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There Is No Spoon!

Leaning back on the Matrix philosophy for changing the way we view obstacles.


One of the most memorable scenes from the movie The Matrix (Andy and Larry Wachowski, 1999) was this scene with Neo and the child with the bending spoon. If you haven’t seen the movie, okay, below is a clip from that scene, but I strongly recommend that you go and see it because, Hello! Keanu Reeves + black leather trench coat!

So, you have about 6 hours to see the entire trilogy (you can rent each movie for less than $4 on Amazon), and then you can come back to this post…

Now where was I? Oh, right. Neo. Child. Bending spoon.

So this was the scene…

You Are Neo, And This Is A Lesson For You

Imagine you’re Neo.

You look at the spoon. Then you think about what you’re supposed to do with it.

“Bend it”, you think.

You try and then you realize it isn’t that easy. So you give up, “I can’t do it!” you say.

So the boy says, “Do not try and bend the spoon. That’s impossible.”

Before you can blurt out, “My thoughts exactly!” the boy quickly adds, “Instead only try to realize the truth.”
“What truth?”, you ask.
“There is no spoon.”
“There is no spoon?” (at this point, you just wanna smack the boy in the head… with the spoon!)
“You’ll see that it is not the spoon that bends, it is only yourself.”

I’m Sorry, Say That Again?

According to Neuroscience writer, Mo Costandi,

The Matrix is based on a philosophical question posed by the 17th Century French philosopher and mathematician René Descartes. One of Descartes’s most important theses was intellectual autonomy, or the ability to think for oneself. For Descartes, this entails not just having a “good mind”, but also “applying it well”.

The Matrix made history due to its groundbreaking visual effects, and many of us will forever remember those bullet-time cinematic shots and mid-air suspended Kung Fu fight scenes. However, what made the film even more memorable was that it delivered more than just quality entertainment. It challenged our preconceptions about a lot of things.

A really good explanation I found about this mind-bending “there is no spoon” riddle was from the Matrix 101 webpage and it explains that the spoon exists only in the Matrix, which therefore means it doesn’t actually exist as a physical object. This turned out to be a pivotal lesson for Neo because it opened his mind to the realization that to successfully manipulate the Matrix (which was the only way to defeat his opponent, Agent Smith) is to not focus on an object and try to change it. Since the object doesn’t actually exist, he can’t change it. What he can do, however, is to change himself.

There Is No Spoon.

Metaphorically speaking, the boy was saying that the spoon (or the existence thereof) was all in Neo’s head — therefore in order to exact any control or transformation to it, he would have to harness the power of his own mind.

Now, how does this philosophy apply to you and the way you view obstacles?

You look at all the things you need to get done: grow your business, do market research, figure out your niche, niche down some more, get more visible on social media, hop on a call with a prospective client, (oh and don’t forget!) take the kids to soccer practice, decide on what you’re gonna have for dinner, get your laundry done, etc. etc.

What do you see? Obstacles.

And when your conscious mind chooses to see something as an obstacle, how does your subconscious mind automatically construe this? A barrier to achieving your goals. An opponent that you must either run away from, or wrestle against.

Depending on your current level of confidence, courage and willpower, it might be an obstacle that’s just as impossible for you to overcome as it was for Neo to bend a spoon, right?

What you need to realize is that you see obstacles where there aren’t any. Look at the all the things that you think are impossible to overcome but look at them again — this time try to realize the truth.

That there are no obstacles, only opportunities. They’re not responsibilities, they’re privileges. They’re not burdens, they’re blessings. They’re not telling you, “No, you can’t have what you want!” but rather “Be patient. It’s not time yet”.

Perhaps it’s time that you see an asset where you used to see a liability, or a gain where you used to see a loss.

Therefore, these things you used to see as obstacles are not what you need to overcome.

Only yourself… You need to overcome your own thinking.

Beliefs have the power to create and the power to destroy. Human beings have the awesome ability to take any experience of their lives and create a meaning that dis-empowers them or one that can literally save their lives. (Tony Robbins)

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Originally published at www.mylasaavedra.com.

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