By Gerry Murray. 11-09-2022
(Scroll down for a laugh)

“All war is a symptom of man's failure as a thinking animal.” ~ John Steinbeck

We’ve all had the experience of something we did working well in one situation but not working in another situation. 

Or a common one amongst Managers is thinking that everyone should think the same way they do and being frustrated when others approach or do things differently. 

How is this so prevalent? 

If you’ve been trained in NLP (Neuro-Linguistic Programming) you’ll be familiar with these three core principles: 

  • Everyone has their own unique Model or Map of the world 
  • It’s important to respect another person’s Model of the world (It doesn’t mean you agree with it!)
  • The Map is not the Territory 

These principles existed before NLP. A significant influence on the development of NLP was Gregory Bateson who was renowned for his work in Systems Thinking and mentored Bandler & Grinder (co-creators of NLP) in the early days. He introduced them to many people and concepts. 

When we see polarisation in the world it can be explained by two very different Maps or Paradigms colliding - My Map is right, therefore yours must be wrong. As we've seen, this way of thinking can lead to war!

In NLP we would encourage people to explore how to enrich and expand their individual Maps of the world, including perhaps embracing aspects of other people's Maps. A successful negotiation will also aim to find some commonality such as this. 

However, in going back to one of the seminal works on Systems Thinking it seems that we could go much further and, in the process, enhance our Adaptive Capacity to deal with many situations.

I quote from "Thinking in Systems" by Donella Meadows

"There is one leverage point that is even higher than changing a paradigm. That is to keep oneself unattached in the arena of paradigms, to stay flexible, to realise that no paradigm is 'true', that every one, including the one that sweetly shapes your own worldview, is a tremendously limited understanding of an immense and amazing universe that is far beyond human comprehension... If no paradigm is right, you can choose whatever one will help you achieve your purpose."

Now, this would appear to be the ultimate challenge for human beings!

How do we choose a Paradigm or Map that benefits us all? 

May you navigate the world well with your Map this week...


Listen to the Podcast


A church got a new pastor, who the music minister immediately disliked. Eventually, their conflict spilled out into the Sunday services.
In the first week, the pastor preached about commitment and how we should dedicate our lives to serving one another. The music minister led the song "I Shall Not Be Moved."
In the second week, the pastor preached about tithing and how important it was for the congregation to contribute to the church. The music minister led the song "Jesus Paid it All."
In the third week, the pastor preached about gossiping and how we should all watch what we say about one another. The music minister led the song "I Love to Tell the Story."
At this point, the pastor caught on. Embarrassed over how the music minister's feud with him was disrupting their services, he told the congregation the next week that he was thinking about resigning. The music minister led the song "Oh, Why Not Tonight?"
And sure enough, the pastor did resign. In his farewell sermon the next week, he told the congregation that, as Jesus had called him to the church, Jesus was now calling him away from the church. The music minister led the song "What a Friend We Have in Jesus."

Boris Johnson was advised that he needed to assemble a new cabinet to deal with the Russia / Ukraine conflict
Coming back from IKEA, he realised he had greatly misunderstood the task given to him

The Paradox Association has fragmented due to internal conflicts.
Many members have subsequently joined The Irony Society, but leaders of both organisations have issued statements clarifying that simultaneous membership remains an unresolved issue.

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