Move Beyond Self Imposed Limitations!

This is a fairly long post. You may consider bookmarking it, or printing it out for a more reflective study in your quiet and more relaxed moments.

The Experiment

An experiment was conducted by a sixth grade teacher in the presence of his students. He placed small flies in a large bottle. Then he placed a very transparent glass screen on the top of the jar. So the flies could see the open sky and the regions beyond the lid of the bottle, but not know about the screen.

During the school year they would watch the flies fly up to the top of the jar. Of course, they would hit the screen and fall back. This went on from week to week and month to month and because of the very short lifespan of the flies, generation after generation was born in that bottle. Generation after generation experienced the limitation of the lid.
But, during the last week of the year the teacher removed the screen. The flies would then fly up to where they were even with the rim of the jar (where the screen had previously been), and fall back even though the screen had been removed!

These flies were of a very low form of life, and they are not ordinarily thought of as being very teachable, yet in less than a year, it was obvious that they had become conditioned by the limiting space they were confined to.
Although this experiment was conducted during only one school year, the flies went through many generations within that one year because of their very short life-spans. And in those few generations, succeeding generations had observed their fathers and mothers and had determined that it was impossible for them to go above the top of that jar.

However, during the last two weeks of that year a few flies would reach the rim of the jar and crawl around it. Then one or two might fly away. But the rest would simply stay below the rim, at a level they were accustomed to. The flies that flew beyond the top of the jar knew there was something higher, something beyond the top of the jar. And they simply refused to accept the limitations communicated to them by the failures of preceding generations.

The Point
This experiment clearly illustrates the plight of humanity today. Human beings, ever since the fall of Adam, have become enslaved within the confines of the natural senses; within the limiting mentality and world-view of human experiences.
Could it be that we have become like those flies trapped in that bottle and have come to believe that there is no escape from the various realities we face today?

The Walls

Life’s experiences are nothing but the external manifestations of inner realities. The ‘size’ of our lives are determined by the ‘size’ of our inner worlds. You have a world within and that’s your real world. This real world is dynamic and alive; it possesses the capacity to expand and enlarge infinitely. But this capacity is constrained by walls – mental, and emotional walls.
The essence of these walls are information, knowledge, and experiences.
Essentially, what you ‘know’ and what you ‘believe’ constitute the internal wall that regulates how large and at what rate your inner world expands and grows.
The walls of your own world are defined by the information that reaches you through your five most common natural senses:

  • Your natural eyes
  • Your natural ears
  • Your natural nose
  • Your natural touch
  • Your natural tastes

The bulk of the information and knowledge that we have today, in the natural world, have come to us through these five senses. Only very few people appreciate this fact.

The laws of science
What we call the laws of sciences have been accumulated primarily through interpretations, deductions, and conclusions based on the observations of the five senses.
Yet these senses are not always reliable!
They are not always absolutely true.
Their findings are continually being revised.

At one point, atom was considered the smallest indivisible particle of an element. Today it is no longer so.
Once, space was considered flat and the shortest distance between two points was a straight line. Today, we think of a curved space and generally believe that the shortest distance between two points is a curve. At one point it was a three dimensional world made up of the x,y,z axes. Today it is normal in theoretical science to think in terms of infinite number of axes.

In every generation, we’re prone to accept the conclusions of science without questioning.
And consequently, they form the walls that bound our knowledge and determine our understanding, and hence our experience of reality.

I imagine that future generations would probably look back to these times and wonder at our silly and ignorant assumptions and scientific concepts! These may be the very same concepts that by modern standards are considered profound and advanced.

What we call history, is the accumulated experiences of preceding generations. It is a description of their successes and failures. This information has also been passed down to us through our five senses – what we read and what we heard.
Often, the historical experiences of preceding generations form the walls that constrain our knowledge, determine our understanding, and ultimately predict our own experience of reality.

Personal experiences.
Majority of human beings today have been conditioned to think and act only based on what these senses tell them. In other words, we hit these walls and relapse back into the status quo defined by them and believe that nothing else is possible.

And for billions of people throughout all generations, even the walls of these dimensions have been shrunk further by their individual and generational experiences of failure, frustrations, and defeat (such as what I observe on the African continent). The limits have often been defined by the logic – scientific, religious, cultural, or biological – of fallible and defeated ancestors. Try as they can, like those flies, they cannot rise above boundaries defined by the thought patterns inherited from preceding generations and prevailing physical circumstances.

Information, knowledge, experiences, and their resultant beliefs, values, and so on, are meant to be tools that the free human spirit should use in exploring and studying the infinite wisdom of life and eternity. They are not meant to rule or limit us. On the contrary, they are meant to serve us!
Unfortunately, due to mental indolence and religious intimidation, we’ve turned these into gods that now operate as hindrances to further learning, growth and development.
It is in this sense that I consider these walls.

Take off these walls !

To take off these walls does not mean that we disregard laws, information, beliefs, and experiences. It simply means that we put them where they belong and hence have the right attitude towards them.
Let me explain further:
Think of the relationship between the telescope and outer space, or that between the microscope and the micro-universe. Do we substitute the instrument of observation for the reality it is exploring? Of course not! The instrument is a mere tool that can be polished, developed, and improved. The reality it is observing is not altered in any way, yet as the instrument evolves into better forms, we have a better view or experience of the reality under study.
In the same way, laws, information, beliefs, and experiences are instruments with which we observe, interpret, and experience life. They must not be elevated into the place of gods. They must not be allowed to be constraints. They must be let to evolve into better forms so that our experiencing of reality can match the ultimate ideal of the Creator.

When Jesus came on the scene, He announced… “All things are possible!”
He said, “Everything is possible for him who believes.” Mark 9:21-23
And He demonstrated it.
He walked on the water.
He calmed stormy seas.
He opened blind eyes, unstopped deaf ears, loosed dumb tongues, and caused the cripples to walk.
He fed thousands with just five loaves and two fishes.
Then He raised the dead.
And He turned around and said to us, “You can do even more!”

So the lid on your potentials and achievement capabilities has been taken off.
You can now soar to unlimited heights!
The only limitations in your life now are those you have allowed in your mind as a result of the conditioning you have received through your five natural senses.
They are imaginary limitations. They are actually not real.

Your mind was previously educated, trained, and conditioned by the walls.
Now they need to be re-educated.
Just like the curriculums in the schools are being constantly altered to comply with recent findings, you must alter your mind constantly to comply with the realities introduced by Jesus Christ.

There are higher realms, higher possibilities, and higher realities than whatever it is that you are used to.

Move beyond self imposed limitations!

“However, during the last two weeks of that year a few flies would reach the rim of the jar and crawl around it. Then one or two might fly away. But the rest would simply stay below the rim, at a level they were accustomed to. The flies that flew beyond the top of the jar knew there was something higher, something beyond the top of the jar. And they simply refused to accept the limitations communicated to them by the failures of preceding generations.”

In each generation, some individuals, like those few flies that flew away, refuse to accept the limitations. They soar beyond religious, cultural, and ethnic limitations into the realm of phenomenal greatness. They go beyond the acceptable boundaries to live lives that are so powerful others around them believe it’s not real, while the rest envy and attack them. They perform feats that cause their fellow men to stand in awe and gaze in wonder.

You too can choose your lot.
You can step out of normalcy and status quo and soar beyond all limits.
The keys are right in your hands if only you will learn them and use them.

1. Program the revelation ‘Anything is possible’ into your mind.

Remove the word ‘impossible’ from your mental vocabulary and tell yourself again and again that ‘anything is possible’ until it becomes an unconscious pattern of thought.
Think big and bold thoughts!
Each time I’m on board an airplane, I think of two brothers who believed that they could fly. They did! But not just that, they put the entire world on wings and made all of humankind fly!
The true beauty of genuine greatness is that when you attain it, you inspire others to do so and by so doing, raise the quality of human life!

2. Refuse to succumb to all limitations prescribed by common sense.

Common sense is good as long as it does not impose limitations on you.
Common sense is the accumulated sense of humanity!
Common sense is the total body of information received from the senses over thousands of generations! It has often been wrong.
Rather adopt an anything-is-possible-sense based on the word of God!
Don’t define reality anymore by the things your natural senses tell you.
Define it rather by the word of God – the fact that anything is possible.

In other words – we are not to make decisions based only on things we see with our natural eyes.
We are not to accept the limitations prescribed and suggested to us by the five natural senses – what we usually call common sense.
We can be fooled by what we see with our natural eyes.
We can be fooled by what we hear with our natural ears.
We can be fooled by what we smell.
We can be fooled by what we feel with our natural emotions or feelings.
So, refuse to succumb to all limitations prescribed by common sense!

3. Reset your goals!

If anything is possible, what would you expect for your life in terms of your finances, your marriage, your career, and your projects?
Re-set your goals and expectations as to what you intend to achieve and what you deserve in terms of these new possibilities. For instance, how much money do you intend to make in the next 30, 60, or 90 days?
What is the level of expansion you are going to pursue in your business and ministry and organization?
What kind of family are you going to have? What is your vision for your children?

4. Think only in terms of what you want.

Don’t surrender your dreams and expectations to external challenges or negatives.
You might not know how to achieve them. The right idea hasn’t come yet. The right connection hasn’t come yet. The right environment hasn’t emerged yet.
Still, keep the dream in focus. Don’t drop it for any reason. Defend your lofty dreams and expectations with your life if need be!

5. Move away from negative people and move towards possibility and achieving thinkers!

Avoid people who tell you that it can’t be done. They are a plague!
Please, avoid them at all costs even if they are members of your family.
Make every effort to move away from negative and small thinking people, that is, if you want to move beyond self imposed limitations!
There are a few individuals, often rare, who are positively tuned in their minds. They are achieving greatness and they believe that anything is possible. Connect with them.

6. Use your mouth to your advantage.

You will eventually believe what you continuously say to yourself.
You will eventually achieve what you unwaveringly believe.
So put your dreams and expectations in your mouth and speak them daily.
Put the promises and possibilities of God in your mouth and speak them daily.

Anything is possible.
So dare today to move beyond all self imposed limitations!

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Dermot Fitzpatrick
Dermot Fitzpatrick

I was searching for information about the ‘flies in a jar story’ and found your article.. It is so well writen and it has raised my awareness on so many different levels about limitations, truth, reality and reminded me to see beyond the obvious. Thank you

Kintu Francis
Kintu Francis

Wonderful article; thanks so much! I need to read your Copyrights notice and see what it allows to be borrowed from articles like these.

Robin Easton
Robin Easton

This is a fascinating and liberating article. What a great lesson to teach his students. And what a great follow up you did in extending it to our lives. Wonderful writing. Thank you.

It is a good reminder for us all, especially in these remarkable new times here in the USA with Obama as president. These are truly incredible times and I believe there is a huge change happening on the planet. And Obama getting into the white house is SUCH a big reflection of this change. Very exciting! I think people will start to think more freely and go beyond the limitations of “the lid” and start to explore new ways of being, thinking and living.

You posts are wonderful and SO much needed in these times. You are a powerful voice and a great inspiration!

Many blessing to you,