The Territory Is Not The Map (Except When It Is)

Alfred Korzybski

“Two important characteristics of maps should be noticed. A map is not the territory it represents, but, if correct, it has a similar structure to the territory, which accounts for its usefulness.” – Alfred Korzybski, Born Jun. 3, 1879.

Consider that the human mind is basically a really detailed map of the universe you live in.

You have memories and beliefs and guesses all coming together to create a simulation – a model of the world around you.

We use this model to make plans and predictions about how we should behave in the real world to achieve certain goals.

Now, a multitude of human woe comes from the fact that people with INCOMPLETE or INACCURATE maps will make BAD choices and decisions. They might have SEEMED like a good idea based on the “map” being used to make the plan…

But the map is NOT the territory.

So what are we, o cultists?

When we aim to persuade another person to take an action, we are essentially map-makers.

Depending on the situation, we may be persuading them to edit their existing map to one that better suits our ends. Or perhaps we are providing them a new map for an unfamiliar territory they've never explored.

You can use this metaphor to create informational products that people will want to buy. Maps like these can lead people from their current situation to one they find more desirable. You take a complex territory and reduce it down to only the key landmarks and choices that are needed to reach the target outcome/destination.

But you can then create a map to your map…

Your sales message is a map that leads from a problem to a solution. From pain to relief. From non-ownership to possession of the cure for all their troubles.

What are the waypoints between being unfamiliar with your offer, and being well versed enough in it to be convinced that they need to accept it urgently?

And then you can create a map to the map that leads to your map…

By creating content that leads people from a steady state of ennui and acceptance, to a state of agitation and discomfort. You can lead them from a state they've settled for, to a state that will not settle for the status quo anymore.

Between where your mark is, and where you want them to be, there is a wilderness, So work on your cartography, metaphorically speaking.

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