Tuesday, December 17, 2019

Invisible Walls

Over 20 years ago I remember seeing the TV mini-series of Gullivers Travels starring Ted Danson. I only saw parts of it and don't remember much but one scene that has always stuck with me was when Gulliver encountered a character played by Omar Sharif. The man offered Gulliver food and lodging and suggested he rest for a night before continuing his journey. Apparently he was a sorcerer with bad intentions and was trying to distract him from his journey. He placed a spell on him where he thought each day at his home was his first and at the end of each night he'd invite him to rest for the night in order to have energy for his long journey the next morning. I think this continued for several years until Gulliver finally realized what had happened and how much time had been wasted. I feel like the same thing happened to me...about 6 years ago.

You've probably heard stories about how fleas in a jar can easily jump out but after a lid has been attached for several days they stop trying even after the lid is removed. There is also a story about how baby elephants are tied to a stake with a thin rope and as they grow bigger they don't even attempt to pull on the rope because they've been conditioned to believe it is a sturdy anchor holding them there.

It's amazing how small habits (good or bad) slowly become part of your daily routine. It might be something like constantly checking social media way more than you think you do, or slowly phasing out of prior habits like praying, flossing your teeth, or exercising. Either repeating bad actions or omitting good ones over time can quickly become habitual.

Some days I feel like I'm in Groundhog Day. The days seem so similar and are always repeating and if I screw up or have a bad day I always get a chance the next day to try again with what seems like little or no consequences. This has become even more obvious since I've been living in Ghana. It's not very convenient to do many of the things I've previously enjoyed doing like playing basketball. Aside from the cultural differences, I have limits on my income and transportation and as a result, I spend a lot more time on my computer which is not the best recipe for self improvement.

My productivity over the years has decreased and I feel like I've been confined by invisible walls. I used to passionately work on personal growth, learning new things, and achieving goals. One of these days I will finally pull out the thin rope and stake that I feel tethered to. My daily routine has been pathetic for some time now but each night I assume it will be better after I have a good night's rest in preparation for the long journey that lies before me.