Improving Your Ability To Think

“Here are three ways you can use to put second order thinking into practice today.

Always ask yourself “And then what?”
Think through time — What do the consequences look like in 10 minutes? 10 months? 10 Years? 1
Create templates like the second image above with 1st, 2nd, and 3rd order consequences. Identify your decision and think through and write down the consequences. If you review these regularly you’ll be able to help calibrate your thinking.
(Bonus) If you’re using this to think about business decisions, ask yourself how important parts of the ecosystem are likely to respond. How will employees deal with this? What will my competitors likely do? What about my suppliers? What about the regulators? Often the answer will be little to no impact, but you want to understand the immediate and second-order consequences before you make the decision.

—”Second-Order Thinking: What Smart People Use to Outperform.” Farnam Street. April 2016.