Your Map vs Reality

Your Map is your unconscious guide

Map vs reality – One of the most fundamental NLP principles is that the map is not the territory.

Each person has a unique perspective of the world. Depending on our upbringing, attitudes, beliefs, prejudices, and opinions at any time, we each develop our representation of the world. Therefore, the map we create becomes our perception of reality.

“A map is not the territory it represents, but, if correct, it has a similar structure to the territory which accounts for its usefulness. This means that our perception of reality is not reality itself but our version of it or our map.”

Alfred Korzybski

Map vs reality – How do we create maps that influence our actions?

To create our maps or models, we apply three common modelling procedures. Then, these three procedures are used to model our perceived reality of the world. The map vs reality is based upon our deletions, distortions and generalizations.


We give attention to things that are more important to us. Moreover, we would be overwhelmed if we didn’t remove most of the sights, sounds, smells, and feelings in the exterior environment.

Therefore, deleting allows us to chat on the phone in the middle of a busy room. When we hear our name spoken at a meeting, we focus on what is essential to us. When we believe we have just a few options, we also delete the information. Consequently, We frequently miss problem-solving techniques that allow us to retrieve erased options.


You can manipulate, generate, manufacture, and create sensory information through distortion. Information is brought to you through your senses and then distorted in your mind to create new ideas, concepts, and understandings.

Some distortions include different ways one can perceive the world, such as spirituality, ideology, philosophy, religion, creating new inventions, having fantasies about a lover, conceiving fiction, and making movies.

We create all these things due to our ability to distort our perception of the world.

By using distortion, you can use the power of your mind to play around with different thoughts and create a set of goals that will shape your future.


A specific aspect of your world model is selected using the generalisation process.

As a young child, you learned that some objects have handles. These handles make things easier to hold, open, manipulate, move around, and manipulate in other ways.

Examples are the handle on a cup, the handle on a bag, and the handle on a door. Imagination allows you to extend this to keys that act as handles and knives and forks that will enable you to eat and cut food.

Turning a handle called a tap can turn on and off your water. Your TV can be controlled by remote control, which is also a handle.

Generalisations have their advantages and disadvantages. Consider having a negative shopping experience as an example of a disadvantage.

This disadvantage is not to say that you’ll have bad experiences every time you shop; however, generalisations would imply it to be so.

Make sure you are careful how you generalise events and situations. There will be contexts in which certain words will be appropriate, and there will be situations in which they won’t. Overgeneralising may rob you of some valuable opportunities.

Your map vs reality: Conclusion

In summary, the maps (representations) we create of our experiences imply that we do not interact directly with the world. But instead use our senses to collect information and then apply “distortions,” “generalisations,” and “deletions to construct a map or internal representation.

Moreover, the images, sensations, sounds, smells, and tastes make up our maps. Additionally, these maps exist only in our heads and are not accurate representations of reality. Instead, they are our internal representations of the world we perceive.

It’s almost impossible for any person to achieve objective reality. We are all caught up in our worlds. To put it another way, ‘The map is not the territory. Reality itself could never be your perception of it. London’s best map will never be London; it will always be a map. Or, to put it another way, a representation.

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