The case for being uncomfortable
Thursday, April 04, 2019
You get comfortable with your comfortable furniture, comfortable house, comfortable job, comfort food. Comfort zone.
Why all the emphasis on comfort? When you’re comfortable, you don’t have to exert yourself physically or mentally. There are few decisions to be made; there’s a familiar routine that demands little of you. There is security in the rote.
Or is there? What some perceive as security can be an illusion. You think your job is secure until there’s a buyout and you’re laid off. Your house is secure until unexpected catastrophic health bills cause a financial disaster.
The only real security is in the talents you possess and your resourcefulness in using those talents.
But beyond the security illusion, can there be too much familiarity in comfort? Can comfort get boring? When boring crosses to mindlessness, you lose your zest for life and the opportunities that abound. Too much comfort can breed inertia, laziness, and a pointless life.
A colleague recently told me about living in another country for a period of time where she did not know anyone, did not have a place to live, could not speak the language, and did not know all the customs and intricacies of the local bureaucracy. She was totally out of her comfort zone as everything was new and foreign and demanded she use all the skills at her disposal.
Yet, every challenge that she mastered became another source of pride, increased her confidence, and presented new opportunities for personal and professional growth. She discovered sources of courage that she did not know she had. And haltingly, she picked up enough foreign words to make herself understood and endear her to the local populace. Her lack of comfort demanded that she expand her repertoire of skills and develop dormant character traits.
So stretch yourself and learn a new hobby. Study a foreign language. Meet new people outside of your usual network of friends and colleagues. Take on new challenges at work without regard for additional compensation. Start a part-time entrepreneur job. Incorporate different ethnic foods into your customary diet.
You can even do something as simple as driving a different route to work and seeing what the world has to offer you. Boundless rewards await you in a reinvigorated life.
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