Proyecto Visión 21

Let’s stop being ourselves the biggest obstacle for the future

Francisco Miraval

I read some time ago a report about an experiment held in California where a group of 12-years old were asked to use a flight simulator to land a virtual commercial plane at the Los Angeles International Airport. Despite having no previous experience with simulators or planes, most the children were able to safely land the “plane” in their first attempt and then again and again.

If I remember correctly, in subsequent experiments the investigators decided to add some distractions to the scenario, including noise, music, or food, to see if those distractions would prevent the children from landing the virtual plane, but that was not the case. Even with distractions, the plane landed safely.

There was, however, one element that finally blocked the attention of the children who could no longer land the virtual plane: the presence of their parents. In fact, calls or other interruptions from the parents were not a problem for the children to complete the assigned task. But the presence of the parents was an unsurmountable obstacle.

In other words, children with no previous training were able to do in the simulator what experienced pilots many times were not able to do. However, all the good performance by the children stopped when the parents were there watching their children.

You can say that the parents, even against their own intentions, were the key obstacle blocking the actions of their own children. Unfortunately, that’s a reality I have seen in many, many occasions.

For example, some time ago a mother told me she has prohibited her son from taking free college classes in high school (classes the teen was allowed to take due to his good grades) because “if he studies, he will leave.” (Obviously, the young man will leave, regardless.)

I also know the case of a college student who received a scholarship to study in another state. He went there, but he had to leave his career and his scholarship to come home, because his mother was sick. Only then he discovered the mother was OK and it was a trick by his parents “to keep it in the family.” The result was the exact opposite.

I can provide many more examples, but the point is that we shouldn’t blame the parents or, better said, only the parents. I have seen teachers, preachers, leaders, and politicians acting in the same way, that is, preventing their students, congregations, followers, and constituents from entering the future.

But, what kind of life is a life when are not free to reach your full potential? What will happen in your mind and your heart if you are told again and again you can’t do what you know you can? What kind of future are we building?

The answer to the last question is simple: we are not building, facilitating, or co-creating any future. We are just agonically prolonging the past, with few benefits, if any, and with many conflicts. Any similarity with real life is not a coincidence.

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