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  • Writer's pictureLisa Blair Fratzke

Think outside the jar

Updated: Oct 30, 2019

I heard a story the other day about bees. 

Apparently, you can trap bees in mason jars without lids because they won’t look up. They’ll just scuttle around on the ground floor of the mason jar, unaware of how easy it would be to be free.

Anne Lamott, writing guru and author, shared this story during a Ted Talk and I made a mental bookmark.

It made me wonder how often I’ve done this in my own life. How often have I put my hands to the grindstone and felt trapped by the cycle of life, when freedom was just a head tilt away?


You’re thinking it can’t be a simple as that, right?

When my boyfriend went on a trip to Europe this summer, he talked to a couple who lived in New York and they weren’t rich. He asked them how they made it work, and they answered: “Live simply.”

Maybe things are simpler than we think and maybe that’s what makes it so scary.

Maybe we’re all one move away from the kind of lives that will make our hearts beat a little faster and our smiles a little wider. The thing about looking up is that it automatically changes your perspective.

You have a different view. The bees are seeing something that they didn’t see before. Something that had always been available to them: A way out.

The real question is what happens next – will we take it? Life outside of the jar is unpredictable and scary. It’s so safe here. We know what’s going to happen.

We can just watch the world through the walls of the glass. Plus, there’s a bunch of other bees next to us. We might as well stay.


I listened to a podcast recently about decisions. According to the researcher they had on, there are very few good or bad choices when it comes to life. Many of the choices that we are offered are actually on par with each other.

The difference between the good and bad choice is knowing what we want. It’s also the kind of commitment we decided to put behind the choices we make.

The level of joy we receive from our life choices is directly tied to commitment.

That means that it’s not just the choice that matters, but what happens next. We can’t control the outcome. We can’t control whether a business will succeed or fail, a move to the big city will be easy or hard or if taking a chance on someone or something is the right choice to make.

But, we can make a choice and we can commit to it.

It’s simple, yet difficult. And that’s how the best things begin.


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