Life Begins at the end of your comfort zone
– Neale Donald Walsch
Comfort: one of the best yet debilitating feeling we can have.
While we all strive to live comfortably, it secretly keeps us from our greatest achievements. As a child, we dreamt the wildest dreams and believed we could do some of the most outlandish of things because we knew we had our whole life ahead of us. It’s a beautiful thing to have dreams. Dreams give you a reason to live, a reason to move, and having a dream makes you feel good inside. As a child, comfort was THE goal to aspire to. You always heard, “I want to make enough money to be comfortable,” or “I just want to live life comfortably.” In a way, we all strive for some form of comfortability, but there’s another side of comfort that isn’t good. There’s a side of comfortability that can be harmful. This side of comfortability impedes success and stifles growth. It makes us rest on our laurels. It hinders us from achieving our dreams.
Dream to Live, Don’t Live to Dream
One of my favorite books, The Alchemist, by Paula Coelho tells of a great story about a boy in search for his personal legend. This is an excellent example of how life has a way of driving us to complacency by taking us down the path of least resistance. There is a point in the book where the boy meets a crystal merchant while on his journey to find his personal legend. He begins working for the old crystal merchant, and over time they became fond of each other until finally one day the crystal merchant says something profound about his life. As a boy, the merchant dreamt of traveling to Mecca to fulfill his personal legend. It was for that very reason he started the crystal shop. Unfortunately, it soon became the reason he would never achieve this goal he set for himself. The boy asks the crystal merchant, “Now that you have the money, why don’t you go to Mecca now?” and the merchant replies, “Because it is the thought of Mecca that keeps me alive.”. He stated that if he realized his dream to travel to Mecca, he would have no longer have a reason to go on living.
All too often we get caught up loving the dream. The dream seems so good and comforting, but once we begin the pursuit, we realize that it’s not as easy as we dreamed it would be, and we tell ourselves to wait until the perfect time comes when all the hurdles are removed, and the path becomes easier. Eventually, we become so comfortable with where we are in life that we would instead continue to dream about our goals than bear the struggle to achieve them. This is complacency, and we should run from it on first sight.
We all love the notion of growth. In actuality, we’ve all experience growth at some time or another in our lives. There was a time when you learned to read and write. There was a time where you learned to tie your shoes, tell time, or drive a car. No matter how you felt about those things or whether or not you thought they were the hardest things to do at that point in time the reality was that it was a part of growth. Whether we like it or not, growth happens in the most difficult of situations. It happens when we’re trying to do something we’ve never done before or when we’re doing something, we consider difficult. Either you’re physically trying to dominate something, or you’re mentally trying to overcome something, growth is the result. Essentially, we must understand that growth doesn’t happen in comfort. Growth doesn’t happen when things are easy Growth doesn’t happen when you’re stress-free. Growth occurs in complexity, physical exhaustion, and mentally challenging times. Growth occurs when you leave your comfort zone, and to grow, we must endeavor to leave our comfort zone. We must ACTIVELY attain something or do something that we’ve never done. Only then will we grow. Only then will we reach out closer to our dreams.
We MUST continue to dream.
The Fear of being Uncomfortable
Losing sucks, stress is painful, and failing hurts. All of those things are uncomfortable, but none of those things can truly set you back. After each loss or painful and hurtful moment, we all grew just a little bit more. Under stress we find the strength to persevere, in a loss, we discover our weaknesses, and in failure, you become closer to success. In the times of discomfort, we develop grit. We find out what we’re made of. These are the times that define us. This is why we shouldn’t fear to be uncomfortable. What we should fear is the comfort. In comfort, we don’t grow. In comfort, we never reach our limits or go beyond them. Comfort is stagnating. Comfort is binding, and in comfort we find complacency and dreams can’t be achieved in complacency.
No one achieved his or her dreams in their comfort zone.
Forever strive to be uncomfortable.