Sometimes the key to thinking better is getting rid of habits that tilt me towards stupidity.
When I say “learning to think better”, what comes to mind?
I get a vision of learning new things (derivatives, higher level mathematics, stochastic modeling and probability).
For me, that’s not the answer.
I could spend 10,000 hours learning advanced techniques and be no further along than a decent graduate student. I’ve been reading The Alchemy of Finance => humbling!
The return on those hours would be low. A better bet is to get rid of the hours in my existing life that have a negative value.
Where might less effort, generate far better results?
Make a habit of removing negative information
Hands down, my biggest source of noise is my phone. I tell myself that my smartphone makes me dumb but is that true?
Why don’t you put it away? I tell myself…
Key relationships value quick feedback.
OK, what can you change with zero impact on your key relationships?
- Google News
- WSJ App
- Instagram (I reinstall for 10 minutes each time I publish)
Push the above into my office hours, get off my phone and do something useful.
Noise is both addicting, and draining.
The first time I read a warning about noise was 2005. Back then, my noise was newspapers and online chat forums. I did a good job of getting rid of newspapers and forums. I miss newspapers, it’s a useful reminder to read more books.
Gradually, I replaced the space I created with social media and apps. Facebook is the ultimate forum for creating noise and distraction. It is personal, visual and uniquely tailored to my biases.
Removing noise is a form of continuing education.
I needed to take action with my phone to capture the opportunity for self-improvement when I’m at my kids’ sports practices.
What to read? Older writers, classic books, biographies, stories that help me remember how I fool myself: Taleb, Munger, Marks, Cialdini and Buffett.
Mistakes flourish in an environment when I’m surrounded by noise, feeling rushed and dealing with frustration.
Be less stupid.