How we see the world either limits us or sets us free. There is nothing more powerful than our mindset and how we choose to see things.
One can have all the resources at their fingertips to do something. But if they believe they can’t do it, they won’t. We create our own prison from our fears, insecurities, beliefs about ourselves and the bullshit stories we tell ourselves about why we can’t do something.
It is human nature to do this because it protects us from feelings of failure or rejection. It is the ultimate buffer, because if don’t try we can’t fail. And we are really good at rationalizing all the reasons why something won’t work, or why we can’t do something. They are believable and if you are like me, you have even convinced yourself that you don’t even really want to do X.
I think at the end of the day, the prisons we create for ourselves reflect who we think we aren’t, not who we think we are. You see, 80% of the choices we make are based on fear, not what we really want. We prefer to feel safe in our prison, rather than uncomfortable or scared outside of it.
In the credits section of the EP Broken by Nine Inch Nails, there is a quote that reads, “the slave thinks he is released from bondage only to find a stronger set of chains.” This was likely directed towards an executive at NIN’s label, who refused to let Trent Reznor out of his contract. But I always internalized this quote as something deeper. To me, it reflects how easy it is to get stuck in our own ways of thinking, that even when we do have freedom, we just can’t see it – so we remain stuck.
It’s kind of like how when elephants are babies, they are tethered with a small rope to a stake in the ground so they can’t take off. They pull at it, trying to see if they can break free, and they can’t. So they stay where they are. At the circus, you have probably seen adult elephants tethered to a tiny rope to a stake in the ground. It seems silly, doesn’t it? This large elephant can pull the stake right out of the ground. There is nothing that can prevent this massive animal from leaving that spot if he wanted to. Yet he stays there. Believing he can’t leave, and that the rope can hold him. He has been conditioned to believe that he cannot leave from a very young age. He believes he doesn’t have the strength or autonomy to do so.
When our perspective becomes our prison, we, too, are tethered to that stake.
But what if we started to look at how we see things as a passport? What if we started asking ourselves what if we fly instead of what if we fall? What would happen if we started focusing on all the things that could go right, instead of all that could go wrong?
The truth is, we are all living in cages with the door wide open. Have the courage to fly. You were born with wings for a reason.
What is tethering you to the ground?