How To Think: Mental Models For Making Better Decisions in a Complex World | Colin Stuckert | Skillshare

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How To Think: Mental Models For Making Better Decisions in a Complex World

teacher avatar Colin Stuckert, Entrepreneur, Podcaster, Writer

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
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Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

8 Lessons (25m)
    • 1. 1 Intro it will change you

    • 2. 2 First Principles

    • 3. 3 Basics of Stoicism

    • 4. 4 Extreme Ownership

    • 5. 5 Ancestral Mindset

    • 6. 6 80 20

    • 7. 7 Bonus Principle WUI WEI

    • 8. 8 deeep like and outtro

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About This Class

You were born with the most powerful supercomputer the Universe has ever seen between your two ears.

Yet you have no idea how to use it... effectively.

Most people don't think about thinking. They don't try to optimize for making better decisions and they otherwise stay in a bubble of bad thought patterns that keep them stuck in the same place their entire life.

If you want better results at anything, you'll have to level up your thinking. After all, every ounce of anything you do in your life starts first as a thought in your brain.

Isn't it surprising so few people are talking about thinking itself? 

It's a shame that this isn't a more popular topic. But fortunately for you, you've taken the first step on a journey to changing your life.

We will cover the following:

  1. First Principles
  2. The Basic Stoic Idea
  3. Extreme Ownership
  4. Ancestral Mindset
  5. 80/20
  6. Bonus Principle: Wu Wei

After this course, you will know exactly what principles of thinking you should study. Start with whatever model sticks with you the most. Then come back to the other principles as you progress through your learning.

A little about me:

My name is Colin Stuckert and I am the CEO/ Founder of Wild Foods Co and The Ancestral Mind Podcast

I’ve been working for myself for my entire adult life. The hardest part of being your own boss is managing oneself. This is why I focus on how my mind works as an integral part of my productivity and getting things done.

If I can't control how I think, I can't be effective. Period.

Meet Your Teacher

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Colin Stuckert

Entrepreneur, Podcaster, Writer


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1. 1 Intro it will change you: Welcome to the course. My name is Colin Stucker, founder of Wild Foods Co. And Incest Remind Podcasts I've been do this entrepreneur. Thank for 13 post years are dealt with ups and downs. Successful exits. Currently CEO of Wild Food seven. Fair Company, Managing a remote team outside of Austin, Texas. There's a lot of things I've learned over the years to say plainly, and I want to impart some of these ideas to you so that you can learn from my mistakes, learn from some of things I've had to struggle with and hopefully make it a bit easier on yourself. Because no matter what you're trying to do in life for the trying build business, raise a family, managed bills, expenses and all the complexity of the life that we live today, you're gonna have to have some principles of thinking. And the way you think in your mind set is the root foundation of everything that grows on top of it. And so, if you have cracks in this foundation, you stack things on top all to the news, put downward pressure and slowly crumble away or eventually completely collapse overnight, building a foundational way of thinking is something that should be taught in schools should be a course that we have to take essential every year of our lives. It should be something that we have to do ongoing once we leave school or college or formal education. Nobody really talks about this because it's muddied, it's complex, why people don't even realize they need this. And so hopefully it brings some awareness to this and help you think clearly with some important first principles and mental models and an understanding of some of the mental traps that you fall into as a human because we are human animals. And we have certain operating framework in our brain that Mother Nature programmed into us that allowed our ancestors to survive in the wild, but that are actually mismatched to today's world. So to keep this a short, actionable many course to just kind of introduce you to some of the big ideas, I'm not gonna go super in depth, and each one I will provide some resource is for you to do further research on your own books, videos, articles, things that you should read. This is going to be something that you're gonna need to work on. It's not gonna come overnight, so keep this in mind. This is a foundational approach where you could have your big first principles that you want to build on and work on. And then you can get to work on a consistent basis, getting better, learning, leveling up, experiencing and constantly trying to refine your system of thinking. This will pay dividends in your life that you cannot possibly fathom. And it's actually one of those things that when you're doing for a long time, you kind of remove yourself from the way most people think and the way you used to think. And you'll feel like a completely different person. You also feel like you can't really understand. And even in some cases you can't really empathize with people. And so that can actually be a trap that you want. Stay conscious of, you know, with everything there's pros and cons. I would never say that you should try to not have a first principles way of thinking, and you can cultivate things like empathy. But keep in mind that these ideas are not what most people think, and they're not popular in some instances, and you will stand out, you will be an iconic class at times, and in some cases this could cost stress in your relationships and things like that. It will start to separate you because you'll think one way and most people will think the other. And so you can run into issues with that. But as with all growth, you're gonna have hurdles you have to overcome. And I would never, ever recommend going back to a more ignorant way of thinking. And I think you probably agree with me there. Since your Washington's video, you're obviously interested in some kind of person development or leveling up. So we're going to stay short. We're gonna stay simple. We're just a foundational were stay to the point and then. And if you have to, even maybe watch these videos a few times to really let the ideas stick and marinate and then build the plan for accomplishing them, practicing them, experiencing them in your everyday life, you can reach me anytime By Jarman Comment blowed end of these videos and or sending me an email to Colin and Wild Foods dot co hop on my newsletter over at Colin dot coach to get my weekly update for all the daily shows that I'm doing, as well as any new courses or anything that come out. I send a lot of free links to new courses ideo through skill share, and so you get lifetime free access until those to fill up first come first served. So I recommend you check out some other courses. Well, I'm productivity mindset success, and again, if there's anything I can dio let me know and more importantly, make sure you take action on what you're about to learn in this course. 2. 2 First Principles: the first principles and the foundation of your thinking, which are first principles. So let's define first principles. First principles are things that you can reduce down to the simplest form that are the truth that are going to stay the same. When Elon Musk was building Tesla average cost of a rocket tow launch, I think was between 1,007,200. Let's just say 100 million for round numbers. He thought that was pretty expensive. You only have so much money from his papal exit, and he wants started rocket company. But he had to be able to prove that he could get the rocket into orbit, because that's how you get a contract like NASA and have an actual business. So he shopped around. He went to Russia. He looked at rockets. He talked to her rocket experts, people in the industry, aerospace, etcetera. They all said, this is how much costs. You're crazy to try anything else. You shouldn't do it, his friends family said. Don't invest all your money into a rocket launch. That's crazy. You just became rich, etcetera. But he just wasn't having it. He knew his mission was to help humans get to another planet to have a certain level. Security and rockets were integral to that mission. So we asked himself, first principles. How can I think about this? What is the core amount of material fuel? Silicon, steel tongues, then platinum, gold, silver. All the different minerals that the core, bottom level, constituent parts that are needed to get a rocket into orbit? How much would all that cost? Well, rocket fuels pretty set. There's not much innovation there. You, by rocket fuel and you burn. It just is what it is right now. That's X, then the actual materials for building the rocket and the boosters and the engine and the computers and everything that communicates. He started calculating the numbers from just a raw materials perspective, not factory in manufacturing, not factoring in feed at the buy parts from somebody shipping all these other things. He thought if I had all the materials and just lump here and we could just put it together , how much that costs, and he found that it was a fraction of the $100 million that he was being quoted. So we got him himself. That's interesting. And then you look closer at the aerospace industry. Now the air space industry is very common for outsourcing parts and then building things in house from potentially thousands of companies. I mean, if a rocket as tens of thousands of parts and you're buying them each from a company, Well, guess what? Every company's got to make some profit. Otherwise they would be able make parts. So every component you buy to build that rocket, you're paying a little bit more profit shipping, logistics, other things for these other companies. And so the innovation was we're gonna print as much as we can and build our rockets in house. He was able to successfully do this. It belongs down to $10 million. And then on their last launch, the last one they had to get right to get that NASA contract or they would have been dead as a company. They successfully got the launch off the prices around 10 million, and NASA awarded them a $3 billion contract that saved the company. And now they've revolutionised the rocket space industry. Now spending time here to teach you this because it's hard to think in first principles, it doesn't come naturally when things are the way they are and there's a certain status quo made, there's even certain laws in place. And to think I'm gonna just change that or whatever. It's kind of a tall feet. It's understandable that we listen to experts advice, and we see what people are doing and assume that's the way it has to be done. But every innovator in history of mankind didn't do that. You know Henry Ford make comments about If I listen to the customer, I would have built a faster horse instead of a car, etcetera. You have to be willing to think differently. And First principles is kind of connected to thinking differently. It's about going down to the absolute basics and then talking about just the basics versus getting muddled in the complexity and the reasons why, and the excuses and thing about first principles that I found dealing with employees and vendors and people is it's really hard for people to think this way. It's really hard for the human mind to just go down to the basics because it feels like the value is in the complex things or that it needs toe, explain away everything or talk about the reasons why something happened, which a lot of times is just an excuse. And it's just hard to just say I'm going ignore all that I'm talking about, like a few very basic things. You know, humans don't like simplicity when we think we're trying to do something or innovate or build something we always think we need. Complex city. We always think we need New grass is greener, shiny, as if that's the path towards success in something. But it's usually not. Jobs is quoted as saying that he was more proud of the things they didn't do at Apple than the things they did. They said no to most things, and as a result they became the richest company on the planet with something like 79 product lines. When you ask yourself what are the basics here and then just hammer on those and hammer and hammer and hammer and go deep into those because they're not obvious? Sometimes the basics Sometimes the basics are not obvious, and they take some digging into to really understand and get insights out of. And that's another reason that people resisted so much because they just think, Oh, this is simple. Just this, right? So what? What can I learn here? Get things out of the basics and talk about the basics. Think about the basics. Ask yourself questions like if I completely ignored everything else and the one or two things that are going to stay true in this situation, What are those things? And how can I invest my time energy into them, whether it's marketing, business, finance, fitness, health, the things that are not gonna change, eating real food, exercising, getting outside every day, moving, making sure you have profit helping customers solve their problems. Etcetera, etcetera, center. There's first principles and everything, and you can boil everything down to the base parts. This is a revolutionary way of thinking and will completely transform your life. 3. 3 Basics of Stoicism: this next one's going to surprise you because it might, because it might seem like it belongs in a philosophy course. Number two is stoicism. Market spent some time here. I'm gonna talk about just the first principle of stoicism. The base tenant. The foundation that is irrefutable, like one plus one equals two. Just like in mathematics, one plus one equals two. You can't refute that. At least in this universe, the base tentative stoicism and something that you can actually apply to your entire life and is a framework for thinking is the fact that it's not what happens to you. But it's how you respond. Life is determined by how you respond. You can't control the past, and you can't really control the future. You try do things that mitigate it, and you can take certain actions. But what happens is gonna happen. The only thing that you can dio is you can control how you respond and how you think about other things outside of yourself. Grief, pain, the past. You can't change the past. You can change how you think about it. You can change it from a negative, pulling you down energy into a positive fuel to take advantage of the now to be grateful, etcetera. Because a lot of times our greatest opportunities lie in the things we've had to deal with in struggles, and it just becomes a flip of the mind. How are we going to think about them, how we're gonna respond to them? How are we going to use that energy when something does something to you, you can't undo what they did, but you can change how you think about it. You could see if there's a lesson there. Could you have done anything different? Can you will learn from the situation, and then can you take the energy to make better decisions in the future? This is old life is it's a It's a leveling up of learning of experience, and when you truly understand and take responsibility for the fact that everything in your life is about how you respond to it, how you think about it, then you have the ultimate platform for building the life you want. They'll be some books that I recommend below a couple stuff, top of head, any of Ryan. Holiday's work is really good. Some of Robert Green stuff is good. The art of living by sharing Lie bell And then the some of the translated versions by Epictetus is art of living. Also letters from a stoic based on Senecas letters. Meditations by Marcus Aurelius Those are pretty much the framework for understand. So this isn't gonna highly highly recommend having a regular reading practice where you revisit the Stokes and as a baseline, you at least need to read them and internalize some of the core tenants. This is a philosophy for life. 4. 4 Extreme Ownership: this next one is based on this book. Extreme ownership. Every single thing in your life is your fault, For better or for worse. It's your fault when you blame when you play the victim, you make it somebody else's responsibility. You try to offload your responsibility and you remove your empowerment and you remove your agency for actually dictating your life. So it's really done that people do this. People feel good about blaming someone else that protects the ego, but your ego is usually not your best friend. It's a very fragile little inner voice that wants to protect itself at all costs, regardless of what you actually want. Your life, your ego very rarely service you so taking ownership for everything in her life, regardless of what your ego says is paramount for being effective and living a Philip is paramount for being effective and living a fulfilling life that you can actually control. I mean, do you really want your life dictated by somebody else? Do you really want laws or government or this or that or other people to control or tell you what you can or can't have when you give up your ownership That's what you're doing you get, you're giving up your agency to dictate the life that you want. I recommend reading the book, finding ways to ask yourself this question. What can I do differently? What could I have done? No matter what happens in your life, every thing that happens to you, even if somebody robs you or steals or hurt you in some way, you can still learn from a situation about things you could have done differently to maybe not put yourself in that situation. And just like we talked about stoicism, how you respond, your situation is on you. Nobody can make you overcome something or become stronger or accept something nobody. And when you offload that responsibility, somebody else you will perpetually be a victim your entire life. This mind set is so insidious. I see it all the time in our culture today with Social justice warriors and always talk about privilege and unfairness and all these things, almost all of it is ignoring the first principles of reality. You can bitching, complaining to moan all you want. But what do you actually doing about it? And the reality is, the more you complain in moan and offload your agency to take care of your own life, the further away you get from actually doing it. It's so asked line that people even engage in this behavior. But the Internet has given a megaphone people that don't really deserve a megaphone or shouldn't have one for their own. Sandy. So taking ownership of your life is the greatest empowerment that you can have. It's gonna be hard. You have to do things that are not easy. But that's life, so own it. Ask yourself, what can you dio and then get to work? 5. 5 Ancestral Mindset: the ancestral perspective. I have a podcast over at the ancestral mind dot com, as well as articles and Web site in my YouTube, which you can find if you want to learn more and go super in depth into this topic. But I'll just try to give you the basics. Your biology was shaped by hundreds of thousands of years living in nature. Today you live in a modern environment. Today, most people are sick. It's because that modern environment there mismatched to it, we have the ability to control the things we let into our lives, from information to food to just sitting on the council day. Our ancestors would have never been able to do this. They were being forced to get outside, to move the hunt, to process food, to procreate, to raise kids in small groups. That is what our biology is designed to dio. 10,000 years that we've been farming is a blink of the eye in evolutionary terms. It's a small micro percent of the entire time that humans have been around, and then our most recent ancestors, other hominids and then further back when we shared actual ancestors with the primates your biology is mismatched today, your brains mismatched. Today, everything in this environment is mismatched to the natural human animal that I am. I should be out in the woods, walking around hunting, building things, enjoying a close knit group off. Let's say 20 to 40 other humans. It's basically my family, my tribe. Yet today we live in isolated households. We don't even know our neighbors, we said from the screens days on end, where we don't move. We lay down in beds who sit in chairs. Sounds come at us from all angles, artificial noises, music, etcetera. We eat food whenever we want on demand food. That's not good for us. We're addicted to drugs, technology, dopamine, porn. It goes on on on understanding the ancestral implications of your biology and how it dictates everything in her life. Your relationships, how you think, how you move, how you eat while you get fat. Why you don't. It's all the foundation of your life because it's a foundation of your mind and body. So 1,000,000,000 ancestral mine and having an special perspective to try to mitigate these as much as possible. To me, this is paramount, which is was a more popular topic at which people new to even search for it. I'm doing my best to promote it, but it is a really big thing. If you're an anthropologist or biologists, you go study the species. You're studying anthropology in the case. Study humans, biologists, maybe study animals or marine biologist. You study fish, seafood, etcetera, seafood. You study marine animals who studies humans. Very few people. It's not popular that anthropologists are out talking about, you know, evolutionary biology and psychology and how it affects everything. It's just not a popular subject, sadly, but you can be more wear and you can understand these principles. And I highly recommend going over the ancestral mind, getting on the newsletter and trying consume some my content. Get a glimpse into what the evolutionary biology reason is for why you are the human animal you are and why you do things while you have bad tendencies. Why you have biases. Why do you take certain way? Why do have urges? This is all explained by understanding our sexual past, So this is a big first principle of life 6. 6 80 20: So this was the last big first principle of life. It's a power law known as the 80 20 Law or paradas principle. It basically means 80% of your results come from 20% of your efforts and a lot of cases. 80% of the revenue comes from 20% of your products or customers. 80% of your fitness results come from 20% of the things you dio 80% of your diet. Results come from 20% of the foods that you eat or focus on or don't eat. It's a power law that you can find pretty much everywhere in nature. Sometimes it's 99 1%. Sometimes it's 5 95%. Sometimes it might be 60 40 but generally it's the minority of things produced the majority of results. So understanding this in your own life is paramount, because it's how you're going to shape a life that you want. When you build a life around 8 20 principal, you're focusing on things that actually move the needle. You're focusing on things that are actually fulfilling. You're trying to eliminate as much of the noise and rigmarole is possible and constantly put yourself into that 20% state, so you can get those 8% results. 20% of that time you spend with your family, for example, brings you 80% of your fulfillment. You know, 20% of focus time with your partner is going to supersede 80% of time, where you're out and about, or you're just kind of living life with bills and kids and manage always thinks 20% might be date night. 20% might be the two hours you spend your kids. When you get home every day and you turn your phone off, 20% of your work is going produce 80% of your results. 20% of my results come from recording in front of camera and then also planning planning a recording 80% that doesn't move much of the needle. For me, it was things like email and pointless meetings saying yes, things that probably shouldn't except for so you'll see how this is the first principle for life, for everything to take more control of your life and to build a life that you want. You want to constantly figure out what is in that 20% what are the things that actually matter and then directing as much of your energy and focus to that 20%. 7. 7 Bonus Principle WUI WEI: now for some bonus strategies for thinking these air, some bits and pieces that I've drawn that obstruct my intention that I find to be probably first principles of life and living pulled from philosophy and from books and articles and YouTube videos. And these are just a few that I think are the big ones that I want to share with you today . These air few, the big ones that you want to keep top of mind, maybe investigate further and see where you can apply them in your life. The 1st 1 is Wuwei. This is a Chinese concept that roughly translates to action through inaction. So so much of life is forcing things. We try Teoh yellow. Other people berate them, criticize them, tell them why they're wrong. Tell them why they should think this way. We try to debate with them to convince them of seeing our way. But if you've ever done this with other people, especially, you know doesn't work. Instead, the way approach would be, say nothing and lead by example. And then people will follow if and when they're ready with co workers or with bosses or whatever you want. A certain outcome you want, Convince him of something I've found. It's always better to give subtle nudges and really, really, really curate. How many times you bring it up, what you say, how aggressive you are, etcetera and erred on the side of complete, almost paranoia of offending people. Now, this doesn't mean that you shouldn't state what you mean and give people feedback. You do need candor in the workplace or in your relationships or whatever. But I found that when you take a more aggressive approach and you try to force or push things too much, all you get is resistance and people close off and the further way from where you want them to be. But a little bit nudge, maybe recommendations, maybe questions Very, very subtle. Nonconfrontational nudges will always get better results than aggressive. I'm gonna prove it to you. I'm gonna tell you you're wrong, etcetera. This also applies to our life. When we try to force something, when we try to force studying, we try to cram, we actually end up sometimes worse off than we were before. Yet when we learn a little bit over time and we're studying or learning in a non anxiety setting. We get better results and our relationships. You pursue somebody? We pushed them or you try to scold them or shame them. What do they dio? They were tracked. You show up too often. You texted much. You call too much. What do they dio? They retract, And then, if you retract or reduce, they chase. You call you text, you center. It's this universal love of push and pull that you find in the universe and generally for the things we want. We need to do a lot more pulling where we lead by example, or we don't say anything at all, and we let time take its course, and then we just kind of steer ourselves and direction. Want to go and let life follow in? A lot of times it will. So we'll WAY is a really fascinating concept. I recommend listening some. Allen wants videos on YouTube about this. He likes the translator ways basically not forcing, and I really like that and I really like that. So we'll weigh extremely powerful concept. Find ways in your life that you can implement it today. 8. 8 deeep like and outtro: this one a little more applies toe work, but it can apply to everything Deep work versus shall work. We get also called this deep activities versus shall activities when you could spend more time, those deep things were confined flow state that are really meaningful that you go really deep on. You're gonna find more fulfillment on the flip side, when you have shallow work or shallow tasks or emails or phone calls or all that kind of just, like said that feels like work that stuff out of times doesn't really move the needle. I mean, you need to have time to get shallow work done and maybe even have shallow activities and have shallow content you consume. But it should only be a bucket of time. You should constantly reevaluate how to spend more time in the deep because again they supplies that a 20 rule where you get most. Your results comes from the small amount of things where you go super deep and you spend intense focus on. You want to try to build a deep life, the more you could spend in deep, meaningful things, the better your life is gonna be. So that's gonna be it for this course. I don't want to go on and on. There are some other principles that you can look into. A definite look into cognitive bias and some of the mental models and heuristics that can lead you in bad directions as a human. This also falls into the blanket category of ancestral mind because a lot of the things that kept us safe in the wild, our mental models that we have today that don't really match up with the world we live in paranoia, fear, tribalism, even racism. These are all things that are from our evolutionary past that we need to try to mitigate today to the best of our ability. So I highly recommend doing some of your own research and studying and maybe consider making a list of what we went over in this course and maybe, maybe an idea tree of things that you can do with a different buckets of your life and maybe some of the big first principles that you want to focus on and then constantly revisit that list and realign and focus what you're doing on a daily basis. The most important thing that you can do with this course is to take action, even if it's one thing at a time. Even if you just focus on obsessing over first principles for a month until you feel like you really have it down and you analyze your first principles in your own life that you can move on to the next thing, you do all of them at the same time. Do some a little bit of time. I highly recommend some kind of mind map or journaling exercise for this to really get your thoughts on the paper and have some of that you can look at on a regular basis. If you need to reach me with any questions or comments recommendations, send it over to Colin at Wild Foods Dot Co. And I hope you do something with this information and I'll see you in the next one