See things as they truly are, not how you wish they were

One way that people introduce errors into their mental map is when cognitive maladies lead them to see things as they wish they were, not how they actually are. To build an accurate mental map, you must dispassionately look past the reality you want for the reality that exists.

Consider, for example, that you are called upon by a cute, middle-aged, mom-and-pop couple who own a local bakery. They have asked you to make an investment in their business. The investor who sees a quaint little bakery, run by an adorable husband and wife, sees the situation as he wishes it was. The investor who sees an empty store with stale muffins and credit card debt — and does not care how cute the owners look — sees the situation as it truly is.

It is much easier to see things as you wish they were, because seeing the world as it truly is can be painful. But if you build a mental map through the lens of wishes, eventually reality will catch up with you; your make-believe world will come crashing down.