It has been said, “Freedom will always come with a price. That price is responsibility for one’s actions.” In a society that seems content with functioning as a marionette, those who are willing to stand up for their individuality are a rare jewel. When we look back on history, the men and women who shine the brightest are the ones determined to cut the strings and restrictions of the status quo for the sake of exploration, innovation and personal convictions. You can be the next Pinocchio or you can make a difference, but you cannot do both!
I’ve always found the underlined truths of Pinocchio alluring. Not simply because if he lies his nose instantly grows, but because he longed to be ‘real’. And in life, isn’t that what we all wish for? We long for the space and freedom to be ‘real’. After a visit from a fairy Pinocchio is granted his wish with three conditions; always be truthful, brave and unselfish. That’s a tall order for anyone, but he swears he can handle it. Here is where it gets deep. In a flash, Pinocchio quickly ends up chasing fame and applause. He becomes involved in a lifestyle that in essence, puts him back under the control of others. Does this sound familiar? If we are honest, we all have gotten lost in our journey of independence and launched further into a puppet’s lifestyle. Anything that removes your ability to think freely or choose for yourself is called the ‘Pinocchio Effect’. In today’s scene, it is not as obvious as it was for little Pinocchio. The form has changed to reality television, office politics, peer pressures and keeping up with the latest expensive fashions. Although strings are different, the effect is the same.
Here are some ways to free yourself:
- Pinocchio seemed dominated by what was in the future: There is great peace in the art of contentment. This is not to say we cannot wish for a better life or strive for better circumstances. But a person who can balance the celebration of where they are while maintaining a hunger for something greater will be the winner. Some are literally exhausted because they never settle down and appreciate how far they’ve come. They lose strength to ever obtain the next step.
- Pinocchio never dealt with his internal struggle: How we respond to pressures without is simply a byproduct of what we struggle from within. Our lives are an imitation of what we think and feel. Once we understand we have to grow up before we can blow up, we can make the adjustments and live bigger from within. The thing that’s needed most is not a change of scenery but a change of mindset.
- Pinocchio finally realized he had the power to choose: We all remember when the transition in the story happened. When Pinocchio ended up with donkey ears and a donkey tail, he chose to get reconnected to his old self before he was a complete jackass. We all have been there. We are out too far and finally come to our senses to understand, ‘I am better than this!’ It’s not to say you are better than others, but the standard on your life requires you to behave in a certain manner. At that time, you know you’ve got to get up NOW!
Life throws us curve balls and often we respond negatively. We venture out and swallow a standard of life far beneath our potential. When we find ourselves attached to the ‘strings’ of life it is easy to beat ourselves up. But that is not the time for pity; it’s time to take action. Get up and dust yourself off. Then understand that those ‘strings’ were never holding you up, they were holding you back!
© 2012, Early L. Jackson. All rights reserved.