3 Mental Models I Learned From My Dad

“To break a mental model is harder than splitting the atom” — Albert Einstein

Today is my dads birthday. He has been teaching me things for over 28 years. I don’t think there is a single gift that could show how grateful I am for everything he’s taught me.

This made me wonder, what makes a great parent? Is it how polite their children are, how many trophies they’ve won, places they’ve been to or degrees they have? Maybe it’s similar to managerial output where a parents output is the output of his or her children.

I think that great parents will equip their kids with tools or mental models that help them throughout life. My Dad gave me so many tools but there were a few that really stuck.

Treat people like you want to be treated.

I had one of the coolest batman sets as a kid. Complete with action-figure, hideaway cave/house and car that shot missiles. I wanted it all to myself! I remember my Dad drilling into my mind to treat people like you want to be treated and that I should share my toys.

Today I try harder than anything to treat friends, customers, business partners and colleagues with the utmost respect and courtesy. Life is so much more fun when you truly treat others how you want to be treated.

Think before you… speak / do.

I’m sure there was a time in your life when you wanted to speak up or talk back to a parent, coach or friend. I had many of these moments. Whether it was losing a debate with Mom or taunting my little sister, my Dad always reminded me to think before opening my mouth. Your words and actions always have consequences he would say. Between stimulus and response you have a choice to say or do the right thing. My Dad really wanted me to know this.

There are so many situations where people you care about say or do dumb or hurtful things. It’s really easy to follow their lead and rebuttal with an action you know isn’t right. Thinking before you do or say something will help close deals, grow relationships and minimize regrets.

Choose your own path.

I was probably the only 2nd grader that listed “CEO of my own company” under the occupation section in my memory book. My Dad stressed over and over again how important it is to choose your own path. He always taught me to build my own things, create my own companies and live my own life. My life has been one adventure after another because of this.

“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t Be Trapped by Dogma — Which is Living With the Results of Other People’s Thinking” — Steve Jobs

Choose the path that leads you to the greatest adventure and you will have the greatest story!

Thanks Dad.

— Jayme