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STOP Building Mental Traps!

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If you’re often uttering or thinking the words “I can’t” or “I wish”, there is a good chance you have built a mental trap. The longer we exist in that soul-sucking place called the “middle ground”, the stronger the walls in our self-made cages become. These cages distort and sometimes even cut off your Authentic Voice. Stay vigilant and self-aware to head off traps before they become cages. 

The Final Chapter

This is the last piece in the Authentic Voice series. The reason we are ending on the subject of mental traps is because, once you find a connection to your Authentic Voice and begin to do something about it, the worst thing you could do is cut it off by building yourself a mental trap. The longer we exist in our own cages, the stronger the walls become, locking us inside for extended periods.

Forbidden Words/Thoughts

How many times during a day do we say “I can’t” or “I wish”? Those words should be banished from the English language. They’re certainly banished from my household. Think of the implied powerlessness we impart when we say or think those repugnant words. In the immortal words of Yoda – “Do or do not, there is no try”. Sometimes life serves us up the choice between a lump of coal and a bag of dung. Just because you only have unappealing options doesn’t mean you don’t have a choice…I’d choose the coal by the way…less stinky.

Sometimes other people put us in these precarious predicaments. Sometimes, the reality of life that nobody teaches you in school (you know…the harshest one of all…the fact that life is damn hard at times) sticks out its proverbial leg and sends you ass over teakettle. Regardless of the source, we all find ourselves in situations we would never have wished for.

The Paradox of Emotion

The second derivative of emotion is by far the most taxing. Bluntly, shitty things happen in life. That’s bad enough but it’s not the worst part. The worst part is when we beat ourselves up for feeling a certain way or begin to believe there’s no way out. The latter is purely self-inflicted and it’s a disease I recognize in many people, principally because I have an acute case of it myself. I’ll admit that I’ve incarcerated myself at least 3 or 4 times in my life, and though I’m getting better at recognizing the signs, I still haven’t built up an immunity to my ailment. However, I do know how to break out of the cage, simply because I’ve been there so often.

How to Break Out

First you need to recognize the traps you’ve built. If you find yourself saying “I can’t” or “I wish” a lot there’s a pretty good chance you’ve built one.

Second, with that awareness, simply don’t allow yourself to be trapped. It’s much easier said than done. I realize that…trust me. But make a decision. Don’t let two unappealing options turn you into a deer in the headlights. The worst part about any tough decision is staying in the middle ground. That’s where your soul gets sucked out. Sometimes circumstances break the walls, but it’s a hell of a lot quicker and far more empowering to break them down on our own.

Third – Recognize that your mind is constantly looking for trap-building materials. Just because you’ve busted out of one doesn’t mean it’s the end of your days of incarceration. Stay vigilant. Watch your mindset and watch the “I can’t”s and “I wish”s.

Leave Your Mark

Now, if you’re still actually reading, it’s possible that one idea or two may have stuck with you over the past couple of months. And you may be feeling a rush of adrenaline to do something about it. Please take my advice and do something today. Don’t waste the next 13 years in train zombie mode like I did. You’re alive….so you might as well live. If you find that Authentic Voice and actually do something about it, who knows how the world can benefit from your talents and your passion…. As for me, I’m just doing my little bit. I’m really hoping that at least some of you will be inspired to leave your mark on this planet, whatever that means to you. Then, and only then, will I be able to leave mine.

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Brent C. Wagner