The next mental-model building tip is to seek mentors. If mentors sounds silly or strange to you, you can say teachers. And they can be older than you, younger than you, it doesn’t matter.
The only thing that matters in selecting a mentor is that they are BETTER THAN YOU IN SOME AREA THAT YOU WANT TO IMPROVE.
Now that you’re up for the journey of building an interdisciplinary latticework of mental models, I know you’re looking to improve at something if not many things.
And make no mistake, this is what will pour rocket-fuel on your ability to store and retrieve memories, as well as building up new and healthier braincells and shielding your brain from degenerative disease later down the road.
The reason you want to find mentors constantly in life, no matter your age, is because if they have become more successful at something than you have, then they have been exposed to mental models that you haven’t. And almost every person on the planet enjoys sharing the wisdom and lessons they’ve acquired to help others learn the same skill.
One of my earliest mentors was my grandmother, who taught me how to recognize various bird species in Mid Michigan. To this day, I know more about birds than most people would ever care to, because I benefited from the years my Grandmother had spent bird watching and acquiring that skill and knowledge.
There’s an extremely simple formula to getting a great mentor to help you to learn new things, conquer new goals and build a more robust set of mental models.
Provide value to them, provide help to them, and if they ever advise you on how to do something related to the area they’re teaching you… DO IT. Do it EXACTLY as they say, do not add any of your own special touch.
That is the one currency of mentors…they enjoy having students, they do NOT enjoy having people who ask for help but do not follow through on the advice that they give.
If you always follow through no matter how hard their advice is, then they will gladly have you as a pupil for as long as you’d like.
In this way you instantly upgrade your mental models available for that area, which will help you in many other areas as well.
Now, there is an even faster way that you can literally steal the secret knowledge and skills of the top experts the world has ever seen…
For next to no money (and in some cases, none at all).
You can seek mentors in the form of books. Now, before you discount this as too obvious to be useful…consider this:
Many of the world’s greatest and most accomplished minds spent their entire lives devoted to mastery over one or many fields, and realized incredible hard-fought and hard-earned secrets in the process…and many of them simply write down their best-kept knowledge in a book that you can buy right now for $10 or less.
Think of any famous leader, artist, scientist, doctor, business expert, athlete, or politician in history and it’s very likely that they wrote a book, memoirs, or speeches.
Many of them are available for free online if they’re older than 100 years or so.
All of them are available for free with a library card.
Let’s say for example that you want to learn how to start a business. Do you think that Richard Branson, one of the richest and most successful entrepreneurs of the last century might have a good thing or two to say about the process? He’s written several books where he earnestly gives his best advice!
How about Sam Walton, who built a tiny five-and-dime store into the biggest retail chain and wealthiest family in the world?
He wrote a book in his later years telling the whole story and his best lessons in the interest of passing them on to his children.
Not to mention literally the greatest minds to have influenced human thought in thousands of years…aristotle, plato, socrates. Their thoughts and writings are freely available online and can be purchased for $5 or less at most book stores.
Say you’ve always wanted to try your hand at writing…did you know that Stephen King wrote a book JUST about his process for writing? Think that might be helpful?
For $10 or less you can learn from their mistakes, their lessons, their experiences and wisdom and upgrade your mental models in the process. Now Stephen King’s process for writing becomes YOUR process for writing. Thomas Jefferson’s thoughts on liberty and virtue become YOUR thoughts on liberty and virtue, free for you to tweak and improve as you see fit.
Think of each book from someone who knows something you don’t as a private, personal mentor, tutor and coach.
This alone will expose you to more mental models and put your brian and memory on lifelong steroids of growth, activity and vitality.