Of course we can’t realize the reality of a place by it’s map. Our mental impression of the world forms our mental map. So, surely our mental map is different from the real world. By studying this article, you will find out how your mental map is formed and you will learn how to increase your mental map for a better life.
Mental map means that our point of view about world is formed based on our mental map. While the world is likely to be different from our mental map. The difference between a map and a real world was first expressed by Korzybski. Alfred Korzybski, a Polish-American semantics scholar and founder of the General Semantics movement, founded the origins of NLP in 1933. He realized that when you compare the road map with the road, you are a little confused and you find that there are many differences between them. He says that most people confuse when they see the facts (like seeing the road) and think about it (like looking at the map).
The map doesn’t show the world
Can we compare a food menu with food? Of course we can’t eat the menu instead of food. There are a lot of differences between them. In each map, you cannot mention all the things that exist in reality. According to the type of map, a lot of real things like mounds may be ignored.
How are the people’s mental maps created and how do they work?
People have different thoughts about the world around according to their experiences and senses and unfortunately (or fortunately) no one can understand the whole truth and the complete information of the foreign world. The level of understanding of each person depends on different factors, such as values, beliefs, abilities, talents, environment and experiences of individuals.
Our brain is scheduled with any given plan. We use this map most of the time, and we want to use it more. Even doing it may cause discomfort or danger. Or the disadvantages are more than its benefits, however, we will act according to the same map wrongly.
Suppose someone wants to go from California to Kansas. According to the familiarity with Kansas map, he prefers to use the same map for California. The difference is here! We often do not realize that a same map cannot be used everywhere. It should also be noted that every maps are not completely realistic and may even be outdated and obsolete.
Maps are unchanged and stable, such as pictures, while the real world is dynamic and active, like a river. Maps may be very useful in our lives at one time, and at a different time and place they can be very restrictive, and maybe unusable.
Suppose the belief that he was better stay at home for being safe from the dangers of life has turned into a personal mental map in his childhood. Perhaps this belief in childhood is not very restrictive. But this mental map affects every aspects of his adult life. Therefore, any mental map may be useful only in a certain time. Not forever.
If you change your mental map, your world will be different
The people show their inner world with the things that they create in reality. The people react to their internal and mental experiences more than the external reality. The map is the inner reality. Therefore, interpretations in our minds about the external world may be correct or not.
Anyway, our mental interpretations determine our experience from every moment in our lives. These experiences will also have some results in the future. That is, our experiences create a pattern in our mind in which we build our future by following these patterns. So we can change the future by changing the patterns and choices, or having more patterns and choices.
Everyone has his own special map in the world
American psychologist George Miller published an article titled Magical Number Seven in 1956. According to that article, above all the information from the outside world, we only have the ability to receive at the same time 7 ± 2 information. In practice, and in most humans, this information is limited to 3 or 4 cases. It is impossible for humans to understand and interpret all information simultaneously in their minds. According to a proverb, your impression of a loaf of bread depends on your hunger.
We are aware of some of these cases, but we are not aware of many of them. A good map is a map that will be useful to you. You do not need to think about whether your mental map is correct or not! It is important that the map be useful to you. A useful map is a map that help you for finding the way to achieve your desires.
How can we expand our internal map?
There are several different ways to expand our internal map which will be mentioned later. With these solutions, you can expand your mental map and change your opinion about the world.
Change your mental filters
Ask yourself this question to expand the internal map. How can one look at situations in another way? A white light can be seen in different colors by using the filters.
All of our experience are created and stored by our mental and sensory filters and makes our internal map. Ultimately, this map determines how we look at most of the things that happen in our lives. It empowers or limits us, or makes the thing hard to do for a person and easy for the other one.
Each of the maps are unique and belong to one person. Although these maps are completely different in different people, it is likely to be similar in some cases to someone else or there may be no similarity. Our mental maps are made since our birthday (in some cases, even before birth). Over the years, it has been continuously expanding.
When we pass water through a filter, all its components will not pass through it. Information is similar to water. Because of the large amount of information that surrounds us at any given moment, the mind has the ability to filter a large amount of it. This is one of the main reasons for the difference between the mental maps of individuals.
So, sometimes the word reality is used instead of map. Because the internal reality of each person (internal map) is made for many reasons, and everyone considers his impression more realistic and correct than the others.
Consider the others view point
When you disagree with someone or you cannot understand why people are doing something unimaginable, you’d better be in their shoes or try to look at the world by their view point. This will help you to know and understand their mental map.
According to the fact that the structure of the human mind is similar to each other, but the maps and operations are different, we should not expect everyone to think like us. Of course, this is one of our most basic problems in communication. Especially when we try to impose our mental map on others. Now by knowing these points, we can try to see the world differently and respect the others minds and thoughts.
Start with the other’s world map to impress them
To communicate and get the desired result, try to know and understand some parts of the others mental map. In this case, you can start from a condition which is similar to the others values and beliefs that you feel the person agrees with them. Make a bridge that brings you where you want. Think about which values and beliefs might lead you to them.
Identify your map’s edges and expand them
Find the edges and limited lands in your map. Think about what you do not want to do or what you cannot do. In what cases don’t you get a good result? Or what do you dislike? Find the beliefs that pull you back. It’s like many people don’t exercise or another activities like this, because they think they are physically not fitted for sport.
Consider where you tend to generalize and do this generalization. In these cases, you should try to look for reverse examples. Because in most cases, there are exceptions to the generalizations you express. When you think you cannot do something or do not like it, ask yourself what will happen if I do this.
NLP has the ability to increase our internal maps so that you can:
- change them
- Rebuild them again
- update them
- correct the mistakes.
To have more success, we can strengthen our mental map with the help of NLP in order to improve our relationships and our work.