Comfort zones are reasonable and exist to fulfil our core need of downtime. They represent a familiar safe space of habit and routine where we are free to just be without worry or expectation. What happens if we decide to cocoon ourselves within though? It’s important not to let this psychological, emotional and behavioural construct get the better of us. Yes, you may experience lower levels of perceived negate emotions but you’ll remain in a disengaged, distracted state of wandering.
The real problem starts when you get too comfortable in your comfort zone. You no longer strive to achieve your goals, you quit challenging yourself, you let opportunities slip by and become overly complacent. The only path to growth, the extension of your capabilities and the reaching of your full potential is on the other side of your comfort zone. This is where life begins. The comfort zone begins in your mind so have that be your stepping stone. Become an intentional and present observer of your innermost thoughts and slowly rewire your brain to set up new thought patterns.
Choose to embody your feelings. If you continue to live within your mind, sedentary and unwilling to move and shift your energy, you will inevitably remain stagnant in your comfort zone. Move your body. Refuse to remain tense and constricted by choosing a reality of joy, purpose and lightness. You owe it to yourself to take up space. Now, move your attention to head and heart talk. Tune into the different ways feeling show up for you. Real fear and comfort zone anxiousness will feel dramatically different in your body. You will have an innate knowing of this. It is critical to align with what you want in life, with, what feels right in your heart of hearts.
You may feel out of touch and out of depth as you tweak and fine tune, cull and curate, embrace and let go. Have courage and invite that awkwardness in. Embrace it as a long lost friend and you will be served well. Unease is just another part of the human experience and the more we avoid it, the more we miss out on our realest, most juicy and creative risk taking selves. Show up even when there is so much left to learn. The tools and talents you were born with are enough. Enjoy the process and then, should you wish to, get better.
Follow your gut by inviting spontaneity and therefore, play, back into your life. As children we see through a lens of wide eyed sober innocence. At what point did rules and responsibility crowd this out of your life? When did you run out of time to seek the sun, smell the flowers and dip your feet into the ocean? Go inward and listen closely for that voice of younger self. Let that be your leadership. Are you called to forgo responsibility in favour of a slow, sleepy morning and banana pancakes? A yoga class and city stroll? Follow her, follow him. Work on hearing her, hearing him, more regularly. This voice is the one who knows what’s best for us. Ironically, it is the one we have worked so hard to quiet in our grown up lives. Let’s choose instead to celebrate her, celebrate him. You will not be led astray if you lean into this whisper.
After all, how many times have you felt moved by or gotten a taste of that sweet sense of achievement when doing something familiar? There are many types of people but if we were to categorise all into two groups, there are the risk takers and the non risk takers. Some people are fine to stay put. They are content to live within the bounds of relative normalcy. Perhaps little is going on but the days are passing and the earth still spinning. It is an undisturbed, mundane existence. It is routine and predictable. This is the comfort zone.
The adventurous know no fear of change. We will always desire to make sense of our circumstances- that much is natural. However, we must cultivate calm without having all the answers. We must relinquish control and hold tight to inner peace. When you stop to think about it, destruction would ensue if nothing ever changed. No one grew out of anything, moved on. Just stayed stuck. Change leads us through the seasons in our lives. It initiates them, incites them. Imagine if you stayed the one age forever, living the same year over and over again in a loop. No matter how much growth you saw, how many goals you achieved, it will not serve you to experience this time again. Repeating it will, in fact, hinder your continual progress.
Excitement begins once you put aside what you know and seek the unknown. Give chase to a new reality. Mould it, create it, shape it. Hold your power in your hands and take control of who you are, what you’re meant to be and the path you will take moving forward. Life should ultimately coax you out of your comfort zone, not invite you in. Learn the difference. If you fear being wrong, remember that failure is not final and neither are the feelings we attach to it.
In the physical world, an echo chamber is a room where sound reflects off of the walls. These early reflections are perceived as echoes and the later reflections as reverberation or reinforcement. Echo chambers do not challenge our world views, they do not expand our minds and will never promote anything of substance or philosophical debate. They simply blanket us in the comfort of what we like to hear. They are a glorified way of turning fiction to fact, opinion to truth. No matter how much moral high ground you believe your echo chamber is build on, you will never learn more about life than what pings within those four walls. It is a closed loop system that knows only to feed back on itself.