Mindset – Model the practitioners

Mindset - Success leaves clues. See, listen, read and ask those that have been there.

Give a man fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime

Miamonides courtesy of Brainquote.com

Success is easy it all begins with a mindset shift – Model the best and seek mentors

Goat Herder to Property Owner and Business Magnate

I worked for a multinational bank and managed lease transactions for the property portfolio. I came across an intriguing young man by the name of Shaka who owned property in one of the small towns in South Western Uganda and had various properties in the Capital City Kampala.

Shaka narrated to me how he started out. He began life as a goat herder who slept in a make shift goat pen with his owner’s goats.  This area of the country is reknown for cattle owners with vast herds of cattle and other livestock.

If you are constrained to sleeping in the same pen as goats then you can judge how poor Shaka was then. What saved him was a burning desire to emulate and live like his boss. He decided he would copy his boss’s actions and get himself out of that situation. Fortunately his family had a small piece of land where he could keep his goats.

Slowly and surely he saved money from his payments and bought his first goats. He eventually bought his first cow after his goats had multiplied. He kept on adding onto his herd and eventually managed to have a sizeable herd of cows and goats in a few short years.

Looking around him he realised the transport business was booming. He ventured into the transport business and bought a second hand pick up. He started transporting goods across the region. In time he was able to upgrade and buy his first lorry.

He never stopped there and eventually bought a fleet of trucks and became one of the major transporters for one of the largest cement factories in the country by the name of Hima Cement Company. After this he ventured into the real estate field. He bought land and property in various towns eventually he built his own hotel in the Capital City.

That is the power of having a mentor or copying success wherever you see it. He went from sleeping with goats to owning a hotel in a space of 15 years

What Mental Framework Guides You

You may have goals and targets in life but what guiding philosophy, principles, mental models and mindset do you carry with you. 

Our minds are modelled like computer operating systems and software applications. Our results only mirror what we feed our minds and how we process this input. Our minds are influenced by what we see when we grow up. Paraphrasing Dan Lok the Canadian Entrepreneur.  He wrote in one of his book s F.U. Money (A must read). Pg 128. This paragraph got me laughing and thinking.   

The majority of us are born into this world where we are picked up by a broke nurse and probably by broke doctors, handed over to broke parents, enrolled in schools and colleges were we are taught by broke teachers and professors and end up working for broke managers.

Our ecosystem influences us greatly. Our family, friends, religion, community, society, media, books we have read, education teachers and professors we have been exposed to, travel exposure all these contribute to our current mental models and framework.

This is the cycle we also repeat and pass on to our kids. Our minds are influenced by our environment. Tony Robbins in his seminal book Awaken the Giant Within put it aptly for us. We need to change our mental references if we are ever going to change our lives.

Another great book by Napoleon Hill is Think and Grow Rich here is where he talks about the importance of joining master mind groups or seeking mentors. The key here was in order to change we need the right influence to guide you.

Jim Rohn the great philosopher and motivator also stated it aptly show me your five best friends and I can predict your future. We tend to gravitate and will average the accomplishments of our best friends and peers.

Why do parents fret over their children’s friends and peers? They know the influence of peers on Children’s behaviour and performance is quite substantial.

What and whom do we model then?

When you decide to learn something new always model the best in that arena. Modelling the best is taking the proverbial short cut to your goals. Seek out the top achievers in a particular field and understand their thought process.

I look for an effective and efficient mental model. There are two major aspects in achieving goals –

Efficiency-  Definition Noun    courtesy  businessdictionary.com

The comparison of what is actually produced or performed with what can be achieved with the same consumption of resources (money, time, labor, etc.). It is an important factor in determination of productivity.

Efficiency answers the following question – How do you achieve your goal in the best manner possible? Least cost, time to achieve the goal, techniques used to produce the results. 

Effectiveness Definition Noun

the degree to which something is successful in producing a desired result; success. “the effectiveness of the treatment”

 Are you aiming at the right goal? Did you reach the target aimed for?

What we are striving for is efficiency and effectiveness. The best have already made the errors and found the answers to what you seek. Your only work is to improve on this store of knowledge by acting upon it and refining it further


I can task you and a friend to cut down a tree. All of you are given tools to choose from, an axe or chainsaw. I will make an assumption both of you have never encountered these tools before.

You choose the axe and your friend chooses the chainsaw.

 I also provide teachers who are proficient in using these tools to teach you how to use the tools. The first ten minutes are designated as learning time.

After that the clock starts ticking. Guess who will achieve the goal of cutting down the tree in the fastest time and with the least effort- You guessed it right your friend will spend the least effort and time to cut down the tree.

If you had a mentor before embarking on this simple exercise he or she would simply have told you to choose the chain saw to achieve this goal.

There are others who have been on this journey we are embarking on and are only willing to assist us if we ASK for their help.

Mental Models

One of the greatest investors of all time Charlie Munger emphasised the importance of mental models on the way we approach life. He made this in a speech he made to the University of Southern California in the year 2007. This has further been reinforced by Ray Dalio the largest hedge fund in the world in his book Principles.

How we think affects how we make important and critical decisions. What are the guiding frameworks for our most important decisions? Charlie Munger’s proposition for better decision making was to have an individual have knowledge in multiple disciplines which enhanced their thinking process.

He wanted us not make simple assumptions based on our own reality. We need to be able to subject our decision making to tests against other’s opinions and other models that are already in place.

When we learn to connect the dots between multiple areas and disciplines- lattice thinking this is when we can make better informed decisions

There are close to one and hundred and sixty five known mental models. I will list down some important models one should consider as part of their arsenal

  • Understanding your circle of competence
  • First Principles Thinking
  • Confirmation of Bias
  • Pareto 80/20 rule of prioritization
  • The Bell Curve
  • Root Cause Analysis
  • Second order thinking
  • Top of Mind
  • Probabilistic Thinking
  • Controlled Experiment
  • Cause and Effect
  • Inversion
  • Reciprocity
  • Social Proof
  • Deliberate Practice
  • Self Bias
  • Regret Minimization
  • Eisenhower Matrix
  • Landscape Learning
  • Compounding
  • Randomness

Changing Your Mindset

Why do I highlight the importance of having models to emulate? Any change begins with a mindset shift. The foundations of success and any sustainable growth have to always start with a mindset shift.

Do not be embarrassed to seek help from a mentor do not let your ego stand in your way of excellence.  The next best thing is to read books, listen to podcasts, and watch videos of the best.

There is a vast library called the internet out there. This is a sea of knowledge that is unprecedented in mankind’s history. Barriers to achievement have been reduced tremendously. The only factor is the effort you are willing to put in.

 Embrace the right knowledge, emulate the best and reach for the sky

2 thoughts on “Mindset – Model the practitioners”

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