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Chapter 6. Looking at the World Differently > The Map Is Not the Territory

The Map Is Not the Territory

We offer a final word on perception. Remember, your perceptions of reality are just that: your perceptions. Your perceptions are colored by your beliefs, expectations, biases, and so on, and that is true for all of us. That is why eyewitness accounts of crimes or car accidents are often so different from one another. Your perceptions are like maps you use to get around in your world. Remember that a map is not the territory. It is just one representation of a territory. And some maps are more useful than others, depending on the circumstances. If you want to drive from Atlanta to Washington, D.C., you will need a good road map. A topographical map of the southeastern United States will be useless. On the other hand, if you want to trek across the Appalachian Trail, a good road map will not help you, but a topographical map will come in very handy. The same is true of your perceptions. Given that we each have a unique set of blinders that influence our perceptions, it is useful to don that set of blinders that will be most useful in a given situation. We recommend that you consciously choose to adopt optimistic perceptions. Why? Because that particular map of the world will be the most useful for helping you resist stress and achieve your goals.


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