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Models: the passive view

posted by Joshua on January 7, 2012 in Awareness, Blog, Evolutionary Psychology, Nature
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[This post is part of a series on The Model — my model for the human emotional system designed for use in leadership, self-awareness, and general purpose professional and personal development — which I find the most effective and valuable foundation for understanding yourself and others and improving your life. If you don’t see a Table of Contents to the left, click here to view the series, where you’ll get more value than reading just this post.]

Today I’ll review the main points arising from simply knowing about that we create models that mediate our interactions with our worlds — what I call the passive view. Merely knowing about models passively, not what to do with them but just the following points, will help you understand people, avoid pointless argument and debate, and influence others more effectively.

  • Using models and beliefs is inevitable and necessary: your environment is too complex to understand without them.
  • Because they are simplifications, they are all flawed, including yours. They leave out information, are subject to your biases, and contradict each other.
  • “Truth” and “rightness” are not so well-defined generally. Within a model they may have clear meaning, but not everyone uses the same models, so what seems right or true to one person may not to another.
  • Your goal in life is likely not to be right, but to live a better life by your standards. Models are more valuable for how they achieve their purpose than how right or accurate they seem. You often have to choose between being right (and arguing self-righteously) and accepting other people have different models (and communicating meaningfully).
  • We tend to accept evidence supporting models and ignore contrary evidence.
  • Beliefs result in strategies. You behave consistently with what you believe more than with what you say. So does everyone else.
  • It can be difficult to differentiate between objective reality (if there is such a thing and you can observe it) and your beliefs.

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