Improve your decision making with these 10 cognitive razors
The average adult makes about 35,000 conscious decisions every day.
Given this sheer amount of choice, how do we make sure we make the right decisions day in, day out, without getting exhausted?
Using insights from investor and opinion leader Sahil Bloom, this image shares 10 cognitive razor blades, or rules of thumb, that can help you simplify your decision-making.
We’ve grouped Bloom’s favorite cognitive shavers into three overarching categories, which we delve into in more detail below.
Location, location, location
The first theme is location and the importance of being in the right place at the right time.
The lucky razor falls into this category because it emphasizes the importance of putting yourself out there. According to the Luck Razor, when choosing between two paths, choose the one with the greatest ‘lucky surface’, or the path that gives you the best chance of getting lucky.
This is because when you are networking, meeting people and building new relationships, you are much more likely to stumble upon an opportunity than if you are sitting on your couch and taking no action.
The Rooms Razor follows a similar theme as it emphasizes the importance of your environment. It emphasizes that, if you have the choice between two rooms to walk into, choose the room where you are likely to be the dumbest person in the room.
While it’s a bit of an awkward situation, it offers a greater opportunity for growth as long as you check your ego at the door and listen to what others have to say.
last, the Arena Razor reminds us that when we want something, we need to take the necessary steps to make it happen.
For example, if you want to become a social media influencer, you need to start creating content and posting it online. It’s not easy to get yourself out there and take action, but if you want to play the game, you have to be in the arena.
The power of positive thinking
The next theme is the power of mindset and positive thinking. This relates to how you see your life, the people you want to surround yourself with, and how you interpret the actions and opinions of others.
According to the gratitude razorwhen in doubt, don’t hesitate to show your gratitude to people who have supported you, given you advice or opportunities.
Research studies have shown that expressing gratitude and giving thanks can be correlated with greater happiness, better health, and stronger, more meaningful relationships. So say thank you regularly and tell your loved ones how much you appreciate their support.
However, it is not only your mindset that is important. The Optimistic Razor recommends surrounding yourself with optimists rather than pessimists. Pessimists can point out everything that can go wrong in a scenario, which could discourage you from getting out of your comfort zone.
Optimism, on the other hand, will highlight everything that could go right — and can even help you solve problems if you run into problems along the way.
Keep decision making simple, fool
The latter is actually very simple: don’t make it too complicated.
Occam’s razorwhich is named after the 14th-century scholar Franciscan friar William of Ockham, is generally interpreted as follows: When faced with a decision between two competing theories yielding the same result, the simplest theory is often the best.
As Bloom says in this blog post, “simple assumptions” [over] complex assumptions. If you have to believe a complex, intertwined set of assumptions to arrive at one specific conclusion, always ask if there is a simple alternative assumption that fits.”
The ability to make things simple is also a good indicator of how deeply you understand something. According to the Feynman razor, if you can’t explain a concept simply, then you don’t really understand it. So if someone uses a lot of jargon or complexity to explain something, they can mask a lack of deeper knowledge on the subject.
Editor’s Note: To learn more about cognitive razors and simplify your decision-making, check out Sahil Bloom’s newsletter or listen to his podcast episode where he talks about the most powerful razors he’s discovered in his life so far.