In this post we will explore one of the most important concept and presupposition of NLP i.e. Map is not the territory. This understanding is the basis of our Cognitive Hypnotic Coaching™ and Cognitive Hypnotic Psychotherapy™ Programs.

Simply speaking: What we think the world is, is different from what the world really is !!! Click to Tweet

We are a part of a world in which many things happen simultaneously. We observe this world through our senses i.e anything that our senses are not able to grasp we are not able to observe.

Wait a minute, why would our senses not be able to grasp certain things?

Why Map is not Equal to Territory?

Simply because neurologically our senses are limited and operate only within a bandwidth. It is for this reason that we cannot hear the ultrasonic sounds that bats create.

On top of this, our senses are also influenced by our social and individual conditioning i.e based on our experiences we create certain generalizations certain beliefs and then delete or distort our observations to keep them in line with our generalizations.

Now with this incomplete & distorted observation, we create an internal representation of the world which is at times very different from the world.

This internal representation is the MAP.

NLP Meta Model difference between Map Reality - Map is not the territory

Why is this important to understand?

When we feel there is a problem in our life, in most cases the problem is in the internal representation (i.e. map) and not in the outer world (i.e. territory/reality).

Map is not the territory: Example

One day I saw a friend walking on a road and called out his name.

As I took his name I saw him begin to walk faster away from me. What I did not see was that he was wearing an earphone (so wasn’t able to hear my voice) and was trying to catch a bus (so started walking faster). Based on what I observed along with my generalization that people don’t like me, I interpreted this as him trying to ignore me.

For many days I kept wondering, why did he avoid me? Did I do something that made him angry or has he done something because of which he couldn’t face me?

Though I thought there was a problem, the problem was only in my map and not in reality.

Map is not equal to territory: Exercise

Now for the coming month, I would like you to take up the following exercise.

Whenever you think there is a problem, just ask yourself “Is this problem really real or is it just a part of my map?”

And you may be surprised to know that just this one question can make a lot of positive difference in your life.

Now that you understand what we mean by “map is not equal to territory”, it is also important to remember another NLP Presupposition that people respond as per their maps and not reality.

Map is not the territory - NLP Presupposition

Map is not the territory – NLP Presupposition

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