by Craig Dunkelberger —
A presupposition commonly adopted by many people in the coaching and neuro-linguistic programming (NLP) fields is “The map is not the territory.” This saying originates from Alfred Korzybski, the founder of general semantics. People often assume that their emotions and perceptions are an accurate representation of reality. Both a map and your perceptions can be useful tools, but they should never be confused with reality. You may remember a time when someone was sharing a story and another person interjected that this was not how it happened, or had a different perception of the event.
It is important to remember that perceptions are influenced by many factors — your attitudes, emotional states, beliefs, values and family, to name a few. This is not to say that your perceptions are right or wrong; yet it might be beneficial to examine whether the map you have been using is getting you where you want to go in life.
Is your life map serving you? Is it getting you where you want to go and producing the results you want? When was the last time you updated your life map and examined your preconceived notions, beliefs and values? Are you due for a map update?
Much like a 1992 map of Phoenix, a personal map drawn in your formative years is not an effective way to find your way today or to effectively accomplish what you desire. However, it can be useful to examine your previous life map in the context of what you are trying to create and see if it is steering you in the right direction. Consider which adjustments to make to get back on course.
Often your life map was designed by an amalgam of influential people from your past, family, religious leaders and teachers. Your family’s best intentions can keep you limited to their past perceptions of you, making it difficult to leave the old map behind.
Past perceptions that have not been updated can put a lid on your life and stifle new direction and growth. Remember as you are drawing your new life map it is still not the territory or a substitute for taking action and moving toward your dreams and goals.
Craig Dunkelberger is a life coach, master practitioner of NLP and hypnotherapist. firstname.lastname@example.org or 480-220-6993.
Reprinted from AzNetNews, Volume 31, Number 6, December 2012/January 2013.