Wrong Models

Note to my future self…

Today I want to explore a simple question:

Does it matter if our models of the world are wrong as long as they provide the right results?

Some might argue that all of our models are by definition wrong and that operating under that assumption is our only choice. However, I am curious to know whether it matters if our models are directionally correct but for the wrong reasons. For example, some people might not drink alcohol for religious reasons and argue

There are a couple of good essays on this issue including one by James Clear and one by Shane Parrish. There basic argument is quite straightforward. We should assume that all models are flawed but as long as they can help us navigate life effectively we should keep using them. Having said so, we should look out for ways to improve/revise our models

This should help us focus more on whether something can be applied to everyday life in a useful manner rather than debating endlessly if an answer is correct in all cases.

“All models are wrong, but some are useful” – George Box

Takeaway

I think that actual takeaway for me is the initial question:

Does it matter if our models of the world are wrong as long as they provide the right results?

I think it’s something worth revisiting as we adopt new lenses through which to see and interpret the world.

Now back to work…