Your map is not the territory. This is a brilliant phrase coined by Alfred Korzybski back in the 30’s and describes the human condition quite clearly. As human beings, we are confined to the constraints of both our experiences and words. That is, our consciousness is housed in a physical, organic body, which uses five senses to interpret what we experience. In addition, in order to translate or describe for someone else what we’re experiencing at any given point in time, we have to use language as our mode of communication. Language is quite constraining as well. For example, I find that there are words in the Korean language that don’t translate quite accurately to the English language, or vice versa. There are other examples that drive this point home, when you think about Eskimos having precise words to describe different types of snow, whereas we don’t have the capability to distinguish let alone describe the different types of snow that exist.
So, to say that your map is not the territory simply means that you nor I can’t experience our worlds directly. Filtered through our four senses (sight, sound, touch, taste), information in our surroundings are deleted, distorted, or generalized into our systems of understanding the world. Not only does this information get filtered into our perception, but filtered also through our beliefs. This is where our nifty little brains will filter the billions of information coming into our senses at any given point in time to the 7 (+) or (-) 2 bits of information for our consciousness to actually understand.
If you caught “four senses” in the past paragraph and asked where’s the fifth sense, you know a thing or two about the human body! Those of us that didn’t catch it, your brain filtered it out (or you skipped right past it intentionally!). This is just another example of your brain deleting information to fit your mental picture of the world. Or distorting it, so you read five instead. So where’s the fifth sense, you ask? Smell. That’s the only sense that allows us to directly experience our world, and allows chemicals to pass right to the limbic system of our brain. No filtering required.
Lately, a movie has feverishly captured my attention. If you’ve seen The Greatest Showman, you know what I’m talking about. Let me show you what this has to do with the topic: for some of you, the movie was about a love story between two people who were told by society they weren’t allowed to be together. For others, it was a movie about a husband and father finding his way back to what’s most meaningful in his life. And yet, for many others, it was about societal inclusion and empowerment. For me, the movie was about me. It spoke to me in metaphorical ways about my current journey and struggle. The lyrics to each song in this movie was a direct translation of my love letter to life (personified). It brought it all to life. Now that I’ve said this, many of you that have watched the movie will probably have an aha moment – making connections you hadn’t made about the movie and yourself before – jolting you to think about the movie in ways you hadn’t allowed yourself to before.
So what does all of this have to do with paradigm shifts, and conquering yourself? Simple: if you can change your [awareness] you can change your [world architecture/beliefs], which changes your [experience/feelings], which then inevitably change your [life responses]. Read: you can show up differently by knowing your map and making subtle shifts.
What you experience is just your perception (personal distortion and filter of reality). Your map is just a representation. The more accurate your map is, the easier it’ll be to navigate. Change your map, change your directions. Your experience is not an accurate experience. So I invite you to ask yourself, “How can I change my representation/map to increase self-influence?” That is, how can you make your map more accurate to increase personal power?
Contact Me if you’re ready to stop living small and want to begin your life transformation today.
You need to live YOUR life. No one else can, or ever will. Your life is your gift. Don’t waste it. #SingularPresence
Photo courtesy of @rareescapes