adjective 1. lacking enthusiasm and determination; carelessly lazy
One of life’s traps I frequently fell — and still fall — into is the comfort zone. I would be lying if I said I didn’t enjoy the coziness, the certainty, and the stability behind the comfort zone; what’s nicer than knowing how your day, week, or month is going to end? In a rapidly moving, ever-more competitive world, the uncertainty and risk raised by trying something new are demotivating.
Have you ever said to yourself “Next semester, I’m going to double-down on studying” or “My New Year’s resolution is to become more social”? I know I have. While I hope they were achieved, how many other promises did we end up blandly neglecting?
In my case, my fingers aren’t enough to count. This recurring incident prompted me to think deeper about the underlying issue behind making promises towards useful changes but not pulling through. Sure, commitment and persistence are the pillars of change, but I was looking deeper. I wanted to understand the nature of the base that held those pillars in place rigidly.
“One does not discover new lands without consenting to lose sight of the shore for a very long time”— André Gide
To be able to commit and stay persistent towards new change(unfamiliar by nature), one has to trust that the short-term, unfamiliar, unfavorable outcomes will lead to long-term, still unfamiliar, but favorable results. However, being in the comfort zone meant that I was experiencing familiar outcomes, favorable or not. So, by nature, I will be less inclined to gamble with the unfamiliar and more willing to endure the familiar.
While this is a survival tactic that ancient humans developed to stay safe, both you and I know well that in today’s world it’s the experience that defines our lives. Worse, comfort zones might lead us to become lackadaisical. Fight it. Want to try backpacking alone? Do it. Want to try your new business idea? Do it. Want to layover for a few hours in Cairo with zero prior planning, to wing it, and scratch off the pyramids from your list? I’m telling you: DO IT!
If you are ready to start taking risks, here are a few things to keep in mind:
- Don’t overthink. Our brains are wired to think of possible worst-case scenarios to keep us from dying. Short-circuit these thoughts. Count down from 5 and just do it. it’s good to consider possible outcomes to be ready for a fall, but mulling over it will eventually stop you from taking that risk.
- Some planning might help. Taking risks is a good thing. If the risk results in an unfavorable outcome, your experience would have taught you something. However, some planning will help reduce errors. Know if the country you plan to backpack through is safe, if your business idea is scalable, and if you have enough time to see the pyramids.
- Love the process. To experience you need to risk. Will hating the process help you get to better results? Certainly not. If anything, it might even hinder your potential. Love the process; the worst is you fail at a risk you enjoyed getting to.