There is no map

There is a chapter in Seth Godin’s new book Linchpin titled There is no map.  The concept is that successful people can’t be told exactly what to do.  They have to release the artist within to find their own unique success.

Think about that.  Do you need a map for everything you do?   In discussing this in my Wednesday morning Eagles Group the brilliant guys in there quickly decided we don’t need a map, but we do need a compass.  If you’re in the middle of the woods a map will take you right back to the well-worn path and you’ll see just what everyone else has seen.  However, a compass will get you to the desired endpoint but along the way you may see the baby fawns, magnificent waterfall, and other hidden treasures that have never been put on the map. 


If you need a map, your work may be predictable and boring.   If you need a map, your religion may be full of rules but missing authentic experience.  If you need a map, you may give your spouse a gift on your anniversary but be missing a fulfilling relationship. 

There is no map for your extraordinary success. Develop your compass – and see your life become rich and meaningful.

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7 Responses to “There is no map”

  1. andy traub Says:

    Having been the beneficiary of much of your teaching and friendship Dan I agree that all you REALLY need is a compass. BUT, I do think a map helps if you can get your hands on one!

    You have given me a compass in many ways but I also model a lot of my business after yours simply b/c it’s a map worth following. So you and the Eagles are right…Compass – Necessary / Map – Optional.

  2. Theresa Lode Says:

    Joanne was telling me about how you fellows were discussing the map vs. compass thing and it has been lingering in my mind so much that I went back and reread that chapter in Linchpin.

    And I was thinking about how much in our culture we want “how to’s” and the illusion of security we think it brings.

    The house of cards our culture has built up is crumbling and everyone’s screaming for a map now. How sad that we, as a culture have gotten so far that the thought of independent thought and self reliance is regarded with fear and suspicion.

    Saddest loss though IMHO, is that so many have lost the thrill of the journey and the joy of discovery….starting with the discovery of themselves.

    Bless you, Dan; you are such an encouragement to me and Jay. Rock on, man!

  3. Mark Jones Jr Says:

    I am a firm believer in maps. I agree that we don’t need the figurative MapQuest or Google Map, and such a detailed “solution” will not help us arrive at our intended life destination or way-point. In reality, the advent of the GPS and MapQuest both have decreased our flexibility and geo-spatial awareness in this modern age.

    A map is not a purple line between point A and point B. A map has much, much, more information than that. It has information that we will never use, but someone may. A map has many of the details about what we DO know about the world, about what lies on our journey.

    Everybody assumes something about what lies ahead. Even those simple assumptions can serve as the basic details on the map. Chris Columbus may not have had an accurate map, but the one he drew assumed that India lied to the West of the great Atlantic Ocean. His compass was only helpful given the assumptions he made and the chart that he drew.

    In fact, the compass is only useful in conjunction with a map. Otherwise, how do you know you want to head west?

    Perhaps as leaders, we can map our course, even in retrospect, to share what we have learned for our followers: even the great explorers recorded what they saw and created maps.

    Overall, I agree with Dan and Seth both, in essence, but not in semantics. I suggest that we really need to challenge our assumptions about what a map is and how we use them.

  4. Archie Winningham Says:

    This is a “light bulb lighting up” moment for me. Please don’t laugh gang, but sometimes I’m a tab bit slower than other folks. However, I’m seeing this as a great distinguishment of a map and a compass, something I will definitely give much thought to. Also, with this in mind, I am getting closer to coming up with a unique name for my first business.
    Thanks Dan.

  5. Friday Good Reads : Roth IRA, Success is Happiness, Stop Doing Lists | Young and Prosperous Says:

    […] There is no map – There is no map to success.  Each person defines and achieves success in their own way. […]

  6. Chad Says:

    I recently checked out the audiobooks for Linchpin and Tribes from the library. I’ve really enjoyed Tribes. I’m really looking forward to Linchpin!

  7. There is a map. Why Seth Godin is wrong. | Women, Art, Life Says:

    […] Dan Miller suggests that a compass is more useful than a map (and one might argue Seth is a compass, to give Seth his due), and Mark Jones Jr, commenting, says:  A map is not a purple line between point A and point B. A map has much, much, more information than that. It has information that we will never use, but someone may. A map has many of the details about what we DO know about the world, about what lies on our journey. […]

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