Muscle atrophy can be a scary thing. When an injury occurs which restricts a limbs movement partially or completely, the muscles within that limb will deteriorate, leaving it’s twin stronger than the other. When a muscle atrophies, it can lead to severe or partial muscle deterioration as the result from many different ailments, diseases, or injuries.
One recent, great comeback story acts as a template for those wanting to throw away their box. In late December of 2011, Minnesota Viking’s star running back Adrian Peterson suffered a season ending injury when he tore both his MCL and ACL. Following a surgery, and weeks of little movement in his injured leg, Peterson would have to build up his strength again to reach his former form. Many questioned his ability to return by week one, much less make an impact in the following season. Just 8 months after his injury, Peterson rushed for 84 yards and 2 touchdowns in the season opener.
It likely would have been widely accepted had Adrian chose to sit out the first one or two games of the season. Nobody would have questioned him, and he would be safe, comfortably going through the all of the expected motions. He instead threw away his box and went on to have one of the greatest seasons any running back has had, nearly grabbing the record for most rushing yards in the season in the process. Peterson went on to win MVP for the 2012-2013 season, the first running back to do so since LaDanian Tomlinson in 2006.
Like muscles, talents and skills can atrophy as well. Often in our lives, the fear of failing, receiving ridicule, or being outright ignored can lead to disuse of skills, talents, and the pursuit of dreams that inevitably leads to them deteriorating. This is the living inside the box, being safe from failure and living free of ridicule.
The box is boring, but it’s safe. It’s familier. In your own life, your box is your own status quo for every thing in your life – relationships, goals, fitness, talents, skills. Everything. If you let it, it can begin to define you and keep you from ever escaping. Living in the box kills any development you’ve gained from trying to escape it. The common statement of “think outside of the box” should really be “live outside of the box“.
Living in the box kills your dreams. It’s stagnate living.
Plot your escape!