Today’s Solutions: February 03, 2023

You can reach a place of infinite potential by finding your own path

Tijn Touber | December 2004 issue

People sometimes tell me they have a hard time finding Ode on the newsstand. Should they search among the news magazines or in the health section? Politics? Ecology, psychology, spirituality, science? Apparently Ode is hard to classify. Which makes for an interesting magazine, to be sure, but it can limit sales.

I, too, often feel limited when filling out forms where you have to list a single profession. Or choose between “man” and “woman”. And I have absolutely no idea what to do about a box marked “Caucasian”.

Categories seem convenient, but they are also dangerous. The more you think of yourself as “woman”, “Italian”, “civil servant” or “Caucasian”, the more you’ll start believing in a single, limited sense of reality. Scientists have proven that thoughts create neurological pathways in your brain. The more often you “walk” a path, the deeper those thought patterns become. When you keep taking the same path, your thinking becomes increasingly narrow. And narrow-minded thinking inhibits your ability to live out your abundant potential.

Not only individuals, but entire societies ultimately get caught in their self-created thought boxes. And because everyone does it (complaining about the weather, adopting prejudiced viewpoints, seeing others as “the enemy”), you don’t really see it anymore. It’s simply the way things are.

People—and societies—can only change when they have the courage to get off the well-worn path. Try it; become a whole different person. Think like a clown, a child, an inventor, an enlightened being, a magician, a success story, an actor… Catch yourself when you rely on habitual thoughts from the standard boxes: I am a father, a teacher, a student, a capitalist, a Muslim, a football fan.

If you’re no longer satisfied with the direction of human civilization, you could even decide to climb out of the “human” box. Look upon yourself as an intangible being with unlimited potential. Once you realize some of this potential, you might help the rest of humanity to get off the path of overcrowded superhighways and see a little of the countryside. Why not? And yes, you could easily put all this in the box marked “new age nonsense”, but then you’re right back on that boring, over-traveled highway.

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