Give it time to sink

I was talking to one of my colleagues the other day, and we discussed about "mental models" and about upgrading our "Brain OS". As the conversation progressed, the discussion came around to our frustrations about making these stick. This is a common problem and I am sharing my solution in this short article.

I am a huge fan of the blog called farnam street. They have a collection of well written articles about mental models (the way the world works, and how we can make effective decisions). It is a lot of content, and very insightful too. I'm sure you would have come across similar golden nuggets on the internet. We tend to go through the different articles and feel very productive in the moment, but that soon fades away as we come back into reality and we remember none of it in practice.

Quite often, we look for the quick and easy way to do things. We crave the 1 hour crash course on React or other framework or technology.

I have been frustrated by this process for a long time, but couldn't figure out what the issue was, until I came across the book called Deep Work by Cal Newport. The author suggests that in order to make the most meaningful progress, or to produce the most productive output, we need to be free of distractions. We should focus on the task at hand for a long stretch of time. With our never ending social media notifications interrupting us every 20 minutes, this felt far from our reality and it made sense why we couldn't do "Deep Work".

Thinking along similar lines, I felt that this could be the reason for me not being able to grasp and implement the mental models and productivity concepts that I came across. I was always in a rush going through different concepts and never spent any deep time on each concept individually - which resulted in me being "distracted" (not just by social media lol), but by the very same thing that would help me improve myself!

From there out I tried a slower and more deliberate attempt at learning about mental models. This involved me picking a few and only looking at one model per day. I would spend maybe half an hour (and sometimes, multiple days) understanding the ins and outs of that specific mental model. And each new idea that I understood about it, I documented into my Notion app. This slow and focused learning helped me understand and imprint each concept into my life at a deeper level.

And that's it! There is no quick fix or magic video or article that will make you a 100x person overnight. It is all about spending deliberate focused time on understanding simple concepts. In short, give it time to sink!