Mental models are simple processes that help us look at problems from various points of view, so we can choose solutions that are consistent with what we consider important. Only when we make the most of these models are we able to think better.
Thinking better means understanding how reality works, and adapting our actions accordingly. It is not about being geniuses but, rather, about better understanding the things that happen around us, so that we can make more effective choices.
Even if we are not aware of it, mental models shape the way we think, understand things, and develop ideas. There are many mental models, but the ones we see here are the nine most versatile, that is, they can be implemented in a great variety of situations. When we find ourselves having to make a decision in an uncertain situation, making conscious use of our mental models helps us to act more rationally, minimising risks and living a life of greater freedom and less stress.
There are several reasons why we often fail to make the most of our mental models. One of them is that we are looking at things from the wrong perspective: just like a fish that can't see the sea, we are incapable of assessing a situation well when we're in it. We are often too focused on our ego, on the opinion we have of ourselves, and we refuse to update our beliefs based on the reality we see before us, which gets in the way of seeing a situation as it really is.
We are also afraid to admit that there are plenty of things we still don’t know, and that leads us to make decisions that don’t make much sense. We think that things simply happen to us, and that we are passive spectators in our lives: this passivity causes us not to reflect on our actions, and without reflection we do not learn or improve. We must therefore wake up to the fact that we are active participants in our world and in our decisions.
Applying mental models with cognition and determination, can help us to gradually get rid of all these shortcomings. We begin to see the world for what it is, and not for what we would like it to be. We will then be able to identify opportunities that we failed to see, avoid mistakes that could be costly, and start making significant progress in our lives. Mental models can help us develop a deep understanding of how the world works, and we can use this new knowledge to keep ourselves out of trouble, approach problems with greater confidence, and live a more fulfilling life.