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As we live life, we encounter an immense amount of input, receive just as much stimuli, and have to make sense of them to make decisions or take actions. How do we actually process them? I had thought that we usually winged it or allowed some personal guidelines to function through them.

Recently I’ve learned that we instinctively develop some mental models so that we simply do not become overwhelmed. And that we can go beyond instincts to pick up and practice new models.

The book Mental Models by Pete Hollins outline 30 essential thinking tools that everyone should develop and internalise. He posits that each of us may deploy 100 or more mental models, depending on our life, our job, hobbies or interests. These 30 models form the 80-20 Pareto rule (which is also a mental model, itself) that gives us improved decision-making, logical analysis and problem solving.

I am rather stoked that I already live some of the mental models before reading the book. Like “Address ‘Important’, Ignore ‘Urgent'” as a way to prioritize time and focus. I had arrived to some mental models through other reflections or readings, and didn’t quite name it the same way. His outlines (and stories) help clarify the framework for each model.

Some models you may know:
– Ignore “Black Swans”
– Separate Correlation from Causation
– Murphy’s Law
– and yes, Pareto Principle

I plan to reflect on more models and place my own examples into them, so as to make the models mine.