Mental models represent our understanding of the world. Not only do they influence what we think and how we reason— they shape the connections and opportunities that we perceive.
Mental models are why we consider certain things over others and how we problem-solve. In short, they are our representation of how something works.
We can't keep all the details in our brains, right? So we use models to simplify the complex into understandable and organizable chunks. Learning to think better is a huge factor in navigating the world in a multidimensional way.
The more models we can have in our toolbox, the more likely we are to see reality from more perspectives and solve problems in a more comprehensive manner.
Here are some resources to build your toolbox of mental models and for learning more about threading these perspectives across areas of your life for greater impact!
What separates good thinkers from great thinkers is:
1) The number of mental models at their disposal;
2) The accuracy of those models; and
3) How quickly they update them when they're wrong.
~ Shane Parrish (Author of The Great Mental Models)
Well, the first rule is that you can’t really know anything if you just remember isolated facts and try to bang ‘em back. If the facts don’t hang together on a latticework of theory, you don’t have them in a usable form. You’ve got to have mental models in your head. And you’ve got to array your experience, both vicarious and direct, on this latticework of models.
~ Charlie Munger (Vice Chairman of Berkshire Hathaway)
The greatest challenge for people seeking to build a life that matters is not the opinion of others. The most significant obstacle is the mental model they have chosen for themselves. Although there is a risk of people thinking too highly of themselves, the more common problem is that people do not think highly enough of themselves.
~ Dr. Nathan Mellor (Author of Sleeping Giants: Stories and Insights for Building a Life that Matters)
The key to transforming mental models is to interrupt the automatic responses that are driven by the old model and respond differently based on the new model. Each time you are able to do this, you are actually loosening the old circuit and creating new neural connections in your brain, often referred to as self-directed neuroplasticity.
~ Elizabeth R. Thornton (Author of The Objective Leader: How to Leverage the Power of Seeing Things As They Are)
New insights fail to get put into practice because they conflict with deeply held internal images of how the world works ... images that limit us to familiar ways of thinking and acting. That is why the discipline of managing mental models - surfacing, testing, and improving our internal pictures of how the world works - promises to be a major breakthrough for learning organizations.
~ Peter Senge (Author of The Fifth Discipline: The Art and Practice of the Learning Organization
To think that the world can ever change without changes in our mental models is folly.
~ Joseph Jaworski (Founder of Generon International)
A deep techno/house, transcendental instrumental playlist made for thinking in all dimensions.
Here are some fantastic podcasts on mental models and their role in our perspective and problem-solving!
The Great Mental Models Volume 1: General Thinking Concepts
The Art of Clear Thinking
Andrea Small & Kelly Schmutte
Gabriel Weinberg and Lauren McCann
Mental Models in a Nutshell
Interactive Mental Models/Frameworks on Miro
Mental Model Pins
(if you can't see the embedded window below, click this link to open in Pinterest!)
Elon Musk Describes First Principles Thinking
Jeff Bezos Describes Regret-Minimization Framework
I share quite a bit about the benefit and purpose of mental models and frameworks, why they are essential in understanding and shifting our perspective, and give a bunch of examples that inspire deeper analysis about the way that we think!
My friend and talented coach Fabiola Segovia also shares a thorough walkthrough of a fascinating detailed coaching energetics framework that she uses in her practice that you can immediately apply after listening to this episode.