This post is part of the πŸ“– Mental Models series.

Today, I am reading the third mental model Make Reversible Decisions from Decision-Making for Speed and Context chapter of the book Mental Models written by Author Peter Hollins.

TL;DR! πŸ’¬

Mental Models are like giving a treasure map to someone lost in the woods. They provide instant understanding, context, and most importantly, a path to the end destination. Now imagine having such a map for all problems and decisions in your life.

In this book Mental Models, author Peter Hollins discuss 30 mental models that billionaires/CEOs, Olympic athletes, and scientists use to think differently and avoid mistakes.

Battle information overwhelm, focus on what really matters, and make complex decisions with speed and confidence.

Yesterday, I finished reading the second mental model Visualize All the Dominoes.

Chapter #1: Decision-Making for Speed and Context

Mental Model #3:

Make Reversible Decisions

We can use the Make Reversible Decisions mental model to strategically remove indecision whenever you can and have an action bias.

The circumstances where you would feel more comfortable taking immediate action are all more reversible in nature.

One of the biggest reasons we have for inaction is the anxiety associated with the seeming finality of decisions. We are conditioned to think that there is no turning back and to be a “man/woman of our word.”

Not all decisions have to be set in stone. Most decisions are entirely changeable, and approaching decisions as such will lead you to action more often than not.

Being able to tell the difference between reversible/irreversible decisions is one of the keys to speed.

Add this to your decision-making analysis:

  1. How can I make this decision reversible?
  2. What would it take to reverse the decision?

Once you have answers to the above two questions, then do it.

“One good test is worth a thousand expert opinions.” - Wernher Von Braun

There’s a big caveat to making reversible decisions: they may inspire more possibilities and give you more flexibility, but they should still be based on facts β€” not unfounded projections, wishes, or excessive emotion.

Reversible decisions may work, but while you take (a reversible decision), carefully look for some provable or established information. Don’t take (reversible) decisions based on unfounded projections, wishes, or excessive emotion.

Key Takeaways

  • Not distinguishing between reversible/irreversible decision makes you slower and more ignorant.

  • Reversible decisions may inspire more possibilities and give you more flexibility, but they should still be based on facts.


  • Decision-making alone is not a difficult task. But if we want to make the best decision possible, we can go ahead and use reversible decisions to learn exactly what you need to know.

That’s it for today. Tomorrow, we will read the fourth mental model Seek “Satisfaction”, use to achieve your priorities and ignore what doesn’t matter.

What mental models we've learned so far?
  1. Address “Important”; Ignore “Urgent”

    Identify and address important tasks, ignore urgent tasks. Delegate important but non-urgent task and delete not important and not urgent tasks.

  2. Visualize All the Dominoes

    Don’t stop your analysis once the most obvious situations are articulated. Consider as many long-term possible ramifications as you can. Think twice about what you’re doing, and it helps to eliminate rash decisions.

  3. Make Reversible Decisions

    If you want to make the best decision possible, you can go ahead and use reversible decisions to learn exactly what you need to know.

Mental Models: 30 Thinking Tools That Separate the Average from the Exceptional. Improved Decision-Making, Logical Analysis, and Problem-Solving

Author(s): Peter Hollins

Short Blurb: 30 Practical and applicable guidelines to think smarter, faster, and with expert insight (even if … Read more
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Part 4 of 29 in the πŸ“– Mental Models book series.

Series Start | Mental Models - Day 3 | Mental Models - Day 5

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As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. I make a tiny commission if you buy using one of the links above at no additional cost to you. I use the money to buy another book πŸ“– to review or grab a beer 🍺 Super duper thanks πŸ™Œ