We, as humans, are creatures of habit and comfort. We tend to be drawn to things that make us comfortable. Comfortable is not always a good thing. You can look all over the internet for sayings about comfort and you will find things like:
- Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.
- Move out of your comfort zone. You can only grow if you are willing to feel awkward and uncomfortable when you try something new.
- Great things never come from comfort zones
So then my question is this;
- Why are we so drawn to something that we really shouldn’t be?
- What are the kinds of things that we are avoiding when we are seeking our comfort zone?
- Why do we crave it so much?
- What is NOT there in that zone?
- What are we avoiding by staying in that zone?
Well, I think like most things that we are drawn to, there is an element of familiar. But there is also the biggest factor, no conflict.
We generally don’t like conflict. I actually know people that seem to thrive in actual chaos. Real chaos. But most of us are trying to avoid that which is uncomfortable. We eat the foods we know. We go to the places that make us feel good. We socialize with people that make us relax. We avoid things that bring us pain. We will do all sorts of things to avoid conflict and sometimes that is good, but sometimes it can really be harmful.
Think of what it would be like if we were never in places of discomfort. Well, one of the very first things that we do as humans is cry. We cry out of discomfort. It’s cold and bright. But the alternative is not great, so we are born. But also think of that mother, the only way she begins the process of having a baby is because although uncomfortable for both her and the baby, there will be moments of both comfort and uncomfortable. It doesn’t last forever, but it is part of the greatest thing ever, a new life.
If we were never made to be in the uncomfortable position of having a job interview, we would be faced with the uncomfortable position of being in the welfare system. Not the best place to be.
If we never step out and say hi to that new person, we would all still be at home alone with no friends and no chance of making friends.
I could go on for a very long time about things that we have done in our lives that were way out of our comfort zone and we survived. In fact, in most situations, we thrived.
As another saying goes; Diamonds are created under pressure.
Don’t let me misguide you, I am the first person to hide away from things that make me uncomfortable, but it will certainly be in different ways than what makes you uncomfortable. Each of us has our own zone of comfort and uncomfortable. The key to all of this I believe is finding your zones and deciding which zones you want to stay in, which ones you want to avoid and which ones you will bounce in and out of.
For some of us, the idea of changing our food habits is a really big zone change. When I started with a trainer years and years ago, I encouraged Doug to join me. His only motivation was to do it so that he could continue to eat whatever he wanted. The idea of changing his diet at that time was way too far out of range. However, when we started 5 ½ years ago with Body by Brandt, both of our attitudes had changed. We were now willing to do whatever it took to make our bodies healthy and it was food as well as activity that worked for us. For some people, the idea of sweating is just gross. Ok, I get that. That personal funk we get after we sweat can be completely offensive. It also can last way too long. Some people think that exercise is just boring and therefore not going to happen. I agree with that too. It really can be. Doug loves to hike. He could walk forever. I would rather run.
At the end of the day, we simply need to come to the realization that our comfort zone is actually not our goal. Most of our days are not spent in the discomfort zone. It is just a zone, neither good nor bad just there. So, we need to find a way to tell ourselves that we need to spend some time each day in that discomfort zone. Not all day, just some of our day.
Your discomfort zone may not look the same as your friend’s, spouse’s, kid’s. It needs to be where you need to do some challenging things.
Your zone may be;
- better food choices,
- time in the gym,
- time reading,
- time meditating,
- joining a team or club,
- or any number of things.
The thing about making this choice is that once you decide to do something uncomfortable, it is already a little less scary.
I will let you in on my uncomfort zone. I am really uncomfortable in front a camera. I am overly critical and judge myself way too harshly. So now that you know that, guess what I have been trying to do? I am working on overcoming this. I am getting ready to start to produce a series of videos for you. We are learning so much about ways to keep you excited about what we are doing and it seems like we can reach more people by being in front of the camera doing videos.
So as you go forward this week, make a commitment to find a new zone and go there. You don’t have to live there, just visit until it isn’t so bad and at that time you will find a new challenge to overcome. You will find that doing what challenges you will actually make you feel way better.
I want to challenge you today to get out of your comfort zone. You have so much incredible potential on the inside. God has put gifts and talents in you that you probably don't know anything about. – Joel Osteen