Do You Have The “Glass Wall” Syndrome?

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.

22 thoughts on “Do You Have The “Glass Wall” Syndrome?”

  1. Wow, thanks for that! I’ve been feeling like I’ve been banging my head against a glass wall in my mind too. It’s like I know I can go further but can’t and I need to make a conscious effort to stop and place my mind on the other side. The patterns I’ve been using take me to the glass wall each time and cause much frustration. I am finding new ways around and through this glass barrier. Thank you!

  2. Hi Dragos, I’m a fan of your blog.

    When do you decide to try a different route to your goal? Sometimes you don’t walk into a ‘glass wall’, but you walk through an unnecessary ‘mud trench’. Do you make your decision to try a new route based on emotion? or something else?


  3. Pingback: |
  4. I would guess that running into a glass door has happened to anyone and still I had to laugh when I read as it happened to you as I laughed when it happened to me. Flies don’t stop flying against the glas.
    I like your thought behind it and you are right: If you try hard to make something work out, take another approach and it might work out with ease.

  5. How resourceful to take an embarrassing moment (I could relate–I tried to walk through a sliding glass door once!) and find an insightful life lesson. If I could do this will all my embarrassing moments, I would be wise indeed!

    (Found you through the Life Lessons Series. Great blog–I look forward to reading more.)

  6. Funny story. Sounds like something anyone could easily do. Sometimes we think it’s just so easy but it’s actually harder then we think. Too many of us are just banging our heads trying to figure it out.

  7. Hey Dragos,

    Very interesting analogy. I read the title and had to keep reading to find out what you were describing.

    I have learned that life can suddenly change in an instant. All it takes is one phone call, a knock at the door or an email and boom! You just hit a glass wall.

    That is why these days I carry around a 20 pound sledge. That way I can break on through whatever is holding me back.


  8. Another lesson I got from the story is to not get so caught up in the obvious. A nice clear and transparent wall may seem like an obvious path, but maybe, if you noticed the finer details, you would have realized that there was actually something in the way.

    Sometimes it looks like our goalpost is just a bit over the horizon, but then we get there and find out there is a whole new world of exploring to do. It can sometimes be frustrating, but I like to think the journey is sometimes more important than the destination.

    Great story Dragos – and a very apt analogy for personal development in general.

  9. Great story, Dragos. I love the glass metaphor because our misconceptions and limiting beliefs are completely invisible to us… that is until one day… wham!… we are doing great and all of a sudden we face our self-imposed limits head on. The tragedy is seeing these glass walls as limits that allow us to go no farther… we are taking the wrong approach when we consider any obstacle permanent.

  10. Sorry! I’ll stop laughing now. Tee hee hee! Don’t worry I’m not laughing at you I’m laughing with you because I have walked into so many glass walls myself in my life and sometimes quite spectacularly too. It’s all about getting up, dusting off, laughing at yourself, learning from your mistake and then getting on with your journey. Thanks for a great post Dragos…

    Warmest wishes

  11. You are on a very clear path, but you didnt 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. Its like wanting to enter a bank from a window. Of course you will hit a glass wall, you just didnt choose the right entrance. Thats the “glass wall” syndrome.

  12. This article is really timely for me. Lately I have been pushing against the glass wall and getting nowhere. It wasn’t until I made the decision to stop working hard in the wrong way that things began to change. The key for me is to realize more quickly when I am up against the glass wall. Thanks for the reminder.

  13. Very eloquently put Dragos, I’ve never come across the ‘glass wall’ theory before. Thanks for enlightening me, it’s a pleasure for myself to be able to ‘unlock my door’ courtesy of individuals such as yourself. Thanks again 🙂

  14. Wow Dragos, I’m glad you’re OK

    Welcome those “glass walls” at
    times…even though it may hurt.

    It is most assuredly a sign from
    the universe that a larger plan
    is in store for you. The plan is
    for your growth to be a better
    mentor, leader or to be the rock
    for others during their times
    of angst.

    Keep this in mind also:

    It’s always darkest before the dawn.

    Thanks for sharing your
    experience with us.

    Stay growing,

    Kevin Tyler Smith
    Promethean Life

  15. very entertaining post dragos,

    i’m glad you’re able to laugh it off . .. trust me, i laugh at my self ALL the damn time.

    you’re definitely not the only one doing things for the pure enjoyment of others 😉

    thanks for sharing

  16. Hey Dragos!
    How are you doing? Hope you are well and life is good!

    This title reminded me of the dumb blonde joke:

    “Why did the dumb blonde climb over the glass wall?
    To see what was on the other side”


    Have an awesome day!


Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.