Happy Halloween, everyone! In the spirit of sneaky things, invisible things and things that go bump in the night, how about we talk about the rules that we don't really see? These rules can be pretty scary, really, because we accept them, dare I say, blindly. Unquestioningly.
Thankfully, not everyone accepts the invisible rules so easily. This whole thing is great (I found it on Upworthy, which is one of the greatest content sites I know), but if you want to see Joss Whedon's amazing responses to questions that show invisible rules in action, then just skip forward to 2:39 and prepare to be wowed:
This made me think. You see, I didn't even really have a problem with the question until Whedon gets to the point where he's flipping it over and wondering why it's a question in the first place. Then I started thinking about the million little unspoken rules that I adhere to blindly, without thinking, that are not in service of my greatness, or yours.
Invisible rules that tell me what to think about whom, how I should behave in any given circumstance and how everyone else should, too. How men should act and how women should act. How people in particular age groups should act. So that we don't rock the boat.
Know what? Boats need rocking. They're boats; they'll be fine. They're designed to withstand rough seas. A smooth, placid surface may hide many a monster, while we're lured into security and comfort of what we know, even if it should really make way for something new.
Sticking with a scary Halloween theme, it's like the bed of nails analogy (we had a wax museum here in Victoria that had a chamber of torture and it had a poor sod in a chair in a shrinking room of spikes—ouch): You can get comfortable in the least comfortable of places, as long as you don't stick a limb out somewhere new and try to move.
Keeping blindly where we are
comfortable uncomfortable [un]comfortable keeps everyone from moving forward, or worse, broadens the gap between those who get to move and those who must stay back, making way.
[Tweet "Shine the light on those dark corners and into the closets and under the beds."]
Shine the light on those dark corners and into the closets and under the beds. When we can see what we're looking at, we can really see what we're up against. Sometimes, those monsters are bigger than we thought (for example, me not getting that those reporters asking Joss Whedon a repetitive question were pointing to a blatant lack of equality in my own society). Other times, thankfully, the monsters are smaller, having been built up by our fears, which keep us from looking at them. It's shadow they cast in the distance from your light that make them menacing and overwhelming.
Building awareness of your blind spots is the first step to being able to change them. How do you do that? Try working with a coach. It's one of the few relationships where someone will give you the straight goods, ask the tough questions and push you for a real answer, without worrying about whether you'll still love them at the end of the day (of course, it's always nice to be loved, but being a coach means being a stand for my clients, even—especially—when the going gets tough).
What invisible rules do you follow? Can you see them if you try? What's it getting you? More importantly, what is it costing you?
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