We live in a complex world, and we have complex lives based on a personal combination of memories and emotions. They don’t fit a predefined mold.
It’s critical to understand the existing conventions, structures, and systems. They provide a reference point, and more often than not, they are useful.
But it’s far more critical to know that they also aren’t set in stone. Outside of the law and the boundaries of modern science, much of reality is flexible.
Almost everything around us that we presume to be fixed and static was produced and labeled by other people. There is no law in the universe that invents ideas and implements them. Powerful brains, like yours, do that.
The world?—?if understood well?—?can be reshaped with the right tools.
You have to understand the world from as many diverse angles as you can.
Mental models are a way to do that. They provide a fundamental framework for deciphering complexity so that you can optimize your decision-making.
Another is Cost-benefit Analysis. It’s a systematic approach to evaluating the different avenues ahead and weighting their positives and their negatives.
Each of them, in their own way, help us make sense of the noise around us.
They either explain a generally observed trend, or they give us a method for breaking down and ordering information in a way that’s a little more useful.
Author of an article in medium.com suggests a few models that he finds valuable.
* Socratic Method?—?Discourse to stimulate critical thinking and eliminate weak hypothesis with meaningful questions and constructive arguments.
* Combinatory Play?—?Einstein’s method of creativity where imagination is used to combine existing parts of reality to produce something new.
* Bayes’ Theorem?—?Using probabilistic thinking to estimate the likelihood of future events based on a rational evaluation of prior conditions.
* Design Thinking?—?An approach to solving problems by understanding the needs of a person before working backwards to craft a solution.
* First Principles?—?Breaking things down to their fundamental truth and reasoning upwards from there to bypass any potential inefficiencies.
A good combination of mental models are a far better tool to make life decisions than blindly accepting the status quo because you’re supposed to.
Explore different disciplines and create your own personal toolkit of models.
If you ask good questions, strive to always learn, and develop a strong mental framework for evaluating the divergence between where you are and where you want to be, you’ll be able to navigate the world far more successfully.
To do that, however, you have to think for yourself. You need the courage to walk away from the majority, and you need the audacity to follow through.