Until I was eleven years old, my life was bound by long hospital stays, doctor’s appointments and frequent medical tests. I still have dialysis three times a week, for half a day at a time. Compared to my childhood though, I live a life of freedom.
For years I thought there were only negative aspects to growing up in hospital. However, a few months ago I had a really interesting thought about it and I came to realise I learned something in that time that has benefited me my whole life!
It`s about becoming an independent person. Let me explain further. One of my biggest strengths is being an independent person. I had the blessing to learn from an early age how to be independent. Aside from being with my parents and nurses, I spent a lot of time by myself. At times so much so that I felt lonely. But there was also a benefit to this. I learned to be creative in my mind as a survival method when things didn`t go the way I imagined.
There were so many nights where I would lie in my hospital bed, sometimes with crazy pain and sometimes with no pain, looking out of the window and thinking about all the impossible things that could happen. They ranged from “how nice would it be to run around right now” to “how cool would it be to be on holiday at the beach” or “what would I do if I had the best health possible and plenty of money”.
My creative survival mind was trained during that long journey of hospital life, and this is something I wouldn’t change for anything! For most of my life now I have had impossible dreams on my mind. Some of them I’m now working towards and some aren`t a priority yet.
People like Henry Ford, Albert Einstein, Steve Jobs and Jesus inspire me very much. They spent lots of time alone. They had a dream and a mission, and they knew what their purpose and unique talents were in life.
I believe we all have a purpose, we all have strengths that are given to us and we all possess a uniqueness that no one else has!
From an early age we are often told what we can and can’t do, that we need to do something like it has always be done or the way everybody else does it. This I believe is limiting our creativity and puts us inside a box.
I want to share some ideas about what it means to live out of the box and give you some practical steps about how to do so.
1. The wrong approach
Recently I had an interesting conversation with a couple. We talked about how from an early age most of us are put in a box. For example, there is the cycle of education that tells you to learn about certain subjects – mathematics, grammar, science, you name them. Although these subjects are all great, they only serve a minority. Someone who has the unique gift of trading or building cars, doesn`t have the opportunity to learn that until later when they are out of school. When people finish school they have all the core subjects learned, but are unlikely to have learned anything about their unique talents. I believe this is an unhealthy pattern that makes people believe that the only way to do things is how they were taught to in school.
Don`t get me wrong, I`m not against education here. I`m only against the way it`s approached, which hinders people from being creative with their unique talents.
I like the book Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill. Because of my life experiences I can fully relate to the knowledge given in the book. I would like to encourage you to read it. In the chapter called “Specialized Knowledge” it says: “Many people make the mistake of assuming that, because Henry Ford had but little “schooling,” he is not a man of “education.” Those who make this mistake do not know Henry Ford, nor do they understand the real meaning of the word “educate“. That word is derived from the Latin word “educo,” meaning to educe, to draw out, to DEVELOP FROM WITHIN!“
I have become a strong believer in specialized knowledge. This means I only specialize and educate myself in the unique gifts, strengths and talents I have been given, nothing else!
2. Boxed in
There is another idea that I now benefit from having grown up in hospital. It`s the idea of not being influenced by other people`s opinions about what is possible or not.
Often, the culture that is created by the people around us, puts us in a box. There are obvious or subtle signs and behaviours in culture that tell us who we should be and what we should do. Unconsciously or consciously screaming at us how we should or what we shouldn`t be by what others are or do.
It happens daily, whether at school, university, the workplace or even church. We are influenced by our surroundings wherever we are and whatever we do, whether we like it or not. If we aren`t careful, we believe that what our environment shows or teaches us, is the only possible way to do something, but it’s not! There are usually several other creative ways that something can be done.
Anything that has been created, produced, achieved and renewed to date has come from an idea. Ideas are powerful – they are the starting point of anything that will be turned into reality. But ideas won`t be turned into reality as long as we are influenced by surroundings where the idea is not fully supported. Our beliefs about what can be achieved are often a result of our surroundings, culture and experiences..
I hope this blog has inspired and empowered you to constantly live your life outside the box. Be ok with being different. Be ok with wanting to do something no one ever has done before. Be ok with not agreeing with your surroundings. Be ok with speaking up for what you believe in even if it sounds surreal! Life can be unlimited but only as far as you allow it to be! 🙂
Please feel free to contact me if you want any coaching on this topic or if you want some more practical steps to take.