Have you ever flown to a new city and been completely dependent on your phone or GPS for direction? It’s great at first. It tells you exactly where you are, and how you get to your destination.
But has the GPS ever led you astray? Perhaps you’re driving on brand new roads that haven’t been added to the grid yet. You end up driving in circles and sometimes never arrive at the destination.
Maps are useful for three main reasons:
- They increase your chances of arriving at the correct destination
- They help you avoid unnecessary detours and thus help you arrive at your destination faster
- They give you context so you can track your progress
We are all traveling through life trying to arrive “somewhere”. For some, their quest may be retiring by the age of 50. For others, their destination might be selling their company.
For 99.9% of the things you’re trying to accomplish, there are maps you can follow. That’s right–maps you can buy from any bookstore. Another key component of maps is that they’re created by others who have gone before you. Why do you think people write books after they’ve achieved a certain level of success? Because they now have a map they can share, one that the rest of us try to follow in hopes of achieving similar success.
Michael Hyatt attributes much his success to this very principle:
My assumption is that someone, somewhere has already done what you are attempting to do—and done it well. If you can tap into their experience and learn from it, you can get to where you want to go faster and with fewer missteps along the journey.
This is a powerful, powerful concept. If you first determine where you want to go and then find the correct map, you can, first of all, successfully arrive at your destination, but also arrive faster than you would without it.
That’s exactly why I started this blog, as a way to identify the patterns that lead to meaningful, lasting success so that we can replicate them in our own lives. Patterns are just like maps: they show you what steps you need to take to arrive at a particular destination. Just as a chef creates a recipe that allows you to replicate a scrumptious meal, a pattern shows you the methods you need to employ to achieve your goals.
A Word of Caution
Just as the map above is inaccurate, there are people that sell or otherwise promote inaccurate maps. Books and programs that promise to bring you wealth, bulging muscles, fame, or romance are everywhere. Don’t be deceived. Before you start living your life according to someone else’s map, make sure their ladder of success is leaning against the correct building.
How to Get Started
Before you choose which roads to take (or maps to use), you have to know where you’re going. What are you working towards? What is the end result? Have you decided what you want from each area of your life, or are you just driving in circles going nowhere fast?
We all should strive to learn from those that have gone before. But the first step is to truly decide what you want your life to look like so you know which map to use.
Then someday, once you achieve the success you seek, you can share your our own map, just like Mercator. Just as you receive guidance from those that have gone before, your can be an inspiration for those who will come after.