The Role of Mental Models

After looking into some of the best mental models you can find, it is imperative to delve into the role of these mental models. Certainly, this is something that might have crossed your mind as you wonder how the models will help you. So, why mental models? What makes these models relevant in your life? Of course, you now know that mental models allow you to understand how this world works.

However, it is still worthwhile to question yourself why and how these models can have a positive impact on how you think and perceive the world around you. Looking at the array of mental models, it can be argued that mental models can assist you to solve your problems faster. Challenges are part of our daily lives. This is what people have to go through to achieve their goals whether in the short or long run. To ensure that people achieve their goals, decisions have to be made. Accordingly, mental models come in handy to make the decision-making process easier.

In relation to what has been said, mental models, therefore, can act as guides toward the design of the approach you will be taking to handle a particular situation. In business, it will help you and your team to settle for an optimal strategy to solve a problem. The same can be said of your relationships. If there are problems you are facing, mental models can guide you on the best approach to take.

When Jeff Bezos was in a dilemma as to whether to start Amazon, he looked for a framework that would guide him to make the right decision. As such, he came up with the regret minimization framework. Using this framework, he pictured how he would feel in the future depending on the decision he made. In this case, he had a good feeling about starting Amazon and he was sure he would not regret the decision to quit his job and start the company. Therefore, his model provided him with the motivation he needed to easily and effectively make a sound decision.

From Bezos’s example, there are three things that we can notice here.

First, the regret minimization framework he used gave him confidence in the design he was using. He had the courage to make a big leap to start Amazon. You should bear in mind that he was a senior vice-president at the company that he left. So, he was not quitting because he was not earning well. For that reason, quitting his job was not easy. Without confidence, this is something that he would have just brushed off.

Secondly, the framework that Bezos used provided him with clarity. After coming up with his model, it was now clear that he would regret not implementing what he had in mind. The framework gave him a reason to understand that this was the right direction to take.

Third, Bezos’s framework was rooted in the idea of focusing on the long-term consequences of a particular decision. He envisaged himself 80 years after starting Amazon, and he was sure that he would regret if he didn’t work on his vision. Clearly, his mental model gave him a reason to believe in the continuity of his strategy.


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