The Map is Not The Territory
It would be nice to think that there’s a secret strategy for creating and living into the peaceful and productive life that we all desire.
But the longer I coach (going on 15 years), the more I realize that this is a complete fantasy.
Yes, there are solid, fool-proof strategies, but no “system” is 100% perfect. The reason for this is the map is not the territory. You see, the map is static, and the territory is dynamic. In other words, the map is not reality. The territory is the infinitely complex, and ever-changing reality.
My clients, friends, and even family members read my articles, watch my videos, and they get inspired to create change, take action, and be the difference we all want to see. They begin living their best lives. But after a few action steps or a few days, they become disheartened and quit. Their effort quickly fizzles.
What’s Going on Here Brian?
Well, videos, articles, free how-to information is easy enough to find. But applying those maps to your territory is not as easy. Finding the energy and investing the time to become open to learning new skills, developing a new mindset, to continually push against the communal narrative or societal norms, what everybody else is doing, takes an enormous amount of effort. People don’t anticipate the necessary effort.
Finding the map or some strategies is only the first (and most natural) step. I have a system of sorts, but again, the map is not the territory. I have lived in six U.S. states and worked in 11. The topography changes. No one map will cover all the territory you cover and the reality you encounter.
The words I’ll share below are only words, not the reality.
- To create momentum, first I suggest you pay attention to the details, nuances. Pick up on what is not said. Read between the lines. Try to pick up on shades, tints, and hints of how things are. Try to be open; to perceive the world as close to how it actually is. “We don’t see things as they are; we see things how we are.” -Anais Nin
- I’ve studied extensively looking for answers to what drives behavior and motive. I continue to ask; what is the underlying energy? How can I live more peacefully and productively? Not with a better attitude or a fake—suck it up smile, but with authentic goodness, advocacy and inspiration flowing outward into all that I do.
- To find the truth, I look for patterns. From example, Socrates sought answers to the human condition on how to reduce conflict and live more peacefully (in 470 BCE). He asked, how can we live the good life and alleviate human suffering? He left us these inspirational findings. “There is only one good, knowledge, and one evil, ignorance.” Be kind. For everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.”
- Similarly, Immanuel Kant said in the 1700s, human-kind must emerge from a self-incurred immaturity. His motto was, “Dare to understand. Increase knowledge and purge errors.” After finding these and noticing a common thread I dig deeper.
- I have tried a lot of things. I’ll read something, dig deeper and try some of the ideas. Some things land well, and some get shot down in flames. It’s fun. I view it as growth, improvement, and investment toward my constant refinement. No matter what the outcome, I am moving in the right direction of my goal to always get better.
- A large part of my investment goes toward staying resilient. When things don’t go as planned when frustration, rejection, disappointment, and resistance are “at the door,” I don’t open it. I set the table for growth, progress, and productivity, and it’s an observable fact that you’ll hit the target for which you aim. If it’s not my target, I don’t look at it or aim for it.
- I am continually deepening my awareness of where my thoughts are. Speaking of aiming, remember, your mind represents the bow, and your thoughts are the arrow. I avoid (aiming) spinning into the future or the past. They are both a waste of precious and limited energy. Now is all we have. I use Now (today) to create a better tomorrow. Although I mention tomorrow, I do so to subordinate the thought of tomorrow to the focus (aiming) on Now, today.
- I get support and feedback from coaches, peer coaching groups and mastermind groups to help me see blind spots, self-limiting beliefs and what I’m missing. I explore new opportunities with not just my ideas but others who have gone where I want to go.
- From all of these, I continually set myself up to learn and grow ensuring never to be too far away from the growth habits I have developed. I codify my thoughts through writing, and I try to write every day. I write my newsletter every week. Writing only what I know to be true from my own experience, continually reinforces alignment with my purpose and values. Writing is an under-appreciated self-development strategy.
Map is Not the Territory
Notice that none of these are enigmatic strategies and that’s the point. The map is not the territory. The map is a guide toward your discovery of how to best use it for the territory that you experience. If you apply my first suggestion, you will see that my approach has endless depth. You will also notice that growth is not quick; it’s incremental. You get better over time. Gradually you become masterful.
A purposeful life of growth, truth, and purpose is strenuous and demanding. It requires a source for continuous spirited output of service to the world. If done correctly, just as the river flowing into the vast ocean cannot make it overflow, so too, the streams of stimuli from culture and society cannot overwhelm you.
© Brian Braudis 2019, All rights reservedTags: Coach Yourself, Coaching, growth, Map is Not The Territory, Mastery