how preconceptions are formed by everyday cognitive mechanisms that operate automatically in the mind. Expectancy-based illusory correlations, on the other hand, show how stereotypic beliefs are propagated through biased information processing when it is driven by a perceiver’s prior assumptions.

How to Be More Productive At Home

You might think that you can’t get anything done at home. But it’s really about setting yourself up for success when in your own space.

Staying productive at home is important as with the COVID-19 pandemic, more offices changed to working from home. Workers now have to experience a new change in habits. Research shows that only 1 in 10 people reported their productivity had gone down during lockdowns. The rest maintained or even improved their productivity. While it can come easy for some to stay productive, it’s important to use tools and strategies to maintain a strong work life balance the entire day.

In this blog article, we will discuss how to be more productive at home. This guide is for people who lose focus easily and want to work on staying productive throughout the day at home using these productivity techniques and strategies.

Morning Routine

There are may tips out there on creating a morning routine, a source of motivation, wake up early, eat a healthy breakfast, meditation, reading, mindfulness or make a to-do list. That way, before the day begins, you have a tradition of what needs to be done and can plan accordingly

The reason successful people claim to be so effective is the way they start their day off on the right foot. Your morning routine could include making your bed because it gives off the impression that things are being taken care of. It takes self-control to do this consistently, so find what works for you.

A daily routine is one of those new habits that primes your body and mind to be ready for the challenges that will come will set you up perfectly for having a productive day.

Create an environment for success

Put everything in its place before beginning work or doing any tasks at home so it doesn’t become overwhelming if there is something new added later into the equation.

It’s important to reduce distractions from the internet, apps on your phone and TV. Shut your door so this way you can focus more on what needs to be done, take video calls, and function as your at home office space.

It can be a good idea to make your home office an area where you don’t associate with any other activities. If possible, keep it in a corner of the house, a place of comfort, so that there is no temptation for distractions from family members or pets. Keep that background noise out with the help of music.

Manage Your Time

The best way to be productive is by managing your time so that you can get everything done in a timely manner. A sure fire way to experience stress is to not have your time managed well – this is integral as part of your new routine to save time. The worst thing for productivity is when people are constantly waiting on others, which causes them to lose focus.

Basic strategies for this can include inbox zero for email, time-blocking through your calendar. Even something as simple as using morning hours to take on big tasks you want to make progress on. You’ll notice a big difference in mindset when you’re at your most alert after a morning routine.

Prioritize

It’s important to prioritize what needs to be done first. You could do this by writing down the top 5 things that are most urgent or require the most attention that day in your personal or work life.

Prioritizing is a skill and requires discipline to master. To learn how to do this, you could also use the Eisenhower matrix to map out what requires full focus, delegation, or re-scheduling in for another time.

Use Time Blocking

Priorities your tasks with the help of time blocking. This will make you more productive at home by eliminating procrastination, as well as making sure that everything is done in a timely manner.

Keep track of how much time you’re spending on certain things which can lead to being more productive or not so productive. It’s important to know where your free time is going and how that fits into your work schedule.

Take Breaks

It’s important to take breaks from what you are doing and give your brain some space for creativity, problem-solving or just relaxing. It makes sense as this will help increase productivity levels in the long run because it gives your body and mind periods of rest which they need.

The Pomodoro technique is a great way to stay focused on one task at a time while allowing breaks in to check your Facebook messages or get lose in that YouTube video you saw come up.

Set Ground Rules For People in Your Home

If you have people over at your house at the same time, it’s important to set boundaries for when you’re needing to focus in on work. This is quite common as remote work is more prevalent than ever.

For example, if you’re trying to focus on a project but one of the other people in the room is watching TV or checking their phone continuously then that can lead to wasted time and energy.

Agree as a household what are work hours where you’ll need to be able to have video meetings in your work space. Make a suggestion on how you can create a great work environment at home, and what things for children are off-limits during work hours.

That’s why having a dedicated workspace can be so important to mentally have an that’s for your to be in a work mindset.

Go outside

You’re spending most of your day inside the house, it’s easy to feel exhaustion, sluggish and unmotivated. Get some fresh air and sunlight to break up your day.

Studies show that this can improve your memory, fight depression and lower blood pressure naturally.

Don’t Eat Junk Food

Junk food is energy dense but nutrient poor so eating that when trying to be productive can lead to lower concentration levels (we’re all too familiar with the crash). So it’s healthier for our bodies if we were more conscious about what we eat while being productive. It might also make us feel gross afterwards! Stick with foods like protein bars, fruits and nuts.

Exercise

Get the blood moving through the body and muscles, I recommend doing this before breakfast as it will not only jump start your day it helps with your brain health. Exercise is proven to help with feelings like stress, , decreases depression and anxiety levels, and overall improves your well-being.

Summary

It’s easy to mix your work life with your personal life when working from home. To combat this, try to get into a regular work routine just like you were going to the office every day. Set clear start and stop times as well as breaks throughout the day.

Should I Focus on One Goal At A Time?

For myself trying to spin many plates in life and at the same time goals around, exercise, writing, business, and learning.

The intention is there, mastering multiple areas of life however can be confusing and lead to reverting back to what I know, or only making gains in one goal.

So here’s the simple solution: Choose one. Make a decision about something right now. Attempting to accomplish everything will not only waste your time, but will also make all of your goals less efficient.

By concentrating all of your efforts into achieving the desired outcome, you can better manage your time, energy and resources.

One Goal

So ask yourself what’s the most impactful goal you could have right now that by completing that journey, personally & professionally there will be a great reward at the end.

I like to think of these as your “flagship” goal that will drive up other secondary goals along the way. An example would be being able to take up jogging, science has proven time and time that exercise leads to increased happiness, so by proxy, this should lead to better work performance. By mastering just one thing at a time, you’ll be creating more opportunities to master other things in life as well.

It’s not about abandoning dreams and simply making the most of your current situation, or settling for a less fulfilling life – It’s actually quite the opposite. Start focusing on achieving maximum gains from each of your goals by picking only one goal.

So for myself, I’ve picked writing as my flagship because it impacts all other areas of life, it allows me to organize my ideas, reflect which is important for my mental health, It also makes me feel good which increases productivity and creativity throughout the day.

Write Them Down

Research shows that people who write down their commitment are up to three times more likely to achieve their objective than those who don’t. And this should be no surprise: Simply by committing in advance, you’re much more likely to follow through on what you say you’ll do.

If we want something badly enough, we should make the effort of writing our intention and then following up with regular reminders until action is taken – and not just once but daily if need be. It’s time-consuming and repetitive work but it will set us free from procrastination and excuses because we’ve already committed in writing.

“I’m going to run for 30 minutes every day at 6:30 p.m.” is a specific commitment, as in “I’m going to implement an intention.” These are referred to as “implementation intentions” by scientists.

Consistency is Key

One should always be consistent in adhering to a goal. This will help in establishing a pattern that will lead them to success and the attainment of their goals. If your intention was to run every day at a specific time, commit to that verbatim. No need to go overkill by running for 1.5 hours, or waking up at 4 am. Stick to the script to avoid burning out and losing the tempo you’ve set.