Recent scientific research suggests that fish are not happy in captivity. In fact, as they swim around in circles, they become angrier and angrier to find they are trapped. You see, goldfish are not naturally tiny fish. They can grow to any size, when given a habitat with room for growth. They remain small because we have stunted them by trapping them in a tiny, glass bowl. And so they swim in circles and stew. And if we could scan their tiny brains, we might see neuro-electrical patterns that indicate they are very frustrated.
As most of us know, depression is not in fact sadness. It is frustration and mind-blindness, which degenerates into sadness and inactivity. Sadness is just the residue left behind when anger loses its sharpness, having blunted itself on the beveled edges of our invisible, glass cages. When is the last time you ventured forth beyond the paths you are required to follow? When we the last time you saw something new and surprising that didn’t come through an LCD screen?
Find something which challenges you to shatter your invisible, mental fishbowl. But in a broader sense, the answer is: do what you want to become. If you could escape, where would you go? Take that risk. Escape the tank. It doesn’t matter where you go – All drains lead toward the ocean.
The constraints under which we operate are largely psychological and sociological – we are afraid to shift and change and take risks because while we are uncertain of ourselves, we are vulnerable. We are afraid to share ourselves because it opens us to mockery or judgement. But taking those risks also gives us the opportunity to start a movement.
Everything we do that makes us better people opens us to criticism from the risk averse, who prefer that everyone stays trapped. But we owe no one compliance, simply because they want something different than we want.
Social judgments are light penalties compared to the life-sapping force of living powerlessly. So I call upon all of us to take ourselves out into the world. Let’s use the power it gives us to leave our homes, even if only to walk our dogs or visit a park. We are constrained by nothing but our own fears. Do what you wish to reinforce while experiencing life even if it means leaving your home and facing social judgment. Some will judge us. Others will recognize us, and perhaps even wish to join us. Either way, so be it. This is the price of being free.
If you are not prepared to face social judgment yet, seek what you want in your own domain, and find a sense of personal freedom, empowered by the removal of your mental blinders. Be who you want to be. Escape your Mental Fishbowl.