Tag Archives: Comfort Zone

The Dangers Of Your Comfort Zone

How To Expand Your Limits

I had this fish once a few years ago. Actually, I had several fishes. I don’t know what go into me, but I got the idea that I wanted to have a tropical fish tank in my apartment. And as luck would have it, there was a tropical fish store in the mini mall just behind where my apartment was located. I suppose there is a connection there; as the tropical fish store was right next door to the cleaners I took my shirts to. (Marketers take note.)

So I went in one Saturday afternoon, not sure what I wanted, and started looking around. I priced difference size tanks, equipment, shapes that would best fit in my apartment, etc. Finally I settled on size and a price, and now was time to pick the fish.

“I need some fish,” I asked the guy. He explained to me how the shop was set up. On the left, were fighting fish. Fish that can’t live with other fish or else they’ll kick the crap out of each other. On the right were passive fish, or fish that just stare at you bug eyed from inside the tank. Since I had in mind a tank with a bunch of different fish swimming around, I decided on the passive fish.

I remember once I took this public speaking class. The guy who taught it started it off with some story, which of course was a metaphor for personal growth. The story was told to him by his original teacher at this public speaking course. It was a famous course, and most of the instructors are former members who realized incredible personal growth through the course and wanted to continue their growth by teach others.

I’m not sure if they actually designed the course that way, or if it just naturally grew that way, but it seems to be a pretty good way to build your business. The people that teach others are people that were successful in it to start, so they really know the ins and outs. And the instructors are always being created, as more and more people join the course.

That way, they really only need to worry about getting new people to sign up for the course, rather than always be on the lookout or new instructors. It is kind of self-feeding business. Just put people into the funnel and they will either spread the word to other potential members, or become instructors themselves.

This particular public speaking class has been around for many years, at least fifty or so, and has slowly grown through this method. Unless you know somebody who’s gone through the course, you likely haven’t heard of it. Of course, if you are looking for one of the best public speaking courses around, you’ll likely find this one, if you do any kind of searching.

Anyway, this guy went into a fish store, and noticed that there were several different sharks. Some sharks were pretty big, while other sharks were kind of small. At first the guy thought maybe they were different breeds or species or whatever the word is that they use to classify sharks, but then he noticed that they were all very similar in appearance. They only differed by size.

So he then assumed that maybe some were younger, and some were older. But when he asked the shopkeeper, he was surprised.

These sharks only grow as big as their cage. It has something to do with their swimming patterns. They don’t have air buoys like other fish, so they can’t just sit and float. They need to keep moving. If they are confined to a relatively small area, they won’t grow very big. They have evolved this as a way to not out strip their resources. If they are in bigger tank, or a bigger area, then they grow bigger.

Of course, the sharks really have no idea that they are in a container; they just swim around and are automatically constrained by their boundaries. Those with larger boundaries expand to meet them, and those with smaller boundaries stay small.

He asked what would happen if you took a small fish and put it into a larger area. The shopkeeper told him that they would naturally adjust, and grow bigger. He said that’s the interesting thing about sharks, is that they are like people in this regard. They are always growing to match their boundaries. If they want to grow bigger, all they need to do is increase the limits of their boundaries, and they will naturally expand to meet them.

But like most people, sharks sit around and wait for somebody else to put them into a bigger container. They expect some outside force or entity to change the shape of their cage. Some people have figured out the secret. That our cages are really only a figment of our imagination. All we really need to do is imagine that our cages are bigger, and we will expand accordingly. Most people never figure this out, and are always waiting for somebody else to guide them by the hand to bigger and better cages.

Once you know the secret, you can just re-imagine our limits until they are big enough to contain all the goals and things you want to achieve in life.

That’s when this guy realized he was at the first day of a public speaking seminar, and the instructor was giving them a kind of pep talk. Over the next twelve weeks, they would be expanding their comfort zones considerably through the practice of public speaking. And they would learn the best secret of all.

All of your boundaries are set by your fears of what you think is on the other side. When you face those fears, and realize they are only figments of your imagination, you boundaries or comfort zone will expand immeasurably. Which is exactly what they learned at this public speaking seminar.

The funny thing is that I think the shopkeeper made a mistake. Because even though I picked all passive fish, from the passive fish side of the store, it didn’t take long for one fish to eat all the rest. I started out with about six fish. Every other day or so there would be one more fish missing.

And all I had left was one fighting fish that had been mistaken for a passive fish, which was now proudly the only fish in his tank.

Expand Your World to Find Treasure

Once there was a tiny mouse. He lived in a field that hadn’t been used in several years. The field belonged to a retired farmer, who because of various generous government subsidies, decided that he could make more money by not growing things that he used to grow. So the farmer, instead of getting up before the sun, and doing various farming work, got up at the crack of dawn and did other stuff, like watching his investments, and participating in farming forums on the internet. The farmer realized when you get into the habit of getting up early every morning; it becomes a hard habit to break, especially if one tries to break in the twilight of life. The farmer never married, and didn’t have any children that he knew of, so he was content to relax every day, and use his energy in other areas that farming.

Which naturally led to a large mouse population in the overgrown fields that use to be a source of wheat and barley and other staples of life. One could of course, argue that the mice themselves were a staple of life, but that would require bringing various mice eating snakes into the story, which I’d rather not do at this point.

So the mice had been flourishing in their mice community for many seasons. Growing, increasing in size, developing different community structures that naturally evolve in a growing society. They even had plans to build a community center that would allow all to get together once in a while and share stories of life out in the great unknown.

One day, several young mice were out walking just past the outskirts of town. It was the newest housing development, and beyond was unregulated areas, undeveloped areas. Because they nice didn’t ever encounter mice eating snakes, they were fairly certain that the regions the outskirts were snake free as well. When the nice population would reach a size that warranted further development, they would get several mice together to lead a scouting party up ahead, to choose the most suitable land for building inhabitable structures. After the first couple of forays into the unknown, the mice realized when you go outside of where you are; all you generally find is more of the same stuff. Of course the first time they ventured outside of their comfort zone, they imagined all kinds of snakes and mousetraps and owls swooping down from the heavens above, but none of that materialized. It became more of a mundane search for the best soil, and the flattest plots to create affordable housing.

The mice were discussing this when they saw it. It was a giant object like they’d never seen before. It was solid; it wasn’t rock, or tree or any kind of plant. It was hard like rock, but it wasn’t rock. It was red, but had a rough brownish kind of covering over some of it, that looked like it was growing very slowly. They circled around it a few times until they figured it was safe to go in. They climbed up inside and were amazed at all the gadgets and switches and levers were on the inside. They could think of a million different ways they could use this. They climbed out on top, and realize they could see all the way back to their original housing development, which had recently been turned into a retirement home.

“Wait till they see what we found!” said one mouse excitedly.
“We could use this for a lookout tower!” Said another.
“We could use this for a storm shelter!” Said another.
“We could use this for a movie theater!” Said another.

As they scampered down, they ran into an old mouse, who happened to be out walking around. He had been retired for several years, and had taken to going on long walks to pass the time.

The young mice excitedly told him of their discovery, and their growing ideas of how to use this.

He looked at them and smiled.

You see, this is why it is always important to explore outside of the familiar. Outside of your comfort zone. You see many other people are afraid to do that. They just stay where it’s safe. You kids are smart. Because you are smart, you have discovered an amazing treasure. The secret of life, kids, is that amazing treasures like this are only outside of your comfort zone. And that’s not even the half if. The best part about searching for and finding amazing treasure is that you can use it for whatever you want. No matter what it is, or what some other person thought it was supposed to be, you can find amazing treasure, and when you do, you can use it for whatever you want. Nice work. You found something wonderful here.

The old mouse winked at the kid and shuffled off. They kids just continued grinning, and hurried home to tell everybody what they’d found. They couldn’t wait to share this with everybody.