Idea survival

By Shane Parrish via   Article

Using “Survival of the Fittest” to Improve “Idea Survival”

“Nature has a passion for quantity as a prerequisite to the selection of quality; she likes larger litters, and relishes the struggle that picks the surviving few. She is more interested in the species than the individual.” Will Durant

“Nature is more interested in species survival than individual survival. In fact, she’s ruthless. She doesn’t care which individuals survive as long as the group survives.

The struggle becomes a natural filter to get rid of the weakest of each species. This ‘selective removal of the weakest’ improves the overall chances the group survives over the long-term.

The key here is the filter. You need the filter.

We have no such filter when it comes to ‘idea retention.’

We collect ideas and mental models and we employ them. However, we don’t have a natural filter to eliminate them. Even repeateded failure of a idea we hold dear is often not enough to convince us we’re wrong.

There is another way.

In the work required to have an opinion, we mention this quote from Charlie Munger:

We all are learning, modifying, or destroying ideas all the time. Rapid destruction of your ideas when the time is right is one of the most valuable qualities you can acquire. You must force yourself to consider arguments on the other side.’

So what can we do to encourage this?

We need to be eager to be wrong. Darwin understood this idea, that’s part of the reason he’s in the history books.

In failing to learn from nature’s natural culling process we become more interested in our ideas surviving than ideas that survive time.”


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