Alfred Korzybski, a scientist and philosopher, once stated that “the map is not the territory”.
This simple statement represents the seemingly obvious fact that an abstraction of a thing is not the thing itself. Despite how obvious this seems, many people forget this in their daily lives.
A practical example of this would be if you wanted to buy a piece of land, and instead of the territory itself you only received a map of the territory.
Clearly you would be unsatisfied. Yet somehow, we do this exact thing in our lives all the time.
We tend to chase symbols of the things that we want rather than the things themselves.
So many people are chasing after money and fancy sounding titles, despite the fact that in and of themselves, they are actually meaningless.
What is it that we want then?
I would like to propose that what we are all seeking are certain feelings.
The method by which we get those feelings is, of course, different for everyone.
But I do believe that everyone wants good feelings in their life. Good feelings are the “territory”.
Would you rather I offer you unlimited money and prestige, or unlimited happiness and positive feelings?
Understanding this map-territory relationship is critical when analyzing your life and deciding what kind of a life you want to lead.
That is what we will be doing over the coming days, so keep this relationship in mind over the next week as we do more exercises to help you find some more direction in your life.
Continue to Day 17: Find Your Values.