Scale Models

People have an internal frame of reference. They have a concept in the world that, whether it accurately maps onto the real world or not, is what they must operate in. We can try to improve the accuracy of our mental models of the world (and we should!) but they’ll never reach perfection, and they’ll never perfectly line up with another person’s.

One of the best things you can do for a person you love is to respect their mental model. Someone might tell you that something is very, very important. You might think it isn’t, but the point isn’t the disagreement: the point is that in their world, it is very important indeed. Their model may change – in the future, they may look back and think that thing wasn’t very important at all. But they will also remember whether or not you chose to believe them when they said it was, and wanted to share it.

Collaboration is bringing two or more mental models into better alignment. Love is just saying, “I believe yours.”

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