We have all experienced some mental Olympics when we have dealt with a significant crisis or change in our life. How we see the crisis, or change, and it's consequences can significantly affect our response. These can lead us into actions, overreactions and in some cases paralysis. The importance of having a systematically grounded mental model can be crucial in dealing with our view of change and growth.
The concept of mental models has been around for years. They can be called many things, such as models, paradigms, and filters. The latter term can be limiting but it does describe one essential aspect of how most mental models can be applied. When we subconsciously apply mental models, we will filter input that doesn't fit our model and we can overestimate the importance of confirming information. In this day and age, our society is becoming fractured, dis-integrated, because rapid communication like cable news, social media, etc. tend to be avenues where people can feed on Confirmation Bias. Being able to understand a big picture that is grounded in our goals and tested open-mindedly is a critical step in self-mastery and establishing a working systems thinking model for yourself.
An important skill that one needs to apply to our lives to unlock The Power of One, is the skill of reflection. Peter Senge wrote in his seminal work The Fifth Discipline that, "skills of reflection concern the slowing down our own thinking processes so that we become more aware of how we form our mental models and the way they influence our actions." The bottom line is systems thinking, in absence of mastery of our mental models, is ineffective to get us to where we wish to go.
I would love to hear from my readers about instances where you've come face-to-face with the realization that your mental model(s) was disconnected from the big picture.