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Your World is Not a Corridor

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In Sept 2004 I had just moved out of a trendy neighbourhood apartment, and into a nightmare.

The loft that I moved into was 3000 square feet, had huge windows across the entirety of two of the four walls. It was huge, it was a disaster area, and I had moved in willingly… because of “potential.”

Has this ever happened to you? You change your situation to one that’s worse, because of the possibility of more? Well, we believed in this apartment because of how huge it was, but it required an insane amount of work. The walls were painted as though a schizophrenic blind man had chosen colours, and there was stuff everywhere.

The front room was the worst of all. It was as large as my current apartment, but had literally become a hallway to the other parts of the place, with garbage and detritus on all sides. Looking back at pictures before we cleaned up is revolting. It was amazing people lived this way– the whole room was basically abandoned.

When we cleaned it up, the difference was huge.

Your world is a corridor if…

Here are some non-exhaustive examples. Take them as departure points. If you have any of these problems, seriously consider cleaning up that part of your life so you can see the forest for the trees, so to speak.

Your emotional/social world is a corridor if:

You never meet anyone new.

You believe any organization is going to save you in any way, or has the only path to happiness.

You say “so, what do you do?” when you run out of things to say.

Your professional world is a corridor if:

You have gotten every job with a resume or CV.

You have only made money with a 9-5.

You are climbing a corporate ladder.

Your physical world is a corridor if:

You cannot lift your own weight or climb a tree.

You cannot perform basic functions in the maintenance of a home (including cooking).

Your base mode of transportation is a car (then, your world is literally a corridor).

†

Last night, I was making a dessert with coconut flour at my parents’ house when my girlfriend left me in the kitchen by myself. I started kind of panicking out about screwing up, but kept going, because I wanted it to be nice, etc. Sure enough, 10 minutes later, things were fine.

But I needed to learn that by trying, and by being left alone.

Everywhere where our world is a corridor is a chance for a richer, more competent, better life. But we need to know it, and believe that we can. The modern world is highly specialized and it’s easy to fall into those traps and, as a result, lead a life that is entirely ordinary. But they can be broken through, and like the front room of my old loft, we are always the better for it.

Do you recognize yourself in the lists above, or do you have your own? Share them below.

* Filed by Julien at 9:03 am under clear thinking, random, taking action


Hi, I’m Julien Smith. I'm the founder and CEO of Breather.

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9 Responses to “Your World is Not a Corridor”

  1. Andrew P. Says:

    I’m not sure at what stage I saw that apartment, but I certainly saw the potential too.

    While I can’t lift my own weight, I am cycling 600km in a couple of weeks. I think that’s a fine substitute.

  2. José Says:

    I am climbing a corporate ladder. Willingly. Having done this and that here and there, I do appreciate 9 to 5 and regular hours. Leaves me more time to make the rest of my life less of a corridor…

    While I am able to lift my own weight, I do find alcohol (taken in moderation) to be an interesting way of enjoying good things. So I will skip on the OPYOW mantra for the time being…

  3. murelle Says:

    Great thougth starter Julien!

    It’s about branching out right? Maybe lifting your own weight, or meeting new people is a corridor too if that’s all you’ve ever done. Maybe it’s time to lift something else… or try being alone if you’ve never done that before. Be bold and try something new. The walls of your corridor will fall away, and you will see all the possibilities around you…

    • Julien Says:

      murelle, i agree with you but it’s also about competence in an environment which will allow you more space (ie, room vs corridor). in that sense every pattern is a corridor if you are stuck to it– but every pattern is ok if you can divert from it willingly.

  4. Jason Berek-Lewis Says:

    I really dislike this corridor that is my work/ career. I can see that other rooms branch off the corridor, but they are far away and I am trying to get to them.

    I have had such a narrow focus to my career (media relations/ PR spin) for so long that breaking free is very difficult: my resume screams ‘media relations spin doctor guy’, my professional referees scream ‘media relations spin doctor guy’ and to some degree, so does my mindset.

    So, I am blogging (www.jasonbereklewis.com – shameless plug), talking to as many people as I can in the wider world of digital PR/ social media and reading (Trust Agents, The Cluetrain Manifesto, Six Pixels of Separation) all the push out my corridor to find a new, bright, crazy colourful room called: opportunity.

    I know the room is there, I just have to push out the corridor to find it! Thanks Julien!

  5. Deborah Mourey Says:

    Julien, interesting; corridor can close in unless we find a way to be pushing out the sides or walk up the wall to the ceiling.
    I particularly like the breakout of emotional, professional and physical. Here are the corridors I’m working on expanding:
    - creativity (push it all ways, as often as possible, have no fear)
    - compassion
    - sense of self
    appreciate the shove… Deborah from Rochester

  6. CT Moore Says:

    “Like a hot dog down a hallway, these are the days of our lives…”

  7. John McLachlan Says:

    Any rut I get stuck in is a corridor and this includes the so-called good stuff, too.

    Getting hooked on a workout routine that makes you feel sick if you miss one is a corridor.

    But we don’t like to admit to ourselves that the good stuff is just as limiting as the bad stuff. It’s easy to look at a messy situation and clean it up. It’s a lot hard to recognize a clean, healthy situation may not be what it appears to be.

  8. Danielle Says:

    Um, hey. This is Danielle, the owner of the photo you used in this post. It’s an “all rights reserved” photo, meaning you need to ask to use it for anything. I probably would have said yes in terms of you using it for this post, but gosh, it sure is nice when people ask first.

    That is all.

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