Break through it and go outside where life awaits
Posted Jan 27, 2011
In the fall of 2010 I embarked on "Ride Of Your Life" - a 6000 mile solo motorcycle trip from New York to California, and a journey to finding inner peace. On My ride I met with researchers, practitioners, and authors like Barbara Fredrickson, Sonja Lyubomirsky, Caroline Miller, Phil Zimbardo, and Byram Karasu. Each of them provided me with a different perspective on the topic of comfort, surfacing some common insights that have led me to the following conclusion: "comfort kills".
Let me try to explain.
Conclusion 1: The hungry become social psychologists and the well-fed become personality psychologists.
Conclusion 2: Lack of comfort brings excitement, comfort brings boredom.
Caroline Miller, a leading positive psychology coach and best-selling author asks her clients: "looking back on life would you regret not taking this risk", and clients instantly say "yes - I have to do this". There is an important issue of time perspective here: In the short term people regret (or fear) the risk and prefer to be comfortable, but in the long run (from an entire life perspective) they regret not taking the risk.
Conclusion 3: Comfort is short sighted.
Getting "outside your comfort zone" is not a means to an end, but rather a goal in itself. As soon as you choose to leave your comfort zone, you form a direct friction with life, go towards the pursuit of your dreams, and in short - really start living. In my five weeks on the road, I was surprised to discover that the best days of my trip were the ones I rode in pouring rain.
We live in a society where comfort has become a value and a life goal. But comfort reduces our motivation for introducing important transformations in our lives. Sadly, being comfortable often prohibits us from chasing our dreams. Many of us are like lions in the zoo: well-fed but sit around passively stuck in a reactive rut. Comfort equals boring shortsightedness, and a belief that things cannot change. Your comfort zone is your home base, a safe place not to stay in, but to return to, after each exhausting and exhilarating expedition through the wilderness of life. Take a look at your life today, if you are enjoying a shelter of comfort, break through it and go outside where life awaits.