Today I started re-reading a book called Get Out Out of Your Own Way by Robert K. Cooper. The subtitle is The 5 Keys to Surpassing Everyone's Expectations. I enjoyed this book the first time I read it and am enjoying it again.
One line caught my attention while I was reading today and here it is - "To get out of the box, you have to see the box."
It's so easy sometimes to feel like circumstance have boxed me in and that there is nothing I can do beyond the four walls of this box. And I can't even see out of it because the lid is closed up tight and duct taped shut.
But as I was reading I began wondering what this box is really made of. Is it really as limiting as I let myself believe sometimes. Do I really have to sit here in this box and let the world go on without me because . . . because why?
The longer I looked the more I realized that my box is made of things that I am allowing to hold me in, but that really only have the strength that I allow them to have.
Here are some of the things that I have allowed to make up the walls of my box.
1. Other People's Actions
Why is it alwasy so easy to blame my problems on the actions of the other people in my life? It's common, we all do it, but it is so pointless and self limiting. And while I am lamenting that someone else is causing me so much trouble, the other person is going on with their life, often blissfully unaware of my perception of their actions.
How much more productive it would be to take an honest look at what is going on and make a plan of action. There are several things that could be done. Approach the person, explain the problem, and ask for input from the other person's perspective. It may be that with the information given them the actions would change. Or maybe I would change my view of things when I heard the other side of the story. Maybe a win-win solution could be reached. Or, possibly I need to simply look at the situation from all angles and find a way around it, through it or even a way to use it for good. But never do I need to sit and allow another person's actions to box me in.
Sometimes it seems time is determined to box me in. I just can't make the days any longer, or put any more minutes into the hours. But usually, if I am beginning to feel boxed in by time I need to take a long hard look at how I am spending time. And spending is the right terminology because I can't really save time, or borrow time, what I have is what I am going to get, and whether I use it properly or not, it will move on and be gone.
So taking examining how I am spending the minutes of my hours is usually the first place I need to start. A minute slips by so quietly and smoothly it is easy to lose the value that can be gained from it. Living on purpose, and making conscious decisions about how I am spending my time is the key to escaping from the time box.
All too often I let myself blame my sitting in the box on money, or the lack thereof. But if I allow myself to embrace that mindset, I will always be limiting myself. More money could always be used, but if I'm honest with myself there are nearly always things that can be done now, whether I have the money I think I need or not, that will move me further away from my box. I can study, read, take advantage of what is available to me within my current budget and as I take these steps, following the bit of path I can see now, the rest of the way always opens before me, whether through monetary means or other. But I have to take the first step.
These are just a few of the ways that I often allow myself to become boxed in and ways I am learning, sometimes over and over, to escape from the box and dance the dance of life. I would love to read the thoughts of others on boxes and finding freedom from them.