What Options Might We Not Be Seeing?

Let’s start with a tangible example.

The map on the left (top on mobile) is the traditional London tube map. Many visitors, and even some Londoners in my experience, are unaware that there is an extensive National Rail service running overground that adds significantly more options.

For visitors, this may simply condition where they stay or what they visit but for residents it can have much deeper implications. The key concern when we are working and living in cities is how to get around. We want to keep our commute reasonable.

Only looking at the Tube map will dramatically limit our options because it looks like there are a whole series of areas that aren’t serviced by public transport. This has implications for house prices and hence for the major life choices we make.

The Map Is Not the Territory

How then might we be limiting our choices by how we look at the world?

How might the systems, models, processes, procedures we use be conditioning how we think and what we do?

In my own sphere of coaching, being overly attached to a particular set of models can highly condition how we view the process, what we focus on and hence the outcomes. Being aware that a model is just a model, and a map is just a map is a really helpful insight. It doesn’t mean we shouldn’t use models or maps, but rather to see them for the tools they are. There is no substitute for walking the land.

Questions in the Image:

  • What options do I not know I have?
  • What might be skewing my vision?
  • How might I be ignoring more possibilities?

Want to Read More Around This Topic?

Antifragile: Things That Gain from Disorder by Nassim Nicholas Taleb (link to Amazon.co.uk). Nassim Taleb is one of the small band of authors I have read who offer truly original thinking. Antifragile is no different. He argues that certain things in life not only benefit from stress, disorder, volatility and turmoil but in fact need them and thrive under such conditions. How then might our decision-making be fragile? What options have we not considered?

Nurturing Curiosity – Daily Practice: This is part of the Nurturing Curiosity series of tools, insights and questions designed to help nurture curiosity as part of our daily practice. In point of fact, every interaction we have is an opportunity to question what we are observing and how we and others are seeing the world. Also remember that questions come in many forms throughout our day. Just now my body is asking me how I might ease in the day. What might I do as part of this – and indeed throughout the day – to be at my peak at the right moments?

What Thoughts Would You Like to Share? My name is Tom O’Leary, and I envision a world in which curiosity shapes leadership. In this world, leaders aren’t boxed in by traditional thinking or established playbooks. They are open to fresh ideas and diverse perspectives, fostering a culture of exploration and learning. My mission is to shift leadership focus from authority, over-measurement and control to curiosity, learning and innovation, empowering leaders to prioritise the essential. My journey, lived in a number of countries and through various languages, has always been driven by a profound sense of curiosity. In fact, life has taught me that possibility lies not so much in seeking answers but in learning to ask better questions – the ones that help prioritise what is truly essential. I welcome your thoughts, feedback, or personal experiences related to these questions or any insights they may have sparked.