Reaching outside your comfort zone seems to be all the rage right now. Try new things! Do crazy stuff! Experiment! Be wild! And although on this blog I often take the stance of Well, not all advice given to us is the best, this time I just have to give in – and so should you.
I know, I know, some people like to settle down.
To some extent I feel like that is what most of our lives should be aiming for, a haven where we have finally got all that we wanted and can have a proper rest, and that is what I wish for any one of you who have the desire for such perfect tranquillity. There is nothing wrong with wanting stability. There is nothing wrong with comfort… unless there is too much of it.
I feel a bit like I am about to step into my own time machine and repeat H. G. Wells’s stance on the topic, but where there is too much comfort, there really cannot be any change. And, trust me, I am the last person to say that change is always good and we should be stuck in a perpetual cycle of always changing. But the possibility and opportunity to change is something we should always have in mind.
I love being comfortable. Who doesn’t, right? Both in a physical and metaphorical fashion. It resides at the very base of my pyramid of needs, at least physical comfort that is. If I am not comfortable, nothing else matters. No food, no entertainment, no love, nothing. I am very much a Princess on the Pea kind of girl. Just ask my boyfriend. He knows it all too well.
But taken to the extreme, comfort silently kills the very essence of the possibility of change – the need for it.
If we are comfortable, we do not want to change. Things are great just the way they are, no? Why would we strive for more? Isn’t that greedy or something? We’ve been given a perfectly good finger to chew on and now what, we need the entire hand too? Entitled much?
And it is not the pressure of the people around us, although to be perfectly honest, there is always that one person who thinks we got too lucky in life and should go down on our knees and thank the Universe every day for all the misfortunate things that didn’t happen to us. No. It is the pressure we apply to ourselves, the very idea that if we are comfortable and happy that is it, we’re done, nothing more can be achieved and nothing more should be risked.
I’d like to stress that I do not feel like we should live in constant discontent for what we have achieved. We have all been through a hell of a ride, some bumpier than others, and that is ok. We emerged, somehow, or will emerge victorious. I hope. Staying proud and content with who we are is very very important. But there is no reason why we cannot be at the same time be confident in ourselves and looking out for the opportunity to grow… a bit more.
I know, I know, we live in a world obsessed with endless growth. We want more, faster, better, bigger, here and now. Who knows if this addiction to progress is not our undoing sometimes in the end? But there are still healthy ways to look at growth – by embracing the possibility of learning something new about the world and yourself.
That being said, when I thought about writing this post for the first time, I was a bit hesitant; it felt like a bit repetitive, since I have already praised trying new things over and over again. But staying outside of your comfort zone is so much more than trying new things – as more often than not, the uncomfortable is well known and rather old news to us. We can learn new things from old things, if you see what I mean. We can change while following our daily routines, and nothing else needs to change at all.
We just need to be ready to push ourselves.
I absolutely detest speaking to strangers. Not in terms of public speaking; I am actually half decent at that. But I do find it very antsy to be around people I do not know, especially any poor souls I need to nag on the streets for something. Yet I do try to put myself in situations that force me to go outside of my comfort zone and talk to strangers. Things happen, you know, so sooner or later I would have to talk to someone I don’t know anyway – why not be prepared? Or at least, you know, a tiny bit less petrified?
If I never get outside of my comfort zone and talk to strangers I don’t have to talk to, I will never improve. I will go through life avoiding confrontation. Will it work? I guess? Will it be the best case scenario…?
Little periods of being uncomfortable, quick trips outside of our comfort zone, they are what made us – into us. The challenges we faced. The puzzles we needed to solve. Our bad, bad days when we wanted nothing more than to dig ourselves a big hole and crawl into it for the rest of eternity – these are the days when we learnt the most.
I am by no means saying – go turn your life upside down. Well, if you want to, be my guest; something good may come of it after all and if not, well, at least you had a… different experience, right? But having this teeny tiny pea underneath our life’s mattress may be all we need to remember that the sunniest days are still yet to come.