A mental model is a representation of how something works. It is a concept, framework or worldview that you can use to guide your perception and behavior. They are the thinking tools that you use to understand life, make decisions, and solve problems in your life.
Most of us are specialists in each of our own fields or industries and will try to solve our problems in one way.
Let’s say you are a Software Engineer and if you were asked to solve a problem, your approach to the problem will be related to the software field only.
Let’s take another example, if someone asks you to look at a forest land and share your thoughts about it:
if you are from botanical background you may focus on the ecosystem.
if you are from an environmental background you may see the impact of climate change.
if you are a business person you may see the potential value of the land.
Technically speaking, none of these specialists are wrong. But again no one is seeing the entire picture either. Each individual mental model is just one view of reality. The challenges and situations we face in life cannot be entirely explained by one field or industry. All perspectives hold some truth. None of them contain the complete truth.
A mental model is a way of examining a problem. As James Clear explains,
“Each mental model offers a different framework that you can use to look at life… If you develop a bigger toolbox of mental models, you’ll improve your ability to solve problems because you’ll have more options for getting to the right answer. This is one of the primary ways that truly brilliant people separate themselves from the masses of smart individuals out there.”
Understanding these concepts will help you make wiser choices and take better actions.
Man with a Hammer
Without learning various mental models, your thinking will be like “Man with a Hammer syndrome”. “Man with a Hammer” syndrome is the idea that if you only have one or two mental models in your head, you’ll approach all your problems with the same solution.
In order not to fall into ‘Man with a hammer syndrome’, we should continuously upgrade and imрrоvе the ԛuаlitу of our thoughts. This mеаnѕ reading widely from the bеѕt bооkѕ, learning the fundamentals of various unrelated fields and learning from people with wildly different life experiences.
Learning mental models is like sharpening your axe. Sharpening your axe means you don’t need to become a super human, You just need to spend some time in getting the ideas to gain wisdom.
Finally, how to implement what you have learned?
The best way to implement your concepts is to teach it to someone. Teach it to anyone in your family, friends, or to self in-front of a mirror.
Another best way to implement is jot it down somewhere in a notebook/blog. Writing is a terrible tool for better understanding of the concepts.