On my way to a tango class last night, I was thinking about comfort zones and stepping over boundaries. In order to open yourself up to learn new things and have new experiences, you have to step out of the comfort zone and in doing so make yourself vulnerable. It’s often uncomfortable, and often requires bursting through a layer of “I can’t do this/it’s all going to go horribly wrong/wouldn’t it be embarassing if”. But the rewards are great.
And this led me to realise that at the moment I’m outside of almost all my comfort zones simultaneously. Which is perhaps not the ideal way to do it, as it’s draining. Which is part of the reason I’m doing a lot of retreating into the one comfort zone I brought with me – my books, and to some extent my writing. But if I look at my life as a whole, I’m actually spending most of it doing new and challenging things:
Comfort zone – hanging out with friends that you have known for ages.
Outside the comfort zone – being separated from your close friends and forced to go actively looking for new ones.
Comfort zone – doing tasks that are within your control and expertise at work
Outside the comfort zone – constantly being forced to improvise and make decisions and plans on the basis of insufficient information, as well as dealing with an endlessly challenging interpersonal situation.
Comfort zone – doing what you know you enjoy, in places you’ve been to before.
Outside the comfort zone – going to new places, to learn new things, never being quite sure what to expect or how it will turn out.
Comfort zone – doing things the way you know best.
Outside the comfort zone – always examining what you do, considering how it could be different, challenging your conceptions about who you are and what you can do.
Comfort zone – often don’t use all your energy and resources
Outside the comfort zone – often find you’re drained and weary and in need of down time to recover.
Comfort zone is staying static and cosy.
Outside the comfort zone is being challenged to grow and change.
Though it’s not always comfortable, I feel that being this far outside my comfort zones is actually suiting me rather well.