Since I recently wrote about limiting beliefs and the Wizard of Oz, I thought it appropriate to extend the metaphor a tad and talk about why the Yellow Brick Road is so important. Not that I’ve ever seen or walked on a road that is literally yellow myself, or believe there is a likelihood that you will either. And yet I do believe we should plan to journey along it and, much the same as Dorothy, there are many dangers we need to plan for along the way.
Our companions the Tin Man, Cowardly Lion and Scarecrow will also need to be helped if we are to complete our journey, because as they are they may only serve to slow us down, or stop us all together. But, with the help of Toto, we can make a significant change to all three of our comrades as we walk the Yellow Brick Road.
Before we start I thought I would make this disclaimer, I have never been able to sit through the movie of the Wizard of Oz. How I came to be talking about it so much, I have no idea, but I do recognise a good metaphor when I see one! So lets start by unpacking the symbolism first, because this will help you understand the journey and why it is necessary to take it.
Oz is a magical and mystical place. Or that is how it is outlined in the story. It is a place of dreams, and for many is not real. At the end of the book, Baum made what my literary teacher told me ‘was a fate worse than death, it was one of dreams’. Baum expected us to suspend belief for his gripping tale, then yank the tale right from under us by telling us it was all but a dream. Dorothy dreamt the whole thing. It wasn’t real. Isn’t that how we see our dreams at times, as so fantastical that they are nonsense? Or maybe we should review the terminology. When we think of dreams for ourselves, aren’t we really just thinking of goals that we believe are so lofty that they are unrealistic?
And the Wizard of Oz, wasn’t he just a regular guy pulling the wool over our eyes? Someone hidding in the shadows fooling us into doing one thing when we should be doing another? Or worse still, someone pretending to know the answers but not really having a clue. And that’s what we see when people tell us what we ‘should’ do. When we are given advice by people who think they know what we want or what’s best for us better than we know it ourselves.
So what then is the Yellow Brick Road? Well, essentially it is the path to our goals. Dorothy’s goal was to get home, the Tin Man to get a heart, the Cowardly Lion to gain courage and the Scarecrow to get a brain. Each person on that road had a goal to achieve and they would literally stare down death to reach it. Isn’t that how we should face our goals? If our goals were easy, they wouldn’t be goals and if they were easily obtained how much worth would we put in them?
Ironically enough, the things that hold us back from travelling the road are our belief that we aren’t smart enough, brave enough or emotionally mature enough to handle these goals. We allow these things to become excuses and obstacles, but they our fears not tangible or real. However, when faced with a real threat or obstacle, i.e. the Wicked Witch of the West, we find a way to overcome these intangibles and reach our goals.
So what of Toto? You may have guesed by now that little Toto is a catalyst for change. He is strong, brave and supportive, a constant for the others. Toto, with his limited vocabulary, is the life coach for the the travellers on the road. After all, it is Toto that unmasked the Wizard and provides constant support for Dorothy.
The Yellow Brick Road is the road less travelled, that dark, creepy, lonely and golden road to our future that we are too scared to follow. But the road is a lot easier to travel with others, especially if there is a guide that comes with us to help us on the road. What we don’t need are well wishing wizards sending us on wild goose chases! Coaches aren’t wizards. They are the companion you need with you when you start out along the Yellow Brick Road. They can build your courage, get you emotionally invested and clear your mind so you can find the right path. The good thing is that you don’t have to kill a witch before you start!