"Do you live a caged or comfortable life, or are you reaching out to achieve your highest potential," asked Brendon Burchard at a recent event.
As he started to explain what a caged life was like, you could see some people nodding their heads as his description resonated with them, or described someone they knew.
People in the caged life feel trapped, reduced by their self-limiting beliefs, buying into the old stories and other people's expectations. They develop bad habits because they don't really care. They're resigned, angry and bitter. Depressed and disgruntled with their life, they often believe that everyone else had it lucky and that no one understands them.
As he described how people who are living the caged life felt, it reminded me of the analogy we used to share in our parenting classes, about how some children are born with a certain number of poker chips, and when their self esteem is high, they can afford to take risks, but if they don't feel good about themselves, they hoard them. They don't believe they are lovable or worthwhile, two essential ingredients to living a fulfilled life.
Certainly in our research for our book Enough, Amy and I heard from women who felt trapped -- by a loveless or abusive marriage, a soul-destroying job or the extra demands and responsibilities of caring for aging parents or chronically ill partners.
But Brendon challenges that we can all rattle the cage that we make for ourselves, and to be aware of the excuses we make for not breaking free of the cage. For those entrenched in this lifestyle, this may be easier said than done.
Perhaps the key is someone taking an interest in them, trying to understand their challenges and helping them see the potential of life without the barriers and self-defeating beliefs that box them in. Just as Jimmy Kwik shared at the event, it was his friend's father who took an interest in him and helped him see possibilities, that turned his life around.
I believe it is up to those of us living the comfortable or charged life to reach out and help support others so they can live a more enriched and fulfilled life. To ignore these folks, is just delivering another blow, another message that they are not worth bothering about.
Empathy, patience and compassion are the prescription to helping people move forward
As for those living the comfortable life, they often answer "fine" when asked how things are going. But "fine" says Brendon is the enemy of amazing. There's a sense, he observes, that society frowns in those that want more, but there is nothing wrong about wanting more in life.
He encouraged the audience to listen to the whispers, to the little voice telling you that you can be more than you are. We need to honour that message. "If we make success bad, no one will ever strive for it," he cautions.
When you are living the charged life, he shares, you feel way more energized. Your body is like a bank account, and you need to build up a reserve so you have enough energy. "A power plant doesn't have energy, it generates it" he observed and that is what we need to do -- generate the energy to live a full and fulfilled life.
He encouraged the audience to self-rate in terms of relationships, career and personal well-being and to do so on a regular basis. "How we see the world, is how we navigate it."
But if your life seems like a dead-end, you can make a detour and change direction. It is never too late to change as he counters. "Don't let today's routines box you into not pursuing the future dreams for tomorrow."
And as Brendon pointed out, "perhaps the world has not given you what you want because based on all your distractions, the world doesn't know what you are asking for."
Get clear. If what you are doing doesn't fuel you up, you are disconnected and when you are doing that, you are avoiding your greatness. The good news, is that we have the ability to change, to change profoundly.