Mental Toolbox

"Most of us operate like a carpenter with only a hammer. To a man with a hammer, every problem looks like a nail. No matter the job, we pull out our hammer and attempt to make it work. While a hammer can often get the job done eventually, it comes with a cost."

- FS blog by Shane Parrish

What comes to your mind when you hear “mental toolbox”?

A super-efficient handyman box that contains all the metaphorical tools to help you tackle any situation, isn’t it? Quite that.. A mental toolbox will contain all the tools you think you require to make a decision. Tools like - ability to think, diverge, abstract, learn/ un-learn, understand, do and avoid.

So, you’re right if you think you don’t require learning to make a decision. You’re right if you think you don’t need to look through fresh perspectives to make a decision. But these will be poor decisions. Poor decisions because you didn’t chose the right tools. Or, you weren’t aware of the right tools.

Is brain your mental toolbox? Is your mental toolbox limited to just you?

For a good chunk of time I used to believe so. If I have more context, will it really be helpful to see things again with others’ perspective? He’s a chef, what can I possibly learn about sketches from him? Should I do this if it’s not a part of my job? I have no interest in this, this doesn’t make sense to me..

We are never taught how to make smart decisions. We learn by doing. We learn by observing. With time, we either keep using the hammer or open ourself to the abundance around. After all this time, I look back and introspect - so much of me is a part of the world around me. My mental toolbox has infinite space. The world around me is my mental toolbox. I can borrow and make tools of my own. I can learn passively. I can ask 100 annoying questions to my mentors. I can know better by listening.

// a note of thanks to my mentors and team for lending me their tools, and trusting me :)