London Lifestyle Blog

The Life Trap: Late-Night talks at The School of Life


After attending a talk on ‘Eastern Wisdom in Everyday Life’ at The School of Life the previous night, I was eager to delve into resolving my personal ‘life traps’, as I had some spiritual and mental spring cleaning to do. Hoping the second talk would involve more activity than the previous lecture, I was delighted to see a Powerpoint presentation prepared and a few activity sheets, made by the two lecturers present: a CBT therapist and a filmmaker. Both women incorporated storytelling and psychology to help the audience understand and change negative patterns in their lives. The talk covered a range of life traps: abandonment, emotional deprivation, vulnerability, defectiveness, failure, subjugation and unrelenting standards. Surely everyone can relate to falling into one of these negative patterns.

The Life Trap

The talk was perfectly organised in three stages with regular activities: recognising the life traps, understanding how they impact our daily life, and rescripting our life ‘story’ without the life traps. Before I proceed, I’ll fully explain what exactly a life trap is: a life trap is a ‘schema’ or core belief that shapes negative patterns of behaviour and influences the decisions we make. Life traps often originate from a previous experience (often from childhood) that creates the lens for the rest of your life. Schemas give us a sense of who we are but they can also lead us to fall into the same life traps.

Handy Notes

Identifying your life trap

  • Often we can understand ourselves better by finding some relation to characters in novels or film; we can relate to their struggle, and perhaps gain an understanding of our own emotions.
  • In the talk, the characters from Cluedo were given a profile describing their life trap. E.g. Professor Plum is never pleased with the work he does, he is a perfectionist who hardly recognises his achievements but instead strives to achieve more. Once I had recognised that this character related to how I feel at times I could realise the life trap I was falling into.
  • You can discover your life trap through completing this questionnaire.

Understanding how it affects your life

  • Once you discover what life trap you fall into (you can have multiple) you are one step closer to ridding yourself of it.
  • However, you must realise how it affects your life. So, in the case of Professor Plum and I, we find it hard to relax, we feel that others will always do better than us and we will feel as if our potential has never been fulfilled. This pressure may lead to stress and other physical complaints.
  • Once you have recognised how the life trap impacts your life you can begin to realise where it has come from. So, these unrelenting standards perhaps originated from being pressured to be perfect by authoritative figures as a child.
  • Now you’ve understood the root of the issue you can begin to change the negative patterns.


  • The final part of the talk included writing up a new life story and visualising what life would be without the constraints and pressures of the life traps.
  • With a combination of visualisation and strong intention we all hand-wrote a story of our future lives, free of any life traps or negative patterns.
  • If you intend to rid yourself of unhealthy life traps this is the stage that will change your life.

After this School Of Life talk, I felt inspired and motivated to irradicate my life trap of ‘unrelenting standards’. So, with a bit of self-love and careful rescripting, I have found that I am more accepting of my ability and potential, I don’t expect as much of myself, I make time to relax and my stress levels have significantly decreased. Not all of your problems can be changed by listening to a talk but with a little self-help and action, you can change your life traps too!

I hope you can also gain something from the talks I attended. If you want to indulge in some food for thought or attend a talk to help you develop your emotional intelligence check out their latest classes, also visit this website to discover possible life traps you have.


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