By Joanie Marx
If a mouse does not find the cheese it is looking for in a particular passage, it simply turns around and without hesitation, resumes searching down another path in the maze. This process is repeated until the right path leads the mouse to where the cheese is located. People, however, are quite different in the pursuit of achieving their goals in the maze of life.
Convinced they will find cheese on the path they were told to go down, most people will stay on that path searching for an outcome that will never materialize. This painful and highly discouraging process of hoping for cheese, where there is none, isn’t the exception to the rule. It is the status quo. Since this is the status quo, any attempt to point out the absurdity of remaining on a cheese less path is met with resistance by society, and most are shamed and blamed into remaining silent.
Like so many of my fellow Boomers, the idea of never giving up was drilled into my psyche. Follow the rules, respect your elders and do not question authority. This was told to me in many different ways, but the message was always clear. And who was it that told us to keep going down the path where there is no cheese? The very people we were told never to question.
WHAT KIND OF CHEESE ARE WE SEEKING?
It is no surprise, then, that Boomers are well known for remaining on a path, stubbornly refusing to budge even though there is clearly no cheese down the hole they have dug for themselves. And then, there are the anomalies. These are the people who somehow manage to manifest cheese where it was believed never to exist. Their efforts seem to support the idea success can to be found on every path and there is cheese down every hole we dig.
When this happens, a new path in the maze emerges and a great many flock to it, eagerly digging their own holes in a desperate attempt to find their block of cheese. Some will find cheese, but eventually the hole will dry up and the path becomes yet another cautionary tale. This inevitable reality does not stop those who are convinced to stay on a path with no cheese. In fact, it actually reinforces their desire because they believe it’s been done before and therefore, it will be done again.
There are many different reactions for those who do not find cheese down the hole they were promised. Some demand the cheese be there. Others go so far as to expect that it be brought to them. The question is, why would seemingly intelligent adults regularly do this to themselves? There are, after all, many different paths in the maze of life that have an abundance of cheese down each particular hole. Still another question is, what kind of cheese are we really seeking, and what are we prepared to let go of in order to get it?
* This post is an excerpt from chapter 13 of my #1 Amazon best-selling book, “Facelifts, Money and Prince Charming: Break Baby Boomer Myths and Live Your Best Life”.
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