Five Mental Models from High Achievers

High achievers have certain mental models – guiding principles – that propel them towards exceptional accomplishments.

Five Mental Models from High Achievers
Photo by Artiom Vallat / Unsplash

High achievers have certain mental models – guiding principles – that propel them towards exceptional accomplishments.

Here are five of my favorite principles, recounted and practiced by renowned figures like Tim Ferriss, Jocko Willink, Eric Weinstein, and Paulo Coelho. They offer valuable insights that can revolutionize your approach to challenges and elevate you to become a high performer.

We are Surrounded by Cheat Codes

Unlock your potential by adopting cheat codes from accomplished individuals.

These mental models serve as invaluable tools for success, allowing you to tap into the wisdom cultivated by those who have already achieved greatness.

Embrace these principles, and you'll navigate your day with confidence and resilience.

"What would this look like if it was easy?" - Tim Ferriss

Simplify your approach to daunting tasks by asking yourself how you can make them easier.

Imagine you're starting a new project that seems overwhelming. Instead of diving into all the complex details at once, break it down into smaller, manageable tasks, and create a clear step-by-step plan.

Making the Model Stick:

  1. Incorporate this question into your daily routine: When faced with a challenge, pause and reflect on how to simplify the process.
  2. Visualize the end result: Envision the ease and efficiency of completing the task in its simplest form, motivating yourself to take action.
  3. Share the principle with co-workers: Encourage a culture of simplicity and innovative problem-solving in your team by discussing this model and its benefits.

Be prepared for anything with backup plans and redundancies.

You're organizing an important event, and you are keenly aware that things can go wrong.

Instead of just crossing your fingers, you have a backup venue in case of unexpected issues with the primary location. Or a back up caterer. Or you budget a deadline 1 day before the event so you have 24 hours to fixify anything that goes wrong.

Making the Model Stick:

  1. Conduct risk assessments: Identify potential points of failure in your projects and create contingency plans to address them.
  2. Communicate the importance of preparedness: Encourage your team to adopt this model and understand the value of readiness for unforeseen circumstances.
  3. Regularly review and update backup plans: As circumstances change, ensure that your contingency plans remain relevant and effective.

"When you’re told that something is impossible, is that the end of the conversation, or does that start a second dialogue in your mind, how to get around whoever it is that’s just told you that you can’t do something?" @EricRWeinstein

The High Agency Model

Seize control of your narrative and destiny.

When you encounter skeptics who doubt the feasibility of your innovative idea, use their skepticism as motivation to prove them wrong and find solutions to their concerns.

You are in the driver's seat. Yes, you should follow the traffic signals and rules of the road. But don't let a backseat driver or some rando on the side of the road change your route.

Use these situations as a reminder of what you are up to, and get to it!

Making the Model Stick:

  1. Cultivate a growth mindset: Embrace challenges as opportunities for growth and learning, believing that you can find solutions to any obstacle.
  2. Surround yourself with like-minded individuals: Seek out a supportive network that encourages your agency and shares your determination to succeed.
  3. Set ambitious goals: Challenge yourself to achieve ambitious targets, and let the belief in your agency drive you towards accomplishing them.

"What happens if I do the opposite of everyone else?" - Tim Ferriss

Challenge conventional wisdom by exploring unconventional approaches.

The less we know, the more we crave confirmation from others. Think about getting off the train at a new station. New folks just follow the others in front of them – kind of makes sense. And it's a low-cost decision. But that's not how to do your core work every day.  

If your industry typically relies on traditional marketing methods, consider experimenting with cutting-edge digital marketing techniques to stand out from competitors.

If you are trying to beat the system, you have to think outside the system.

Making the Model Stick:

  1. Embrace curiosity: Cultivate a habit of questioning the status quo and seeking alternative perspectives.
  2. Keep an open mind: Be receptive to feedback and ideas that differ from the norm, allowing room for innovation.
  3. Record and evaluate results: Monitor the outcomes of your unconventional approaches and analyze their impact on your goals.

"The world is changed by your example, not your opinion." - Paulo Coelho

Lead by example and embody your values through actions.

Promoting a healthy work-life balance in your organization will only work as much as the choices you make. Unless you (leadership) are willing to make the change, others will also find reason to resist.

This also acts as a decision-making function. If you won't do it, why would anyone else?

Making the Model Stick:

  1. Consistency is key: Align your actions with your values consistently to build trust and inspire others to follow your lead.
  2. Communicate with authenticity: Share the reasons behind your actions to demonstrate the importance of living your values.
  3. Recognize and celebrate others' positive examples: Acknowledge and encourage those who exemplify shared values, reinforcing a culture of leading by example.

Final Thoughts

Adopting these five powerful mental models will propel you toward exceptional accomplishments.

Don't overthink it. Just pick one and commit to using it across a week as often as possible.  

As that gains traction, return and work to add others.

Step by step, day by day, you are putting the pieces of the puzzle into place.