In the Comfort Zone
I was standing outside in the evening heat and humidity, thinking about the increasing moisture and humidity, trying to find some form of comfort.
Lost on this thought, I said to myself, in my mind, “I’ve been here for quite a few years. I’m getting used to it by now!”, giving myself some form of mental affirmation to overcome the heat and humidity that was building up.
Standing there, in the afternoon sun and heat of the Cyprus seafront weather, it struck me how similar that is to the way that most people live their lives. They stay in the same environment their whole life, convincing themselves, using a variety of reasons and excuses, why staying where they are is the right thing to do, that it’s the best thing to do. I was thinking exactly the same thing about myself.
The Comfort zone
For most it’s because of Comfort – they’ve got comfortable where they are. They’ve settled into their comfort zone.
They’ll do a job, go home, a few will go to the gym…. But it’s all the same – they’ve got used to that lifestyle.
Just like running, to get faster and better, you have to go beyond your comfort zone, each time you go for a run. It doesn’t have to be a drastic change, but, small changes build up. But, if you stay at the same level, never pushing the distance or the time, you’ll never get better, you’ll never improve.
Someone who’s been in the same job for years, which they don’t want to be in, tolerate the job, the marriage, the relationship, that part of their life and the feelings of discontent that this area of their life brings on, for their entire life.
Because it’s easier to stay there than face the pain of making the change.
It’s easier to stay in that state of comfort; the environment has become the standard, comfortable and they know what to expect. No surprises, no fears, nothing to worry about because it’s all set. On the most part.
Until they lose their job because of a financial crisis, illness, a change of circumstances, a major crisis. Then worry, fear, shame about the foreseeable future kick-in and change is inevitable.
Change is inevitable. Growth is optional.
John C. Maxwell
They’ve got used to that feeling of comfort so much, that they have accepted feeling the way they do, it has become the norm; and they remain within that bundle, accepting what is, rather than acknowledging they can be more and what is possible for them.
One of the reasons is fear of change. It’s because this one thing brings with it other elements, such as where is the money going to come from, will I be able to pay my mortgage, my bills, pay for food, running the car, the people I’ll be working with, working hours, how it will affect your marriage, your relationship, and the list goes on.
Inherently we fear change because of the uncertainty. Most of us that is. There are those of you who thrive on the excitement of a challenge and something new, if not unexpected. The rest of us are not made up that way.
We all experience fear differently – as anxiety or excitement. Fear mixed in with a negative emotion becomes anxiety. Fear mixed with excitement is just that – exciting, elating.
It’s not until we get to the other side of that fear that we see the real possibilities.
Change happens in our lives all the time. We deal with it usually when it comes, because it’s a “normal”. Take a road diversion – we are used to it and deal with it because it happens so often. But do you remember the first time you had to deal with a change? The almost panic and sweat because we didn’t know what to do. So, we follow the diversion, the signs, if there are any.
The more we deal with change the easier it becomes for us to overcome it.
To experience a circumstance before it’s there you practice – mentally and if possible carry out the actions. The military conducts exercises to practice actions again and again and again, to get them ingrained into the subconscious, so that when the situation arises it is second nature.
In the same way you can mentally and physically practice your next interview; how you will behave when a given situation arises, like a dispute with a colleague or a boss; what you will say in your speech – you write it and practice it, say it out loud and change what needs to be changed.
But, most people don’t opt for that change.
Most people put the breaks on any change before it has had a chance to begin. Because of fear.
What most of us lack is the knowledge to be able to make that change, understanding that there are certain principles and laws that we need to abide by to succeed, like persistence, action, belief, confidence, courage, consistency and how our mind works.
But, the majority of us are not aware of what is truly possible for us and so we stay where we are. We don’t believe that a better life is a possibility for us. That we can be more, if we choose to be.
And because they don’t, they remain within those constraints, in a self imposed cage, much the same as a trained animal will not venture outside the limits it has been trained to do.
I was recently reminded of a fact about elephants. They are the strongest animal in the animal kingdom. But if they are tied to a pole as a calf, with a rope, they will eventually learn not to try and pull away and so they stay in that small area they have been given. When that same calf grows to be an adult elephant, the same type of rope will restrain them, even though they could easily pull the pole and break the rope if they tried to break their restraints. But they don’t. They have been trained.
Their mind has convinced them that they cannot break these restraints. And we do the same with ourselves.
Break the bonds
I’ve given you a bit of an insight. Not even the tip of the iceberg, but, I hope enough to start making you think.
And that is the key word – THINK!
Earl Nightingale said, “We become what we think about all day long“.
So, you have to start with where you are right now and decide where you want to be. You need to ask yourself what is it that holds you where you are? It could be that you are where you want to be, you are fulfilled in your job, career, relationships, finance and leisure time.
But if you’re not, why are you still there?
What’s keeping you back? Why are you not more of what you can be?
To make a change in your life, you must make a change in how you see things. To change your external circumstances you must change the way you think.
…if you look for comfort you will not get either comfort or truth—only soft soap and wishful thinking to begin with and, in the end, despair.
To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven.