Richard Feynman Mental Model

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Mental Models: How to Train Your Brain to Think in New Ways
By James Clear | Mental Models
You can train your brain to think better. One of the best ways to do this is to expand the set of mental models you use to think. Let me explain what I mean by sharing a story about a world-class thinker.

I first discovered what a mental model was and how useful the right one could be while I was reading a story about Richard Feynman, the famous physicist. Feynman received his undergraduate degree from MIT and his Ph.D. from Princeton. During that time, he developed a reputation for waltzing into the math department and solving problems that the brilliant Ph.D. students couldn’t solve.
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student at Princeton and MIT is brilliant. What separated Feynman from his peers wasn 't necessarily raw intelligence. It was the way he saw the problem. He had a broader set of mental models.

Richard Feynman teaching some of his mental models to physics students.

What is a Mental Model?
A mental model is an explanation of how something works. It is a concept, framework, or worldview that you carry around in your mind to help you interpret the world and understand the relationship between things. Mental models are deeply held beliefs about how the world works.

For example, supply and demand is a mental model that helps you understand how the economy works. Game theory is a mental model that helps you understand how relationships and trust work. Entropy is a mental model that helps you understand how disorder and decay work.

Mental models guide your perception and behavior. They are the thinking tools that you use to understand life, make decisions, and solve problems. Learning a new mental model gives you a new way to see the world—like Richard Feynman learning a new math
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Each field has a few mental models that form the backbone of the topic. For example, some of the pillar mental models from economics include ideas like Incentives, Scarcity, and Economies of Scale.

If you can master the fundamentals of each discipline, then you can develop a remarkably accurate and useful picture of life. To quote Charlie Munger again, “80 or 90 important models will carry about 90 percent of the freight in making you a worldly-wise person. And, of those, only a mere handful really carry very heavy freight.”

I 've made it a personal mission to uncover the big models that carry the heavy freight in life. After researching more than 1,000 different mental models, I gradually narrowed it down to a few dozen that matter most. I 've written about some of them previously, like entropy and inversion, and I 'll be covering more of them in the future. If you 're interested, you can browse my slowly expanding list of mental models.

My hope is to create a list of the most important mental models from a wide range of disciplines and explain them in a way that is not only easy to understand, but also meaningful and practical to the daily life of the average person. With any luck, we can all learn how to think just a little bit
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