“Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.”
My mouse-pad has an image of a woman jumping off the edge of a cliff into the deep blue sea, and these words are scribbled in bold across the image.
I intentionally chose this mouse-pad during my first week on the job because I knew that I would need the reminder. It has certainly served its purpose of keeping me on my toes, all too aware of the dangers of getting too comfortable.
I grew up with an unconventional childhood, to say the least. Moving from country to country, chasing after my father’s career (I’m very proud of him!), made it quite impossible for me to get too comfortable. I did not have a consistent home, school, or friends. I did not have any roots or life-long activities to boast of. I never really knew what “settling down” would be like until I started my first stable job, got married, and bought a house. What could be defined as everyone else’s “American dream” is the absolute nightmare of a Third Culture kid like me, because my family and our lifestyle taught me that growth and development go hand in hand with movement and change. This is why I am acutely aware of just how dangerous (and boring!) excessive comfort can be.
While I appreciate the stability that I am enjoying in adulthood because I never had it in childhood, I am keen on stepping outside my comfort zone and committing to life-long learning. I encourage you to do the same. Adopting this kind of attitude will allow you to attempt things everybody else is scared to try, to make big commitments that are extremely frightening, and to continuously challenge yourself to become a better version of you. Ultimately, all of these factors contribute directly to your mission to generate more luck!
Every weekend, take 15 minutes to mentally check-in with yourself and reflect on your current level of comfort. I encourage you to write down the answers to the following recommended questions, and to come up with your own:
- Did I take on any new challenges this week? If yes, how did it go and how do I feel about it? If no, were there any opportunities to take on new challenges that I ignored, and why did I do that? What do I need to do next week to inspire the confidence to accept more challenges?
- Did something scare me this week? What was it, why did it scare me, and what did I do about it?
- Did I try something new this week?
- Did anything make me feel uncomfortable this week? How did I react to it? What should I do to improve my reaction in the future?
Regularly engaging in a simple self-reflexive exercise like this one allows us to identify potential goals that we would like to work on. We know that the human mind is quick to embrace the familiar because its safe and easy. The road less traveled could be beautiful, but it could also be full of prickly thorns, and its only natural that we would prefer to avoid it. Putting our reflections down on paper encourages us to let go of the ideology “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” It allows us to clearly recognize the threat of allowing life to happen to us, instead of actively orchestrating it.
Nothing changes if you continue to do the same thing over and over again.
It just doesn’t.
Bearing all of this in mind, I will share my own reflections for the week, and challenge you to share yours in the comment section below:
This week, I…
- Took on three new challenges: (1) Sharing my writing through a blog; (2) Bringing healthy snacks to work every day; and (3) Committing to daily 6 am workouts. I’m happy with the outcome and plan to continue with these challenges.
- Did a few things that scared me, including: (1) Paying down a larger chunk of my mortgage than the monthly required fees, although I would have preferred to buy some new clothes; (2) Holding a 2 week old tiny little baby; (3) Using my real name on this blog (all my other blogs are ghost-written because I like my privacy).
- Tried something new: I attempted making Yuca fries, and failed. I now know better, and will get them right next time!
I think it was a good “out-of-comfort” week for me, although there are a few things I would still like to work on. How about you?
And remember… we design our own luck!