THE JOURNEY BEGINS
In which we plan, plot, and equip ourselves
et’s start to put our journey together. In the case of our
hero, the destination was to win the cleaning contract
from Acme Insurance. Let’s put that spot on the map.
Actually, just hold up there a second – we haven’t actually
got a map. A few moments ago all we had was a blank sheet
of paper with nothing on it at all. Now we have chosen a
destination. We have a blank piece of paper with a black
spot on it. That is not a map.
Some bright spark suggested that we jot down our life
goals on post-it notes and stick them on the wall: to own
a Ferrari, to become a film star, or to eat a sticky toffee
pudding. That isn’t a map either – they are black spots on
my blank sheet of life, reminding me of places I’m not.
Maps are funny things, our ancient ancestors drew them on
parchment, cave walls, and bits of tree bark (the cave wall
one didn’t survive too well due to its lack of portability) but
why the fascination? What makes a map so special?
It shows us where we want to be.
It gives a choice of places we may want to be.
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It shows where we are now.
It shows how far where we are now is from where we
want to be.
It shows us the obstacles along the way.
It shows alternative routes that may be longer but avoid
the obstacles (’ere be dragons).
A Map of The Real World
The problem for us and our hero is, that if read correctly,
maps are also horribly truthful. To return to our post-it
note – a Ferrari, to be a film star, or eat sticky toffee
pudding – we stick it above our desk and when we glance
up it gives us hope. When the instruction came from my
publisher to write a book on persuasion, I was not asked
to write a book on hope. If we take the average Joe and, as
an outsider, we assess how realistic his post-it notes are, we
e Ferrari – not a hope
Film star – not a hope
Sticky to ee pudding – easy (but will make him fatter
and even less likely to be a lm star)
But if we now apply the map thing, we should achieve a
different result – possibly even some kind of inevitability.
The thing with maps is they are not simply a statement of
destination or even a list of destinations. What they actu-
ally do is give us a number of destinations to choose from,
and by looking at the map we can see where we are now,
our current position and we can choose a destination and
see the obstacles in between. When we see this clearly in
black and white we can plan our journey – or if the obsta-
cles are too daunting we could abandon the trip altogether
and choose an easier destination. But without an accurate
map none of these things are possible.
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