How Mental Models Can Doom and, at the Same Time, Benefit Your Self-Improvement
Let’s dive into the field of psychology as it’s a great way for us to reach growth and self-improvement in the best way possible
Nowadays we're more interested in self-improvement than ever. It's like we suddenly realized how important it is for us to be focusing on our self-growth on a daily basis. And while we are constantly trying out different methods and approaches toward self-realization, we often seek solutions that happen to come outside of us. Well, let me tell you that sometimes the most appropriate answers are located inside and what we have to do is to search for them and implement the best we've got in practice.
I've always believed that the ultimate path to self-improvement has a lot to do with our inner world. Being well educated when it comes to basic psychological terms and states of the human mind is a must. This way we can not only get a better idea about what pulls our trigger but will also be able to further improve our psychological resources so that we can achieve better and better results with time.
In today's article, I'd like to focus on a thing called mental models. The truth is we all have them but what's more important is for us to actually learn how to get the most out of them. What’s more, we need to decide which ones are not beneficial enough for us and which deserve our undivided attention.
If we take this route, I'm sure with time we will be able to get the most out of our psychological potential and thus increase our chances for faster and more successful self-improvement and growth.
What stands behind the term “mental models”?
If we have to offer the simplest of explanations, we’d perhaps say that a mental model is a specific way we process thoughts, actions, situations, reactions, etc. It’s the way we view the world from our perspective; our mental models sum up the approach we have toward various types of life happenings.
For example, if you’re prone to anxiety-driven thoughts and you often tend to catastrophize future events, then it’d be safe to assume that this is your frequent mental model — always waiting for the worst to happen in order to brace yourself in advance.
A mental model is any frequent behavior we demonstrate when it comes to processing thoughts and internalizing what’s been happening in our lives.
And while being aware of your mental model is a huge step toward self-improvement and growth, it’s also important to remember that sticking to a specific model no matter what is not always a recipe for growth. Where there is stagnant energy, there cannot be any development — at times, our own mind can be the thing stopping us from evolving further.
Sometimes widening our horizons can be extremely beneficial in the long run
As I’ve already mentioned, being aware of your most used mental model is a great step toward self-discovery. But if you wish to take yet another step forward, you need to evaluate whether this same model is beneficial enough.
The trick is to be able to objectively view your mental model from a perspective so you’ll know whether or not it’s serving you justice. Because sometimes we can fall victim to our mental models and fail to realize that they might be setting us back. What we need to do is to be open to the idea of implementing some new thinking patterns, when and if applicable.
In reality, we shape our mental models out of our personal experiences in the past. If we, for example, used to witness plenty of failures and mishaps in our past professional growth, there’s a possibility for us to start to think we simply are not good enough in the field of our expertise. But the sole reason behind all those failures can simply be our dysfunctional approach to a working situation. That’s why it’s important for us to be able to widen our horizons and take on a new and fresh approach the next time around.
Communicating with people and brainstorming ideas can actually be very beneficial…
… since everyone would be suggesting resolutions based on their personal experiences. This allows us to take a peak inside everyone else’s heads for a change and adopt new plans of execution of things.
It’s all about flexibility — who knows, perhaps an entirely different mental model can work wonders for you in a specific situation when your own thinking patterns could do you more harm than good?
Opening up to people and letting yourself question your own models from time to time can allow you to build new approaches which, on their hand, can quickly turn out to be the very thing you’ve always needed in your life. Learning from one another is society's biggest advantage when working in groups — this way we allow ourselves to “borrow” someone else’s perspective on things and act accordingly. At the end of the day, getting out of our comfort zone has always been viewed as a great example of self-growth.
From a psychological point of view, we can address a wide variety of mental models
Each and every one of us can fall victim to a specific mental model. Let’s focus on some of the most prominent ones — who knows, perhaps you’ll be quick to discover your own. In this article, you can find a dazzling explanation of around 100 mental models with 9 being the most prominent ones. I strongly encourage you to take the time and explore its content:
Mental Models: The Best Way to Make Intelligent Decisions (~100 Models Explained) - Farnam Street
This guide explores everything you need to know about mental models. By the time you're done, you'll think better, make…
What’s important is for you to not only discover your frequent mental model but to also try to objectively evaluate other mental models’ advantages and strengths. This way you can easily prepare your brain to implement some of their characteristics and act accordingly when the time is right.
Being able to implement different characteristics from a variety of mental models according to the specification of any situation is perhaps one of the most mature and improved ways for a person to deal with information and decision-making. It would be like having a team of brainstormers always at your disposal — or like having a constant source of different types of experiences.
In a nutshell
Being aware of how our brain works and how it processes information is a golden type of knowledge. It does not only enable you to fully understand your own behavior and decision-making; it also allows you to further elevate and improve your cognitive abilities in general. Sorting through all thinking patterns and adopting new and beneficial ones is perhaps the best recipe for self-growth and improvement one can obtain.
Hi, guys, I’m Ivan, and I’m here to share with all of you my passion for words, great content, entrepreneurship, personal development, management, hobbies, and everything in between.
I serve as the CEO of my WordPress Development Agency @ Vipe Studio, where I have the pleasure to lead a diverse, wonderful and energetic team of experts. Feel free to contact me anytime — I would love to exchange new ideas and inspire each other!