Discovering mental models

Over the course of my life I have become ever more aware that our mental models shape how we think, feel and act in all aspects of life. This should come as no surprise to you and is actually a fairly trivial insight. However, this insight has led me on a rather challenging journey to formulate the specific mental model I have of the larger world and how it functions.

Why would this be necessary at all? Well for a couple of reasons. Firstly, I have more or less always seen myself as having a slightly different world view than many of my friends and peers and it would be helpful to be able to understand the underlying reasons to similarities and differences in how we think, feel and act. Being able to express my mental model is then obviously fundamental to this need. Secondly, being consciously aware of how I frame my world view also is a key ingredient in the continuous development of myself. Thirdly, knowing how I see the world helps me make better choices for myself, and try to be aware of the biases any mental model will have on my judgement. The fourth reason Is that my active awareness of my mental models also help me to adapt them over time. I am a firm believer in the idea of increasing levels of consciousness. If I am willing and able to express my current mental model, this directly offers me the opportunity to explore other models and develop my own mental models.

So, for me the challenging bit has been to actually capture and write down my mental model of how the world works. It has been an illusive quest that only recently finally came to some sort of resolution. This has partly been due to fear and not daring to express my world view to others, and partly due to me not being able to articulate it simply enough so it can be understood by others than myself.

In my next post I’ll share my current write up of my world view. Paraphrasing Douglas Adams’ epic book title it is something of my own (short) version of ”Life, the Universe and Everything”. I hope it can spark some interesting conversations.

— Jan

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