Thursday, July 25, 2013

What is my comfort zone?

When you are growing up, it's not the everyday events that mainly shape you, it's the exceptions.  For instance, everything seems safe to touch until one day, you discover something hot and "ouch"...

Black swan events shape you even more profoundly. These come from the story that once upon a time, it was a fact that all swans are white.  Every swan in the world was white - in every country, and you could test and prove this to be the case by going to every country and finding that their swans were white too - it was an axiom… until a little while ago we discovered what would become Australia, and there we found black swans.  

The "fact" was now no longer...

What black swan events do is force you to accept that what you thought can be proven to the case, is actually wrong.

As a regular person, I'm well aware that the biggest shocks in my life are the black swans that continue shaping me going forward... and I've seen some doozies.  But, there's another rather powerful event type that has shaped me just as much - stepping outside my comfort zone.  I can't think of many times that I look back having done it, and think I hated it, but it continues to be a powerful influence on what I do... or don't do.  

Some people might say that it's a protection mechanism to stop you from doing things that are harmful to you, and that might be true to a certain extent.  What I have found so far is that sometimes it's necessary because you don't move forward, or get better at something, or change something that is wrong, by sitting in your own little safe cocoon.  Whatever the reason, I usually find the driving force for this perceived notion of safety to be a fear that comes from within - rather than anything identifiable that is external to my psyche. 

The result of that is the comfort zone ends up being a zone of compromises, energy-sapping frustration and misery at the status quo - but for some reason it's still considered safer than stepping outside of it, so you stay in that zone.

When you look at it that way, the choice becomes "misery or excitement?"

Where I'm at right now... I'll take a cup of excitement - just don't make it too big…