Despite what may seem appropriate given the title, this post is not about writer’s block. Or many of the blocks which benefit or plague the author. Instead, we will be discussing mental blocks.

Inhibition: a mental process imposing restraint upon behavior or another mental process (as a desire)

Our colloquialism has a proper name. Inhibition has been maligned into a much smaller definition over time, but it still retains its status as a single word to define “mental block”. In psychological terms, inhibition is the perfect definition of a mental block: a voluntary or involuntary restraint on the direct expression of an instinct.


Society approves of a large number of inhibitions, such as restraining the instinct:

  • To (slap/punch/spit on) someone in anger
  • To walk off the job in moments of stress
  • To commit suicide when we are despondent

These can be taken too far, which leads us to mental blocks which are on the other side of the fence. Some cause physical harm.

The person who never exhibits anger can suffer heart disease and hypertension. The non-confrontational person can be stuck in an abusive relationship which ends with a casket. The sad person can become so lethargic life is no longer worth surviving to experience.

Moderation in All Things

Slippery Slope

The slope is slippery on both sides. We hawk the side where ignoring a single inhibition leads to abandoning all of them which keep us safe from harm and ridicule. We rarely discuss the side where advancing one inhibition can lead to enough of them to stop all motion.

First, we negate an instinct because society deems it bad behavior. Next, we extend the umbrella of bad behavior from our natural reaction to our feelings which caused the reaction. Huddled under the umbrella are fear and doubt, who invited self-loathing to the party. The crippling is complete when shame, embarrassment and guilt call to announce they are en route.

What just happened? We actually did not commit an act. We exercised our inhibition and did not act on the basis it would be badly or critically reviewed. In the instant we deemed the act inappropriate, we questioned our tenet system by refusing to trust our instincts and dropped our confidence in our instincts off the nearest cliff. Better it take the fall than us, right?


memeIn a twisted game of what if, we did nothing. As a result, we suffered no negative consequences. A check in the win column, no? Just think, if we never do anything, nothing will ever happen to us to cause hurt, dismay, pain.

The flip side of the coin is nothing good will ever happen either. No growth. No reaping rewards from calculated risk. No surprise happiness. A large abundance of nothingness. It all begins with a single block, the proverbial first domino in a chain which falls around us more securely than any imaginable wall, fence or moat.


Math FunctionsTo the math-phobes, we are not going to endeavor to understand an equation exactly; instead, we are going to fathom the simplest of fractions. Whether you are an “half-empty” or “half-full” type person, you can see there is obviously something missing from the glass. In fact, no matter which way you describe it, half of the glass holds nothingness. You choose to look at one part of the glass to focus, either the part which looks away from the nothingness or the part which holds the nothingness.

The fact remains: Anything which is half-filled with nothingness holds the potential for more. The “more” can be more of the same. Pessimism grants more of the worst in the full section. Optimism grants more of the best in the full section. What do they say when the full part is actually full of nothing also?

Think about it for a moment. The full part of the glass is the memory of all the things which did not happen because some block or other stopped us from doing an action which would have precipitated great success or startling defeat.

Glass = Life

Glass of Red WineIf the glass is your life, and you are at least 36 years old, you are looking at the completed portion of your life in the “half-full” part of the equation. What really is in the glass? Shards of both success and defeat are the dregs in the bottom of the glass. In your childhood, you did not exercise many inhibitions because you had none until someone taught you. Shy your mammalian instincts geared toward self-preservation, you had nothing and no one to inhibit you from trying anything you desired.

What changed?

Was is heartbreak from puppy love? A broken arm from your misguided attempt at aerodynamics? A fright at the hands of a prankster who reveled in your hyperventilating shiver? What actually built the first block?

A more poignant question emerges: How many times have you drug out the very first block to thwart opportunity?

Hashtags: #opportunity #choices #life

Can you think of a time when you blocked an opportunity (yes or no)? Do you have the desire to break the block? Can you fill the empty half with more than the full half?

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  1. “What actually built the first block?”

    It must have been the maternal side of my family, in the reactions of Mawie and my mother when I : stomped my daddy’s Dobbs hat; ran gleefully past the bookcase, ripping the spines of dust jackets; or bit someone (more out of curiosity as to the outcome than any ill will). I learned that a few things were NOT acceptable behavior, and therefore the necessity of restraining such impulses.

    • I think in the most creative people, the precociousness you describe is far more evident. It makes me giggle! Great to see you 🙂

  2. Hard to say, really, as I’ve pretty much always done just what I wanted to do. I’m sure I’ve missed opportunities, and for the reasons given; mostly, those times ended up being the right time to allow the restriction… I’ve suffered the pains of bad decisions, and all the joy I could, so, my glass has been emptied out, refilled, and generally well used the whole way….

    I guess, being who I am, blocks just haven’t been a problem…. for me. For some others, maybe, who haven’t appreciated such libertine behavior, but, hey, that’s not my problem, is it?…

    Once, a radio host asked listeners to compose a six word description of their life; mine was, “Looked for love, found it everywhere.”

    Good post….



    • My full half is brimming, and the other one is waiting for much more. And since no one is looking anyway, I lay claim to the part spilt on the tableslip. xxx

    • Your answer to the radio host was correct. There is far more good than we realize. xxx

  3. I think most people have not done something for fear of failing, and have missed out on the possible benefits if it had worked out. The risk to reward ratio always had to be considered.

  4. Mike Hench

     /  July 9, 2016

    I have a few regrets, I c u like red wine, me 2. How’s it going Red?

  5. Mike Hench

     /  July 11, 2016

    Walmart in Denham springs?


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