I”m not going to tell you what the glass syndrome is. At least, not in the first two sentences.

I know I’m at the third sentence already, and, technically, I could start giving you the definition, but I’d rather not. It’s a delicate concept and it’s better to tell you a short story first. It will make you understand the whole thing better.

The Evening Walk

I love long, solitary walks especially in the evening. I get this from my adolescence, where I was doing 5-6 kilometers daily long walks around the lake near my home city, Ramnicu Valcea. A few weeks ago, on a lovely and quite hot fall evening, I was walking on one of the largest central boulevards of Bucharest (the city where I’m working at the moment). A lot of people were doing the same thing. The lights, the noise and a certain city vibe made that walk pretty enjoyable.

At some point, I spotted in front of me, melted into the multitude of shops, a bank office. It was the self-service kind of bank hut, where you can enter in a small room and use the ATM. The office was fully lighted and I could see that there wasn’t nobody in. I thought I should take out some money from my ATM card, wanted to do some shopping on my way home.

I briefly stopped for a red light and then closely approached the bank office. Meanwhile a couple formed by two young ladies already entered and they were using the ATM. I thought I could enter too, just to be there and wait for them to finish. As I was entering the office, I started to notice a little bit of a dizziness. Also, my bones were feeling a small pressure, like when you’re trying to walk on a swimming pool, if you know the feeling. At the same time, I clearly saw the young ladies starting to turn their heads towards me. There was a real slow movement, the one that you can see in a Discovery like footage. “Well, I thought, those lady are certainly turning their heads reaaaly slow” and the second after I felt an intense ache in my forehead.

Everything came back to the normal speed in a split of a second and not only I started to suddenly hear the noise of the city again (somehow it disappeared in this slow motion whirlwind) but I also realized I was just banged my head against a glass wall. Instead of the empty space I was expecting to enter through, there was a real, thick and completely transparent glass wall. And that strange collection of sensations, everything I felt for the last 5 or 10 seconds, in fact happened in less than a second. Banging my head against that wall seemed to somehow make the Universe go in slow motion.

After hearing the incredibly ugly sound of my forehead hitting the glass, I saw the ladies looking at me with an indescribable mix of fear, wild amusement and surprise. A few of the walkers were also stopped and they were gazing at the guy who was slowly starting to feel the impact of his 88 kilos in close and total contact with an incredibly hard obstacle. Somehow, my synapses weren’t affected by the impact. “Well, it looks like I can’t enter through this wall”, that was my first clear thought. “Let’s find another ATM”, that was my second.

So, without even stopping, I just corrected my trajectory with a few degrees, describing a narrow, but solid curve and here I was, walking again on the street. A few laughs were still strong enough to enter my ears, but just 20 meters after I spotted a wall mounted ATM. Stopped by, took the money and went on. In 10 minutes I was entering a subway station. I found a mirror and, as I expected, my forehead had a nice, red, round, kilingonian-like swelling right in the middle.

Ok, you can stop laughing now. Seriously.

Well, to be honest, every time I think at this incident, I laugh my butt out too. So, lets’ have a good one. :-)

Ok, you’re ready? Because I’m finally going to tell you what the “glass wall” syndrome is.

The Glass Syndrome

You are on a very clear path, but you didn’t choose the right entrance. You know what you want, but the way you want it, as familiar as it may look, it is refused to you. It’s like wanting to enter a bank from a window. Of course you will hit a glass wall, you just didn’t choose the right entrance. That’s the “glass wall” syndrome.

I know you’ve been there. Maybe in milder forms than hitting a real glass wall on a large boulevard, like I did the other day, but I’m sure you’ve been there too.

Truth is we’ve all been there. Because we do apply the same patterns over and over, without assessing too much. Most of the time, we’re right. But in some specific situations our lack of assessment is almost fatal. We fail to get the results because we think we know the solution.

Stop for a second and look very carefully at your life as it is right now. Look at your perfect job, perfect partner, perfect goals. Do you see them clearly? Then do yourself a service and look for the real entrance to those precious venues, because you may just banging your head against a glass wall. You may think you can have it instantly, but in fact you’re constantly choosing the wrong path.

The Cure To The Glass Wall Syndrome

Ok, suppose you’re hitting a glass wall. It’s not so uncommon, after all. So, how can you break free from it?

In just two words: move on. Don’t get addicted to the meaningless effort of pushing it harder than it needs. Just because you’re getting a shitload of resistance, it doesn’t mean you’re on the right path. You may see clearly the end goal, but you may loose the entrance from sight.

If you really want it, it will come to you. I found the next ATM in just 20 meters. It wasn’t exactly as the one I was trying to use before, but it did the job perfectly.

As long as I kept moving.