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THE UNFAIR ADVANTAGE with Brian Gitt
14 minutes | 3 months ago
On judgment-based decisions
Your decisions are bets on your future. What you decide to work on is far more important than how hard you work. Tactics don't matter if you have the wrong strategy. Your direction matters more than your speed. In the end, you are your choices. Decision-making is the single most important aspect under your control as you work to achieve your goals. Take advantage of decades of scientific research on human decision-making to learn how to improve your judgment. If you want to build your judgment faster and learn to apply principles, processes, and tools to make better decisions, get my free e-book on judgment and decision making at https://briangitt.com/books/. The e-book pulls together hard-earned wisdom and shares the best of what I’ve learned, including the how-to’s, frameworks, and mental models to save yourself the pain of learning the hard way. Learn why to avoid pro-con lists. And access the proven principles and frameworks used by Peter Thiel, Charlie Munger, Naval Ravikant, Jeff Bezos, Daniel Kahneman, Annie Duke, and other successful entrepreneurs, investors, and psychologists.
12 minutes | 4 months ago
How do you generate new business ideas?
The best way to develop ideas for new services or products is to consider your own problems. What do you find tedious, annoying, or inconvenient? How could you solve that problem or minimize the irritation? Solving your own problem will ensure the problem actually exists. It’s much harder to create a solution for a problem you don’t have. If you don’t experience the pain yourself, you will have to depend on customer feedback to determine if you have solved the problem. Even worse: You may find a great solution to a problem that doesn’t actually exist or that doesn’t cause a lot of pain. Many new businesses fail because they start with a made-up idea. This episode shares how to identify new ideas, create constraints, and test ideas quickly. Learn more about https://briangitt.com/
4 minutes | 4 months ago
Questions are tools for self-reflection that can shift your mindset and reframe your thinking. Just as Michelangelo carved his masterpiece David from a single block of stone, cutting away pieces of marble to reveal an awe-inspiring image, use questions to chip away your assumptions and motivations to reveal your fears and desires. Learn more at briangitt.com
4 minutes | 8 months ago
How's the water?
Two young fish are contentedly swimming along when they happen to meet an older fish swimming the other way. He nods at them and says, “Morning, boys. How’s the water?” The two young fish swim on for a bit, until one of them looks at the other and asks, “What the hell is water?” Like a fish in water, we are swimming in our cognitive biases, which are errors in thinking caused by our brain distorting reality. Our biases are pervasive, highly resistant to feedback, and can cause us to overlook or dismiss crucial information. Self-deception and ignorance can harm you. Not seeing reality accurately can often lead to unnecessary painful mistakes. Too often, we make decisions without recognizing our own biases. Learn more at briangitt.com
5 minutes | 9 months ago
“To sin” means “to miss the mark.” And you have missed it. Weak-willed. Timid. Malleable. You are mediocre. How did you let this happen? Why do you continue to let this happen? Your dreams of greatness lie wet and soggy, like a loaf of bread left out in the rain. You can’t stay on course. Your plans are uprooted like a sapling pushed over by a weak gust of wind. You live as if you have no power to resist. No will. No agency. No strength. Your moments of resolve break like the weakest link in a chain. You feel sorry for yourself because you think you deserve better. Have you earned it? Do you deserve more when you are so easily distracted? You don’t have time to waste. You don't have to live this way; get up and get going. Nobody’s going to do the work for you. You can do better. Dare to be great. Define your future. Take aim, shoot, calibrate, and repeat until you hit the mark. The worst sin of all is to quit trying. Learn more at briangitt.com
8 minutes | 9 months ago
Question your beliefs
Most of the time we believe what we hear. And too often we hear—and then believe—things that are not true. But imagine how hard it would be to question every fact and underlying assumption you hear or read throughout the day. Your brain acts like a sponge soaking up conversations with family and friends, daily news reports on TV and radio, information in emails and social media posts. It would impossible to test and probe every sentence from every source for complete accuracy. Even getting through one hour—much less a day—would be almost impossible. I’m exhausted just thinking about it. To efficiently navigate life, we learn to trust people and institutions. Your life runs on trust for many things we take for granted. Trust undergirds our financial system, our justice system, our transportation system and provides the glue to hold our social fabric together. Without trust we would live in a world of paralyzing fear and violence. However, it’s important to recognize when it’s time to switch off your trust autopilot and begin questioning assumptions. If you don’t, you can make painful mistakes and walk blindly into bad decisions. Learn more at briangitt.com
7 minutes | 9 months ago
Too often we let thoughts bang around in our heads and never apply a process to structure our thinking. I created the acronym DO IT (Define Observe Imagine Test) to help me remember the steps. With a little practice, applying this process becomes automatic and you can use it daily for different type of decisions. Not all decisions are important enough to require all four steps, but I recommend engaging in at least the first two steps for most decisions. Use no more steps or complexity than needed. Calibrate your time investment to the importance of the decision and how urgently it needs to be made. An effective process requires thinking deeply and writing down answers to each step. Learn more at briangitt.com.
6 minutes | 9 months ago
Treat mental fitness like physical fitness
Muscles grow stronger when you stress them until they fatigue. Your brain grows stronger by exposing yourself to new ideas, considering opposing viewpoints, and learning new skills. Interest and inspiration sparks learning and motivates us to act. It awakens our inner creativity, shaking us from our apathy and triggering our desire to grow. Curiosity and a desire to gain understanding activates learning. Making the effort to learn through practice and repetition leads to knowledge. You can’t just wait for inspiration to strike. You must seek it out. Expose yourself to inspiring people and place yourself in challenging situations. Look for books, podcasts, blogs, lectures, videos, and performances that will inspire you and help you learn. A lot of people in the world are doing amazing, inspiring things — actively search for them. You can find list of books and podcasts I recommend at the end of the essay titled “Treat mental fitness like physical fitness” on briangitt.com.
4 minutes | 9 months ago
Don't act like a victim
People who struggle with victim mentality blame other people and their circumstances for their unhappiness. Blaming other people is not productive. Victim mentality robs us of our agency and power. It prevents us from taking responsibility and action to improve our situation. Scratch the surface of anyone’s life and you will find suffering and hardship. Oppressors and tyranny come in many forms and from many sources. Most of us experience oppression at some point in our lives from a classmate, boss, parent, spouse, teacher, sibling, or stranger. If you are lucky enough to escape human oppression, you won’t be able to avoid all of Mother Nature’s myriad sources of suffering, such as disease, natural disasters, predators, or aging. No one is exempt. Even the most privileged billionaires get terminal diseases, grow old, suffer injuries, and helplessly watch as people they love die. Don’t blame other people or let the tyrant in your head shape your mental state. Victim mentality will rob you of your agency and power. Take action to improve your situation and be grateful you’re not rotting in the ground. Learn more at briangitt.com
8 minutes | 9 months ago
How to beat robots and build wealth
Build specific knowledge in highly technical or creative work and you will not be replaced by a robot. Career decisions determine where you invest the majority of your time. These important life decisions have a huge impact on your well-being and quality of life. Here are a few ways to build wealth while pursuing the career you want and ensuring robots will never replace you. We live in an unprecedented time of opportunity and prosperity. However, you need to work hard and make smart decisions if you want to participate in this abundance. No one is going to look out for your interests or care about your future more than you do. Find something you love to do that is creative or highly technical and then invest lots of time learning to be the best in the field. Prioritize learning over short term financial gain and find ways to create leverage and compounding value over time. Use criteria and a structured decision-making process for important career decisions to ensure you are on the path to financial freedom. Build specific knowledge in highly technical or creative work and you will not be replaced by a robot. Learn more at briangitt.com.
5 minutes | 9 months ago
Culture of envy
Envy causes pain and unhappiness and can even lead to emotional or physical violence. We slip into envy when we resent others for their achievement or good fortune. There are two types of envy. Malicious envy wants the person who has found good fortune to suffer and to be stripped of their achievement, status, or possession. Benign envy can be a motivational force to push you to work harder to succeed. There’s not a fixed pot of money. Unfortunately, there are people who hold a wrong assumption that those who have more have taken it from those who have less. Accumulation of wealth is not zero sum. Poker is a zero-sum game because the amount of money in the pot is fixed. Therefore, the person that wins the game is taking money from the players that lose. Life and business do not work this way. Don’t allow envy to breed discontent, resentment, and bitterness. Learn more at briangitt.com
5 minutes | 10 months ago
Feedback accelerates learning
Seek feedback from people who have different skills, experiences, and perspectives to correct mistakes and learn faster. Direct, honest feedback is hard to find because very few people are willing to tell you the truth. Most people want to avoid conflict, and they don’t want to jeopardize their relationship with you. When you take feedback to heart, you will make better decisions. Learn more at briangitt.com
2 minutes | 10 months ago
Write down your decisions
Write down and track decisions to improve your judgment over time. If you are not evaluating your decisions, how do you know we are making the right choices? Good outcomes are not a good indicator of a good decision. How much was due to luck? Making good decisions requires practice. If you don’t track and evaluate your decisions, you don’t have a feedback loop or a way to improve.
3 minutes | 10 months ago
Have fewer opinions
It’s very difficult to convince yourself of a new idea if a contradictory idea is already anchored in your thinking. Most of the beliefs and opinions I held most deeply in my twenties and thirties were wrong. In fact, it would be an easier exercise to identify what I was right about than to try to count all the ways I was wrong. We are not experts on most things, so why does everyone need to have an opinion on so many issues? We are too frequently blinded by our own opinions, but we can design decision-making processes to overcome this bias. Such a process can help you avoid painful mistakes and gain an advantage, but this effort takes humility and can be difficult.
3 minutes | 10 months ago
Don't trust your gut
The more complex the situation, the less you should trust your intuition, which is your brain’s attempt to make decisions based on patterns it recognizes from a lifetime of experiences. Unfortunately, our brains can’t process the level of complexity around us, and our intuition can be dangerous when detached from data and analysis. Bias, optimism, pessimism, or bad information can skew our interpretations of events or the world. Our veil of ignorance prevents us from seeing reality accurately, but most of us are convinced we are right and other people are wrong. Our preconceptions can cause us to trust bad intuitions, overlook or dismiss crucial information, and make bad decisions.
3 minutes | 10 months ago
Let the best ideas win
Good ideas survive deep skepticism and intense competition. Stress-testing ideas exposes their weaknesses and highlights their strengths. Innovation happens when people are encouraged to put forward their best thinking, no matter their status, power, or tenure. Surrounding yourself with people who think like you blinds you to flaws in your thinking. The search for truth, knowledge, and innovation requires a free and open exchange of ideas. Seek out people with diverse viewpoints and invite criticism. Allow the best ideas to grow and let the bad ones die. Natural selection has been implementing this principle since life on earth began. Learn more at briangitt.com
8 minutes | 10 months ago
Make fewer decisions
Create habits and automate decisions to save time and energy. Every decision we make throughout the day requires attention and carries an opportunity cost; thus, creating decision-making systems can make you more productive and less frazzled. Once you build a habit, you make fewer decisions. What habits can you build to automate decisions and be more productive? Learn more about briangitt.com
3 minutes | 10 months ago
Always take the red pill
Always seek out the truth even if it contradicts the beliefs you hold. Self-deceit and ignorance can harm you. To improve your judgement and be wrong less often. Always take the red pill and seek out the truth. Learn more at briangitt.com
4 minutes | 10 months ago
High performance teams
High performance cultures are built on high performance habits. Peak performance requires proactively designing your culture around rapid learning, trust, accountability, and habits to improve mental fitness. Habits to improve mental performance are not limited to sleep, exercise, and diet. Mental fitness also requires exposing yourself to new ideas, considering a diversity of viewpoints, and learning new skills. Your team’s learning accelerates through consistent daily practice and feedback. Design daily habits around these principles to build a high-performance team. Learn more at briangitt.com
4 minutes | 10 months ago
Rules for decision making
Without rules we risk getting jerked like a puppet, simply reacting to conditions around us. Rules for behavior and communication allow us to work together more effectively, and rules can also help you make better decisions. Just as programming languages provide instructions for computers, decision-making rules become the operating logic of your company. Rather than issuing top-down, centralized mandates, providing decision-making rules will empower the people closest to the problem to decide how to proceed. How you act and communicate with the people you work with will determine your company culture. Using rules, you can embed the actions you want into your culture. Decision rules provide a structure so you can navigate uncertainty and increase your chances of success. Follow these seven rules to make smarter decisions and be wrong less often.
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