Discovering new Maps

The map is not the territory NLP

Alfred Korzybski coined the phrase:”The Map is not the Territory”. This basically means that how we perceive reality is different from reality itself. An optimist will perceive the world very differently from a pessimist, or not? So, that means there is not one view of reality, but currently 6701485017 views of reality. Each person has their own “map” of what is possible and what is not. Wouldn’t it be great if we could, just for a second, explore these maps, and see the world through different eyes?

After studying Neuro Linguistic Programming and Hypnosis, one thing I did learn very quickly: People show us their maps all the time. Not only do they do so when asked, but people are leaking out their beliefs, values, etc. with every word they speak and every gesture they make. Yet, when we talk to someone, we have been taught to “paraphrase”, and we try to decipher what the person says, and put our own meaning behind it. What we are in fact doing is the highly powerful art of “mind reading”, only that we are absolute sh!t at it.

Couples are one great example of this. Many times I get to talk to women who say:”He never buys me flowers, that means he doesn’t love me!!” Or another good one is:”He is always late, he must have an affair!”. In fact, none of these things mean anything at all, only in the woman’s minds do they correlate. Yet, for us as humans we tend to think of ourselves as the center of the universe, all 6701485017 of us!

There are some absolutely amazing people, not only in human history, but also living amongst us today. Some of them are famous, such as the Dalai Lama, and some of them are not, when they really should be. What if, for one day, you could try on the map the Dalai Lama has of the world, experience the world through his eyes, and feel what he feels? How different would many things suddenly be?

So, what is so important about “the map is not the territory”. Well, when we talk to other people, when we try to convince someone of our view or persuade them to change, we rarely take into account that their world view is completely different from ours. Their starting point is somewhere else, so how can we expect to change things without first finding out where they come from? Hence, start listening to people, match their model of the world, and once you are in their map, it will be easy to lead them somewhere else, as you are walking with them every step of the way…


4 thoughts on “Discovering new Maps

  1. Joanna Young says:


    Great post. I think we must have been on the same wave-length during those late night posting hours…

    Here was my midnight post!


  2. Kenzie says:

    Very well put. Very intersting.

  3. Matt says:

    Excellent post. I find other people’s maps fascinating and look forward to meeting new people to see how their maps differ from, and can enrich mine.

    The more different their map is from mine… the more intrigued I become.

    Of course this isn’t the right way to behave, it’s just my map.

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