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The Right Map?

In today’s 7 Habits lecture, we talked about the paradigms we have, and that we cannot make major changes in our lives without making paradigm changes.

If we think of paradigms as the maps that show us where we are, and how we need to get to where we are going, we realise that getting where we are going is only as good as the maps that we have in our toolbox.

That was the metaphor that I kept in front of me this summer when we moved to the Southern United States, after almost twenty years in Sweden and Germany for me.

Just like my Apple Maps adjusted to the new roads when we landed in Atlanta to navigate to Columbia, I had to adjust my mental maps in my head for what different actions and behaviours from others meant.

Some were harder than others, based on long biases and prejudices… such as the intelligence of a person with a deeply Southern dialect or the irresponsibility of someone who doesn’t show up at a designated time.

But I found the more that I let go of the maps I had, that might have guided me in other places (albeit the assessment of intelligence by dialect is admittedly deeply questionable anywhere!), I saw the intelligence, goodness, and kindness of the people in my new home.

What about you? When have you had a paradigm shift, and realised the map you had guiding you no more applied to your situation and reality than a map of Gothenburg if you were trying to navigate from Stockholm’s Central Station to Svampen? If you haven’t had one, I challenge you to look harder into the situations where you judge someone, to see if the problem might be more your own map, or paradigm, than the other person.

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