Pushing the Envelope

ParachuteOvercoming limited thinking, breaking free, expanding the comfort zone, growth and development

Self-image sets the boundaries of individual accomplishment. Maxwell Maltz

There are no boundaries–only possibilities. Sakyong Mipham  

Life’s challenges are not supposed to paralyze you; they’re supposed to help you discover who you are. Bernice J Reagon

   Most of us live in some sort of self-created protective bubble. It provides us an environment which makes us feel safe and secure. Its primary purpose is to keep that which is on the outside out. Our subconscious mind tries to protect us from perceived risks, that which makes us uncomfortable and that which causes fear and uncertainty. While it means well, it does considerable harm by limiting our learning experiences and growth.

    The Boy in the Plastic Bubble was a 1976 made-for-TV movie about a boy who lived in a total enclosed protective environment because he had no immune system. He lived an isolated and limited life. In some ways we live in just such a restrictive environment. Our subconscious tries to protect us from the outside world. It assumes we are too fragile and weak to handle life’s circumstances. Contrary to the boy in the plastic bubble, our actual immune system must be exposed to germs and bacteria for us to develop adequate defenses against infections. Similarly, we must spend time outside the umbrella of our comfort zone and be exposed to life’s circumstances, good and bad, the trials and tribulations; all the things that make us stronger and more capable.

    “Pushing the Envelope” is a phrase referring to pushing or expanding boundaries. Our society, government, and organizations have boundaries. We are supposed to stay within their confines. If no one ever pushes the envelope, the boundaries never get enlarged or stretched. Sometimes boundaries need to be enlarged or redefined. Our comfort zone is such a boundary. It is our security blanket and causes complacency. It is a good thing which becomes a bad thing if we become too dependent upon it. If we never push the envelope, the size and boundaries of our comfort zone never changes. We do not grow or increase our capabilities. It restricts us.  

    We should have a mindset requiring us to test and to enlarge the size of our comfort zone. Our security zone should provide safety yet growth as well. By pushing the envelope, getting out and having new experiences, we are stretching boundaries. It requires some exposure to risks, fears, and even the unknown in order to stretch and grow. We may fall down, but we get back up and keep growing. “Push the envelope” is a good visual image that should inspire us to go and do something new.

Challenge: Imagine yourself as the boy in the plastic bubble. Now imagine the plastic bubble is your comfort zone. It does protect you, but it is harming you by not allowing you to experience natural growth and development. If you never get outside and experience life, your life will be a shell of what it could be. You must learn to have a sense of balance, have a secure zone, but always push yourself and get out and grow as well.

Wisdom: To succeed, you need to find something to hold on to, something to motivate you, something to inspire you. Tony Dorsett

Spiritual: (NIV)

I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength. Philippians 4:13

For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline. 2 Timothy

If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him. James 1:5

The Bible does not promise or even imply that life will be a bed of roses. It promises those that live in fellowship with God will be empowered with the strength allowing them to experience the trials and tribulations of life and be victorious. We become strengthened and wiser as a result of living life, not weakened by it. Life’s experiences are the proving and testing grounds for our growth and development. God helps us to triumph over life’s tests.

Prayer:  Help me to have faith and confidence and step out and grow. 

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