For most of my life, I observed the world as a very fixed set of parameters. It felt like I was standing in a box with four walls and everything painted gray. This was the life I was told would be waiting for me and if I just stayed in the box, worked hard, everything would work out, and I would live a fulfilling life.
What most millennials discover including myself is a life inside the box where we find anything but a purposeful life. It’s why we struggle to find our path and chart our destiny. We end up reaching a place in our life we don’t fully understand how we got there or where to go next.
A few years ago, I realized that this box sits right in the middle of an open forest of opportunity with success around every tree. The trigger for me was recognizing I first didn’t have all the answers, and I needed to follow the footsteps of others who dared to look beyond the box. What followed was my journey of self-improvement and awareness of my actions and surroundings that is now a lifelong pursuit of new perspective and knowledge.
It was this trigger where the gray started to fade around me, and a glass box revealed to me where I could see potential all around, but it was opportunity overload for me. I didn’t know how to process it all at the time.
Staying in the safe zone of the box, I observed, listened, and adapted to what I saw, but never acted to break free.
Just recently I realized what I had perceived as progress in my life was me always observing through the looking glass from a safe distance, but not acting.
I had discovered mentors who I wanted to follow, who had developed a purpose outside of the box but I had failed in taking the steps needed to break free.
If I wasn’t willing to change who I was within the box, how could I ever move beyond it?
This awareness of the looking glass is an important realization in any self-improvement journey and one it took several years for me to discover. The universe gives us opportunities every week to introduce cracks in the glass and break free. For me, these reflected my avoidance of uncomfortable situations, and instead I am now using these moments to build confidence in who I am.
If I make the choice to be somewhere different tomorrow, then today I will need to think differently, react differently, and live differently.
Through this new awareness, I had to ask myself some hard questions
- Did I know who in this world was already just beyond the box? I couldn’t choose someone who was beyond my reach, I wanted someone just far enough to be able to see the path. For me this is a mastermind group lead by Vincent Pugliese and Larry Hagnar.
- Do I know where my mentor succeeds and I fail? This answer lead me to my communication and relationships. I found I had a huge fear of rejection carried over from my high school days where lacked confidence.
- Do I still have some grey on the walls? Yes, how to connect myself with the rest of the world and build up confidence in one of the most critical components of a purpose filled life, relationships.
- What was stopping me from breaking through this glass and reaching my full potential? For this answer, I concluded I had not consciously made the choice to put the past behind me and chart a new future of my own making.
Also published on Medium.