For Sale
Tips & Tricks

What is second-order thinking and how to use it to succeed in your career


By Devashish Chakravarty

American billionaire investor and philanthropist Ray Dalio said: “Not considering the second and third order consequences is the cause of many painful wrong decisions. When the first inferior option confirms your prejudice, This is especially fatal. Before you ask questions and explore, never grab the first available option, no matter how good it looks.” So let us understand how to use secondary or secondary thinking to make better Decision-making and achieve success faster.

Wrong snapshot decision

Howard Marks, the investor and author of “The Most Important Thing,” said that first-level thinking is superficial and simple, while second-level thinking is deep and complex. Obviously, people prefer to make decisions quickly, rather than invest time and energy in better decisions. Your snapshot judgment is based on what you usually do, what other people are doing, what you can see or touch, biases from the past, your current feelings, and the simplest psychological shortcut you have.All of these are simple and can guide you to make quick decisions at work, but they are not the best decision for you Profession.

So in-depth thinking

In order to go beyond the first level of thinking to a higher level, Howard suggests that you ask a question: What then?When you explore the answer, you will go beyond the obvious answer Thinking About what might happen in 10 days/month/year.Then choose Decide That might result Painful in the short term, but will produce the best results over time. To get these answers, you may need to look for more data, learn to use your intuition, get different perspectives from other people, and then filter out the most useful things from the input. Everything should be aimed at figuring out the future outcome of your decision beyond the immediate outcome.

Reach a higher level

To practice and improve your second-order thinking, use four steps. The first step is to determine the possible future outcomes of your actions, and what the probability of each outcome is.Just predict a higher probability success Is not enough. Although the probability is low, are you capable of handling bad results? Next, how will the current systems in your team, organization, or society respond to your decisions or actions? Even with good intentions and execution, you will not succeed on an inconsistent system—for example, pushing automation in a traditional bureaucracy. Third, find out the psychology and preferences of decision makers and the people who will be affected.

Study their behavior rather than their words to predict how they will respond to your decision over time. Finally, understand that your competitors, colleagues, and customers will act and react in their best interests. So how does your decision change the incentives for each of them?

Crack it

Are you discussing the choice of educational opportunities or determining campus placement? In both cases, first-order thinking will lead to a herd mentality, and you will get the same results as everyone else. For education, have you considered that it is easier to become a top talent in a less popular university, or choosing a subject/stream you like will make it easier for you to succeed? Similarly, instead of treating campus internships as the first salary from anywhere, it is better to ask where people will end up in 10/20/30 years from then. Is this the life you want? Is that the person you want to be? Depending on your needs, choosing a less popular direction or a harder, lower-paying first job on campus may result in you gaining more personal freedom, time, money, status, and heart in your career. Peace or balance of life.

Conversion work/project

Most job applicants accept or reject job opportunities based on their experience with the human resource manager during the interview. Have you ever wondered what your next job will be after this? Or what is the chance of success for this role? Look at industry and function. If you are switching, you will need time and energy to master the missing skills. Consider the manager and team working with you. Get information about how your relationship with them is and whether they have a better history of success than others. Will the new employer embark on a faster development path or face challenges? In three to five years, where will all these take you? Finally, how will this job affect your family and peace of mind?

Deal with the crisis

Einstein said: “We cannot solve our problems with the level of thinking that creates problems.” Are you unemployed in Covid? If not, did you choose the option of working from home? There will be other crises that will affect you in the future. Be responsible for your current situation and learn higher-level thinking. During Covid, what decisions did you make that led to your dismissal? In your career, what factors can you consider? Do you need to change direction? Should you accept your first job? Is starting a business or working in a gig economy the best long-term answer? If you are happy with WFH and have choices, have you seen your professional relationship weakening, working hours longer, and fewer new opportunities? Where will your career go? Always ask a series of “then what?” questions to make better decisions.

Manager’s mind
1 Recruitment

You want to select the first available reasonable average candidate for the vacancy so that the delayed project can start. This is first-order thinking. As the project develops, waiting for someone with better communication skills and the skills needed to take on a larger role is a second-order thinking that will give you better results.

2 Culture

It is a temptation to build a team for the current problem. Building a team for a great culture and a stronger organization is a higher level of thinking. Solve long-term problems by selecting, motivating and enhancing team members’ ownership, communication, collaboration, and creating systems.

3 speed

You want the task to be completed before time. Micro-management and providing solutions are the simplest answers. The better long-term answer is to build trust. Author MR Covey refers to trust as the operating system of relationships. When you do business with trustworthy people and companies, you can reduce time and costs.

4 Resources

If you have the opportunity to lead a project, you naturally expect your company to provide resources and personnel. think seriously. Will other team managers be willing to release the people you want? When you need it, will the CFO readjust his annual budget to release funds? Will the competition remain quiet?

5 boss

Managing your boss is the most important driver of your daily satisfaction. Which tasks you prioritize, accomplish, and how you communicate can either benefit your boss’s success or hinder your boss’s success. Are you threatening his control? Will your actions win or maintain his trust and thereby win or maintain his investment in your success?

(The author is a professional coach, mentor, author of


Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button