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I often find myself thinking inside the box of my personal experience and the ways of thinking and behaving I was taught. I think there is often a lot of good in these acquired and inherited thought patterns. We can learn plenty from our peers and siblings and from those with more miles on their odometers.

But if you and I have been confined by fears and unhappiness, could it be that some of our old ways of thinking and behaving deserve reconsideration? Consider the words of Dr. Seuss as he describes the experience of a youngster persuaded to try some new ways…


Said Conrad Cornelius O’Donald O’Dell,
My very young friend who is learning to spell:
“The A is for Ape. And the B is for Bear.
The C is for Camel. The H is for Hare.
The M is for Mouse. And the R is for Rat.
I know all the twenty-six letters like that…
“…through to Z is for Zebra. I know them all well.”
Said Conrad Cornelius O’Donald O’Dell.
“So now I know everything anyone knows
From beginning to end. From the start to the close.
Because Z is as far as the alphabet goes.”
Then he almost fell flat on his face on the floor
When I picked up the chalk and drew one letter more!
A letter he never had dreamed of before!
And I said, “You can stop, if you want, with the Z
Because most people stop with the Z
But not me!”

On Beyond Zebra by Dr. Seuss, (1955, 1983)

The storyteller goes on to tell Conrad about the letters he had to invent. Why invent new letters? Because he encountered spelling challenges not met by the conventional letters. A-Z had its limitations.

Maybe your “ABC conventional letters” have been habits of avoiding the spotlight, procrastinating instead of making decisions or being excessively passive, as they commonly are for anxious folks.

Or maybe you have been spelling out your experience with familiar “letters” like dwelling on the past, remaining sedentary, trying to read the minds and motives of others, and pursuing revenge rather than forgiveness—these tend to spell D-E-P-R-E-S-S-I-O-N and A-N-G-E-R.

Could it be time to try out some new letters for spelling out C-H-A-N-G-E? Maybe your future could be different from anything you had let yourself imagine before…