First principles thinking is one of the most effective mental tools you can have in your toolbox. It also explains why some people are far more innovative than others.
Here’s what it is, why it matters, and three lessons.
Imagine we’re trying to build a house at work.
You show up to a meeting and someone shows you something that sort of resembles a house.
You move a few of the LEGO blocks around and get to a better solution. The solution is incrementally better than what you started with.
Approaching the same problem by thinking in first principles allows you to take the LEGO structure apart, inventory the pieces, and see all the ways they could combine to create something new and better.
Here you create something significantly better than the original.
Here are three lessons you can take away and use today:
Lesson One: Beware of what you inherit. When someone presents something to you the tendency is to make it slightly better rather than ask if it’s right in the first place.
–> When it comes to decision making, this means never letting anyone else define the problem for you.
–> When it comes to the workplace this means not accepting the analogies, frames, or existing solutions.
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