If all you have is a hammer everything starts to look like a nail


We were watching the film Mulholland Drive yesterday and it suddenly hit us like a bolt of lightening. How many times we misdiagnose a situation. How many times we carry on a path not knowing that our assumptions have taken us miles off course.

It’s like playing golf and only knowing how to use three clubs and having to use them in every situation.

It’s like looking through a camera zoom lens instead of a wide angle.

It’s like blindly following another’s opinion.

The fact is that most of our lives are spent reusing the information collected in our formative years. Thus, when anything new enters our arena we immediately go to the past to try to make sense of it.

The outcome is: we each live an illusion. We each see our world through some really heavily tinted spectacles. We each act as though we are a hammer and everything that comes in front of us is a nail.

The problem is. IT DOESN’T WORK.

We were amazed how easily we fell into the trap. How easily we interpreted what was happening before our eyes and made it logical. How easily we searched for closure.

To make us comfortable we wanted to put things into a comfortable category. We wanted to place happenings in a box in the same way a librarian codes books for easy access. Ah! That goes in the family box. That is rude behaviour. That is unacceptable in public. That shows he is uneducated etc etc etc…

Yes, you could argue that this form of coding is important in life because it helps us get through life quickly.
Why do we like to put ourselves and others into ‘psychological boxes’? What is it about us that we like to say we are this type of person or that? Why do we want to limit ourselves? Why do we want to sell ourselves short?

It’s like being a carpenter who only has a hammer in his toolbox. We are restricting ourselves beyond belief. Just imagine how restricting it would be if you only had a hammer in your toolbox? How can you get passionate about anything if all you are capable of is knocking the brains out of any information that comes your way?

How do you find out what you were brought onto this planet to do if all you can do is respond in the same way to whatever is put in front of you.

How do you develop and grow your children if all they see is the same behaviour irrespective of the problem posed.

How do you rise to the challenges of our society if all you do is apply the same reasoning even though it doesn’t fit?

As Howard Schatz. The famous New York dance photographer stated in one of his books:

“I told each dancer that when it was easy, it had probably been done
before, probably many times. I explained that only when it was so hard
that it was nearly impossible were we perhaps close to getting something
unique and extraordinary.”

Is this why we like to categorise situations and people? We actually don’t like hard work.

Is it that we don’t like the pressure of being our true selves? Because to do that we have to stand out?

Is it that we can’t cope with being unique and extraordinary, so we just want to be similar and ordinary?

Is it that we are afraid of who we might be? Are we afraid that we can be successful? Afraid that if we admit to ourselves that we have talent we might have to do something with our lives?

Is it that we don’t really want to find out who we really are and what we are capable of?

We don’t know about you but we want to be unique, we want to find out and use our uniqueness. We want to be fulfilled. We want to find our energy source that is released when we are doing what we are intended to do. We want to be in the flow, as some writers describe it.

We have come to realise that what stops us from being in the flow all the time. What stops us from releasing our passion. What stops us from behaving naturally. What makes us waste energy.


Fear keeps us placing people and situations into categories.

Fear stops us from leading ourselves.

Fear stops us from letting go of the past.

Fear keeps our habitual patterns in place.

Being frightened and feeling second best stop us from finding our true selves.

Fear buries the natural me.

“A musician must make music, and artists must paint,
a poet must write, if he is to be ultimately at peace with himself.
What a man can be, he must be”

What about you?



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