My Pi-Spective on Changing Mental Models

Change Choice

(A pi-spective is where you write about something using only 314 words)

Change is a choice. The choice is mainly about taking on new mental models.

We tend to like the way we think. Many of us got where we are today because of disciplined application of time and effort to a profession. We associate ourselves to these professions. Much of who we are is what we do.

What we do is an extension of how we think. We've been encouraged to specialize in something and tend to build mental models that reflect our specialty. We tend to come away with strong attachments to few ideas. Which is a good thing if there's not much change in our environment.

Which isn't an accurate description for the modern world. Strong attachments to few ideas in an environment of rapid change means we're easily interrupted. We're presented with more evidence that we need to update our mental models. But because those models made us successful and we are what we do, we aren't naturally inclined to update our models.

Each interruption tends to increase our irritation and we start to form sustained and persistent negative views to change. This is because we have fewer alternative pathways to success. Which is another way of saying the modern age is built for the generalist.

Holding moderately strong attachments to many ideas gives the generalist more chance to avoid serious interruption. What I mean by interruption is more like disconfirmation. One or more of our assumptions about the world gets challenged, which disrupts our well organised plans.

The most well organized plans are works of fiction. The rate of knowledge invalidation in a Big Data world pretty much guarantees it to be so. The idea that we can plan our way out of trouble is a tightly held one and central to our need to believe we can control our fate.

It takes courage to be free. Change is a choice.

Image via BossFight