Perceptions – We all Perceive the World in Different Ways.

  • For today’s blog post I am going to write about another NLP Pre-supposition that many people find it difficult to get their head around when challenged with it.  Yet understanding it can lead to a much deeper understanding when communicating with others.  So here it is:

    The map is not the territory!

    Ok, clearly I am going to have to elaborate on that for anyone to understand it properly.  The map is an individuals map of the world around them. It resides deep in the mind.  It is based upon that individuals experiences in the world right up until the present time.  Put simply the map is that person’s reality!

    The territory is everything around us.  Out there!  The actual world around us.  Everything external to our minds.

    So “The map is not the territory” is basically referring to the fact that everyone perceives the world in different ways.  Have you ever heard a couple in some DIY store arguing over colours?  Often you will hear something like “No way is that light purple, it’s pink for God’s sake!” or something similar.  So taking this example, what colour actually is it in reality?  It’s both!  Who is right?  They both are!  Because you’re dealing with two different realities!  In HIS reality, based upon HIS experience, learning and map of the world, the colour is pink.  But, in HER reality based upon HER experience, learning and map of the world it’s light purple!  So it follows that reality (the territory) is merely a perception, nothing more.  What may be “normal” for one person is cloud cuckoo land for another.  A huge example of this would be different cultures.  Men brought up in many middle eastern cultures find it quite normal for their women to wear face coverings.  It is their belief and their perception of normality.  We in the west find this practice demeaning and distasteful. 

    So the trick here when involved in argument or conflict is just to think for a moment and ask yourself “Is this persons map of the world fundamentally different to mine?” because I think you’ll find it is.  If we could all respect each other’s map of the world, I think you’ll find far less conflict going on.  It’s not about right and wrong.  It’s about respect.


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