Keep Your Hands Off My Comfort Zone
Stepping out of your comfort zone is a popular topic nowadays. “If you think adventure is dangerous, try routine; it’s lethal.” – says the similarly popular writer, Paulo Coelho. It even feels like routine is a synonym for boredom and a terrible, terrible thing you better escape from.
Stepping out of your comfort zone: the good and the bad
Life begins at the end of your comfort zone – they say. But you know what else does? Stress, danger, panic attacks and death. You might think I’m sarcastic. Well, I think I’m right. 😛
Some people seek adventures constantly and some end up getting home physically and mentally exhausted. Some people face the challenge not to have a home at all. Some end up with panic attacks and a desire to have the same bed with the same pair of flips-flops every day. Some people conquer the highest peaks on Earth and some die trying. How many people die while taking selfies each year? Often they step out of their comfort zone, too, and they want to capture that moment they are so proud of.
My cosy little comfort zone
Do I say stepping out of your comfort zone is a bad thing then? Not at all. But I feel the pressure that makes us underestimate routines and our comfort zone and overestimate stepping out of it. I feel the need to find the balance. My balance. Just as anyone else can find theirs.
As for me, my comfort zone is a calming, cosy place where I can relax and feel safe. It gives back my confidence. A certain level of stress can help me being more productive. But too much stress turns things around, I only get frustrated or even paralyzed. I find new things, new people and new places exciting, but it’s close friends, well-known and beloved places and good old routines that give me the safety I need.
Routines are not necessarily bad
If you believe that routines are bad, maybe it’s time for you to find good routines. I have tons of routines in my life that I like very much. They add to my day, they help me feeling happier, more relaxed, more fit. Like reading books when I commute to work every day. Doing short exercises every evening. Having afternoon tea with Csaba on our balcony. Falling asleep right after I make myself comfortable on any passenger seat in any car. Or train. Or airplane.
Routines help me keeping my life neatly arranged – well, most of the times. They help me doing things quicker and easier. They don’t need that much of my energy.
Getting in balance
But then… sometimes I have too much energy. I want to do things differently than what I’m used to. I want to see different places, new faces, I want to face new challenges and I want to learn a million things. Sometimes I choose to step out of my comfort zone and sometimes life forces me out of it, anyway. That’s when I need to be brave and not try to escape.
Facing one’s fears can be a good thing, but it’s also wise to remember that we are right to be afraid of some things. The world in and out of our comfort zone can both enrich and endanger our lives. It’s our biggest challenge to find the balance between adventures and security. To have the new impulses we need to strive for a better version of ourselves and a better world. And to have the comfort of our comfort zone to give us the strength and confidence we need on our way.
What do you think? Have you found your balance?
Bea is the co-founder of Our Wanders. She’s the writer and the trip organizer, and she’d love to help you plan your own amazing trips! She likes hiking, good novels and chocolate, as well. Her motto is: “A ship in harbor is safe, but that is not what ships are built for.” (John A. Shedd)