Human beings are creatures of habit. We build comfort zones because we like things to be “just so”. Morning coffee made “just so”, our clothing ironed and folded “just so”, our desks to be arranged “just so”…
It’s all just so…boring.
Then again, that’s what a comfort zone is: boring – but safe . No nasty shocks. Nothing out of the ordinary. Actually, that’s a good description: ordinary. Everything is ordinary. And the deeper we get into that comfort zone, the more ordinary our lives become. In fact, to the point where we take holidays from our lives just for a little excitement (but not too much).
A long time ago, I vowed to not ever get into a comfort zone. My parents did it. They dug in and stayed dug in. The decision was difficult and it’s been risky but then again you can’t make an omelette without breaking a few heads (thank you, Jack Nicholson). Nasty shocks aplenty but ultimately more pleasant surprises….
You see, once you’re comfortable you stop growing. You stop discovering. You stop taking risks – even the calculated ones. And you start living vicariously: watching really bad reality TV for a cheap once-a-week-thrill from the safety of your living room. Your life, personally and professionally, stagnates.
Today, why don’t you take a risk? Do something you wouldn’t normally do. Step up in a meeting and say what you really think. Quit the job you hate waking up every morning for – and get a new one. Drive a different route home. Take a different bus. Catch a later train. Chat to that sexy beast in marketing that you’ve had your eye on for so long. Take your spouse out for a spontaneous coffee-date.
Surprise yourself. And save yourself from a lifetime of “If only I had…”
DISCLAIMER: This is the only Comfort Zone I recommend. Javier Marimba, but this woman is FINE! She can wrap me in a comfort zone anyday…
PS: if you want to read a really good book on the subject of comfort zones and the fear of stepping up, check out Linchpin by Seth Godin. Click here for more info (opens in a new window).