First Principle Thinking is a powerful tool that enables us to examine and challenge all assumptions related to a topic, leading to a deeper and more comprehensive understanding of it. By questioning and challenging common understanding, we can uncover hidden assumptions and biases that may have been previously overlooked. FPT is one of my mental main tools for dealing with almost everything in life. Another one is Systems Thinking.
Perhaps the most important factor in any of my losses or failures is when I did not have a well thought of System for doing what I was doing, hence hadn’t challenge myself with FPT a priori. Here I want to delve deeper into how FPT can be applied to create systems for various aspects of life, including health, work, learning, investment, etc.
Why do we need a system?
From the broadest definition, a system takes an input and produces some output(s). Randomness is a system in its own right, however, I believe that in many aspects of life, having a structured system produces far better results with much greater control. By implementing a system, we can transition from a reactive approach to a more proactive and thoughtful process. A system involves a structured and organized process that anticipates various inputs and we can achieve higher quality outcomes in a shorter amount of time compared to not having a system. This approach has helped me avoid the following pitfalls that often arise when there is no system:
- Uncertainty over what to do
- Relearning the lessons that were already learned but forgotten
- Procrastination and avoidance
- Wasting time on unimportant tasks
In contrast, a well-designed system helps me become more efficient and productive. It also aids in the writing and re-evaluation process, allowing for a more efficient and effective workflow. As I refine the system, I identify areas for improvement and opportunities for growth, leading to even greater levels of productivity and success. By continually refining the system, I create a virtuous cycle of improvement, leading to ever-increasing levels of efficiency and effectiveness.
Learning from examples
|Without system 👎🏻||With system 👍🏻|
|Health and diet||* Unhealthy diet|
* Sedentary lifestyle
|* Maintain a healthy diet with occasional cheat meals|
* Practice intermittent fasting
* Exercise regularly
|Learning and personal projects||* Too many topics and reading whatever comes to your attention at any time|
* No write-up and the lesson learning
* Having many ideas but not acting on or completing any
|* Choose one topic, book, or project with specific goals and a clear timeline, all while having fun|
* Do ONE new thing at a time
* Break down the goals into smaller and more manageable ones
* Keep track of what you learn along the way
|Investment||* Relying on gut feelings can be risky and unsustainable, especially when following social media narratives without realizing their intentions|
* Greed and unaccounted for losses, without considering the risk-to-reward ratio
|* Use data and expertise|
* Finding and listen to the right sources
* Use the risk-to-reward ratio to stay profitable
|Email, social media and news||* Browsing the web aimlessly can waste time and mental energy|
* Cheap dopamine shots
* Context switching and distractions
|* Answering emails in batch and time boxing|
* Smart use of social media to build your audience
These are the examples that I have personally experienced and tried to change in my life. I believe a well-designed system, using First Principle Thinking, can help us have more control, clarity, and confidence in different parts of life. It can also lead to a more organized and balanced life, by identifying unnecessary tasks. A system helps us achieve our goals, and gives us a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction.