It was a rainy and misty day. One of those days when the best thing to do is to stay home, before a fire.
Instead, we were out walking in the woods. Nobody around, just us and the silence of nature. The light rain was making everything so soft that we couldn’t hear our own steps.
Not the most comfortable way of spending a morning, maybe. But undoubtedly, very inspiring. It was, then. When we were walking down a slight and slippery slope, that Andy asked one of his powerful questions.
How come that we call it comfort zone, yet so many people seem unhappy when they are there? If it’s a place of comfort, you should be happy. Or not?
By the way, I did a quick check online this morning. These are a few definitions I found.
“The comfort zone is a safe place where you feel the most comfortable.”
“A psychological state in which things feel familiar to a person, and they are at ease and (perceive they are) in control of their environment, experiencing low levels of anxiety and stress. In this zone, a steady level of performance is possible.”
“A behavioural state where a person operates in an anxiety-neutral position.”
“Where our uncertainty, scarcity and vulnerability are minimized—where we believe we’ll have access to enough love, food, talent, time, admiration. Where we feel we have some control.”
Indeed, your comfort zone should be a happy and peaceful place to be.
While we were out there, our boots deep in the mud, we came to the conclusion that the reason for that unhappiness is probably due to the assumption that the comfort zone is a fixed thing.
Change, another word starting with C, is natural. Everything is constantly changing, moving and transforming. When you got trapped in the idea that the comfort zone is a static thing, you cling to what you have and consume all your energy resisting change. Stay in your comfort zone becomes an exhausting effort. One that drains your happiness until you feel miserable in that same space you use to feel at ease.
This morning, while I was thinking about this conversation and about the boot that I still have to clean after that walk, a third word starting with C popped up. Curiosity. Curiosity is what inspires us to make questions and to embrace challenges. It is what allows us to push, shift and reshape the boundaries of our comfort zone, so it can grow with us.