“Only children believe they are capable of everything.” Paulo Coelho
So how old were you when you stopped believing?
Perhaps you can even consciously remember the knock-backs, the jibes or discouraging voices which you chose to believe instead of that innate drive for exploration.
I’m not implying that we can all become world class musical performers or athletic champions – at the same time perhaps part of our self-limiting thoughts are based on wanting to achieve a socially measured goal rather than explore our own abilities for the sheer joy of it.
Humans have a talent and need for stories – from telling tales around a campfire to the latest Hollywood blockbuster, we devour tales to inspire us and yet what stories do we tell ourselves? I mean those background programmes that run through our minds telling ourselves who we are, how and where we fit in the social order, what we are capable of and what we can’t do.
As a child I use to dream that I could fly, perhaps some therapists might interpret this as a desire to escape family or social pressures. Yet my memory of these dreams is a sense of mastery, freedom and exploring beyond everyday limitations. Exhilarating and transformative.
A part of my ongoing story is to help create a world in which we encourage not only children but each other as adults to explore our inner most hidden dreams and support ongoing learning not as a means to an end but as a right, a need – to continually be expanding that sense of self-limitation.
The first step is self awareness. Notice the stories you tell yourself (and others) about yourself and the world.
The second step is questioning. Are those stories fact? Are they authentically you or a self-limiting learnt from others?
The final step is trying out new stories. Not exaggerating or developing a false or arrogant super-ego but listening inwardly to that child who still believes everything is possible.