The Real Truth about Mental Models

Mental Models have gotten a bad reputation. Many negative people come up with the idea that mental models are simply a new term for wisdom. And while this is partly true, it misses the point. Mental models help people, and that’s what matters.

If someone comes up with a new term with the intent to mislead people, take advantage and make their life hell, for sure, go and resist that idea. However, if someone comes up with a new term with the intent to help, clarify and guide people, let it be. New terms have kept popping up always. You can call it whatever you want, but calling it mental models helps people more than it does. And that’s what makes it a powerful idea.

And sometimes, calling it a new term is the way to go. Because, as humans, we need something to latch onto, think about it and jump to action. Without the term, we might feel lost.

So what exactly is a mental model?

These are ideas, wisdom, and anecdote which helps you deal with the situation. And the more amazing the model is, the more intimately you can apply it to your scenario.

Acceptance of Scam

Tourist places are filled up with scams. This can be of varying nature. From a few dollars to your whole bag might be lost. And this often happens once or twice during your whole trip. So what do you naturally do? You go on conscious - protecting everything and always being on alert. You see everyone with suspicion, even when you are enjoying - you are fearful and then panic when things don’t go as planned. After all this, what happens is you still get scammed. And then you feel bad for yourself.

To deal with this, a mental model you can adopt is to have the acceptance of scams. Keep aside $100 for scams. This way, you can enjoy your trip without pressure. And if someone pops up to scam you, you can give $10 and move on.

This helps you have your peace of mind. This mental model isn’t intuitive, but when you analyze and understand - it relieves you of any anxiety and helps you truly enjoy your trips.

Second Order Thinking

Or Even Third Order Thinking. Whenever something happens - usually bad, we often think about first-order thinking. For example, if someone shouts at you, you might think - this person is bad for shouting; she doesn’t have manners. Pause, and think a little deeper and you might find, this person had been facing a lot of problems in her personal life, and she lashed out at you. Now, due to second-order thinking, you can disassociate her act from her and not feel so bad.

The more deeper you can go, the more freer you will feel. Because, in most cases, thinking deeply about the why of the situation helps you see it in a different light.

Cleanliness Rule In a Partnership

When you are partnering up with someone for anything, the contribution, expectation and acceptance are different.

Think of this from a cleanliness example. When you are in a relationship, both of you think they are the cleanest. But when you live together, you realize that one person is cleaner than another. And no matter how much they try, the other person couldn’t understand. This is because everyone has their own definition of what a clean person should be. This conflict can be solved in two ways - either the less clean person should level up. Or do you understand that this is the way of life?

In some areas, you will be cleaner and in some cases, you will be less cleaner. When you accept this difference when entering into a partnership, you will develop the habit of letting go. Thus leading to peace, harmony and happiness.

Further Reading

I am a big fan of Farnam Street, they are big on mental models. Check them out to read about amazing mental models.