July 2, 2016

Breaking Through Barriers: 2 Examples

I’m not one of those people who believe that certain rules are made to be broken. Reasonable guidelines are meant to promote safety and peace. For instance, we might get impatient waiting for traffic lights to turn green, but they protect the rights and safety of all drivers, riders, and pedestrians. Please think about a world with no such safeguards:

  • American visitors to foreign countries where pedestrians’ rights are not respected feel fear when they walk on busy streets. They say vehicles don’t even slow down for them, and the drivers honk at anybody walking in their path.

  • I read a novel about New York City in the 1880s. There were no traffic signals at a certain busy intersection. No police officers were directing the flow of traffic, either. Everything was in chaos. Tempers flared. Traffic was at a complete standstill.

Laws and regulations usually have benefits. However, some barriers are not helpful—or healthy. If you think about it, how many scientific breakthroughs would we have if people were too intimidated to explore new territory?  We might still think the world is flat and that the whole universe revolves around it—not the sun.

Forging a new Path

Some Like it Hot
This groundbreaking 1959 movie stars Tony Curtis (the father of Jamie Lee Curtis), Jack Lemmon, and blonde bombshell, Marilyn Monroe. Today, it is considered one of the greatest film comedies of all time. However, it caused a stir in its day. That’s probably for two reasons:
·        The characters of Curtis and Lemmon dress in drag in order to avoid mafia hit men.  
·        The varied elements of comedy aren’t traditional for the time.
Of course, crossdressing is more common now. Yet, co-writer and director, Billy Wilder, really put his reputation on the line by tackling the sensitive subject 57 years ago. His bold move certainly jolted the American public out of their comfort zone.
Sometimes big risks give huge payoffs. What were the results of Billy Wilder’s gamble?
·        Many awards and nominations, including six Academy Award nominations
·        Voted the top comedy film by the American Film Institute
·        Iconic “ditzy blonde” song of all time: “I Wanna Be Loved by You”, sung by Marilyn Monroe
·        Last line of the movie, “Nobody’s perfect,” ranks at #78 on the list of Hollywood’s 100 favorite movie lines.  (Let’s put it this way: I use the line quite often, and I haven’t even seen the entire movie, yet.)

Tony Curtis (with Janet Leigh)

Marilyn Monroe (in a scene from the movie)
Leaving MY Comfort Zone
My daughter and I are volunteering at a local assisted-living facility about ten hours a week this summer. Here are our main duties:
·        Play the piano
·        Help with activities
·        Talk with the residents
·        Do clerical work in the office
There are a number of reasons why we are uncomfortable in our positions. We really have to expand our way of thinking. Caitlin and I are both naturally reserved. In addition, we are unaccustomed to working in a health-care environment. It’s far beyond our level of comfort to perform in front of strangers and interact deeply with them.
My Conclusion

“You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last—and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you.”—John 15:16 (NIV)

Each of us has a unique responsibility in life. Call it a God-given mission, if you like.  Often, we can only fulfill our highest potential if we refuse to be boxed in by comfort or preset expectations.

Related Posts

Please see more about breaking with expectations in my book, Accept No Trash Talk: Overcoming the Odds.

How have you forced yourself out of your comfort zone?

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