There are lots of things you understand. If you can model something you don’t as something you do, you can transfer that understanding. So a really useful “meta” skill is just being able to cross-model things.

Here’s an example. Many of my clients have inadvertently adopted the model that “more stress” equals “more productivity” in a linear fashion. They feel stressed so they’re unproductive, but they’re unproductive so they’re stressed, so they add more stress by trying to do more in order to be more productive, and ka-boom.

Here’s a model a lot of people understand, though. Imagine you’re flying a fighter jet. You push the engine really hard, and the whole thing starts to shake and rattle. It starts to wobble and the instruments start to go red. You’re not flying very efficiently. Is your response, your solution, to give her more gas?!

No! You ease up. You quickly recognize that there’s an optimal flight speed, and it isn’t necessarily max power. You understand this even if you’ve never flown a fighter jet in your life.

This is why it’s awesome to just open up and let yourself learn weird things that aren’t directly relevant to your primary goals. Go watch that video about African snail mating habits! Who knows, maybe it’ll contain a model that helps you figure out a tricky client retention problem you’ve been having.

There are plenty of benefits to being a model learner.

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