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Positively Speaking: Soaring beyond the limits of legacy

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By Toby Moore

Capital Region Independent Media

Headshot of man named Toby Moore
Toby Moore

“Birds born in a cage think flying is an illness.” This metaphor encapsulates how our beginnings — our families, our environments — can profoundly influence our perception of what’s possible and what is not.

We all inherit mental confines. Some are blatantly obvious, and some remain undiscovered for a lifetime. For many of us, our families first shape these confines, forming beliefs about our abilities and potential.

Consider your upbringing. Were your aspirations met with skepticism rather than encouragement? I remember a successful comedian sharing an anecdote: “When I told my dad about my dream of becoming a comedian, he responded, ‘Following your dreams means you’ll be poor!’”

This attitude, unfortunately, is often not born in a vacuum. This disbelief is likely a legacy handed down through generations.

Your parents, and their parents before them, may have been instilled with the same limiting thoughts, creating a lineage of unfulfilled potential and dreams deferred.

Despite their love and support, families sometimes unconsciously imbue us with these limiting beliefs. It’s not a reflection of their lack of love; it’s simply all they’ve ever known. It’s a cycle of inherited fears and doubts.

After all, they could be correct! Only you can decide whether that’s true or false.

I say this respectfully: Sometimes, the people who love us the most might unconsciously hinder our growth. This begs the question, “Who has the authority to define the limits of your potential?”

Is it the society that often imposes its collective fears and norms? Or the family heritage that, despite its best intentions, sometimes shackles us with unfulfilled aspirations? The only person who truly holds this power is you.

“Care what other people think, you’ll always be their prisoner,” said Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu.

Despite my father’s deeply ingrained positivity, I often heard him speak of the struggle to break free from our family’s cycle of negativity.

Somewhere in our family’s past, joy and success were often seen as fleeting, overshadowed by the expectation of misfortune. This mindset, as he explained, was a legacy of his upbringing.

He broke the generational chain of doubt and fear, raising me in an environment in which embracing the impossible was merely a speed bump on the way to success.

This paradigm shift required a radical departure from caring about family judgments and expectations. He boldly decided to pursue his dreams, undeterred by the prospect of failure or the weight of others’ opinions.

What sparked this change in mindset? The story begins with my grandfather, who once chased his dream of becoming a professional baseball player. However, an unforeseen injury dramatically altered his path.

My dad wrote about this story in his popular book, “Playing with the Enemy.” The injury set my grandfather on a path of negativity, and my father was courageous enough not to let that deter him.

First, it required the courage to dream, to imagine a life beyond the familiar confines of inherited beliefs.

Then, it took the courage to act – to move from dreaming to action.

Finally, and perhaps most challenging, it required the courage to vocalize those dreams, even in the face of skepticism or disbelief from those around him.

Courage transforms negative, self-limiting emotions and thoughts into positive action. It’s the turning point where one moves from being mired in doubt to embarking on a journey toward one’s purpose and destiny.

If your upbringing taught you limitations, living by these imposed beliefs turns you into a prisoner of someone else’s fears. To escape this mental captivity, you need the courage to challenge the status quo and dare to dream beyond the barriers of the past.

Ultimately, the only obstacle between you and the person you aspire to be is the person you’ve always been.

This transformational journey isn’t a destination, it’s an evolution of growth and discovering your true potential.

Each step taken in courage is a step towards rewriting your story, away from the shadows of inherited limitations and into the light of possibility.

This journey requires an open heart and an enthusiastic spirit. Like a caged bird learning to fly, embrace the courage to soar into a boundless sky of potential and discovery, unlocking the door to realizing your purpose and living the life you’ve always dreamed of.

Toby Moore is a columnist, the star of Emmy-nominated “A Separate Peace,” and the CEO of Cubestream Inc.

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