In thinking about how I think, I am aware that I operate on lots of mental models; maps of the world.
A mental model is an explanation of someone’s thought process about how something works in the real world. It is a representation of the surrounding world, the relationships between its various parts and a person’s intuitive perception about his or her own acts and their consequences.
A good example is a road map.. The map is not the territory, but it represents the territory in a way that makes it useful.
I am going to share one example of a mental model I use in my coaching practice and then in the next several blogs share others that have been useful to me in my life.
The Johari window model is a simple and useful tool for illustrating and improving self-awareness, and mutual understanding between individuals.It helps people better understand their relationship with themselves and others.
Open, or Arena
This the part of you that is known to you and known to others. It behavior and motivations that are public.
Hidden, or Façade
This is the part you that you know about yourself but that others don’t know. This can include thoughts, feelings, motivations, secrets, or personal history.
This is the part of you that others know but of which you are unaware. They see behavior that you are not conscious about and perhaps might deny it and be defensive. Just ask your spouse or a colleague to give you some honest feedback and you will get a sense of this.
This the unconscious part of you that others don’t know and neither do you.
Just knowing this model has been useful to me. I have found it beneficial to be more open. Exposing the hidden parts myself have allowed me to be more authentic and disclosive with others. And, this has led to greater intimacy and trust with others.
Does knowing my blind spots help me in personal and work relationships? Of course. Anytime I can learn more about myself, it can be positive and lead to meaningful change. When we recognize our unconscious patterns we can grow.
I have also found that there are ways to surface the unknown about myself through reading about personality dynamics and unconscious patterns that might be present. A therapist can help with this as well. See my blog about Shadow.
So, with this example, I hope you can see that value of metal models. I will share more in future blogs.
Can you see that many of your attitudes, beliefs, judgements and assessments are based on your mental models?
In what way can you create greater intimacy by disclosing more of yourself to love ones?