How To [NOT] Think Like An Ex Vegan

There’s one commonalities in ex-vegan: Flawed thinking.

In this post I’ll explain you how to think similarly to Elon Musk. And not like an ex vegan.

The problem can be explained by one simple sentence: Most ex vegans reason by analogy. Not by first principles. Let me explain:

Reasoning By Analogy

Reasoning by analogy is reasoning by stories. In the examples of ex vegans this sounds like this:

  • ‘I heard this friend of mine, who was a vegan, he needed to go to the hospital because of veganism.’
  • ‘My brother, who was a vegan, became super skinns’.

For most people these are valid arguments. For a person that studied the art of thinking, these arguments are deeply flawed.

The problem with this sort of thinking is that humans are not rational. In fact we are irrational. Predictably irrational as Dan Ariely calls it in his seminal book with the same title.

We are suffering from cognitive biases that prevents us from rational and clear thinking. Cognitive biases were termed by Daniel Kahneman, and earned him the Nobel Prize in 1972.

To prevent us from making irrational decisions, which ex vegans do, we have to use a different way of thinking.

Here’s how not to think or reason like an ex-vegan. Here’s how to think clearly:

Reason By First Principles

Elon Musk, CEO of SpaceX as well as Tesla, is a big proponent of First Principles Thinking. This thinking helped him defy the odds multiple times and do the impossible.

So how can you think like Elon Musk?

First principles thinking. This thinking method boils a problem down to it’s constituent parts.

You boil the problem or the situation down so deep, until you know what is true. Usually you end up with physical laws.

Then you reason up from there.

In the sense of a vegan, this would look like this:

  • ‘I know that antioxidants (constituent parts) have protective properties. Antioxidants are found in a 62x higher amount in plants than in meat (situation). Therefore, plants should be beneficial.’
  • ‘Meat (situation) is skeletal muscle tissue of an animal. Muscle tissue consists of 20% protein and about 80% water. Protein consists of amino acids (constituent parts). Amino acids are found in plants too in sufficient properties. Therefore, meat is not necessary for survival.’
  • ‘Most vegans are lacking Vitamin B12 (problem). Vitamin B12 is found in meat, however the vitamin is produced by microorganisms found in soil and the water supply (constituent parts). Most farm animals get supplemented with B12. Therefore, meat is not necessary for a good quality of life but B12 consumption through a supplement.’

Do you see the difference?

Reasoning by first principles is clear, free of cognitive errors and repeatable.

Why do I make a post about thinking?

See in our modern times thinking is a lost art. But matter of fact is that the way of thinking will determine heavily which kind of results you get out of life.

You can either use the innate, primal and resource scarce way of reasoning by anecdotes, and you’ll be a slave to irrationality.

Daniel Kahneman calls this System 1 thinking in his book ‘Thinking Fast And Slow’.

Or you can use the advanced, resource heavy way of reasoning by first principles and you’ll make rational decisions.

This is System 2 thinking in Daniel Kahneman’s book called ‘Thinking Fast And Slow’.

The more you can train your brain and think by first principles and by using ‘System 2’, the better your life will be.