Mental Models Notion Template

Mental models are how we understand the world, simplify and can help break down complex topics very fast. The more Mental models you have in your toolset, the better your decisions.

Mental Models
General Thinking
One Liner Learning
In order to think a few steps ahead we must think beyond the model/map
Your knowledge is limited, know when you know what you’re talking about and when you don’t
Always understand the foundational principles that are at work not just how things appear to be
Find the limits of what you know and of what you should attempt by using your imagination
Explore second and third order consequences of your decisions, odds are what seems good at first might not be the best decision
Roughly identify what matters most by thinking in probabilities and then comparing
Certain things benefit from volatility and that is a property you should strive for (e.g Failure + Learning)
Probability estimates skew to one side (usually over-optimistic) and are not a normal distribution, factor this into your
Probabilistic Thinking
Solve problems by thinking about the best ways to achieve to opposite outome
The most simple explanation is the most likely one
Don’t assume malice for what could easily be explained by ignorance, stupidity or laziness
Everything has multiple layers of risk, reduce risk iteratively by peeling off layers
Once I have decided on a belief, I will act with consistency to reduce cognitive dissonance even if I’m digging myself into a hole along the way
It's painful to hold to opposing ideas in our mind
One Liner Learning
Give and you shall receive
People are lazy but once they get rolling they are hard to stop
Everything is moving towards sameness, people tell stories to reduce chaos
All movement requires energy so make it as easy as possible to get started
Moving in the right direction is more important than speed
Move big weights by applying pressure at the right spot
One Liner Learning
Think about how much energy you need not just to start change but also to see it through, so that things don’t go back to how they used to be
Find things to speed up the completion of something (Reactions, Social Change etc.)
Combine things (materials, resources, people) with different strength/properties to go from 1 + 1 = 2 🔜 1 + 1 = 10
One Liner Learning
Real success comes from being flexible enough to change, let go of what worked in the past and focus on what what you need to thrive in the future
Use what already exists / what you have, to solve new problems or for new functions
You need to exert constant effort, just to stay in the place you are in right now (or get left behind eventually)
Everybody always competes, it forces improvements
Nothing exists in isolation, everything is connected, your actions have far reaching consequences on others
We all strive to survive but sometimes it’s better to sacrifice the one, to save the whole or the short term for the long term
Niches are roles to be filled, specialists have less competition in times of stability but are more volatile, generalists have more challenges day-to-day but far more flexibility for change when times change
Frame interactions based on not only what you can get, but also what we can give
We all believe in certain things that have no inherent value (currency, laws, corporations), that make it possible for us to live together
The amount of people that you can maintain stable social relationships is limited to 150
We need hierarchies to work together as a leaderless environment creates more threats then a bad leader but we also need careful balance and we need to respect the social contract it creates
Always play close attention to the real incentives at play and also to the follow up problem of
Be aware of the natural tendency to minimize effort and when to correct for it when it creates value (e.g Reflections)
One Liner Learning
Use the information communicated in response of an action to improve in iterations
Our first try is rarely any good, what matters is improving our next effort via feedback
The endless adjustments to a system are our lives, nothing stays where it is forever
Use bottlenecks to solve the same problems in new ways and improve over time
Systems change as they scale, make sure to anticipate the new problems that will arise and plan for them accordingly
Don’t give into the temptation of improving our current efficiency while making our future selves more vulnerable to calamity → Buffer
Replacing components of a system is inevitable, new people bring new ideas and some turnover helps maintain stability
A way of thinking what processes can be put in place to get us the results we want by looking at the inputs and outputs
Some systems work best when slightly disorganized
Get insight into the amount of material (interactions, connections, efforts) needed for a system to change states and reach a self sustaining reaction
Some systems function as a whole in ways we can’t predict by looking at their parts
Some systems are chaotic and tiny changes of input can have severe consequences, those tend to be hard/impossible to predict (like weather)
Understanding the irreducible will make you accept what can be changed and will make you understand there adjusting and pivoting is possible
We usually can’t establish how a complex system works by looking at it’s parts and should avoid to design complex system from scratch instead of iterating there
Question the relationship between what you put in and what you get out of the system, there is a tipping point where returns can get less or even negative the more you put in
One Liner Learning
Help you contextualize what to expect given a certain data set (Normal, Power or other distributions)
Think long term about your knowledge, experiences and relationships as continued reinvestment is the safest way to set ourselves up for reliable, steady gains
Create reinforcing feedback loops that make users create more users because it makes the product better
Take the time to explore the non-obivous by increasing your sample size and be aware of how easy it is to corrupt our samples with bias
Things are not as predictable as they seem, randomness always plays a role and our pattern seeking narrative-building tendencies can sometimes get in the way
80% of the work takes 20% of the time and vice versa
Instead of trying to replicate unusual success or give up after exceptional failure, try to find the mean and build from there
If you have a zero in your system tackle this problem first, everything else will be wasted as anything multiplied by 0 is 0
Different inputs can produce identical results, this doesn’t mean things are the same because they’re equal (JTBD Competition)
Try to tackle improvements that pull their weight and improve things by an order of magnitude
Realize when increasing or limiting exposure is beneficial or will hurt as it will increase your surface area for good and bad things
Your upward trajectory is full of peaks and valleys and sometimes you have to go down (sacrifice in the short run) in order to climb even higher in the long run
One Liner Learning
Business aren’t hard and consist of 5 parts: Value Creation, Marketing, Sales, Value Deliver, Finance