Goldfish Do Not Belong in a Bowl

 In Coaching Blog

If you were like most children your first pet was most likely a goldfish. Your parents put your goldfish in a small bowl and allowed you to feed it once a day. Before long your goldfish was dead and  you went back to the pet store to purchase another one.

This experience has been repeated over and over, by generations of children, without much thought ever given to the question, do goldfish belong in a bowl?

kids-myshot-goldfish-bowl_55868_600x450Let’s begin by looking at the facts. Goldfish actually have a life expectancy of over 20 years, not 2 months or 2 weeks. They are very social and suffer when confined to a small space without any interaction with other fish. In the wild goldfish require a lot of space as they have the potential to grow up to 15 inches in length. I was told as a child that goldfish will adapt to the size of the bowl they are in but that is not true. A goldfish’s body will continue to grow and develop in spite of the size of their fish bowl. In a small space their insides continue to grow at a normal pace while the exterior of the fish stops growing. As the goldfish continues to develop, in this unnatural environment, the fish eventually dies as his organs compress together.

As a goldfish relieves itself it releases ammonia and in a small bowl, without filtration, they are slowly poisoned. The small water surface of a fish bowl can lead a goldfish to become de-oxygenated which in turn threatens to reduce their life expectancy.bigstockphoto_businesspeople_in_cube_1077392-283x300

People are much like goldfish in that others try to fit them into a box. This unnatural space many times is not an ideal environment for personal growth and development. The process begins with children who are rewarded when they conform. Throughout life individuals are continuously rewarded for following the majority and fitting in. Working in environments that do not support their needs, surrounded by coworkers who do not understand them, and using skills that are not natural can stunt an individual’s growth.  Over time humans can feel suffocated as their creativity and imagination are stifled. Many feel they are slowing being poisoned by a toxic environment that does not care or understand them.

It is human nature to want to grow and develop. We are curious by nature with an inborn desire to share our gifts with others. To serve. But as we conform to our labels we become accustomed to living a life that was designed by someone else.  Instead of expanding beyond our limited understanding of the world, we shrink and play small and soon we just give up and we settle for a life much smaller than the life we were born for.  Like the goldfish our social development suffers, our growth is stunted, and our life expectancy can be shortened.

The difference between goldfish and humans is that we have the power of free will and choice. Unlike the goldfish humans have the ability to change their situation, apply a variety of methods until an acceptable solution is found. Humans are not confined by their imaginary boxes or restricted by society’s labels.

If you are unhappy with your situation take a moment to step back and observe your circumstances from a distance. Identify what is causing you to feel uncomfortable. Take the time to understand who you really are and what it is that will bring you fulfillment.

Your thoughts create your reality and so document what it is you are looking for. Be clear on the life you want to live.  Create a skills inventory that documents your skills and talents. Have a clear vision of where you are heading and then focus your full attention on achieving this goal. Infuse your vision with emotion and vitality.  Visit this image daily and experience it as though it has already happened.  Step out of your box!

imagesGoldfish were not meant to live in a bowl any more than people were meant to live in a box. Goldfish were meant to thrive in an environment that supported their physical and emotional needs. Under these conditions they live for decades entertaining others with their brilliant colours and relaxing movements.

Humans were not meant to live in a box, experiencing a life defined by others. They were not born to follow the crowd, to surrender their ability to be independent thinkers.

Humans thrive in an environment where they are able to explore, discover, and collaborate in a creative and accepting space. A space that is not only aesthetically pleasing, but a space that has oxygen, room to grow, develop, and advance.

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