The Magical Sugar Packet

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Look at this sugar packet:

The Magical Sugar Packet

It’s really nothing special.  Its street resale value is probably under a penny.

You can probably sneak into the restaurant nearest to you, look the waitress square in the eye, put 20 of these in your pocket, and walk out.
She won’t even care.

THIS sugar packet is magical.
THIS sugar packet has meaning.
THIS sugar packet can change a life.

You see, I was at a restaurant with a friend, and scribbled something on this packet during a conversation about comfort zones.

I had a pen, but no paper.  So this sugar packet became my writing pad.

We were talking about where the interesting stuff in life comes from.

Where growth comes from.
It rarely comes from the “regular shit” we do 98% of the day.

It comes from the edge cases.
It comes from stretching the limits.
It comes from the absolute edges of what’s possible.

Imagine you’re flying in a plane.   You’re bored and your eyes start trying to sneak a peek what the guy on the laptop next to you is writing.  All of a sudden the plane JOLTS and starts shaking.

The turbulence picks up hard, the seatbelt light chimes on, the stewardesses actually rush to take their seats, and all of a sudden you start believing in God again.

Now let’s pause….and ask ourselves this question:
When they tested if this plane was safe to fly, how harsh did they make the test?

I mean, when you fly 98% of the time it’s smooth sailing.
So wouldn’t they stress-test the plane based on that?

I wouldn’t wanna fly on a plane that’s only tested in smooth weather!!

I want Boeing to rag the hell of their planes during testing.

I want them to leave one out in the desert, let it sit through hail storms, strip the paint of, let some rats hang out in the engines, simulate 20 years of wear and tear…..AND THEN put that fucker through the worst possible hurricane-like weather imaginable.

Only through these extreme conditions, does Boeing realize the strengths and weaknesses of their airplane…..and can then make it stronger.

Well I’m not an airplane.  And neither are you.
But our strengths, weaknesses, and limits…..are found through that small percentage of time when we are pushed out of our comfort zones.

It also happens to be where the growth is found.

Staying within a comfortable state without testing boundaries, breeds little growth.

All of these are pushed to grow through uncomfort.

If you’re not a little uncomfortable today.
You’re probably doing it wrong.

Oh…..and that sugar packet I was talking about?  Want to see the front?
Here it is.


Blog posted on: April 8, 2013

15 comments on “The Magical Sugar Packet

  1. Kait

    I was listening to your post and your airplane analogy made me snort into my espresso.

    Great point too. Comfort zones are spaces of safe mediocrity, which is hardly what we are striving for. It is hard to peel away though. It’s Aghhhhhh.

    Great use of a sugar packet.

    1. Neville


      I hope your boogers made your espresso taste better :-)

      We all get a little too comfortable sometime. It’s natural.
      Just have to remind ourselves to snap out time to time

  2. Liam O

    BRAP. Loved it.

    We’re forever trying to sneak a peek at the laptop of the guy sat next to us.

    Neville you levelled up at some point over the past year.

  3. Some Anon Guy

    For once, I disagree…

    Try being married to my wife for 14 years. She is nearly the opposite of
    who I married. When we dated, she was shy and quiet and as far from a
    leader as you can get. Today, she puts on workshops for 100s of people at
    a time sometimes and gets rave reviews. She and I own two businesses
    together and she works her butt off. We manage 10-15 employees and she
    does most of the HR stuff.

    Staying in a relationship like that breeds TONS of interpersonal growth.
    Keeping that marriage going has taken a ton of patience (something I had
    zero of 15 years ago) and adaptation. Had the “me” of 15 years ago run a
    business with employees today, they’d all hate me and hate their jobs – I
    can be very demanding and not forgiving of mistakes.

    She has tested my boundaries… I have tested hers.

    With the Grace of God and the crosses he has given me to bear, I’ve become
    a different person who can handle tons of employees and being pulled in 20
    directions at once with grace and a flow I never could have dreamed of.

    Had I, as you suggest, tested the boundaries by getting divorced years
    ago, I’d be the same crabby guy I was 14 years ago.

    Sometimes sticking with something and having it test YOUR boundaries is
    the way to think of things. Your write up almost suggests that we should
    all go cheat on our wives to test the boundaries and make sure our
    marriage is healthy! :-P Should I take a bunch of poison to make sure I’m

    One more thought… Using your problem solving checklist. I think we
    strive for comfort in all areas of life – not so that we can become stale
    but because, when those things come along that test us, we can take them
    in stride. Using your model, if I was 100% in health and 100% in love and
    then lost my job and all my money, being high in those other two would
    make that money situation EASY to roll with. The only way to get to that
    100% is not by “testing the waters” but to master that skill and become
    “comfortable” in it.

    Then again, maybe I don’t know squat… :-)

    1. Some Anon Guy

      Sorry for the bad line breaks – I HATE Microsoft – Outlook 2011 is WORTHLESS with text. Ironic…

    2. Carl

      Anon Guy,

      You are doing exactly what Neville is challenging you to do by not divorcing your wife.

      Being with her is clearly outside your comfort zone.

      Yet you stick with the marriage and are better because of it.


    3. Neville Post author

      Great story about persisting.

      In my mind, I actually DID mean you should stay with your wife, as the relationship was testing your boundaries.

      Very cool to hear how you both have grown together, very awesome :-)

  4. Rafael Oshiro

    Man, it’s always good to read something to remind me of getting out of my comfort zone. In our daily basis we end up forgetting about it.

    Awesome post, Nev!


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