Anti-Dogmatic Thinking & First Principles

Note to future self…

Today let’s talk about this idea of being anti-dogmatic in your thinking and how it can be a centerpiece for first principle thinking.

When I refer to being anti-dogmatic I mean believing the following:

  1. There’s no one way of doing things
  2. A person’s pedigree isn’t indicative of their output or potential
  3. Because something has worked in the past doesn’t mean that it will work in the future
  4. Because it didn’t work in the past doesn’t mean that it won’t work in the future

All of the points above are variations of the same idea → There’s no one way of doing things. This doesn’t mean that there aren’t certain universal truths (e.g. make something people love, someone has to pay for what you make, gravity, the sun always comes up, etc.).

I believe that having this anti-dogmatic stance when it comes to evaluating ideas, people and opportunities is a pre-requisite for first-principles thinking. Unfortunately, I believe that this term gets thrown around a lot but people still make arguments through analogies and based on strong assumptions about how the world works.

Make no mistake you (myself) have done this a million times. Approaching everything through an anti-dogmatic view requires a lot of mental resources because you have to actively turn off all of your heuristics and and other pattern-matching scripts that your brain will run for you.

Takeaway

I think that it’s important to take an anti-dogmatic view when it comes to evaluating things that matter to you (e.g. pursuing an idea for a company, career change, etc.) and then try to have enough self-awareness to extend this way of thinking to everyday activities (e.g. conversation with people you meet, your reaction to the material you read, etc.).

That’s it. I will report back if I have any updates on this topic.

Now back to work…