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Mental Models: How to Use Patterns of Thought to Make Better Decisions

Patterns of thinking to help you think differently.

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Why Use Mental Models?

Using a mental model is a way to get think smarter. As I often remark, our perception of busyness leads us to accept the world the wat it is. The problem with this acceptance is our minds become conditioned to thinking the same way too. When it comes to using mental models, you have the chance to break the cycle of acceptance. They give a methodology to think differently—which empowers to see the world differently.

A Beginners Guide to Mental Models

Just as no-one teaches you to make decisions, no-one teaches you about mental models. So, it seems logical to take a step back and build your knowledge of the best patterns of thought. I call them patterns because at a basic level, a mental model is exactly that. It is a standardised method of thinking you can apply to help with decision-making and solving problems.  Here are some popular mental models as I see them.

First Principles Thinking: Why We Need to Ask Questions Like a Child: The amazing thing about first principles thinking is that it is an intuitive skill we are all born with. As soon as a child can speak, the questions begin to flow. In this article, I’ll explain why you’ve forgotten to how to ask questions like a child.

The Safety of Base Rates: Much of what happens is repeated, albeit with some variance. Humanity has recorded this information and we can use to inform our decisions when we have no immediate information to work with. These are called base rates and you can find out more about them in this article.

How to Solve Problems Successfully Using the Power of Inversion: We live in a clockwise world. Our journeys take us from a to b, as our minds think forward. We all think like this. Unfortunately, this can make solving problems a challenge. There is an alternative and it is the mental model known as inversion. In this article, I explain how you can use inversion to solve problems.

How to Use Mental Models to Make Better Decisions

For all the talk of mental models, it is often hard to find examples of them in use. The reason being is this; mental models are not intuitive. They go against the grain of how we normally think. It is, for this reason I have looked for examples of mental models at work to demonstrate why you should go against the grain of traditional thinking.

You can see what I’ve learnt by browsing the following articles.

All Mental Model Articles

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