At one point in my educational career, transparencies were the height of technology. By today’s standards they are obsolete but at the time they were extremely helpful. The ability to manipulate and project for a group to see was used daily. My most vivid memories of them were from history class. A territory could be shown with a variety of borders and other influencers. Depending on the transparency that was placed onto the territory, a force like the Roman Empire could be all encompassing or completely inconsequential. The territory was always the same but the translucent lines of borders and boundaries changed. Even though the transparency projectors have all but disappeared, the influence of invisible and imaginary lines has not.
They are truly all around us, the transparent lines that often direct our lives. The boundary lines, goal lines, bottom lines, traffic lines and party lines are subtly informing our every day experience. So many different ways that we can choose to box ourselves in or direct our movement by using these lines. The issue comes when the lines become walls that imprison.
Many of us have constructs that we have developed or have been developed for us. Some are almost invisible until we look for them. For example you are reading this blog in English. If it is your first language, it changes the way that you look at the world compared to other languages. A simple sentence like “I dropped the plate.” illustrates the point. There is an underlying sense of responsibility attached to action because of the subject “I”. Conversely the Spanish representation of the situation, “Se me cayó el plato.” literally translates to “The plate fell from me.” For better or worse, the influence of simple things such as this can monumental and often taken for granted. So the first step is to recognize as many of the lines that are influencing you as you can. Then decide what makes sense.
When you peel back the layers of transparencies from your life, you will most likely find things that you’ve taken for granted that just don’t make sense. Driving on the right side of the road may be a useful constraint to keep. However there are probably others that can be amended or dropped in order to better service you in the pursuit of what you want today. Perhaps you’ve always believed that you’re not smart, that planning isn’t important, that sex is REALLY important, that you need to make it on your own or a million other things. Maybe you’ll keep most of your beliefs but it is worth the examination to see if you’ve painted yourself into a corner with beliefs that don’t make sense anymore. If you want to be a millionaire but think that making minimum wage is the best you can do, you’ve got a problem. Do the lines that you’ve painted for yourself point you in the direction that you want to be going?
Physically, mentally and emotionally; what do you believe about yourself, people and the world? Write it down in your notebook, iPhone, laptop or anything else that works for you. Then pick through it to see what you’re keeping, tweaking or tossing. It’s up to you to clean up whatever mess you might have. If you’re honest in your assessment, you’ll be able to see through the person that you need to read better than anyone else: yourself.
Go get your hands dirty boys and girls!