No, I’m not talking about your place of dwelling. I’m talking about the roles that are placed on you and expected from you.
Boxes that you put yourself in. Boxes that you allow those around you to put you in. Boxes that society puts you in.
Some of the more familiar boxes can be employee, housewife, executive carpenter, nerd, janitor, student, homeless, jock, retiree.
Each of these descriptions probably generates an image in your mind. You may relate to one or more of them yourself. Some will produce positive feelings and some negative feelings.
These are the boxes that you need to be aware of. Some of these you are comfortable with. Some, not so much. People tend to mentally place each other into boxes. This lets you categorize the people you meet without putting too much thought into it. Its just human nature.
Frequently you hear the phrase “Think outside the box”. That box is the normal way of approaching an issue or problem. Thinking outside the box allows you to come up with creative solutions to those issues and problems.
If you want to change the path that you are on, you need to live outside the box that you are currently in. The box that others see you in. More importantly, the box that you see youself in.
Boxes by definition are constraining, limiting. They give boundry, scope and shape to your life. But what if you are in a box that doesn’t fit? What if those around you put you in a box of their choosing? What if society put you in a box due to your physical appearance or current economic situation?
How do you get out of your box when the directions are printed on the outside of the box?
How do you change your box?
First you have to understand that being aware of the boxes around each of us is not a common trait in today’s society. Most people live their lives mindlessly in their own box, putting those around them into the boxes that make sense to them. They are not aware of the fact that they do this. It is just natural for them. It is what their friends and family do. It is the only life they have ever known and they have never stopped to question why they do it.
Only when you try and expand your life beyond the boundary of your box do you begin to realize that it is even there. Then you start to become aware of just how boxed in you really are. Limited by your own self-imposed box and by the box you have been placed in by those around you.
Many times the shape of your box is primarily defined by others. “You aren’t smart enough…”, “You’re a girl…”, “You’re not old enough…”, “You’re too old…” Each of these is a box that can be repeated by those around you often enough that it eventually contributes to the size and shape of the box you see yourself in.
… you can begin to take control of the shape of your box.
Once you realize that these boxes are built primarily by the expectations of others you can begin to take control of the shape of your box. If you want to live up to our full potential, you must shape your own box. Only you can determine what box will fit your talents, needs and desires.
Only you know what shape of box you were destined for. Therefore you cannot look to others to determine the shape of your box. You cannot base your box on the approval of those around you.
Identify what boxes you are currently in. What is the source of these boxes, you or those around you? Think about how these boxes are keeping you from reaching your full potential.
In the next post we look at how we can begin to take control of the shape of our box.