There’s probably millions of articles out there on the internet all about this subject of “I feel trapped!”
This subject is one that is very personal to me and I wanted to write about it and see if I might be able to offer some advice to people who feel trapped by modern day life – like I did for many years 😢
How does Modern Life Trap us?
Life traps us in many ways.
For me, it is working life and finances that have always caused me the most anxiety; I’d imagine that’s not dissimilar for most people.
For the most part we are working a very dated employment model (which derives, from what I believe to be a very dated educational model, particularly here in the UK).
- Go to school get good grades ✅
- Go to a decent University and graduate with a decent degree ✅
- Find work in your chosen field and work your way up the career ladder ✅
- Get a mortgage, have kids, carry on working all hours god sends to build a career, make some cash, provide for kids, make up for the fact that you never see them by buying them a load of stuff that they don’t need ✅
- Bla, Bla, Bla 💤
It doesn’t always go exactly like this but I reckon it’s a familiar story.
It’s referred to as the 40-40-40 scam and we have been brainwashed into thinking that this is how we should be operating.
Work for 40+ hours per week, for 40 years, making someone else rich, so that you can retire on 40% of the income that you couldn’t afford to live on in the first place!
No wonder you feel trapped! 😆
I won’t go into too much of a rant about it here as I have written a lengthy article all about this stuff on a different blog which offers a lot of practical advice on the subject here
The working life/finances trap has a knock on effect to the bad habits trap.
Many of us feel or have felt trapped by our bad habits that we just don’t seem to be able to change.
I have spent years battling with bad habits; I still battle with these now, but it is a battle that I am starting to win more often and you can too 😀
I often use the analogy of a prison in my blogs as it is very fitting.
So, you are living in that prison, you feel trapped.
Let’s say you are going out working those 40 hours per week (these days it is more like 50-70+ for many of us 😢
You may or my not enjoy your job – but either way, you are out there trading your precious time for money, when you would much rather be pursuing your passions, spending time with your children, working on projects that interest you, whatever it may be.
You feel trapped.
Well, what happens when I feel trapped?
I look for ways to escape! ✅ Even if for a moment, a temporary escape.
Throughout me twenties I worked mostly in sales roles for various advertising organisations and earned decent enough money at the time but I didn’t enjoy my work. I would dread Monday mornings and most other mornings.
My way of escaping was cigarettes – I was hooked 🚬
For other people it might be gambling, or drugs, or junk food or TV 📺
So, if like me, you felt or feel trapped by your habits, the first thing you can do… (before you go buying e-cigs, or putting a sheet over the TV or booking into rehab… is to FORGIVE YOURSELF.
Trying to change bad habits (your temporary escape from your prison) whilst you are still in that prison… of course that is going to be difficult! 😝
It is like asking a prisoner to give up his twenty minutes he gets to visit the garden each day – he’s just going to feel more trapped, more isolated, less free, and he will likely just want to visit the garden even more often (or smoke cigs more often, or eat more pizza 🍕)
I hope this is making sense! 😂
You are in prison and you are trying to stop yourself from doing the things that provide you with that temporary escape from prison, it is going to be hard work. This is why most attempts to change bad habits fail after a few days or even hours ❌
You need to start thing about escaping from prison all together, and then the likelihood is that, once you are FREE, by default, you aren’t going to need to keep up with the bad habits that are providing you with the emotional or mental escapism from your particular prison!
And in my opinion, working towards financial freedom is the start of that great escape.
The Consumerism Trap
I want to touch a little on consumerism and how this perpetuates our feelings of being trapped.
Consumerism is a social and economic order that encourages the acquisition of goods and services in ever-increasing amounts.
In my opinion the worse of the escapism traps that we fall into is consumerism.
We buy more stuff, that we can’t afford (often on credit) to make ourselves feel better (very temporarily).
The reason I feel this is the worse kind of trap is because it encourages you to give away your money buying “stuff” when it is that very money and holding on to that money and making it work for you, that will help you to escape the 40-40-40 type situation which makes you feel like you have to go and spend that money in the first place!
You might want to re-read that until it sinks in! I’ve just had to re-read it twice to get my brain around it 🧠
There’s more about it and what to do about it, in my blog What is the FIRE financial movement?”
OK, we’ve established that I feel trapped, but what do we do about it?
Well thanks for all of that Rick, I feel more depressed and anxious than ever! 😂
So, what do we do about this feeling trapped like we are in a prison cell thing. Well there’s a few choices.
- Just wallpaper the walls of the cell
- Wallpaper the walls of the cell then plot our escape and get on with it ✅
- Stay in your cell and stare out of the window feeling crap
Bit random, okay – let Rick explain 😊
Just wallpaper the walls of the cell
I’m talking here about gratitude – making the most of your situation, finding the positives, finding things in your current situation, your current “now” to feel good about.
This is an excellent place to start ✅
Change the way you look at things, the things you look at change
You can completely change the way that you feel about your situation by changing your thinking about that situation.
Often there can be hundreds of things that are really great about your life and just a few things that are making you feel trapped, but as humans we always tend to focus on those one of two thing that we are unhappy about and are causing us distress 😢
By shifting our focus (which let me tell you, takes practice , but is definitely achievable) we change our world 🌍
There is now a great deal of research supporting the psychological and even the physiological benefits of adopting a grateful mindset.
So, to “wallpaper the cell” is to change the pattern, colour and texture of the world that you live in, by changing your thinking towards that world.
Pick a subject and try it – maybe start with work! Write down all of the things that you like about your job, your colleagues, your workplace.
Start small if you are struggling… you have a pleasant drive to work, you like your coffee mug, you always steal the sugar sachets from the canteen and take them home for your drinks at home ☕️
Once again, a great strategy as a foundation for a happier and less trapped future… but, I recommend wallpapering the walls of our cell as part of a wider strategy.
What are your thoughts so far? Are you going to wallpaper your cell? Leave a comment at the bottom of the blog. I love to hear from you 😃
Wallpaper the walls of the cell then plot our escape and get on with it!
Appreciating what we have and where we are in life is definitely a great starting point 🙏
However, my success strategy doesn’t stop there. If you are saying “I feel trapped” then simply finding the good in your situation isn’t going to cut it for you ✂️
This may be slightly controversial, as many of the online blogs and personal development material will advise just adopting a grateful attitude “well at least I have food on the table” type of approach, which I’m not knocking… but to me, that feels slightly powerless and as humans on this earth we yield the most immense personal power!
Yes – we have to have a grounding of gratitude but then I suggest we make a plan for a better future and get on with it 💪
I think we are the most happy when we feel we are making progress.
All of life is about progress – moving forward, developing ourselves, every day developing a better version of ourselves than that of the day before 😊
It is not necessarily about ever reaching specific goals, but the pursuit of those goals makes us successful in itself
So from that grounding of gratitude, let’s make plans to escape our personal prisons – whether this is health, finances, work life.
Find out more about escaping your prisons by clicking here
Or – take option 3… (which I don’t recommend…)
“Stay in your cell and stare out of the window feeling crap” 😂
What did you think about this? What option will you take? Please leave a comment below!
Yours in Success,