A few thinking tools
A few thinking tools

A few thinking tools

Decision Making
Personal decision making guide
Published August 12, 2022


  • Principle
    • Fundamental truths or law that serves as the basis for a system of belief or behavior.
  • Value
    • Internal moral code


Mental Models

i.e. how to make “smart” decisions (the reasoning of our thought process).
  • Circle of competence
  • First Principle
  • Inversion
  • Second-order thinking
  • Margin of safety
  • Two-track analysis
  • Global and local maxima
  • Compounding
  • Principle agent problem
  • Cognitive biases
    • Survivorship bias
    • Confirmation bias
    • Availability heuristic
    • Attribution error

Avoid Pitfalls

i.e. how to avoid “bad decision”.
  • Decide too fast
    • Let pedestrians define the walkways
    • Decision is 2 step process, learning must come before deciding
    • Never seize on the first available option, no matter how good it seems, before you’ve asked questions and explored.
    • Everything looks bigger up close (step back)
    • Doing nothing
    • Cognitive dissonance
  • Over-squeeze dots



i.e. My desired outcome (“good enough”) for decision making.
Make practical decisions that align best with long term interest grounded by current situation.

Self Awareness

i.e. Who I am (nature & nurture, strength & weakness, desire & fear)
Only through a deep understanding of who I am then can I make decisions that are rational or reasonable.
Tools I use for better self awareness
  • Meditation (Mindfulness & Clarity)
  • Self Reflection (Daily, Weekly Journaling)


i.e. the rules I’m following and sticking with when making decisions in similar situations
  • Embrace reality and deal with it
  • Be radically open-minded
    • Understand ego and blind spots
    • Understand people are wired very differently and appreciate “thoughtful disagreement”
    • Triangulate view with believable people who are willing to disagree
  • Antifragile


Career Change

  • Promotion can be appealing (zoom in) but at cost of unwanted liability (zoom out)
  • Change is inevitable but “timing is everything”