A Mirror, a Window, and a Map

In most situations we want to make sure we have a mirror, a window, and a map.

A mirror to accurately reflect what is there.

A window to look out of, to see what else is outside of the frame of the mirror.

A map to have the broadest perspective of where things are beyond our field of vision, letting us know what to expect / what’s over there.

We’re going to find more questions (new hypotheses), develop probable truths (theories), and sometimes even establish facts (and/or first principles).

The trick is to stay focused on how information carries over between the mirror, the window, and the map. Remember what Aldous Huxley said, “Facts do not cease to exist because they are being ignored.”

There’s reality, and then there’s perception of reality. These can be scaled differently for every observer. Different things are on different people’s radar.

Don’t be overwhelmed by possibilities, but instead look for consensus and remember that just because facts don’t matter at the moment, it doesn’t mean that they won’t later. Make notes. Keep track.

Inattention is always cured with attention. Motivations for looking beyond confirming evidence can be as hard to predict as they are to avoid.

Most people are stuck on the mirror, the window, or the map alone. All of the opportunity in the world comes from our ability to see past where others are stuck. The truly great ones can even see around corners.

For all of this complexity, the key binding force is a really simple one. You can balance awareness of the mirror, the window, and the map with one simple trait: curiosity.

If we stay curious, we have a chance to do anything.

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