The world is complex. To deal with complexity, humans have made models to better understand what’s happening around them. They come in both abstract and tangible forms. Whether it’s an idea, mathematical formula, or replica of a physical thing.

We’re exposed to different models throughout our lives.

When we’re young we’re exposed to the models that our parents believe in. Most people blindly adopt these models without ever questioning their validity because it’s too much work.

I don’t think I’ll be able to cover all the models that exist but I wanted to talk about a few that I think a lot about.

  • What’s a friend?
  • What’s love?
  • What’s a loving relationship?
  • Do I identify with the religion I was raised with?
  • What does it mean to be Indian?
  • What does it mean to be poor?
  • What does it mean to be happy?
  • What does it mean to be sad?
  • What does it mean to be healthy?
  • Etc…

Seemingly simple questions but if you asked 10 people from different backgrounds, you’ll hear 10 different answers.


All of these people have different models of the world.

In fact, this is what makes communication so difficult. Your definition of love, happiness, and relationships is very different from those around you.

To improve how you communicate, re-define your models first. Then, seek to understand the models of the person on the other side. This is what it means to empathize with someone.

What are your models?

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