7 Fundamental Mental Models That Ground Your Life

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Understand Your World Through These 7 Mental Models

Mental Models have the remarkable ability to play background quarterback to your life. Mental Models are written into the fabric of our cultures and the processes of the succesfull.

They are the inner voice you cannot hear, but you listen to none the less.

You may recognise these concepts and understand them so well because you are already living them out. These are 7 Mental Models that fundamentally ground your life.


Kayne West paraphrased the German great and handlebar moustache extraordinaire, Friedrich Nietzsche, when he said…

“That, that don’t kill me, can only make me stronger”

Antifragility gains from disorder.

Most things fall into the category of being either fragile or robust. Things that are fragile break from disorder (a plane of glass breaks when hit), while things robust (a slab of concrete) withstand disorder. However, the key is something robust does not improve from disorder.

And that is where Antifragility exists. It gains from disorder. Antifraglity loves disorder.

This term, coined by Nassim Taleb, can be best explained through the prism of human muscles.

My bicep is Antifragile.

Every time it is stressed (a bicep curl). The muscle strengthens. Muscles gain from disorder.

“What doesn’t kill me, makes me stronger”, Friedrich Nietzsche.

It is important to recognise the stress threshold. If I try bicep curling a car, I will rip my biceps and tear my back. Too much stress can make anything fragile.

The key is to identify the threshold of disorder within your domain, and get as close to reaching it as possible making sure you never tow the line.

The amazing thing about Antifragility is, that as you continue to stress your threshold, the bar is continually set higher and higher, making you stronger and stronger.

Listen To My Podcast Examining Nassim Taleb’s Book: Antifragile.

Cumulative Error

Other wise and more commonly known as, the snowball effect.

Once an error at the top is made, and goes unnoticed, it will only serve to be further propagated by its continual reprint.

In our era of interconnectedness and constant, immediate attention, the cumulative error is responsible for so much of the ‘fake news’.

Matthew Principle

This principle simply explains the old saying, ‘the rich get richer’. The principle is quite intuitive and easy to understand.

Opportunities breed opportunities. Success breeds success.

This principle is not confined simply to money markets. It applies to any competitive domain. But the core principle is that advantage begets advantage. Winning once exposes you to more opportunities that you or anyone else had, before that initial win. This effect then compounds as such that a great majority of a domain is occupied by a winning minority (Pareto Principle).

Cultural Parasitism

A parasite thrives to the detriment of the host.

Least barrier to resistance ideology is the parasite to Cultural Parasitism, corrupting the host’s mind to transfer and spread the ideology.

Therefore ideologies that survive (religion) are configured to be easily transferable rather than configured to be true. Don’t get angry about the proclamation that religion is not true! Rather examine religion honestly and determine whether it is spread because of deeply relatable and identifiable stories, or because it is true?

Belief Bias

Individuals are more likely to rely upon prior knowledge and personal beliefs.

We are more likely to accept conclusions as true because they are ‘believable’ rather than accept them because they are logically valid.

All beliefs systems, primarily those faith-based, utilise an individuals belief bias through ‘long bow’ arguments. It offers an explanation for why two different people, an Atheist and a Christian, can be presented with the same facts and come away with two completely contrary conclusions.

Network Effect

Each additional user that joins the network adds a marginal value to every existing user within the network.

Facebook is only as good as its network. The value of Facebook is not in its algorithm, or its software, or its memes. Facebook’s value is the extensiveness of its network.

Think back to when only half your friends were on Facebook. Each time one additional friend joined, the value of Facebook for you increased.

This is the network effect. It is a powerful concept that is a ubiquitous goal for all technology startups.

Example Of The Network Effect

Think of when the telephone came about. The telephone is a classic case of the network effect.

Not much use having a phone if you are the only one.

What if five people had them?

How about ten?

What if everyone you knew had them?

All of sudden, the telephone is invaluable. And that is the power of the network effect.

Peter Principle

This principle affirms my ceaseless criticism of bureaucracies.

In slow dyeing hierarchies such as big business or government, people will be promoted until their competence threshold is met. At the point of this threshold they will not be good enough to justify further promotion.

They will remain where they are in mediocrity.

As a result, the bureaucracies that move and shape our world are filled with individuals who are not good at their jobs.

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