Take Google Maps or Waze. On the one hand, they amplify human ability – you are able to reach your destination faster and more easily. But at the same time, you are shifting the authority to the algorithm and losing your ability to find your own way. Yuval Noah Harari
Okay, I confess. I am addicted… to maps. Yes, I am addicted to maps in my car. I even use Waze when I know where I’m going. Although I may not require directions, I like to know the time it will take to reach my destination.
Obviously, maps offer more than direction. Essentials like predictability, serenity and confidence are common features associated with maps. And when I say “essential,” I mean it.
Predictability, or Not
I have this uncomfortable feeling that predictability may be the most longed for attribute. For as much as I adore “the unknown,” this time of quarantine and economic uncertainty, is forcing me to reconsider. I wonder if I only enjoy the unknown when it is resting on some kind of solid foundation. What kind of unknown is that—one with a disclaimer?
I guess I have lived in a world of intermittent surprises undergirded by a flawed sense of predictability. But, the pandemic has blown cavernous holes in my ability to even mildly predict any sort of future at all.
Three months ago I owned a map for my life, one that provided a secure foundation. I was reasonably secure about my future, and what it most likely might look like. Today, I have no clue. And, truthfully, therein lies hope. The time has come for me to “find my own way.” Navigating with no map forces me to acknowledge my responsibilities to my family and to myself.
Today my maps are no longer predicated on goals or plans because both require some predictability, however slight. Instead my maps today are constructed of intuition, passion and character. Although I may not know my precise direction, these three inner guides can serve as a master internal GPS.
Christopher Columbus once wrote that he did not “make use of intelligence, mathematics or maps” on his explorer’s journey. What then did he use if not Intuition? My guess is that intuition became his guide to find the Indies… which he failed to do, and discovered America instead.
Passion provides a most needed spark of enthusiasm and, ultimately, direction. That which broils under the heat of passion results in a most delicious entre. And life is, indeed, the grand entre.
Finally, we come to Character. What might character have to do with building a map? I would suggest that nothing may be stronger than character when mapping out one’s direction in life. It is written, “Whatever is true, honorable, right, pure, lovely and with a good reputation… ponder on these things.” Matters of the soul. Matters of the heart. Matters for a map.
Yes, guidance for when there is no physical map: create your own map, according you’re your GPS; consider your intuition, your passion, and the health of your character; then, follow it and you will be just fine.
Photo courtesy of Trifonov_Evgeniy at istockphoto