Mirror, Window, Map (Revisited)

Here’s a quick revisit of the “Mirror, Window, Map” mental model.

The purpose of the mirror is to accurately reflect the current situation.

The purpose of the window is to actively take a look around for information immediately outside of the current situation.

The purpose of the map is to increase awareness of the plan and expectations for how the current situation could evolve across time and space.

With the mirror, think self-assessment.

If we were to ask someone else to “make a copy,” this is the basic information they’d need. Like any self-assessment, there are layers of information. A snapshot alone is different than a snapshot accompanied with a detailed character study. Think of the classic “evil twin” character, where two people look the same but act with different motives. The point is there are more dimensions to a self-assessment than surface details.

With the window, think environmental-assessment.

Do I need an umbrella? Look outside at the sky. These are the details surrounding the self that are present in the current environment. For the evil twin, look for the actions being taken (spot the impostor!) – These are where the hidden motives and dimensions appear. The point is to use the environment to understand the actions / responses of the self we just assessed.

With the map, think mirror + window information, assessed across time and space.

We may need an umbrella now, but the weather app on my phone says it’s going to be sunny at the beach by the time we get there.  The evil twin is going to try to take over the world from the satellite tower, so the good twin will need to take these steps to get there to thwart him. The point of the map is to test the dimensions of the self against scenarios and sensitivities beyond the present circumstances.

When we combine the mirror, the window, and the map, we can gain better insights to where we are now, where we could be later, and how we should process new information.

By regularly checking in with each tool, we can pull useful information forward into the current situation, and push less-useful information back out onto the map (where we keep track of it, but recognize it as not immediately useful).