What is your mental map?

I hope you see how you make a positive difference, in a myriad of ways, as we discussed in my first Positive Power posts. The world is waiting for you – you are responsible, too. You have your personal positive power, your inner locus of control.

So, where do you begin the journey of further developing yourself, unpacking your potential, healing your hurt and hinders, training your courage, compassion, and skills, raising your awareness and energy, upgrading your mindset, and influencing others with positive (inter)action…?

Where do you begin the journey of further developing yourself? Click To Tweet

I’d like to start with exploring our mindset. A mental map is a worldview we hold. It contains both conscious and hidden assumptions and beliefs that help us to give meaning to the world and to make sense of what happens to us. Our mental map determines our behaviors – so choose it wisely. It has a huge impact on how you experience reality and what you achieve.

The conventional map, what is regarded “common sense and normal” in our culture, was installed during our socialization to fit in, from child to teenager to student to professional. It answers questions about identity, the world, work, women and men, money and material goods, spiritual visions, nature, hopes, values, norms, what is right and wrong, and so on.

Even though we share the rough outline of a mental map within a certain local culture and generation, every individual is unique in his or her character and life experiences. That’s why every one of us developed a personal mental map that helps to make meaning of reality.

Which statements are true for you?

With how many of the 20 statements below do you agree? How many do you apply – meaning that your behaviors are congruent with these beliefs?

People are fundamentally good and will help one another.
We are all connected.
It matters if I greet my neighbor or not. Every small act affects the whole.
When I give generously and with no strings attached, something good will come back to me in one way or another.
There’s enough and I am (good) enough.
I am safe.
People are wired to collaborate.
I am ready to share because there’s enough for everyone.
People are motivated by desire to realize their own potential.
Given the chance, people would like to have more responsibility.
I’m happy to share knowledge, contacts, and compassion.
The best is yet to come.
I trust people up front, assuming the best of them.
In most cases, there’s a win-win solution. You just have to find it.
Honesty pays off. I don’t need to hoard information.
I can speak truth to power because the organization benefits if I do so.
I accept anyone the way they are, while I’m trying to be my best self at work to role-model the change I want to see.
I don’t need to be right – I might be wrong and I can admit it without feeling less than the other.
My team can achieve extraordinary performance if we focus on what goes well and amplify what inspires us.

And…? How many statements do you wholeheartedly agree with? What resonates without conditions (“Yes, but, only if….”). Which statements evoke a skeptical, critical or maybe even cynical inner response? (“I wish!” “Dream on!”) What do you indeed apply?

Sure, these statements are absolute and generic, and they can’t be completely true at all times. Sure, sometimes we need to add criteria and conditions to avoid excess. There are exceptions, too. Not all people you know will fit the descriptions. You can’t believe these statements to be true in all situations.

But “looking through your eyebrows”, how much do you sign up for? 5, 10, all 20 statements? Your answer gives an indication of your current mental map.
The more statements you embrace and embody in actual behaviors, the more you have adopted a positive mindset of possibilities.

Positive change is a creative process

That is interesting information. Not a judgment. If you add the positive mindset to your current, conventional worldview you will broaden your repertory of responses to whatever life throws at you. You will become more creative because you’ll start to see more options. People might be attracted to work with you because they sense this positive energy of possibilities around you.

Positive change is a creative process Click To Tweet

Meanwhile, please don’t take the term “conventional” the wrong way. Most of us are brought up with a conventional mainstream way of thinking. That’s our current default. There’s nothing really wrong with it – but it is time to add and upgrade our mindset for the challenges that lie ahead.

But what does this positive mindset entail? To clearly discern the positive mindset of possibilities, it is easy to contrast it with the conventional mental map. Even though that may be too dualistic it makes things clear.

The conventional mental map and its positive opposite go by many different names, depending on the author. In my next post, we’ll look at some examples.

This is book post #19 – ME

Here‘s the previous post
Here‘s the next post

If you’re confused – please start with post #1 or check the Positive Power overview and read the Positive Agent Manifesto.

Leaders, employees, consultants, citizens – everyone can make a positive difference from any position, without needing permission or resources from others. This blog will help you see positive possibilities and (re)claim your positive agency. Unstuck yourself and engage others via your interaction and actions. Transform into a positive organization where people and performance thrive.

I’m blogging my next book: “Positive Power at Work – How to make a positive difference from any position.” Your feedback is appreciated!

You can help me by liking, sharing, and commenting.

Leave a Reply

This Post Has 3 Comments

  1. Jean Debrosse

    This series is great: clarifying, validating the direction humanity is invited to take.
    Thanks Marcella!

    1. Marcella Bremer

      Thank you, Jean 🙂 I’m glad you appreciate it. There’s more to come…

  2. Vikas Jain

    An interesting read about our mental map and how it defines the world we live in.

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