EI: a treatment for trapportunities


This article explores Trapportunity in more detail than more previous post which did little more than define it. Trapportunity is a phenomenon that may not be new to you at all if you look through your life. It has however not been easy to indentify as it had not been labeled properly until now. Trapportunities are traps that sell themselves as opportunities. The textbook definition is; Traps masquerading as Opportunities. What they do is to frustrate you by taking you off your track by luring you into the trap they really are. The result is that you are unable to reach goals, frustration overwhelms you and you cannot perform at your best. Sometimes they simply slow down your progress towards your real goal. Other times they deceitfully misdirect you towards what might seem like a better goal.
In the previous post I made a point about the fraudster who of necessity must dress like a real business man in order to gain the confidence of his victim. To do the opposite is to undermine his objective. In the same manner it is necessary for a trap like anything negative to present itself as an opportunity- it is the very nature of the negative. It must mimic good or cease to exist. It thrives on it and one must be first very aware of this.

Often Trapportunities plays on the lower needs. Food, clothes, shelter, sex etc. Bodily needs very easily frustrate us when in short supply. When a man is hungry to the worst limit, a piece of bread that belongs to somebody else will begin to look attractive. In most case he might eat it before remembering it did not belong to him. This is bound to invoke undesirable consequences. Responding to the needs of the lower kind is the easiest way to falling into a trap thinking we have seen an opportunity. A struggling business man in possession of a great idea but has no money to feed himself, may encounter what might seem like an opportunity. He may give away a great idea for the immediate gratification. Years down the line he will regret this. We saw a clear example with Jacob and Esau in Genesis 25:29-34.

Trapportunities present themselves in such unexpected ways; they are easy to fall for unless one understands them thoroughly. While they are a major cause of failure, they are easily avoidable when one chooses to do the right thing all the time without exception. It is a question of taking the right road instead of taking the dangerous winding short cut without knowing where it really leads. When Joseph was asked to work in the house of Portipher, (Genesis 39) he encountered what was one of the most serious Trapportunities a man can face. When your masters’ wife offers you her body, it is a first class “ego-sweller”. There are very few men who can survive this especially when she threatens you in addition.  It is easy to see how the history of Israel would have taken a rather dramatic turn if Joseph had fallen.

Another of such Trapportunity presented itself after Jesus’ baptism when Satan came with the bread temptation after a 40 day fast (Matthew 4:1-11). Now seriously when a man didn’t eaten anything for 40 days, everything looks edible. All he needed was to accept Satan’s proposal- a device that was designed to establish the destruction of mankind by derailing Jesus from his mission. Hungry as he was, if he had responded to his bodily need of hunger at its extreme, the history of mankind would have taken a different course. It needs to be said that it that it would not have been a helpful one.

Those who have mastered themselves enough to allow their minds to control their bodies are therefore very often high performers as they easily survive Trapportunities that would have either derailed them or slowed them down. This is the realm of discipline of course— delaying one’s gratification till later. It is not uncommon however, to find ourselves in a Trapportunity as some may be so subtle we may not be able to detect them. Sometimes we may think we have ended up in it by accident. The cold fact however is that, we are the most active participants in the creation of our circumstance. When we do find ourselves in a Trapportunity however, the technique we need to apply is a very simple one.  

We must see what we can do in order to drain the opportunity out of the trap. This is done by first of all understanding clearly that you are in a Trapportunity. Secondly it is necessary to clearly identify how you have arrived there—this means identifying the trap and how it has presented itself as an opportunity. Chances are there may be traces of an opportunity dotted around. Your next task then will be to clearly identify what opportunities can be salvaged from the situation and developing an exit strategy bringing the salvaged opportunity with you no matter how small. The following is a classic example:

Once upon a time when a good friend agreed to write for a TV reality show, he failed to recognize the trap that was hidden therein. A 24 hour reality show meant that he had to be at home all the time to watch the show and write his observations. It did him a lot of damage as it stopped him from working on his own projects. It affected his movement as he always needed to be at home. To make matters worse, he was seriously underpaid for the work that lasted two months and in the end it wasn’t worth the trouble.

But that’s just one way of looking at things. On a more advance level however, a good mental exercise initiated by myself allowed him to salvage the opportunities within the trap. Whiles the experience was painful in many ways, his feelings changed when he begun to understand the situation he was in, how he had created it and the reason for which he had done it. It was easier now to manage the situation and experience allowed me to help identify what the positives were. Soon the project was over. He walked away with a few things; a relationship with the media organization who hired him that he can build on in the future as he had upcoming projects of his own, the discipline of producing a number of articles in a day no matter what and a story I can use to demonstrate the idea to you. Not a bad deal in the end but only if you think about it the right way.

We have thus drained more opportunities than he initially saw in the situation and this has only been possible because of a good dose of awareness and emotional intelligence. When we are not emotionally intelligent enough, we allow the frustration of a situation to cloud our judgment and Trapportunity as a negative, feeds on negative emotions in order to grow even bigger compounding the problem. Trapportunities must therefore be avoided at all cost but if we should find ourselves in one (and this will happen), we must not walk away empty handed. There is always something to walk away with that can enhance our performance. Emotional intelligence helps a great deal and this makes it a fair treatment for Trapportunity. 

About Markus Kennedy Katey

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