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Avoid Loserthink

written by Matthew Rensberry, MD MBA on 2022-02-07

This book (Loserthink: How Untrained Brains Are Ruining America by Scott Adams) looks to different professions and their thinking models to come away with practical ways to avoid ineffective ways of thinking. These different professions include: economists, psychologists, artists, scientists and others.

Here are some things he wrote that I want to remember.

Things to remember

Figuring our priorities in life

Make yourself your top priority. Can't help others until you can take care of yourself. Only after caring for your health and finances can you expand your generosity outward in this priority:

  1. You
  2. Your family
  3. Friends
  4. Your employer
  5. Your town/city
  6. Your country
  7. The World

Example: Should you work late or go to the gym. The right answer is usually go to the gym (priority #1).

Be selfish when it comes to your health, diet, fitness, and education.

Keep these two rules in mind:

Bad Behavior

Bad behavior will happen almost 100% of the time if you have this combination of variables:

  1. There is money to be made from the bad behavior.
  2. The odds of detection are low
  3. Lots of people are involved

How to Respond to Mistakes

  1. Fully acknowledge the mistake and its impact.
  2. Display genuine-looking remorse.
  3. Explain what you plan to do to make amends.
  4. Explain how you plan to avoid similar mistakes.

The 48-Hour Rule: “Everyone deserves forty-eight hours to clarify, apologize for, or otherwise update an offending statement.”

When you see an ‘unbelievable’ story in the press that is based on interpreting someone else’s meaning, it is generally fake news. Wait for the clarification to see if there is a perfectly ordinary explanation.

The 20-Year Rule: “It is Loserthink to judge people by their much younger selves. People change. And they usually improve.”

Other People's Mental Prisons

The Magic Question: “State ONE thing you believe on this topic that you think I do NOT believe.”

Do the ends justify the means?

When people ask you if the ends justify the means, they are trying to frame themselves as the moral player in the conversation while framing you as the unethical weasel. Don’t answer the trick question. Instead, restate the question in this form before answering: I think you mean: Are the benefits greater than the costs?

Do things

Use systems