Understanding Perspective – Pineapples in Lasagna

Here’s another fun story on the NLP Presupposition “The Map is not the Territory”

This speaks to that each and every one of us have a mental map of the world around us. That what we hold as true and how we believe what is real in the world is not actually the real world. Just like when you go to a restaurant, what you see on the menu is not the actual food. It’s a representation of the food.

And so our maps aren’t the real world either, they are simply our own interpretation of the world. These maps are formed through each individuals life experiences, their values, their beliefs, their surroundings, what their parents have told them, what their friends have told them, what society has told them. And each individual has their own map of their reality.

We actually don’t operate in the world directly. In the meaning, that we operate through our five senses, through our perceptual filters, and then onto the world.

Often when we get stuck in life. It is usually not a limitation in the world, but rather a limitation in our map of the world. For example, let’s pretend we have the goal of getting a promotion at work. But we tell ourselves that we don’t have the qualifications or the self-confidence to actually get hired. When questioned, we will discover all the evidence that actually shows the amount of experience and qualifications we actually do have. And in the matter of self-confidence – well… self-confidence shows up when we are with our family, or when we are playing ball, driving a car, or arguing with friends which restaurant to eat at, doesn’t it? And so the limitation that we perceive to have, is simply a limitation of our own map, and not reality.

This becomes very useful and very empowering, when we look at all the things we want to do, but don’t. “What’s stopping us? No – Really… what’s stopping us?”

Another area this is applicable to is when we interact with others. Because we all have our own mental maps, made up of our own unique experiences, beliefs and values, we tend to assume that everyone around us are also operating out of the same map. Conflicts, disagreements, miscommunications occur when we impose our map onto someone else. Sure, there are overlaps, and general agreements, but when we chunk down into the specifics, you’ll begin to notice just how different our maps are from one another.

Enter into their map first and understand what their map is about and then speak from that.

A couple weeks ago, the team over at Naseeha got together for a family potluck. We brought lasagna. Everyone complimented us on the dish and commented on how “the pineapples were a very pleasant surprise”. Meanwhile, both my wife and I were thinking “Aren’t there always pineapples in lasagna?”…

Simply by understanding that each and everyone of us operates through our own unique maps of the world, our beliefs, our values, through our experiences, and through what has served us well in the past, will allow us to have better relationships and synergy with those around us and effectively, lead us to be more successful and ultimately just happier.

Stretching outside your familiar zone, having conversations to learn (and not to judge), adapting different perspectives, picking up different hobbies, reading books and attending workshops are all ways to add richness to your map. The more richness in your map, the more flexibility. The more flexibility, the more success.

Have a great Tuesday and rest of week!

    Mohammed Sheikh

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