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THE PRISON OF OUR PERCEPTION

· Wisdom I Insight

"Most people live their entire lives in prison, not physically but mentally, a mental prison of their own making, the mental prison that you have accepted to be confined in. You hold the keys within you to escape, a prison break must take place, let the one you want to be break you free from the cell of conformity that wants you to remain who you are. Project your mind forward and see the self-made successful [person] that you want to become. That individual, that vision, that dream is what can free you. Do not get comfortable with the mind of the mediocre folk."

Growing up, our mother would often say "there's no such thing as 'no'." When we were in high school and we thought a grade we received was unfair, we had to go to the teacher and respectfully challenge it. When my FAFSA form didn't offer enough to cover the dorm in college, I was the student first in line to find a work-study program. For Jas and I, our mom's philosophy of no such thing as "no", meant not settling for what we'd been given. With persistence and intention, and much to the annoyance of school teachers and the university financial aid office, anything and everything is possible.

So what's the underlying thinking that convinces us to challenge the status quo? The key is in re-framing our assumptions of what is and isn't possible. For example, if we assume that what we want will be hard to achieve (perhaps based on past experiences or current circumstances), we unintentionally rule out the possibility that our goal is easily attainable under the right set of circumstances. Simply put, our options (or lack there of) come down to what we believe is available.
Sometimes, because we've never seen our "it" before - whether that's being financially secure, feeling comfortable in our bodies, being in a healthy relationship, etc. - we don't think these things are possible. The good news is, we can start to change this type of thinking by clearing the mental slate of any unhelpful thoughts, negative beliefs or limiting assumptions about ourselves and the opportunities at our disposal.

How to Identify - and Conquer - What is Holding us Back is a helpful article that prompts us to rethink everything and provides the steps to changing the things we find, consciously and subconsciously, in our way. In rethinking our inner assumptions, naturally we come to realize that many of these long-held beliefs have either been introduced or reinforced (and sometimes both) by outer perceptions and belief systems about "how things work." Once we've realized those assumptions didn't come from us, we can then consciously decide whether or not we want to agree with them.

(Spoiler alert: You will either be extremely put off or totally agree with this next article, but it's designed to challenge assumptions so we had to throw it in!) Why Good People Need to Get Comfortable with Wealth and Power is a thought-provoking article that challenges our assumptions of what powerful looks like and asks the question, "Why do we assume that those who are wealthy and powerful can't be good, honest, altruistic people?" More importantly, why do some of us assume that it couldn't be us? The author makes a great argument showing that it's possible to live a life you love, do work you're passionate about and still live comfortably and enjoy your success without walking over anybody else to get there.

Ultimately, the goal is to pierce holes in our current thinking and get us to really examine our assumptions of what is possible. Dreaming big requires vision and clear thinking, and sometimes that process starts with clearing out the old misconceptions and limiting beliefs that were clouding our minds in the first place. Speaking of assumptions, you know the belief that working hard has to be, well, hard? FALSE.

We'll leave you with another great saying from our mom for additional motivation: "There is an exception to every rule, and there's no reason why that exception can't be you."

THE BLACK ZEN TEAM

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