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Oct 31st, 2017 Share: Share on Twitter Share on Facebook Share on LinkedIn

There Are No Maps

My former boss and Mozilla’s then-CEO John Lilly kept telling folks that there are no maps. He prefaced every presentation with this warning — and the note that “your mileage will vary.”

It is a solid and essential reminder: Any and all advice someone gives you (including mine!) is always deeply contextual to the circumstances, the people involved, the time and place… Sadly I see too many people take advice, things they read in books, articles or blog posts or morsels of wisdom they pick up here and there too literal. This hardly ever works and more often than not leads to poor outcomes.

I would rather have you think for yourself to decide 1) what you want, 2) what is true, and 3) what you should do to achieve #1 in the light of #2…

(as Ray Dalio, founder of the world’s largest hedge fund Bridgewater likes to say)

The way I incorporate this into my everyday life is to force myself to process advice before adopting it by a) writing it down, b) thinking hard about what this means for my specific circumstances and c) creating my own, contextual version of the advice given. I then take the generated insight and treat it like a hypothesis which needs verification/falsification.

Try it out — contextualize advice to your specific circumstances and create your maps.

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