Model of the world

Model of the world

All of us share a common human experience of living on planet earth; we are born, we live and then we die. As we try to make sense of the world, understanding how things work and how we can use what we know to survive and thrive, we adopt attitudes, opinions and beliefs that shape who we are and determine who we can be. Some of it is inherited, some of it learnt in infancy and other modifications are made as we grow older. We incorporate what we learn as we go forward and mostly we do this unconsciously.

Simple examples

Say you want to be richer tomorrow. At a basic level, most of us understand that spending less or earning more will work to start to make ‘richer tomorrow’ happen.

Say you want to be bigger, then most of us get that eating more or lifting bigger weights, or both, will work to make us ‘bigger’.

There are some Cause and effect relations we know about and we can see working in ourselves or others. The patterns are there and the more of them we understand the more effectively we can predict and engineer our results.


Our models represent our collection of what we know or what we believe to be true. We use them often unconsciously to make choices and decisions on a daily basis.



What’s in a Model of the world?

It’s your collated view of how things work. It’s a collection of beliefs about you, about us, about the environment you experience and about the relationship between these elements. You can see your model building up into something that tells you how things work. It allows you to forecast estimate and choose your behaviours tactics and strategy.

It is your view of all the elements that build into your performance in everything and culminates in what you could see as the rules you believe should follow to survive and thrive.  Tts like your own personal matrix for predicting, understanding and effectng what happens.

More importantly, your model has authority. Most of us don’t really know why we do what we do. Much of it is an unconscious process or gut feel and this is how your model operates.

If it helps, you could see your model as a  list of the rules you  have to follow to get things done or to make things happen.


Your Model guides you

You could see it as a route set in your own GPS system. A route that doesn’t reflect where you really want to go and doesn’t have a clear view of the territory you are covering.

The model covers simple things that are clear to you and work for you like a clear and  direct Cause and Effect relationship :

I eat more carbs and I get fatter

Or it can cover more complicated stuff where the simple cause and effect may be hideously complicated. Things like:

If I am nice to other people then they will be nice to me.

Just like an unseen hand on your steering your best guess, your choice of actions or even destinations are determined by your model.

and just like an unseen guiding hand that knows best it creates pressure to maintain on the safe route it has prescribed.

When we are busy or stressed or just really busy we make choices and take decisions without really thinking and in these moments we rely on our model to guide us.

If your model is out of date or inappropriate and yet we default to it when we are busy elsewhere the result is that your model shapes your world and your performance in it.


What if I told you that its likely your model is not really your model?

For most of us these Models evolve unconsciously from an early age. Elements build on each other as we mature and often they include Values Beliefs Rules and ideas we would not consciously accept today.

Perhaps they reflect the rules we needed when we were younger, less capable , more bothered by what others thought?

Perhaps they include ineffective elements that lead to regular and predictable patterns of failure or upset?


Why do we need to think about our Models?

The bad news is you have a model whether you think about it or not. Our models can remain hidden and as a result many of us spend our precious time and resources working on, or worrying about things, we just can’t change rather than on the things we could change if we targeted them effectively.

Our model of the world explains much of what we choose decide and do in these unconscious moments of decision and choice. You could say it’s our default subconscious operating system.

It’s effectiveness or otherwise also causes much of our angst or upset and stress.

When looking to move forward towards a better situation or even life we have to use what we know or believe to be true to assess what we could have what we could achieve and then choose how to go about making it happen.

Even when we think this through consciously we experience dissonance and this provides clues to the conflict between what we think now and what our models actually dictate.

A powerful model can limit your aspirations can dictate your methods and can determine your results and how you feel about them.

Some models say failure is feedback others say failure is a sign to stop trying.

The beliefs or rules that make up your model underpin or undermine your actions, how you nudge things along or how you set the ‘balls running’ to have the life you want. If there’s a problem with your model of the world, then at a minimum it causes dissonance but this disconnect is just as likely to lead you astray and undermine everything you attempt do.

Some models of the world are more effective than others. Some models of the world generate ineffective inappropriate or out of date rules and in turn this creates failure patterns time and again.

Making sure your model suits you is the fundamental first step to define and create your own success. 

The contents of our models are critical and yet most of us never discover what they contain.  Of those who do, few make the leap to understand that we can choose the model elements and configure the resulting rules to ensure coherence between our model and who we are today.

Once these two are aligned following the model in those unconscious moments automatically gives us more of the life we really want.

Locus of Control

Your Model of the world will also specify what you think about change.

It covers things like:

  • Do you believe this change is generally possible (for anyone)
  • Do you believe this change is personally possible (for you)

Similarly it helps you define what you  think you can control and what you think you can’t control:

The serenity prayer gives us some good advice:

“Please grant me the Serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
The Courage to change the things I can,
and Wisdom to know the difference”

This wisdom stems from our models – 

  • Our models inform what we think it is possible for us to change and what we think we can’t change.

Often this is something  our models get wrong reflecting past limitations that are no longer the case.


  • Our Models are there to inform our decisions and choices

They cover everything from what we think we can change, right through to how we can change it, whether we should or not and how to interpret the results we get. the degree to which you think you have control and actually have it is determined by the contents of your model.

You can rarely see what is right in front of you.

This may sound so obvious and basic when it’s written down like this but the sad facts seem to be:

  • Most of us never take the time to understand or review the nature of our models.
  • Most of us never consciously address what they contain or what we add to them as we age.
  • Most of us  don’t critically review their effectiveness in helping us determine and then giving us the life we really want.
  • When we are busy or stressed we can make choices and take decisions without really thinking.
  • Our Models evolve unconsciously and often they include Values Beliefs Rules and ideas we would not consciously accept.
  • Many of us spend our precious time and resources working on the wrong rules and assumptions.
  • Or worrying about things, we just can’t change.

Is part of the problem that some beliefs feel sacrosanct?

Can you change what you believe ?

Some of our delegates believed they couldn’t change their beliefs and as long as this belief remained in place they were proved right.

But day to day and decade to decade our communal beliefs change all the time – who says individual beliefs cant be changed?

Some of our delegates believed they could change their beliefs and ty too were proved right


It’s worth asking yourself:

  • what you think a belief is for?
  • how holding a particular belief helps you have your perfect life?

Most of our delegates continually returned to the idea that beliefs were about understanding how to survive and thrive or live well ……

If it suited you better to believe something else – why couldn’t you just the new belief for a few weeks – act as if you believed the new belief and see if it generates better results ?


Your Model and your Monkey


What if we looked at the idea that your Monkey knows your existing model better than you do?

What if they see your model as your rules that they must help you to follow ignorer for you to thrive and survive??

What if they see their role as defending your model against all comers – you included?

If your model is out of date and no longer reflects who and what you have become, if it is not a true representation of what the current you believes then  you will experience dissonance.

This dissonance will occur  when you make what feel like sensible conscious choices to you but somehow they go against your model.

This dissonance will appear as a torrent of thoughts and noise and you will be plagued with uncertainty.

Dithery procrastinating behaviour, inappropriate worry or loss of mojo are all  trade marks of an out of date or inappropriate model.

Relatively straight forward choices, choices that should happen in moments before you move on strongly to do and achieve some thing else will become complicated and loaded with emotion as your Monkey fires up to defend what it thinks is your model of the world against your latest choice or decision.

Understanding what your model includes now and that it dictates how you behave and what you experience in return is a major realisation for many.

Understanding the possibility that much of your Monkeys noise is driven by their need to help you stay on track and stick with what your model says allows us to understand so much more of what is going on in the average human head.

From a success point of view; once we accept what we get now is based on what we do and this in turn upon what we believe about how the world works we can actively tweak our model to get better results

From a Monkey relationship point of you, once we understand that part of their role is defending our model – making sure we behave and think consistently with it we can use the dissonance as clues to investigate elements of the model we may wish to tweak.

The next two Monkey books will be ability finding out what’s in your model and then looking author to change it.

Next steps


Whether it’s upgrading or modernising your model to meet the needs of the new older, more capable you or if it’s a cleaning process, rejecting old  rules and beliefs that simply do not work any longer it’s possible to create a working model that suits you and reflects who you really are.

A representative model of the world allows greater automatic alignment with your Monkey, resulting in less worry, fear stress and anguish and dissonance.

As some say singing off the same hymn sheet makes sense and nowhere does this make more sense than internally.


From our perspective, in building a new relationship with our Monkey, it’s worth recognising that our Monkey may just be following what he thinks of as our rules. They may have a much more direct access to our existing models and some of the interruption or criticism comes because we seem to be breaking our own rules.

This means any disagreement or dissonance may give us clues to outdated areas on our existing models. This is one of the reasons why ignoring our Monkeys will never give permanent peace.

Even if we and they are fully aware and truly focussed on our destination (what we are trying to achieve), an outdated Model will cause the Monkey to interrupt and distract us from progress to defend what this outdated model states.

The existence of your Model of the world explains much of why you do the things you do, why you knowingly repeat patterns of behaviour that don’t work for you and why sometimes your Monkey and you fight.

For now understanding the possible relationship between you your model of the world and your Monkey can help you get your head around what is really happening. Simply being open to this option over the next few days will show you some insights into how you really work. It’s worth investigating further……

Remember know one knows how things really work – all we need is a model that works for us to give us the life we really want to live.

The follow up book to the Misaligned Monkey is The Misaligned Model – How to identify and tweak for better results…. due for launch later in 2022

See our book shelf for more information on elements, stories and availability.