Overcoming Self-Imposed Boundaries

A lot of the time we think we can’t do something simply because we think that. There is no reason we can’t do it, except that we have imposed boundaries on ourselves as a result of societal pressures. It’s quite amazing how much of what we do (and ultimately don’t do) is driven by these pressures.

I’m lucky to be surrounded by some great people here at school, friends that have pushed me to ask myself the hard questions. Questions that at first I brushed off. I thought I had all of the answers, that I didn’t need to “do some soul searching”, and that my friends had something wrong with them for even asking. What I’ve come to realize is that I was hiding. Hiding from the truth, from myself, and ultimately from the uncertainty of the world around me, the one we all live in together.

Beginning to try and answer the hard questions is equally as important as finding the answers. I’m nowhere close to the answers, but I’ve started to look, and in looking I have become exposed to many things, the most powerful of them being my truer self. I work hard everyday to increase my sense of self-awareness, and in doing so I have stumbled into the world of Comfort Zone Challenges.

Comfort Zone Challenges really force you to answer some of the hard questions. Why am I afraid to ask that guy to buy his backpack? Why does asking a stranger to dance on the sidewalk seem to give me paralysis?

The answer is often a slew of things: “they’ll think I’m weird”, “I’m not supposed to do that”, “it’s just not something normal people do”. Ultimately you end up realizing that there is no real reason why you shouldn’t, other than that society has lead you to convince yourself that you shouldn’t. Society has told you that breaking the mold is bad, and that reaching out and touching the world is not something normal people do.

So I invite you to open yourself up and set yourself free. Try a Comfort Zone Challenge. You’ll see that it’s harmless and that you’re not going to die. You’ll get nervous, and pretty uncomfortable, but take those feelings and meditate on them. Ask yourself why you’re feeling the way you do. You’ll be surprised at how you respond.

What a comfort zone challenge is:

A comfort zone challenge is some kind of social interaction that makes you feel uncomfortable in a positive way, such as talking to strangers or dancing by yourself in public. It is harmless and goofy.

What a comfort zone challenge is NOT:

A comfort zone challenge is NOT something that you impose on someone else, only you have the power to instantiate a comfort zone challenge. It is also NOT something that is uncomfortable because it is illegal or potential harmful to yourself or others. Comfort zone challenges should NEVER put anyone in danger.

Just wanted to clarify that. A comfort zone challenge is not the new #YOLO, that you use to justify doing some dumbass stunt.

Here is a video of some Comfort Zone Challenges:

If you enjoyed that one, here is another of Will, Eric and I:

I hope you enjoyed these videos, and I encourage you to go out and make some of your own. It is easier to get started when you are recording them. You can tell yourself, “It’s not weird because I’m doing this for a video and I’m making my friends laugh.” Hopefully that is not the only reason you want to do Comfort Zone Challenges, but this mindset helps you get started at first - well at least it helped me.

It quickly became really addicting for me. Now I try and do Comfort Zone Challenges in my daily routines. That’s where the real growth happens, when nobody is there to share it with you and you are just doing it for yourself.