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How to map your resources and create more choice, opportunity and freedom.

Growing up with notably limited access to what many would consider quite basic resources (food, money etc) I have always been fascinated by what people have and how they use it. Or indeed, what people don’t realise they have, what they waste, overlook, devalue etc.


I am, as a result, the proud owner of a book called “1000 extraordinary uses for ordinary things.” I love it because it highlights how flexible the most seemingly basic resources can be. Things you can access with very little effort, that can manage to do the job of things that might seem impossible to achieve without a ready made solution. Yes some things require a little more effort (maybe some measuring, some time, some elbow grease) but they can often be more environmentally friendly (reusing things, using organic matter etc) and as a bonus, I have found that taking the time and effort to solve a problem in a more resourceful way is hugely rewarding in itself.


There will always be times where the solution is not within our capacity to create (think epipens or indeed any kind of western medicine for example). There will also be times when we will choose convenience (a takeaway or ready meal over cooking from scratch) because we are already too low on other resources (time, patience, ingredients, attention span, experience) to feel capable of doing anything else.


Our mental and physical states hugely impact how we perceive our resources (and our access to them) so getting into the habit of checking in on your state before you approach any kind of problem solving or creative discussion is a must. Ask yourself “what state am I in and how might this impact the choices I make?”. If you are feeling exhausted, blinded by stress, or desperate for an answer to something, I recommend you take some rest before starting the work.


Resource mapping exercise:

It’s very easy to forget or fail to see the resources we have access to in life. They come in lots of different forms and have so many applications that it is often easy to miss them when you are looking for a solution to something.


Some examples of resources:
  • Safety (physical, psychological, financial security)

  • Power (electricity, autonomy, status, money)

  • Material goods (problem solvers, bringers of pleasure)

  • Space (personal, physical, mental, houses - not to be confused with homes, because homes are another kind of resource)

  • Connection (relationships, belonging, pets, role models, networks, community, communication, clients, being known, being witnessed, being heard, being valued, dignity, stories)

  • Awareness (senses, feelings, knowings, emotions, awareness of self and others, empathy, experiences, objectivity, memory)

  • Health, growth, learning, mental and physical energy, experience, attitude, faith, spirituality, self expression, art

  • Learnt skills, inherent talents, habits, inherited traits, qualifications, voluntary work


What have I missed? I am sure you can think of lots more.

So, it is very easy to overlook resources, or act off of assumptions about them, or indeed not realise they were ever there. And the kicker is that when we perceive our resources as lacking, we often start to think that the lack is actually inside us, which does nothing for our self-esteem. Don’t make that mistake; instead, get yourself into a decent state (sleep/rest, drink water, eat healthy food, listen to some favourite music) and ask yourself “what resources and therefore choices and opportunities are actually on the table?”.


Here is a way to answer that question that is ideal for use in a specific area of your life e.g. work, your home, relationships etc so feel free to do one of these per area/situation.

  1. Take a large piece of paper (ideally A3)

  2. In the middle of it draw something that represents yourself (this can be a picture or a symbol)

  3. Now draw everything you can think of (in pictures, symbols, diagrams or words, whatever you prefer) that is a resource that could be used in this area of your life. These could be anything at all, feel free to use the list above as a reference

  4. When you have filled the paper up, take a moment to consider the nature of your connection to these resources:

  5. Are they close by? Remote?

  6. How available are they? How regularly?

  7. How strong is the link?

  8. Are they foundational resources?

  9. Are they “must haves” or “nice to haves”?

  10. What are they sources of? Energy? Inspiration? Certainty?

  11. What else would it be good for you to consider?

  12. When you have examined your map, use a different pen - one that stands out - to highlight any resources you feel are blocked at the moment. Ask yourself:

  13. What is the block?

  14. Is it true that it is blocked?

  15. What assumptions have I made about this block?

  16. Where do I lack clarity around this block?

  17. What action have I not taken to discern whether the block is indeed a block?

  18. What information am I missing?

  19. Which blocks could I do something about reducing?

  20. Now take a step back and ask some more general questions:

  21. Do I have enough of the resources I need? If not, how can I increase them?

  22. Now you look at the map: are there any gaps in the resources that I have that need filling? How might I fill them?

  23. Are there areas or instances where sharing my resources might actually increase them?


Did you complete your map? What did you learn? I would love to hear from you, so if you’re happy to share, do drop me an email. If you’re generally interested in exploring yourself and making sense of life I would also encourage you to read my other articles, and (if you use social media) to connect with me on Instagram, where I regularly share insights and helpful material.



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