Mental Model #1: Address “Important”; Ignore “Urgent.” These are entirely separate things that we often fuse together. Important is what truly matters, even if the payoff or deadline is not so immediate. Urgent only refers to the speed of response that is desired. You can easily use an Eisenhower Matrix to clarify your priorities and ignore urgent tasks, unless they so happen to also be important.
Mental Model #2: Visualize All the Dominoes. We are a shortsighted species. We think only one step ahead in terms of consequences, and then we typically only limit it to our own consequences. We need to engage in second-order thinking and visualize all the dominos that could be falling. Without this, it can’t be said that you are making a well-informed decision.
Mental Model #3: Make Reversible Decisions. Most of them are; some of them aren’t. But we aren’t doing ourselves any favors when we assume that they are all irreversible, because it keeps us in indecision far too long. Create an action bias for reversible decisions, as there is nothing to lose and only information and speed to gain.
Mental Model #4: Seek “Satisfiction.” This is a mixture of satisfy and suffice, and it is aiming to make decisions that are good enough, adequate, and serve their purpose. This stands in stark contrast to those who wish to maximize their decisions with “just in case” and “that sounds nice” extras. Those who maximize are looking to make a perfect choice. This doesn’t exist, so they are usually just left waiting.
Mental Model #5: Stay Within 40–70%. This is Colin Powell’s rule. Make a decision with no less than 40% of the information you need but no more than 70%. Anything less and you are just guessing; anything more and you are just wasting time. You can replace “information” with just about anything, and you will realize that this mental model is about encouraging quick yet informed decisions.
Mental Model #6: Minimize Regret. Jeff Bezos developed what he calls the regret minimization framework. In it, he asks one to visualize themselves at age 80 and ask if they would regret making (or not making) a decision. This simplifies decisions by making them about one metric: regret.
— Mental Models: 30 Thinking Tools that Separate the Average From the Exceptional. Improved Decision-Making, Logical Analysis, and Problem-Solving by Peter Hollins