Dropping the Map

When your GPS is broken, it’s time to hit the streets.


About a year ago, I was working on building my relationship with a new client. Mike and I met in person and hit it off right away. He told me to call him in two weeks and said that he would have a job order that he would need help with.

When I called him after two weeks, he said it would take another two weeks, and this cycle continued on for four months. As time passed, calls went unanswered, voicemails weren’t returned, and I started to think this guy just didn’t like me.

I began building a story in my head about how he probably just saw me as another sales guy who was a pain in the ass.

One day while I was making my routine calls, I came across Mike’s name on my list and I instantly felt resistance towards calling him. I considered skipping his name and calling the next person on the list, but I knew I had nothing to lose so I picked up the phone and called.

It rang twice and then Mike answered. “Hey Kumail! Your ears must be burning. I was just going to give you a call. I have gotten the approval, lets start the search.”

The first candidate we found for him was a new immigrant to Canada. Mike interviewed him and hired him on the spot. He was thrilled that we found him exactly what he was looking for and the candidate was over the moon to land his first job in a new country.

Up until that point, the story I had created in my mind was that Mike was dragging me through the mud, wasting my time, and he wasn’t serious about hiring. I also felt like an idiot because I thought I had completely misread the situation after our first meeting.

Making that call to Mike was an important moment. It showed me that the stories that we create in our minds about ourselves, people, and the world around us are not always true.

It is the collection of these stories that we use to create our map of the world and what life means. We then use this map to navigate our lives.

What I realized was that the map I was walking around with was very different from the reality on the ground.

The truth was that Mike was busy, he was managing multiple teams, and trying to compete against some big players in the market. It had nothing to do with me and how well our first meeting went.

Before calling Mike that day, my map was leading me in the wrong direction. It was leading me away from calling Mike.

Maps are important, and they provide us with general directions, but they never reflect the reality on the ground. They don’t show us the smile of a stranger or a pothole filled with dog shit that we could step in.

We all have maps, but it is necessary for us to hit the streets and be willing to be wrong about what we think we know about them.

From that experience, I realized how freeing it was for me to find out that I was wrong. The more I thought about it, the more I wondered how many other things I could be wrong about.

Were there beliefs I had about myself, my family, my friends, my relationship, my job, that weren’t true? Of course! And I am sure you must too.

What are some beliefs you have about yourself, people, or the world that you wish you were wrong about? And how incredible would it feel to learn that you are, in fact, utterly and completely wrong?

The litmus test is to see whether a belief empowers you or weighs you down. If you can feel it weighing you down, then it is worth exploring.

A good question to ask when you believe you are sure of something is to rephrase the question by asking, “are you absolutely certain that this is true?” This is the gateway to exploration. Exploration is the willingness to learn something new or to be wrong about what you already think you know.

Below is a beautiful poem by Adyashanti. Here is my interpretation of it.

“Time to cash in your chips put your ideas and beliefs on the table. See who has the bigger hand you or the Mystery that pervades you.

Here, Adyashanti challenges the reader to gamble with all their ideas, beliefs, and opinions.

While the first stanza is a challenge, the second is an invitation.

Who would you be without your map? What mystery of who you are is escaping you? And most importantly, which version of you has the bigger hand? (i.e. the “better cards”).

Time to scrape the mind’s shit off your shoes undo the laces that hold your prison together and dangle your toes into emptiness.

These beliefs, ideas, and opinions; the layers that we believe make us who we are become our prisons. We over-identify with them. They are our self-imposed limitations.

Adyashanti invites the reader to undo the laces that we have tied so tightly so that we can free ourselves from ourselves.

Once you’ve put everything on the table once all of your currency is gone and your pockets are full of air all you’ve got left to gamble with is yourself.

Once you have shed all your layers, then all that is left is you. No ideas, opinions, stories, or maps. We have nothing to trade with other than ourselves.

Go ahead, climb up onto the velvet top of the highest stakes table. Place yourself as the bet. Look God in the eyes and finally for once in your life lose.”

Bet on yourself without all your ideas, beliefs, and opinions. Bet on yourself, as you are without any safety net to catch you.

Losing in this field of play is the best-case scenario. Losing here gives you a fighting chance to capture the mystery of who you really are… and to do your best to ensure it no longer pervades you.

In this field of play, there is nothing to lose.

Namaste motherfuckers.

Yours truly,



“A Quote by Adyashanti.” Goodreads. Goodreads. Accessed June 5, 2021. https://www.goodreads.com/quotes/116540-time-to-cash-in-your-chips-put-your-ideas-and.

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