the building blocks of making

better decisions


explore

Mental models are a way of explaining how things work. Throughout our lives, we build up a personal collection of mental models to understand the world around us.

Mental models aren't perfect but developing a rich toolbox of them can be useful in navigating the complexities of life. Learning to intuitively apply the right models in the right situations is something we develop with practice.

This website is a curated collection of models with broad applicability in everyday life. There’s a focus on brief descriptions and simple, real life examples of the models in use.


This Weeks Model

Scarcity

We tend to place higher value on things that are rare and lower value on things that are abundant. 

Description

Scarcity refers to our tendency to place value on things according to how rare they are. It's often used as a mental shortcut to assess the value of something based on how easy or difficult is it to acquire. Scarcity doesn't just apply to objects--it can also be applied to things like time and information. For instance, we might place high value on spending some time with a busy individual or getting access to confidential information. Since scarcity can increase our desire for something, it's often artificially created to sell something. A good strategy to combat this desire is to remember that scarcity only increases our desire to obtain something and doesn't affect the actual value we'll extract from it.

Examples

  • Sales techniques likes setting deadlines on promotions or indicating that limited quantities are available are designed to drive up scarcity driven desire for the item being sold.
  • When information is censored, we not only feel a stronger desire to know about it and but also tend to be more favorable to it.