This is part of my series on Mental Models to Understand Yourself

Your mind is a private place.

No one knows what you’re thinking. There’s no secret government agency recording every thought that streams through your consciousness on rolls of white paper. There are no angels, high in heaven, taking notes on your ruminations. And technological innovation hasn’t made mind-reading possible.

The great part about this is that you are free to think about anything you want. You are free to analyze and dissect any topic, issue, or argument to your heart’s content. You’re free to hold contrary and controversial opinions and entertain contradictory conclusions.

Now for the bad part: no one has any idea what’s going on in your head. If there’s something you yearn for, no one will know. If there’s something you desperately need, no one will have a clue. And if you crave love and affection, no one will be there for you because they have no idea what you need.

The solution to this simple to understand but a challenge to implement: if you need something, speak up. If you need help, ask someone.

In my work as a software developer, I’ve seen people refuse to speak up when they don’t have all the information they need to complete a project. They were afraid to ask questions and get what they need. And they were stuck.

Too often we’re afraid of looking stupid — or worse — appearing needy. But we’re all ignorant of things, some of the time. And we all need something from each other. Let’s acknowledge this. And accept it.

So, if you need something, speak up. Speak your truth. And speak what’s in your heart.

Do this, and your life will improve.

And as you speak up, you’ll give others permission to do the same, and the world will be a better place.