Mental Models Explained Via Malayalam Movie Characters

Mental models represent one’s thought process for how something works. We use these models (knowingly or unknowingly) to interpret the world around us and make decisions in daily life. The number of models you know (and understand) is directly proportional to the quality of decisions you make.

Most of us acquire mental models over the course of our lives – from our personal and professional experiences. But these are usually limited to a certain field and this prevents us from having a better understanding of the world around us. This problem can be solved by learning new mental models.

Let us embark on this journey through a series of articles that will look at mental models from various fields, along with examples from Mollywood, and together we’ll acquire an extensive toolbox to have a better perception of reality.

Also Read: Cognitive Biases Explained Via Malayalam Movie Characters

We’ll start with a few core mental models. These are mental models that are, quite literally, applicable in our daily lives.

Circle of Competence

You have to be honest with yourself about what your weaknesses are. If you let your ego drive you, there is a high chance that you’ll fail. Understand where you are vulnerable and where you can improve as it will help you make better decisions and achieve favourable outcomes. 

Ponjikkara, in Kalyanaraman, does not have the physical strength that he used to. He seems to be living in denial and this leads to him becoming a laughing stock.

Mental Models

Occam’s Razor

A simpler explanation is preferable to a complex one. Simpler solutions are easier to execute. Simple theories are easier to verify. Hence, while trying to solve a problem don’t seek excessively complex solutions.

In Ustad Hotel, when confronted with a hostile takeover, Faizi and the team do not get into a direct war with the folks at Beach Bay Hotel. Instead, they focus on refurbishing and rebranding Ustad Hotel. This solves the problem for them without any real complexity. 

Mental Models

Hanlon’s Razor

Do not attribute to malice that which can be explained by stupidity. People make mistakes, so don’t jump to the conclusion that their action is intended to harm you. It could be a result of unintended consequences. 

Sulochana, in Midhunam, buries a kudam with a thagid (talisman) in the hopes of improving her marital life. But when Sugathan unearths the kudam, he assumes that it was installed by Kurup in an effort to destroy him. 

Mental Models

Also Read: Guru – A Movie That Taught Us To Question Conventional Wisdom

First Principle Thinking

We are often confronted with problems that seem insurmountable and infinitely complex. The best way to solve such problems is to break them down to their basic elements and then reassemble them from the ground up. 

Oliver Twist from #Home is confronted by the same unconquerable problem that many from our parent’s generation go through – lack of tech savviness. He is able to overcome this problem by starting with first principles

Mental Models

Second-order Thinking

You should always think of what the consequences of your actions will be down the line. It is easy to think only of today and make decisions. But every decision you make will have unintended consequences. Thinking through your decisions and listing down the consequences can help you make better decisions.

In Boeing Boeing, Shyam starts dating three air hostesses at the same time. He does not think of how things could go wrong and so ends up in many tight spots when things (that are beyond his control) change. 

Mental models

Also Read: 6 Books That Will Make You Smarter

The Map is Not the Territory

Every map is an abstraction of the reality on the surface. Details are left out to make this abstraction possible. Similarly, any theory/model/description of a thing does not accurately represent the thing and can be subject to misinterpretations and errors. One should always be mindful of the limitations of a theory/model/description.

Suraj’s character in Three Kings overhears the riddle and assumes that it is the map to the treasure. Without relevant knowledge, he misinterprets the riddle and goes on a totally different tangent. 

Map is not the territory

And that’s the end of Part 1 of this list. In the subsequent parts, we’ll start delivering into mental models that are applicable to specific fields. Until then, why don’t you share other Mollywood examples of these mental models in comments?

Govindan K
I believe in challenging the status quo; I believe in thinking differently. I think differently because I try to absorb knowledge from anyone - regardless of the industry they’re working in.

Tell us what you're thinking

Subscribe to our newsletter

We'll send you a monthly newsletter with our top articles of the month

Latest Posts