Having a map may not get you there!
Not having a map might get you there.
When you leave here, do you know where you want to go?
So . . . You know where you want to go . . . Do you know how to get there?
If not, we have lots of ways to help us navigate from here to there:
Maps can be handy, but they may not get us there efficiently or possibly not at all because they are static. A map is not more than a description of the territory as it was when the map was drawn. Maps are not dynamic, and I saw proof of that when I was in the Army. We frequently practiced land navigation (AKA Orienteering) . Each person (or team) would receive a Topographical Map of the AO (Area of Operations) and a compass. Our task was to go from Point A to Point B then to point C etc until we reached the objective. Invariably, there would be surprises along the way like the swamp that was only a swamp in the rainy season (Spring) . . . Apparently, the map was not drawn in the Spring, because there was no indication of a swamp on the map. Some folks became disoriented (LOST in the woods) and would radio in to HQ and ask for help . . . which always resulted in HQ firing back the question: “Where are you?” to which the vulnerable lostie would be forced to respond: “I don’t know!” HQ would then respond: “Find the tallest tree on the highest hill near you. Climb to the top of that tree and swing back & forth. We will watch the map very carefully and will see the waving tree where you are.” This was always hilarious to everyone but the lostie.
Don’t confuse the map with the territory – They can be vastly different.
Ah! Now we have GPS – and even better . . . WAZE which is very close to “real time” mapping. This can be helpful when surprises emerge on the path ahead – Waze automatically re-routes around said obstacle – Easy!
BUT . . . Because of this ease of re-routing . . . and advertisements, and billboards, it is now easier than ever to wander off-course . . . to distract us from our mission.
Seth Godin Put the icing on the cake of where I was going with all of the above with this magnificent Story:
Wouldn’t it be great if we always had a map? A set of step-by-step instructions on how to get from here to there, wherever we were and wherever wanted to go…
Steve Pressfield relates this magical story:
A Ghurka rifleman escaped from a Japanese prison in south Burma and walked six hundred miles alone through the jungles to freedom. The journey took him five months, but he never asked the way and he never lost the way. For one thing he could not speak Burmese and for another he regarded all Burmese as traitors. He used a map and when he reached India he showed it to the Intelligence officers, who wanted to know all about his odyssey. Marked in pencil were all the turns he had taken, all the roads and trail forks he has passed, all the rivers he had crossed. It had served him well, that map. The Intelligence officers did not find it so useful. It was a street map of London.
I love this story.
Happy endings come from an understanding of the compass, not the presence of a useful map.
If you’ve got the wrong map, the right compass will get you home if you know how to use it.
Where are you headed?