Every human has their own map of reality, which is not actual reality. An understanding of this concept will provide you with endless possibilities of development. You will start seeing the world and your relationships with other people very differently, more in depth and in accordance with reality.
What is a map of reality? It is nothing more than a mental reflection of the world that surrounds us. As I mentioned before, you do not see the world how it is, but as you perceive it through a set of filters: experiences, senses, beliefs and values. All of these create your unique, subjective map of reality.
Our mind is forced to select crucial information from a great number of stimuli and every human has a particular algorithm, according to which the most important information is selected. Hence, the reason why it’s impossible to perceive the objective world. What you see is the reality that has already been filtered—all stimuli from the outer world is carefully preselected.
When you accept and understand it, you notice that every human being has a different map of the world. Eventually you’ll come to the realization that every person on this planet has different life experiences, different beliefs, different values and expectations. Interpretation of the same information may be completely different when made by different people. There is no one objective truth.
Everyone is right according to their own map of the world.
Let me give you a few examples which will allow you to better grasp that concept. For starters, let’s take Japanese manga comics. What does this type of comic book mean to you? What does that word mean to you? For a manga enthusiast, the word “comics” probably has very emotional meaning, which automatically brings a smile to their face. It may even be one of the most important words in their lives! For someone else, the term “comic book” may mean a bundle of paper worth close to nothing. Both individuals have different maps of the world and for that second person, it may be really difficult to understand the otaku’s2 map of reality. They could argue for hours whether manga comics are cool and interesting or maybe lame and boring, but what sense does it make? Someone might be willing to pay exorbitant amounts of money for a single quirky painting, an old car which barely works, a postage stamp, a book so old you can’t even read it anymore or anything else. Someone else might be wondering for weeks what’s so special about an old copper fork from the 17th century when you can buy a new one for pennies. Who’s right? Both of them. They just have different mental filters.
Here’s another example. Has one of your colleagues ever heard something completely differently than the way you had intended in your mind? It’s happened to me many times and I could never understand why it was happening. It turns out that one simple message can have a completely different meaning for different people. In one person, the word “love” can cause dreaminess, in another it can cause pain and negative emotions. Therefore, you should always choose your messages carefully and take your colleague’s map of reality into serious consideration.
Here’s another situation. Because of the thick fog, a return flight from France to the United States is cancelled. What is happening at the airport? Over a dozen people jump with joy because they have an extra day to spend in this beautiful country. Some people are completely neutral—for them, nothing bad happened, but on the other hand, they are not sure what to do and how their families will react. Another group of people is desperate; they have important business meetings in the USA a few hours later. Some other people will be infuriated, because for them it will be their second canceled flight in two weeks. Exactly the same event—different people, different maps, different reactions.