First-principles of Thought
Using a first-principles approach to thinking basically refers to breaking down a process to its basic components and concepts. A first principle is a basic assumption that cannot be broken down any further. It involves looking at a situation at its foundation and starting from the known facts then building from these basics.
When we understand the first principles of a system, we can deconstruct it and then construct it again more effectively. These principles allow us to avoid imitations by not following what has already been created by others but allowing us to build our own systems and conclusion by deconstructing existing concepts then using the core elements to create something new.
Naturally, we are inclined to plan for what we want to happen. If you want to be a doctor you go to medical school, when you want to win a marathon you train your body for the event and so on. The principle of inversion is thinking about what you want to achieve in reverse by considering what you don’t want to happen.
For instance, if you have to speak in public you can focus on the mistakes to avoid rather than focusing on how to give a good speech. Using this approach, you can easily identify the obstacles that would prevent you from giving a good speech. In this case, if you avoid using jargon, being repetitive or not having a clear message you will inadvertently give a good speech by simply focusing on what not to do.
Using this method when making decisions and solving problems, you can effectively avoid procrastination or unlock solutions that may have seemed out of reach. By eliminating obstacles, we clear the path to achieving the goal intended.