The Map of Your Life

You’re on unfamiliar territory.

In the pocket of your jacket there’s a map and a compass.​ Moody forest surrounds you like a sinister army. There’s no clear direction, no obvious path to take. You’re left to your own devices and no one’s there to help. Nervous, you take stock of your belongings.

You check the map, make sure your course is true, then embark on the journey home. It all starts without difficulty. The map is accurate, the compass easy to use, and the horizon is aglow with all the colors of the spectrum. At this pace, you’ll be back to civilisation in no time.

On the third day, there’s trouble. The hill that should have been on your left looms on your right.​ A deep valley appears where you were certain there would be nothing but flat terrain. Still, you carry along.

On the fifth day, you grow frustrated. The territory and the map bicker and argue. Time’s running short. There’s no food and the water is scarce. The sun sinks behind the horizon, casting dark shadows.

A hiker reading a map in the forest.

​No luck. On the seventh day, you’re still lost. The territory doesn’t respect the map at all. Instead of a placid lake, you discover an impassable forest. Savage hills instead of green lowlands. A colossal cliff that crashes into a treacherous ocean.​

Impossible!” you scream, desperate to find your way. The map obstructs your sight and, a few steps later, you fall off the cliff and break on the rocks below. A group of hikers declares you’ve died of natural causes because falling from a cliff kills you quite naturally.​

What happened?​

You trusted the map (your idea of what is true) and ignored the territory (what is actually true).​

Don’t do that.

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