In the post, Freedom Is, I introduced ‘conscious entrapment’ as a potential way of creating a greater sense of life freedom. Creating it now instead of the vague wish to feel more free in the future. As much as you might want to believe it, I don’t think that your sense of freedom will simply change in the future. It doesn’t automatically change when the kids get older, or when we hit the magical 55, or when we retire. These will definitely change your external circumstances, but if you don’t change the way you make choices, your sense of freedom will not change.
What is conscious entrapment? Conscious – having knowledge of something; aware combined with Entrapment – the state of being caught. Conscious entrapment is you teaching yourself to make decisions based on criteria that help you create what you want in your life. I realize that this is very theoretical and I want to be practical. This is a bit of a longer post than normal to get us started on using conscious entrapment.
Let’s start with decision making (choices) by talking about sandwiches. The sandwiches you’ve made at conferences or events that offer the ‘build your own sandwich buffet’ at lunch. When you built your sandwich did you grab the first piece of bread you saw, and put one of everything on it? You might have, but it is more likely that you took a look at the bread selection and made a choice. Then you looked at the other options and decided which meat you wanted, which cheese, and which vegetables. Then you chose the condiments. If the event was large, and there was a second buffet table, you might even have taken a quick glance to ensure the offerings were the same before you selected which line to join. (Anyone else want a sandwich now?)
This is conscious decision making. You looked at the available options and you made choices to ensure that you received the outcome you desired. The outcome of a tasty sandwich.
But how does making a sandwich relate to life freedom?
I’ve observed that many people feel trapped by their ‘busy schedules’. They don’t have enough ‘free time’ because of work, family, and social demands. What is interesting is that these (very unscientific) observations are common across demographics. The single middle-aged person has the same complaint as a married person of the same age, and that is the same complaint as the much younger parent with small children.
If people feel trapped by their schedules, then we have to examine where those schedules came from. Here’s the answer and it is simple; your schedule results from the decisions you made. If your immediate response is “I didn’t make the decisions; I have to take the kids to …” I would argue that you still participated in that decision. You decided that your child would do that activity. This is why I chose the word “conscious”. We have to be conscious of our choices in order to create what we want.
Your schedule is the sandwich. All of the things that can fill your time are on the buffet. You need to give thought and make choices that reflect what you want. That’s conscious entrapment. I realize this is still not practical enough and in the next post, I will share an idea to get you started.