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What color is your straitjacket?

In 1970, the well-known book What color is your parachute? was published for the first time. In it, Richard Nelson Bolles provided advice on how to look for and find a job. Half a century later, with all due respect to Bolles, the question has changed and now the book should be called What color is your straitjacket?

Even more, unlike what happens with the parachute, which you must prepare in advance to the moment you are planning to use it (otherwise, it would be too late), there is no previous preparation for the straitjacket: we are forced to use it and we gladly do it. In fact, we live in such a crazy time that we even choose the color of our straitjacket before using it, as if that were something normal and desirable.

Obviously, in the same way that Bolles didn’t talk about a “real” parachute, but used that image as a metaphor, I don’t speak of a “real” straitjacket, although that does not mean that we do not wear one, even voluntarily.

The straitjacket I'm talking about is the one we impose on ourselves by restricting reality, ideas and opportunities to what we already know or, even worse, to what they taught us and that we have adopted as an indisputable creed and as immovable doctrine.

“I can’t let you share those ideas with my group because those ideas could confuse the group participants and they will then ask questions about what they believe or should believe,” someone recently told me.

Translation: "I can’t allow you or anyone else to show the members of the group the straitjacket I imposed on them, because then they will take it off and they will leave me. And I myself will have to think about my own straitjacket, which I've been wearing for so long that I cann’t and will not take it off. "

In the time in which we live, as it has been tragically proven again and again (but also throughout history), closed minds and closed hearts are so strong that Procrustes himself would be envious to see how well we manage to reduce everything to our own narcissistic dimensions.

As Bernardette Roberts said in her book The Path to No-Self (1985), “Nothing is to be gained and a great deal is lost when we fit our experience to an acceptable framework and think no more about it”.

When we do that, when we proudly and unconsciously choose the color of the straitjacket that we will wear, we “don’t expand our knowledge,” we are “trapped in the illusion” and we don’t “progress internally”. Roberts emphasizes.

As Roberts says, if we do not leave “the door open”, that is, if we don’t move beyond a “rigid adherence” to our own ideas, not only we will not listen to the opinions of others, but we close ourselves to the “infinite possibilities” proper of being multidimensional humans. 

So, what color is your straitjacket and why are you still wearing it?

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