Living Happily in a World You Don’t Understand

Morgan Housel, discussing the problematic narrowness and personal bias of most people’s mental models:

I don’t know what I don’t know. No one does. But we can’t walk around confused all day. Nassim Taleb says “I want to live happily in a world I don’t understand.” Which is exactly what we do. We take the world we live in and try to make a coherent story out of it based on the mental models we’ve developed during our lifetimes.

The takeaway: we are more likely to be influenced by our past than to truly learn from it. We are prone to overfitting life lessons to overly specific details instead of taking away useful general principles.

When this is over and we’re making decisions about how to best function in a post-COVID world, how much do you want to bet that people will say, “Yeah, but that was different. Those were special circumstances,” as a way to revert back to bad practices.

3 Comments

  1. Ben,

    R u still interested in the Omar corner?

    Hope u and family r well.

    In all seriousness, i enjoy your posts and have learned a lot. I could write a brief post about IRAs for residents and med students if u want filler. Someone may find it useful

    Reply

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