Because many of you have a mother tongue that is not English, and therefore may not be familiar with this phrase, let me first start by giving you a very brief explanation of what exactly a pigeon hole is.
The best example of a Pigeon hole is normally found in an office setting. (See the picture below).
Each employee will normally have their name assigned to one of the pigeon holes. Messages, documents and other forms of mail that are addressed to a specific employee are then placed inside that persons pigeon hole for them to collect.
In a very general sense, to ‘Pigeon hole it’ simply refers to putting a particular matter, or message into the right Pigeon hole.
The greater meaning of ‘pigeon hole it’ tends to be more about setting aside a situation or problem in a way where one can always come back to it at a later time.
Take a look at the following picture. Imagine that it represents your life, and imagine that each Pigeon hole shown in it, represents a different part of your life.
Each Pigeon hole could represent any particular theme such as Marriage, Family, Friendships, Business, Finances, Budgets, School, Diet, Fitness, Hobbies, Personal Projects/Goals, To do Lists etc, etc.
Being able to compartmentalise your Life in this way so as to have some overview, can of course be very helpful and requires some organisational skills.
The term ‘pigeon hole it’ however, doesn’t necessarily mean organising your Life into different compartments, but instead it tends to focus on the greater need to compartmentalise both the problems and challenges that come out of each of those areas in life.
Sometimes, when I have shared certain frustrations during conversations with my Dad over the years, he has at some point in those conversations encouraged me to ‘pigeon hole’ the problem or situation at hand.
I always understood this to be just one of his phrases, or words of advice, but in recent years I have come to realise and understand his thinking behind it.
As with many of us, he has dealt with many different issues on many different levels, and on many occassions he has had to deal with them all at the same time.
Throughout his own personal Life however, He has experienced such a wide variety of ugly confrontational situations that often involved escalation, and through these experiences, he has been able to work on and develop a strategy of deescalation.
There have also been many times throughout his Life, where he regularly found himself physically, mentally and emotionally caught up in horrific, tragic and nerve wrecking situations only to then move over immediately into Joyful and Peaceful situations, and vice versa.
Through these experiences, he has learned how to separate those many different situations in order to be able to function properly, and match whatever situation happens to be at hand.
He has managed to pigeon hole all the different extremes in a way that both prevents himself and protects himself from being taken to the extreme himself.
I know that despite this ability to deescalate, and to pigeon hole things, it does not necessarily mean that it is always easy for him to do so, after all, he is Human like the rest of us, but it is certainly a very helpful approach that I can learn a lot from.
Each of us have got our own challenges and problems that more often than not, stem from the different areas in our own lives and quite often they tend to affect us both mentally and emotionally, because like I said in the last paragraph, we are simply Human.
The thoughts and feelings which both our challenges and problems partly create within us, can end up consuming and overwhelming us much more than the problems and challenges themselves. Believe it or not, you can be easily deceived by your very own head and heart.
The above statements might sound like common sense, but sadly, every single day, many people around the world take their own lives simply because they themselves eventually come to believe their own thoughts and feelings on reality, to be Reality itself.
Thoughts and Feelings can be so strong that not only can they easily take over conversation, or the Persons Reality, but so too, the Person themselves.
If a person does not learn to pigeon hole a problem, it is well known that the problem can, and given the chance will, in the end pigeon hole the person. For this reason, it must be taken seriously.
Every day, I myself have to ensure that I’m not getting swept away by my own thoughts and feelings as I know that it can happen so easily.
One only has to look at regular mass media reports and societies reactions to them, to see how easily people can be led by their thoughts and feelings.
When I was going through some dark times a couple of years ago, I still needed to, and wanted to make some decisions on some important matters.
I spoke about this to a good Friend/Mentor and he encouraged me to wait and to give myself time until I was no longer thinking subjectivly, but instead back to thinking objectivly again
I followed his advice and as time passed by and as I got better, I started to approach the decisions clearly and sensibly.
Looking back, I can say that his helped me to avoid unnecessary and stupid consequences, which would have come from a decision, produced by a very subjective state of mind and driven by irrational thoughts and feelings alone.
Pigeon holing an issue, regardless of what it is, can help a person keep focused on their day to day priorities. It can both prevent and protect a person from being led by and deceived by their own thoughts and feelings
It can help a person approach the problems and challenges they face, with an objective mindset, and therefore in a much more constructive and productive way. In turn, it increases the chances of a Positive and Healthy outcome.
When I look at the state of our Beautiful world today, and the chaos that exists within it and within all of its people, myself included, It becomes very clear as to just how relevant my Dads 3 simple words really are.
The challenges we all face may be Private or Public, Individual or Collective, Local, National, or International, Political or Economical etc.
The issues will be important to us in different ways, however regardless of whatever they may be, for the health, safety and general well being of each one of us, we all must learn to practice the art of pigeon holing it in order to try and find some middle grounds with ourselves as indivudals, and with eachother as one big Human community.
It certainly wont bring about World Peace, but it could make the world that little bit more rational and balanced. Who knows, it may even help solve a few issues along the way, for you, me and everybody else for that matter.
Whatever your challenges and problems are, and whatever your thoughts and feelings may be, do keep in mind that just like the contents of a pigeon hole, you are…