How the comfort zone is ruining your life?
🔸 #4 insight: Comfort zone
This is so known topic that I even doubted to write it. But the more I think about it, the more I understand how close and yet so far this topic is for me.
We all know that there are two groups for all the physical things we can do in our life:
- Inside the comfort zone: takes little or no effort to do, feels comfortable, no mental resistance. For example, for most of the people driving is completely in their comfort zone. They drive to work, shop, home. And since driving is so easy, at one point or another, your brain went and subconsciously placed it inside the comfort zone, so you don’t really think about doing it before you do it, it’s just something you do.
- Outside. Okay, how about going for a run? A lot harder, isn’t it? It’s more physically strenuous, requires more preparation, it makes you lose your breath or sweat, and if you haven’t ran for a while, you’ll probably be really sore the next day. And because you know running is physically strenuous and hard to do, your brain placed it outside the comfort zone. The further outside the comfort zone something is, the more mental resistance there is in the way of doing that thing.
Zone also always shrinking, if you don’t do anything about it. Unless you venture at least a little bit beyond the borders of the comfort zone, it will get smaller and harder to escape. And this is something that most people have experienced in their lives, whether they are aware of it or not.
In my own life this happens all the time, like when I was 18 and got my driving licence, I was so excited at that point, driving was so easy to me and felt very good about it. But since I had no car, lived in the city centre, my brain moved it outside the comfort zone and now I’m really afraid to do it. Of course, brain generates to me all necessary arguments: eco friendly, avoiding traffic jams, walking is good for you. In reality, I’m just staying away from what’s outside my comfort zone now.
This gets even more serious. You know that phrase “Men aren’t taking their health seriously”? I look at myself and I see that I feel more comfortable being sick, suffer pain than go to a doctor. This is because my brain tells me “this is something common, this will stop one day, think of all that wasted time, it will cost a lot, they can’t help anyway” instead of fixing situation I'm in.
Today my back was injured while playing volleyball. I was laying on my back at home in deep pain and wishing it would stop. Then, I started coughing. It made my back pain even worse, like needles crossing me with every cough. Then I realised I was coughing for 2 years already. This is not something new, it just wasn’t in the circle of something easily achievable.
I was so angry on this whole situation that my brain just wanted to cut it all now. Do something! And I did. Today I registered to check my back, my knees and elbows that were in pain from playing 5 times a week. And my coughing. And wrote this post that I was doubting about.
Why are we afraid of change in our work or life?
🔸 #3 insight: Adapt change
We all strive towards outcomes at work, at home and in our communities because we believe they will make us happy. It might be a good job, a loving relationship, money or possessions. It might be better health or spiritual peace of mind. Let's call all of them our lovely "Cheese".
And it can feel wonderful when we eventually get our cheese. Then, we hold to it tightly and dream it will never end.
Yet life is constantly changing and sometimes it blocks (or even undoes) things we expect, feel we deserve or have worked so long and so hard to accomplish. But because we fear starting again, looking foolish or that we might end up somewhere worse, we often don’t want to change when things begin changing around us.
I always felt very confident about changes around and even called it my comfort zone. Yet life kicked my butt recently at work multiple times. I wasn't growing so fast I was used to. Then, it begun:
- I denied it's my problem.
- I was frustrated and started to blame others.
- I held to what was, instead of what simply now is.
- And I wasn't ready to look for a new cheese.
I'm so lucky to be surrounded by emphatic people who felt my frustration. Immediately offered their help and it took me 24 hours to find a new cheese. I'm sharing this with you and hope it will help like it did to me. Maybe not today, tomorrow, or even this year, but knowing this makes us as individuals stronger.
Change is inevitable. Anticipate it, adapt to it, learn to embrace and enjoy it. Do so and you won’t just suffer less stress and unhappiness, you’ll enjoy more success and fulfillment in every part of your life and your work.
🔸 Book that highlights this issue is "Who Moved My Cheese?" by the best-selling author, Dr. Spencer Johnson. I dedicate this to Ingrida Ziliute, who helped me to move on.