Don’t Constrain Yourself

Hopefully, you don’t know what it’s like to be in prison and have your options tightly constrained by an outside agency. But that doesn’t mean you don’t have any constraints. Laws, other people, responsibilities… these all constrain your actions by reducing your options for activity. And that’s a good thing – the restraints you’re under also constrain other people, ensuring that you’re protected from the actions of other people.

There is a more subtle form of constraint under which many people labour, however, which can often individuals back from achieving their fullest success. These subtle constraints are imposed by our own mind and our own beliefs, and that makes them insidious, as we may not even realize we have them.

Think about being organized. It’s a pain, isn’t it? Do you consider yourself good at it? Many people don’t – and yet why is that? Is it a genetic trait passed down from one person to the next? No, it’s not. It’s not impossible to get organized; it’s not even all that hard. In fact, when it becomes really important to a person, that person often finds it easy to get organized to achieve a particularly cherished task. But they still think of themselves as unorganized or “bad” at organization, when the truth is that they’re simply not making the effort to do so. Be honest with yourself, and let that constraint go. You’re only holding yourself back when you say “I’m unorganized” – instead, say “I don’t have the tools or skills I need to be properly organized.” Now it’s a problem with a ready solution – go get those tools and skills, and get moving!

Organization is only one example, of course. I’m sure you can think of others. In fact, now’s a good time to take a moment and really think about your behaviors to try to locate any hidden constraints you might be imposing on yourself. It’s a valuable investment of your time and effort – so get to it, and set yourself free!

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