Everything you see around you is based off of everything you have already seen and the things you already know (or think you know). The way information is perceived is different from person to person because everyone has a different model. Ideas come in, you process them, and then you reference them against your models. Take a page from Richard Maybury, writer of a series known as Uncle Eric books.

¨Models are how we think, they are how we understand how the world works. As we go through life we build these very complex pictures in our minds of how the world works, and we’re constantly referring back to them – matching incoming data against our models. That’s how we make sense of things.¨ – Richard Maybury

And this is true whether you believe it or not. The models you have in your head right now are referencing the idea of a model, trying to come up with any past information about what a model is. Chances are you have never heard of a model before, because it is not taught anywhere. Never have I come across a teacher who understands models, much less how to teach them. Not to put them entirely at fault; they were not taught either. No school has a curriculum that includes the explanation of models, and so very few people today have a proper understanding of what they are.

Another good point on models; they can be incorrect.

Say, for example, that you grew up your whole life thinking that an elephant was a hippo. In your head, your model of an elephant would be that of a hippo; you created an incorrect model. Now, even if you had never heard any different, even if you never wanted to believe any different, even if you were absolutely convinced to the center of your being that an elephant was a hippo, it doesn’t make your model correct. Your model would still be wrong, no matter how vehemently you insisted otherwise.

That is why, today, bad ideas persist for so long. Without an understanding of how models work, it is easy to mistake opinion for fact, if it sounds like fact. So, a tip; next time you hear something that doesn’t sound quite right, try consciously putting it up against what you already know or believe about it. Challenge your own models to see if they could be incorrect.

Thanks again, K

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