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Your 3 Thinking Errors

To advance your career, you must learn to outthink others.

I know this isn’t sexy to say, but it doesn’t make it less true. That’s how you stand out.

And it’s all in your head. Literally. Your brain is powerful but uses shortcuts to make things easier. Often, these shortcuts are necessary. Sometimes, they’re brutally misleading.

Knowing how to add depth to your thoughts when needed and letting others do the oversimplification turns you into a standout thinker.

You can level up your mental analysis game instantly if you learn to handle these three cognitive traps:

  1. Binary vs. Probabilistic Thinking
  2. Discrete vs. Continuous Thinking
  3. Isolated vs. Systems Thinking

From Binary to Probabilistic

From Simple Choices to Scenario-Based Outcomes

  • Binary view: Is this strategy good or bad?
  • Probabilistic view: This strategy is likely to perform better in most scenarios, but it will likely perform much worse in this particular one.

From Discrete to Continuous

From Single-Category Thinking to Multi-Category Continuous Change

  • Discrete view: Do we need a junior or senior level for this?
  • Continuous view: We seek a candidate with exceptional design skills, some project management experience, and good enough communication skills. Seniority labels are irrelevant.

From Isolated to Systems Thinking

From Separate Ideas to Linked Cause and Effect

  • Isolated view: What might a good solution to this user problem P look like?
  • Systems view: Addressing P alone won't drive any value unless we also solve A and B since they currently prevent a user from experiencing any solution to P.

Simplifications are often useful, even necessary. Sometimes, though, nuance is critical.

Knowing when to default to binary, discrete, and isolated thinking — and knowing when to avoid exactly that is a superpower.