Necessity vs. Sufficiency

The Idea

Contributed by @philhagspiel |  Edited and curated by @philhagspiel

What you must have to succeed might not be enough to actually succeed.

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World View

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Mental Models

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Taking Action

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When we try to extract the factors that create a particular condition, we quickly get stuck with commonalities between different observations.

For example, when we analyse why people are successful in business, we might look at what all successful business people have in common.

But even if there is something that all have indeed in common (e.g. working really hard), this doesn't tell us much about whether that thing will make us successful. It only tells us that without hard work, we can't become successful. There will be lots of people who work very hard, but aren't successful.

Hard work is necessary for success, but it's not sufficient. In other words, you can't be successful without hard work, but hard work is not a guarantee for success.

Likewise, whenever we try to find out how something comes about, there's almost always something that's necessary, but not sufficient by itself. Usually, sufficiency is the result of a combination of factors, each single one potentially necessary.

In general, a necessary condition is one which must be present in order for an event to occur — but it alone doesn't provide sufficient cause for the occurence. A sufficient condition, however, is one which will definitely cause the event.

Explore

➞ For a great and understandable introduction, check out this Khan Academy article.

➞ If you want to understand even more, read this Wikipedia article.

Resources

If this idea resonates with you, some of these resources might add value to your life.

LinkNAMEAuthorFormat
Predictably Irrational
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Thinking Fast And Slow
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Factfulness
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The Sovereign Individual
James Dale Davidson
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VSI: Thinking & Reasoning
Jonathan Evans
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Antifragility
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Skin In The Game
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Fooled By Randomness
Nassim Taleb
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Principles
Ray Dalio
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59 Seconds - Think A Little Change A Lot
Richard Wiseman
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The Great Mental Models (vol. 2)
Shane Parrish
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The Great Mental Models (vol. 1)
Shane Parrish
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Enlightenment Now
Steven Pinker
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21 Lessons For The 21st Century
Yuval Noah Harari
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Paul Graham
Paul Graham
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Farnam Street
Shane Parrish
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Lesswrong
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Edge.org
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Untools.co
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The Systems Thinker
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Modern Wisdom
Christ Williamson
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You Are Not So Smart
David McRaney
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The Portal
Eric Weinstein
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Lex Fridman Podcast
Lex Fridman
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The Knowledge Project
Shane Parrish
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Philosophize This!
Stephen West
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Conversations With Tyler
Tyler Cowen
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Philosophy For Our Times
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Hidden Brain
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Kurzgesagt
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TED-ed
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Crash Course: Statistics
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3Blue1Brown
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Quanta Magazine
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Primer
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Veritasium
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Talks at Google
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Vsauce
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Brilliant.org
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