Achieve the Unthinkable – Challenge Your Boundaries & Invisible Scripts

07/30/2013
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A few weekends ago, Connie and I went hiking with a few friends.  What was planned as a 2 hour hike, turned into a 5 hour hike when we took a wrong turn (or something along that line).  Nobody checked, but we think we probably hiked for around 20 km or so.  Clearly, this was unexpected, but we survived….. but with some serious knee pains the next day!

I know Connie would have never agreed to hike for 5 hours.  Why?  She thought it would have been impossible for her to achieve.

Here’s where it gets interesting….

She whined from hour 2 all the way to hour 5…. “how much longer??” “Why are we torturing ourselves??”  But she was actually ahead of a few friends towards the end of our journey.  She was definitely in front of me at the very last few kilometres.  Yeah, I’m out of shape.

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I wouldn’t say Connie is in the best shape of her life either (and I’m sure she would agree!).  But to my surprise, and to hers as well, she completely exceeded her own expectations, her own “imaginary boundary.”  Although there were a lot of whining along the way, she did it – and I’m proud of her.

Imaginary Boundaries and Invisible Scripts

I think in life and in business, there are a lot of “invisible scripts”.  These scripts are partly drilled into our subs-consciousness as part of our upbringing, and partly “concepts” or excuses that we make up inside our own heads.

Things such as:

  • “That can’t be done”
  • “It has always been that way”
  • “I haven’t seen anyone do it before”
  • “I don’t have time”
  • “I don’t know how”

You get the point.  These are all invisible scripts that we have programmed in our heads and it shapes every single decision we make in life – big and small.  It steers our life without us even knowing.

But if you think about it, these are all very superficial reasons.  They’re lame excuses.

What’s the real reason behind some of our decisions and invisible scripts?

Is it fear of being judged?  Is it fear of failure?  If we think something can’t be done, how do we know?  Did we test / challenge some of our own assumptions?  Or did we just blindly follow what’s the “norm” or conventional wisdom?

We all have invisible scripts.

I didn’t think I had many, but now that I had some time to reflect how each of my decisions are made, and what influenced them, I’m starting to recognize that I tend to make decisions based on a very similar pattern….

Some of My Invisible Scripts

I admit – I know I have a lot of invisible scripts.  They’re so deep in my brain I have a hard time figuring out what they really are and where they came from.

For instance, if someone told me 5 years ago that I could travel the world, work from anywhere, do the things I love, be my own boss, do all of that with my wife (Connie), I would have rejected that idea in less than 1 second.

Here would be some of my immediate invisible script responses (I would say this in my own head of course, not in front of the person!):

  • Yeah right – good luck with that dream
  • How can any one possibly do that.  I don’t know anyone, or heard of anyone who has done that
  • That’s just a stupid excuse to travel like a backpacker.  You’ll have to find a real job when you get home and wake up a bit
  • Even if it’s possible, what if my business failed?  Then what?  I’ll fall behind everybody in the corporate world and have to start all over again.  I’ve worked way too hard already.  No way.
  • Why should I give up a well paying job for a shot in the dark that has a very small chance of succeeding?  That’s just ridiculous
  • That dream is for someone who can’t hack it in the real world.  It just makes the idea of taking time off work a bit more legit, and make you sound less lazy.
  • People will think I’m stupid and incompetent if I failed

I can list out more lame excuses but you get what I’m saying.  I think those excuses are created out of fear,  entering into an area where I don’t know the first about, and just being uncomfortable.

I think fear and being too judgmental both play huge parts of a lot of my thinking, even right now.

In any case, I’ve been rambling on for a bit.  It’s a very deep topic and I’m not sure how to articulate it further in text.

But the idea is, we all have these “invisible scripts” baked inside our heads, and they are deeply rooted.  They steer our decision making processes, and silently shape our lives every, single day.  

To make incredible, empowering changes, we should try to understand what are the true underlying reasons, or motivations that are causing us to think the way we think, and behave the way we behave.

Stepping outside our comfort zones and pushing boundaries is an incredible experience.  It’s not always fun, but it’s the first step towards growth.  Personal growth, professional growth, any type of growth.

I think I can experience so much more growth if I acknowledge my own judgmental nature and deeply seeded fears at every decision juncture, before making decisions.

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