Why honing an efficient mental model is essential?

Our brain is a factory for creating mental models. It builds and stores these models, frequently validating to perfect them. These mental models evolved to extract the essence of everyday objects we encounter in the world. If our brain sees a person, it is not essential that it need to store all the picture-perfect details of the face. It just stores enough information to recognize the person quickly. These mental models are not specific to an object, and they can be activities, ideas, concepts, music, etc.,

These mental model helps us navigate and find a deterministic solution in an intensely complex and probabilistic world

Right from childhood, our brain continuously learns and tries to make sense of the outside world. Our brain is locked in a black box called the cranium, and it receives electrical signals from the sensors like the eye, ear, skin, nose, etc. Using the signals, it tries to make sense of what is happening around the world.

Whenever our brains encounter new objects or ideas from the outside world, it quickly assesses them and create a mental model. When children encounter a new object, they use their senses to make a mental model. Then, it tries to see, feel, touch, taste, and smell it. During this process, it tries to make a detailed mental model.

The model is not a one-time creation. Instead, our brain creates a rough model and continuously evaluates and builds a better model. If the learned mental model is not accurate or comprehensive and does not conform to our brain's expectation, it tries to reassess and update the model. It happens every time our brain encounters deviation.

So honing an optimal mental model is a skill for our survival. When all the synapses are shaping up during our childhood, it is important for our brain to effectively validate all the hypotheses and develop the right model that will help us navigate the complex environment.

These models are interlinked. They generously borrow a model and try to make sense of the new object it encounters in the real world. For example, a person studies a car of a particular brand and creates a mental model. If the person encounters another brand, it doesn't need to relearn from scratch. Instead, our brain makes a minor adjustment to the existing model and works with it.

It is very important during the early formative ages, our kids should be exposed to various things and continuously help them find the answers to all the questions that they ask. We should encourage our kids to see things from a different perspective. This will help create a mental model, which can stand the test of time, and having the right model will help a long way for a kid's success in the future.




Tech enthusiast, Project & Product Management. Interested in Management, Economics, Psychology, Philosophy, Human Nature, Behavioral Economics, almost anything.

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Ranjit Damodaran

Ranjit Damodaran

Tech enthusiast, Project & Product Management. Interested in Management, Economics, Psychology, Philosophy, Human Nature, Behavioral Economics, almost anything.

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