The Comfort Zone – To be or not to be? That is the question…
Ok, the word comfort zone is getting a bit cliché now but I’m using it because I haven’t yet found a better way of describing why it’s a place that we find so hard to leave. This area represents our own little box-set life, with its ups and downs, our family and friends whom maybe we don’t see that often because it’s not always easy to find the time, a job that is average and a boss who’s demanding… We don’t jump out of bed in the morning with glee but at least it pays the bills right?
Maybe we have children we love but we’re often too tired to listen to them properly because our days are just one long race. We prefer to flop in front of the TV and watch other people living great passionate lives, finding wealth, happiness…. After all, it’s almost the same and it’s so much less effort, no? We count the days off to each weekend, each bank holiday or vacation time and we occasionally find time for a night out to spice things up a bit and, erm, well, that’s about it really.
You may be thinking that this life I’ve described doesn’t sound too bad, in fact, perhaps it’s better than the one you have at the moment? My point is that life could be so much more than that for each one of us if we’d just wake up and smell the coffee (ok another cliché but I’ll let you replace it with whatever your morning tipple is).
Outside the Zone
Because you know what happens when you finally get the courage to shatter the little invisible glasshouse of beliefs we’ve all fabricated? You really start LIVING!
But I’m living now you say and I’m not deaf, you don’t need to use CAPITALS! No, I mean really living, feeling totally alive, not on automatic pilot going through the motions of life.
Remember the first time you learned to ride a bike, or started to swim or got that call from the guy or girl you’d had your eye on for months? How exhilarated and happy you felt? That feeling you get when you’re in your element in front of an audience or when you have a laughing fit with your friends. I’m talking about that feel good feeling that can’t be mistaken for anything else. In that moment, you are totally present, not thinking about what you still have to do that day or tomorrow or why you said so and so to your boss or inversely. No past or future, just present. When time stands still and your body is full of goose bumps. Call it a sensation of almost flying, whatever you want, but at that moment, you’re on a high, in your element if you like, and nothing else matters.
Imagine if your life could be more like that, on a daily basis. Imagine waking up and immediately feeling a sense of excitement about the day ahead. Jumping out of a bed with a smile on your face. Ok, I’ll give it to you, maybe not jumping – who actually jumps out of bed in the morning? Just take a minute to picture what your ideal life would be like. What are you doing? Who are you with? Where do you live? What does your day look like? Just humor me for a moment and get lost in your dream ….
Ok, you say, this is all well and good but my dream life is [complete as appropriate]. And I could never really do that, could I? I mean, I’m no one special. And what’s more, I don’t have the time or the energy and if I fail, I won’t make any money and it’ll be so embarrassing and I won’t be able to pay the bills and I’ll be evicted from my house and I’ll have no more friends and what will people say and …STOP!
Be aware of what happens
Have you ever noticed how our mind runs away with us and provides tons of reasons and catastrophic scenarios to prevent us from climbing over the fence from all that is safe, ordinary and average to a life full of potential? (There is a reason for this but more on that in another article). And, may I ask you if any of those worst-case worries have ever actually materialized in real life?
I’m sure for most of you the answer is no. None of mine ever did. And what if your dream life did work out and it was calm seas from then on? Just imagine that…
It’s not surprising what a hold the comfort zone has over us because we’ve all been led to believe at some point that life is a struggle so we have to “be cautious, stay safe, don’t rock the boat”.
Ever since we were little, we’ve been molded into thinking that being like everyone else and fitting into society is the best thing we can aspire to. The media is constantly showering us with images, persuading us we need to be or look like X or that we absolutely need THIS object in order to be happy. So we save, we finally buy whatever it is and we feel a brief moment of satisfaction before we’re back on the bandwagon wanting more.
In fact, right from birth, we’re given “the step-by-step guide to an ordinary existence with just the minimum amount of passion & excitement” (not too much now, we could find out we like it!) and we understand that we need to grow up and stop dreaming, get a job (not necessarily what we really want to do but rather what we feel we should do) that pays the bills so that we can work hard until retirement and …. then what?
Feel a whole bunch of regrets about what our life could have been if only we’d given it a shot?
Finding the courage to leave
We need to rediscover the limitless faith and self-confidence of our childhood years when we really believed we could be anything we wanted to be.
We believed we were unstoppable, invincible even. And we were right.
We all have the potential to do whatever we want to do…. But only once we find the courage to step outside the comfort zone.
But I don’t even know what I want to do, you say, where do I start looking?
How can I get rid of this restless, dissatisfied, “life should be better” feeling?
What’s the solution?…..
Well, let me give you a bit of advice to save you some time. How about you look in the last place you’d ever think of?
Because you have all the answers, you just don’t know it yet.
You’ve most likely forgotten but you’ve got a whole bunch of dreams, passions and goals hidden inside of you, which, little by little over the years, have been pushed to the very back of your mind.
You just need to take the time to slow down and reconnect with them.
There are lots of ways that can help you to do this (more of this in another article) but once you do, and you start to focus on them, that’s when the fun really starts.
That’s when you begin to see beyond the blinkers you’ve put in place, beyond the negative beliefs or stories you’ve talked yourself into.
Believe me, when you start cleaning the grime off the windows of your invisible glass house and peek through the stripes, the sun will come streaming through and you’ll get a glimpse of what life can be like, how it’s supposed to be for each of us.
Then you’ll never be the same again.
But you have to take that first step…
Images courtesy of Unsplash & Canva