Who would have knew I would find Hanlon’s Razor on the beach this weekend. I am joking of course, Hanlon’s Razor is a mental model but learning this has helped me understand better some of the insensitivities you see around everyday life and for sure you see them at the beach also.
Put most simply, mental models are how we understand the world. They are how we simplify complexity, why we make decisions, it’s what people in the past would say ‘how we reason’ but that phrase is not often used any more.
As I work in software maybe it would help to think about it from this perspective, it is inefficient to keep details in our brains, so models help us simplify the complex into understandable and mangeable algorithms to use when needed. Hanlon’s razor is one of these mental models and a perfect one to use in these uncertain times.
Hanlon’s Razor: ‘Never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by neglect’. In a world with 24-7 covid-19 news and nonsense on social media, using this model helps us avoid paranoia. By not assuming that bad results are the fault of a your neighbour or colleague, we look for options instead of missing opportunities. People make mistakes, it’s just a part of life.
This mental model asks if there is another reasonable explanation for the events that have occurred. The explanation most likely to be right is the one that contains the least amount of intent.
- Example 1 : A person is occupying the entire boardwalk walking 4 side by side, not making possible for bicycles to pass!
- Example 2: You are sat o the beach with a perfect view of the sunset to come and a person walks right in front and blocks your view!
As we go through our days with Covid-19 🦠 causing us stress and we experience examples like the above, Just remember, Hanlon’s razor, and get on with your day with less stress and more love in your heart.