Someone once shared a story with me about a young boy who collected flying bugs for a science project. He trapped five of them in a net then lowered the net into a mason jar and quickly screwed the lid shut. Within the jar, he provided everything they needed to survive -- food, a wet paper towel to keep the environment comfortable and air holes for them to breathe, though not big enough for them to escape.
The insects spent their time flying from one side of the jar to the other or resting in place. After a few days when the boy was done observing them, he opened the jar to release them back into the world. That’s when he observed the most interesting thing of all: Only one of the bugs mustered up enough strength to fly away. The others continued to stay within their newly proscribed enclosure. They never intended to be trapped, but once they were, they quickly gave up on anything beyond making the best of where they were stuck. Even once the option of freedom was returned to them, they were already too focused on the illusion of being trapped to look beyond their immediate environment.
This type of behavior is not exclusive to bugs. In fact, it has been observed countless times in animals who have experienced captivity. And here’s the piece to really get: We humans do this, too. The good news is, we can learn to identify where and how we are limiting our own potential. Let’s look at how to remove your own personal “lid” so you can transform your life and find the success you’ve always dreamed of.
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Moving from delusion to truth.
We all have some kind of passion, a true calling, a potential for living life to the fullest… so what is holding us back from living that? Personal misconceptions and an unawareness of our infinite capacity to manifest our dreams cause many of us to settle for second best or, worse, allow ourselves to become stuck in situations we don’t even remotely enjoy. Here are some of the limiting beliefs that hold us back and block us from reaching our potential:
Delusion: I must control my reality.
What this delusion really tells us is that we fear we might lose control if we step outside of our comfort zone. When operating from this place, we are basing our decision making on fear and ideas of worst-case scenarios rather than on our ability to make an intelligent choice and trust our own inner knowing. We settle for safe and unfulfilling options over risking exploring something new to fulfill our greatest potential.
Truth: Let go and embrace life.
Flip the switch. Turn your inner dialog to statements such as, “Change is full of excitement!” or, “Change is not the unknown; it will become my new known!” Trust your ability to take the leap, and then take it.
Delusion: What will people think?
This delusion has us living our lives based on the opinions of others, real or imagined. When we operate from this place, we allow others to control us, whether with the things they actually do and say or, worse, what we imagine they might do or say, which we then allow to thwart our efforts.
Truth: Speaking and living your truth is liberating.
When you operate in the world as your true self, people will respect you. They may not always agree with you or like the decisions you make, but they will respect your strength and clarity of purpose. Standing up for your ideals will change the way you do business and it will also help you to be more at ease in both business and personal relationships.
Delusion: I’m afraid to make a mistake and fail.
Here’s an important thing to realize about this delusion: The fear of failing is usually much worse than the reality of experiencing a perceived failure. Life and business are full of ups and downs. If we shy away from anything we might fail at, we will never experience anything new, never enjoy life’s full rewards because we choose to be stuck in a place where we remain unchallenged.
Truth: Completed action is better than living with stuck thoughts.
All too many of us grew up learning that mistakes are bad. We walk through life on eggshells, trying desperately not to take a wrong step. When we live this way, we can’t learn from our mistakes and grow into new possibilities. Retrain your brain to know that mistakes happen, and it’s okay that they do. The most important thing is what you learn from a mistake about how to do better next time. The mark of a successful person is not based on how few mistakes they make, but on how quickly they get back up, learn from mistakes and move forward.
In summary, living with self-judgment, fear of criticism and fear of failure is a state of imprisonment that’s holding you back from embracing life to the fullest. You have the power to choose to live by doing rather than fearing. Your life can transform completely if you begin to face these often-unconscious delusions and decide to operate from your innermost truth instead.