Monday, July 1, 2019

Are you Trapped, Or Constrained?

It's 1st of July today and this being my birthday month, I have decided that now is the time to stop being so selfish...

I am ashamed that I consume a massive amount of information (epic reads, documentaries, podcasts and great TV shows). I, however, give back very little.
Now is the time to write more, as I ought. And I'm starting right here on The Walkabout.

* * *

Back in June, I embarked on a spirited quest to finish reading a number of books that I did start but got distracted along the way ( happens, you know!). These include 'The Confidence Game' by Maria Konnikova, 'The Andromeda Strain' by Michael Crichton, 'Fooled by Randomness' by Nassim Nicholas Taleb, and two other books that inspired today's post.

* * *

For quite some time now, I have been feeling trapped. Certain aspects of my life haven't gone according to plan and a number of things haven't turned out as expected. Some of these mishaps have been due to character defects or lapses in my judgment. Others still, have been purely inadvertent.
But I am a very firm believer in things getting better. And it is for this reason that almost all my online accounts simply have "In Repair" as my bio.

This quest for escape routes is what informed my decision to read 'Escape Routes' by Johann Christoff Arnold. It is a good book, with the solid truths and included Biblical references a great way to tackle a vexing subject for many who are seeking answers.

On the creative side of my life, the book 'A Beautiful Constraint' got my attention in an episode of 'Under the Influence' with adman and CBC radio host Terry O'Reilly back in 2016. In the Bookmarks episode, Terry talks about tension due to constraints fueling a high degree of creativity.

It is my humble opinion that besides the natural human tendency to postpone things until the last possible moment, constraints, as much as fast approaching deadlines, are at times necessary to "persuade" us to do our absolute best.

* * *

So how does all this add up?

It was while watching the 9th episode of the 1st season of the 911 TV series that I realized what I have for so long overlooked: getting trapped and being constrained are not exactly the same thing.
In fact, it's very easy to mistake one for the other. But it gets all the more easier to differentiate by just looking from the inside out, instead of the all-too-common outside-in perspective.

Here's deep words from the opening scene in the aptly titled 'Trapped' episode:

People are resilient.
I think we're designed that way.
It's embedded in our DNA to forge ahead, soldier on.
It's a whole lot easier to do with an army at your back.
But sometimes it feels like we're on our own.
It might even feel like the world is conspiring against us at times.
A test to see just how much we can take.
How do you get out? How do you break the cycle? 

And now, the closing scene:

A wolf will chew off its own leg just to escape.
Which makes perfect sense.
If you're being held back, cornered, forced into a situation, you do whatever you can to change it, to break free, to survive.
But sometimes escape isn't our default.

Sometimes we stay the course.
We cope, we navigate.
Because traps don't look the same to everybody, especially not from inside one.
Sometimes what the rest of the world sees as having us pinned actually ends up pushing us forward, giving us purpose, control, someone to talk to.
And once in a while, the very thing everyone thinks is holding us back is also what makes us feel at home.

You may want to read the entire 'Trapped' script.

Many are the times we pause and think, even loudly ask, if the next decision will be yet another bad one. And it gets particularly bad when the clouded judgment that is occasioned by entrapment makes you think any additional effort will simply be an exercise in futility - akin to "trying to get your hands clean in dirty water" as Soulsavers put it in 'Revival.'

But there is hope. Should you still feel like you are aimlessly wandering about, blind with your eyes wide open (another Soulsavers reference), you may want to first identify how you're looking at it all.

I'll end with one of my favorite extracts from the Alcoholics Anonymous Big Book: Personal Stories III - Safe Haven [PDF]. This I chanced upon many, many years ago in Prison Break, where Michael Scofield sends an encrypted message contained in the A.A. book, to Sara Tancredi... but this is besides the point. Following is what is important for the purposes of this post:

I have found that the process of discovering who I really am begins with knowing who I really don't want to be... like the power that causes an airplane to become airborne, it only works when the pilot is doing the right things to make it work.

It does help to find out first the very nature of what stands in your way. Certain limitations are actually advantages.

So, are you trapped, or merely constrained?

* * *

All said and done, you wont have to ask "Am I Wrong?" for thinking out the box, trying to reach the things you cannot see and for choosing another way.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...