Evolution is inevitable – but to evolve often involves some discomfort.
Comfort Zones are often not all that “comfortable”. A better term might be Familiar Zones. What is familiar is like home. Home is where people usually like to go and return to – especially when they are tired and/or just want to relax and be less “conscious” for a while. What we consider home is in many ways just a habit.
Much, if not most, of what we think, say, and do in life is essentially out of unconscious habit – that too often keeps us from discovering (or inventing) some kind of success. Moving (forward) out of Familiar Zones is one of the best ways to expand where we feel comfortable and at home. So why don’t we do it?
I think it’s less fear of failure (or even fear of the unknown) than fear of getting hurt (and not being able to handle it) that stops most people (from moving forward – toward their goals and/or fulfilling their “potential”). Avoiding pain is often said to be a more powerful and prevalent “motivator” than moving toward pleasure. The more or worse most people have been hurt the more risk adverse they often become. This often affects and permeates every aspect (and relationship) of people’s lives – without them even being aware of it.
Forget broken hearts and shattered dreams for a moment and consider something far simpler and more basic. Unlike babies, who just plop down when they are unsteady, most adults lean ever so slightly back when they stand, walk, and run (resulting most noticeably in the heels of their feet striking the ground first and their toes not being relaxed enough to wiggle) – as a result of being afraid to simply allow themselves to fall forward (and gently allow their feet to propel them in the direction they desire to go). A good marathon runner can easily cover 26 miles in 2 hours and not be tired simply by not stopping the forward momentum of their fall (unlike the majority of runners – who take considerably longer, arrive exhausted, get hurt, drop out, or don’t even attempt to go the distance).
Stopping does not necessarily indicate “failure” – IF one eventually resumes. It may even be necessary or beneficial to stop sometimes. It’s never continuing that ends the opportunity for eventual “success”. For someone to do something long enough and/or enough times to produce desired results, it really helps to believe that is possible (for them to succeed and get what they want) – in spite of current evidence to the contrary. Whether it’s faith, confidence, patience, stubbornness, determination, being crazy, or just not knowing any better probably doesn’t matter as much as just not accepting “failure” (or results other than those desired) as being permanent and final. Until one has given up and does no more, there is still a chance for “success”. It’s not falling or getting knocked down that matters as much as not getting back up.
Babies fall more times while learning to stand and walk than most people do in anything else for the rest of their lives. Surprisingly, babies seldom, if ever, seem discouraged or deterred by their (temporary “failure” of) falling. Perhaps like elite marathon runners we might reach our goals faster and with more ease and less effort if we allowed ourselves to simply fall in the direction we’d like to go and allowed our feet to take us there. Not a runner? Doesn’t matter. Experiment with what works for YOU. It’s not only okay, but probably a good idea, to stop occasionally (and smell the roses), just don’t give up – especially on yourself!
© 2009 – 2010, Oren Pardes. All rights reserved.