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We (Easily) Focus on the Wrong Things

Our mental models help us until they don’t. Then they’re “thinking traps.”

We live overstimulated lives, which we attempt to process through a working memory that can deal with about seven things (plus or minus three).

As a result, we are easily impressed with whatever happened most recently, with vivid memories and experiences, and with information that is easy to obtain.

We are also prone to screen out information that does not conform to the mental model we are running at the time.

Thinking traps are predictable side effects of relying on mental shortcuts vs. consciously thinking about everything all the time.

You can’t get by without using mental models to shortcut your way through life.

But it’s helpful to remind yourself to stop and pay attention.