Let’s talk about change and why growth can feel so difficult. When you’re trying to build a life for yourself – or build a new and better one – it can feel as though you have few options and even fewer that actually work. This is especially true when it feels like all of the paths in front of you “just aren’t you, man.”
Now sometimes this means that the problem is that you’re letting your self-limiting beliefs get in the way of your own success. Other times, however, the problem is that we’re so hung up on trying to fit into a particular mold or box that we don’t realize that this box never fit in the first place… and never will.
This is actually more common than you’d think. One of the worst habits that people fall into is that we let ourselves be bound up by “rules” — rules that don’t actually exist, but that we set up for ourselves and follow anyway. These rules, such as they are, narrow our ways of thinking and create artificial limits on ourselves. They force us into false choices and prevent us from seeing alternatives that may work better for us. We end up seeing things in exactly one way and, if that way isn’t a good fit for us or doesn’t work out – especially right from the start – we assume that we’re failing at them.
What we never seem to realize is that we’re so busy trying to break ourselves into pieces and sand off bits of ourselves to fit into a particular box, we never stop to think that maybe the box is the problem, not us. In those moments we are, for all intents and purposes, passively accepting a framing that limits us. We end up in a trap of looking at other people’s path to success and assuming that it’s the only option, without considering that maybe this isn’t actually true. We’re so used to assuming that we need to fit into a particular mold or that our choices are so limited that there’s really no way to succeed. So our choices seem to be either try to magically become a completely different person… or accept that there’s no hope and we should just give up.
Instead, what we often need to do is to take a page from one James Tiberius Kirk.
If it seems like we’ve stuck ourselves in a no-win situation, then it’s time to change the rules and find alternatives. Restricting yourself to that narrow box hasn’t worked and won’t work. So it’s time to break out of the box. If you feel like you aren’t winning or you can’t win… sometimes what you need is to change the rules.