It’s been a year since the world began the lockdown, trying to control a viral pandemic we scarcely understood 12 months ago. All of a sudden, people were either thrown out of work by businesses that had been forced to close or had transferred their work to home offices that barely existed. Much of the world is still operating under these work-from-home policies, however, we now are used to the difference. We have adapted to these new comfort zones, which is good for productivity, but have we let our worlds get smaller without realizing it?
How big is your comfort zone? Is it growing or shrinking? Has it petrified? All of us live inside these areas called comfort zones. It’s the imaginary space containing all the activities we have done often enough to feel comfortable about. It also contains our ideas about where we belong, how we should live, what we do socially, and so on.
You can visualize this zone of comfort as a circle, if you like, but the wall of that circle is not really there to protect us. It is made up of fear and self-imposed limitations. We like to believe that the wall keeps us safe, which is what our pandemic “bubbles” are designed to do. But when we think about achieving our goals, perhaps you’ve noticed that safety isn’t what we need out of our comfort zones.
What that wall keeps us from, in truth, is getting all the things we want most. If we are willing to venture outside of it often enough, we overcome our fear and our zone of comfort expands. Not only that, when we expand our comfort zone in one area, it automatically expands in others, as well. It’s in pushing through the wall that gives us confidence to do more and be more.
However, when we give in to our fears, that zone contracts. For some people, their comfort zone is just about the size of their living space. There they sit, making up reasons why it’s better for them to stay put, convincing themselves they are better off. We see this often in the elderly, as they allow their worlds to get smaller and smaller. The thing is, it doesn’t have to be this way.
So, what’s the answer? Move it on out! Get up, get moving, and conquer your fears by doing what you need to do. Small steps first, and then the bigger ones. Little by little, day by day, you banish that old, petrified comfort zone.
Being ruled by fear is not living safely. In fact, it’s not really living at all.