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Welcome to Sweet Tea Tuesday, where we can talk about whatever comes to mind and exchange stories and ideas. Join in and leave a comment if the post speaks to you. Before I begin, I just want to give a shout out and props to Mark Chitwood. He took some pictures for me, and the one I like best is now my new header. Thanks for your help Mark. He’s a good ole boy from Arkansas, but we won’t hold that against him. 😉

Today I’d like to talk about stepping outside our comfort zone and how false beliefs may be holding us back.

We have two Yorkshire Terriers. They are siblings, and their names are Annie and Clooney.

Don't Let The Cuteness Fool You

We always had issues with Clooney barking, as he’s very protective. We finally decided to take them to obedience class and see if we could control this to some degree. A few weeks into the class, the instructor told us to get 30′ leashes so we could practice our “come” commands outside. They respond differently when you’re outside compared to inside. So we bought a couple of 30′ leashes, put them on Annie and Clooney, and took them outside. The interesting thing was, when they had the 30′ leashes on them, they stayed as close to us as they did when they had on their normal 5′ leash. It took them quite a while before they would venture out past that “comfort zone” of just a few feet.

This reminded me of two other stories about doing things without knowing why. The first was an experiment I heard about with chimpanzees. Five chimps are put in a room with a bunch of bananas hanging from the ceiling and a step ladder leading to the bananas. Whenever a chimp would try to get to the bananas, cold water would be sprayed on all the chimps by an overhead sprinkler system. After a very short period of time they stopped trying to get the bananas. Then the scientists took one chimp out and introduced a new one to the group. When the new chimp saw the bananas, he tried to climb the ladder and was immediately attacked by the other four chimps. The new member of the group learned quickly to leave the bananas alone. They continued taking the original chimps out and introducing new ones to the group. The same thing happened each time a new chimp tried to retrieve the bananas. The weird thing is, when ALL the original chimps were finally taken out of the group, the remaining chimps still attacked the new chimp when he tried to get the bananas. At that point, none of them knew why they were attacking, but it had become the norm and they did it anyway.

The second story I was reminded of is a Thanksgiving story. A young couple invites the wife’s family to their house for Thanksgiving dinner, and everyone agrees to come. The wife had bought all the food she needed for the grand meal, and started preparing everything the night before. She had the turkey thawing, and took the large ham out of the refrigerator to start prepping it. The husband was watching her and couldn’t understand why she cut off a large piece from the back of the ham as the first step in the process. When he asked her why she did this, her response was, “I don’t know, that’s just the way momma always did it when she prepared her ham for a meal.” When the mother arrived, the husband asked his mother-in-law what the reason was for lopping off several inches of the ham. His mother-in-law smiled, patted his hand, and said, “Honey, that’s just the way our family prepares it. It makes it taste better. My mother always did it that way, and so I did it that way too.” Not convinced by that answer, he asked his wife’s grandmother the same question when she arrived, and got another “That’s the way my momma made it.” Finally the wife’s brother showed up after picking up the great-grandmother. The husband being inquisitive (probably an engineer Piper), asked her about the shortened ham. The other ladies had gathered around too, because they had been discussing this now and were curious. The elderly lady looked at them like they were crazy and said, “I have a small oven in my house, and I had to cut the back of the ham off in order to get it to fit inside.”

Often times we think others are holding us back, or our situation dictates what we can or can’t do. Most of the time it is our belief we can’t do it, our unwillingness to get out of our comfort zone, or a misconception about the way things should be that keep us from succeeding in our quest. Have you ever put yourself on a short leash or made bad choices based on unfounded beliefs about who you are or what you can do? If so, please share a story on the front porch. I’ve got the time, and here’s a nice tall cold glass of sweet tea to sip on while you share. ~clink~