Sunday, 1 July 2007

Old maps

‘When you discover you are riding a dead horse the best
strategy is to dismount.’

                                                       -Dakota tribal saying-

For a moment try a brief thought experiment.

Imagine that you have gone to a town for the first time. You try and find your way around the town with an A–Z that is 30 years out of date. How would you do?

The chances are that at times you would have few problems.
However, at other times you may find it impossible to get around. You read the map and follow it, yet you cannot reach your destination. You may be frustrated and angry. This type of response is not good for your health. At other times you may just quit. You cannot find the place so you stop trying. When you consider this scenario it seems improbable.

Who would try and get around a town with an old map?
Who could be so foolish? Yet we have a psychological map for ‘getting around our social world’. This map includes directions on understanding ourselves, others and what to do in a variety of situations. These psychological maps are developed as we grow up. When they are accurate we can read the world well and achieve the results that we desire. However, in many situations our psychological maps resemble the 30-year-old A–Z. The results can often be deeply frustrating and result in disappointments, frustrations and a sense of failure.

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