One of my favorite genres of music is punk rock. I've always enjoyed the energetic pace of the music, but one of the main reasons I enjoy this type of music is because a lot of the lyrics of these songs are written to make you think. I appreciate that a good song makes me wonder about real-world topics that I don't pay much attention to on a daily basis.
Recently, I was listening to a song by the punk rock band Pennywise, called Locked In. It's one of those songs that on the surface merely sounds like they tried to see how many guitar riffs they could cram into a two-minute song. But on the day I was listening to it, I was paying extra attention to the lead singer, and the chorus of the song deeply struck a chord within me:
You're locked in today
By letting life get in the way
Fear has slowed your pace
Stability is in its place
Did you give up your freedom
So you could maintain what you have gained
You're locked in today
You're locked in today
It was one of those Whoa... moments that I rarely get when listening to music. The reason why it struck me is that it immediately started to make me think about how we are the ones who are often responsible for holding ourselves back in life. Sure, there may be a chance that factors beyond our control exist. But for the most part - whether you choose to believe it or not - we're the ones who are causing things to no go the way we'd want.
How you're keeping yourself from being your best
The song made me think that way because the way I interpreted the lyrics is that we hold ourselves stuck in places that we don't want to be in. Deep down, we know that something isn't right. We either feel uneasy about how things are moving along in life, or outright unhappy about it. Still, we don't do anything about it. As the song puts it, we keep ourselves locked in today.
Further analyzing the lyrics, the line "fear has slowed your pace" points out how often we're scared to jump into things. There are a thousand fears out there stopping everyone from doing something they want: fear of the unknown, fear of trying and failing, fear of what others will think, and so on. There's even the fear of succeeding. It seems like an uphill battle to conquer fears every time we want to change our trajectory in life.
Even if we can deal with fear, we can quickly get complacent and comfortable with how things are in our lives. That's what the line "stability is in its place" means to me. Stability and security are things that we need in life and should strive to maintain. Unfortunately, it also has the possibility of making us stagnate and never grow to meet our full potential.
The over-reliance on stability also ties into the lines "Did you give up your freedom / So you could maintain what you have gained." This lyric doesn't literally mean your freedom, as in being locked in a room or in jail, but more about your personal freedom - sticking to something simply to keep your lifestyle, despite making you unhappy and unfulfilled. It can be typically observed when someone keeps a job they hate because they're paid well.
Looking inside is the way out
So, how can you prevent from getting "locked in," as the song puts it? There's no one-size-fits-all solution to this, as everyone has different reasons for being where they are right now. However, you can get yourself moving to discover the path you can take to get "unlocked."
The very first thing to do is that you need to ask yourself some questions about why you haven't done the things you want to do and be very honest with yourself. Here are a few "icebreakers" for yourself that you can use to get going and spur more questions:
- Am I scared of doing the thing I really want to do?
- Am I getting too comfortable with my job/relationship/life in general?
- Is there something I'm doing now that is making me unhappy?
It might sound like a simple thing to do, but to be honest, it's tough. There's an excellent chance that the first few answers that come to your mind will not be the real answer you need. Most of us spend too much time hiding our real thoughts and feelings from others that we shield them from ourselves. So you need to spend a lot of time on this, asking the same questions over and over. Eventually, you will find an answer that deep down inside you know is the truth.
If you answered "yes" to any of those questions, then you need to decide what to do about those issues. If you find that you're scared to do something, think of what small step you can take soon to start quieting down some your fears. If you find yourself being complacent in life, figure out something that can snap you out of that rut. If something is making you unhappy, you'll probably know what you can do to eliminate it from your life.
Don't get locked in today
The key here isn't to jump into action immediately and take massive steps right this instant. The purpose of asking yourself those initial questions is to start to take an inside look at yourself. A lot of people don't do that, preferring to subscribe to the "ignorance is bliss" way of living. It just won't work if you want to make progress in your life. Everyone's path will have bumps along the way, so you'll want to be prepared ahead of time.
By inspecting yourself, you begin to uncover your real thoughts and feelings, which will allow you to figure out a plan. Without this introspection, you won't be able to figure out where to go next, and your plan will be all over the place. Be honest with yourself and never be "locked in" again.
Small steps for your Practical Good
You can unlock your life and set yourself free from your own obstacles by taking a few small steps that will clear your path to infinite growth:
- Be honest with yourself and determine if you're "locked in today." You can't bury the things that you know deep down are making you feel troubled and expect to have a clear path ahead. Clear your mind by asking yourself questions that will make you take a good look inside. If you're completely honest with yourself, you will begin to see the way out of what's keeping you where you don't want to be.
- If you find yourself holding your own progress back, start making a plan. Once you have been completely honest with yourself and determined that you have been keeping yourself from moving forward, you can start taking those steps into your new life. Make a plan and pick an action you can easily do that will give you the momentum you need to keep at it. All you need is a small push in the right direction, and it will take you farther than you ever imagined.