Dean Karnazes – ‘Ultrarunner’
Have a read through the quote above, then read it again. It comes from ‘ultrarunner’ Dean Karnazes and whilst I may not be a huge fan of his sport I couldn’t agree more with his statement. What I’d like you to do now is think back over last week and consider how many times you felt uncomfortable. For the majority of us I bet it was once or twice at most. This isn’t good.
As Dean says we have got things all mixed up and started to confuse the feeling of comfort with being happy. We chase an easy life falsely believing that this is the source of happiness. Comfort is mediocrity, chasing happiness via your goals and dreams will entail big ups and big downs. You will feel truly dejected at times but you will get through it, at least you’re feeling something, and when those highs come you will truly appreciate what happiness is about.
I’m sure you are all familiar with the idea of a comfort zone, what you are probably less familiar with is the zone that surrounds it, the stretch zone. This is the area of discomfort, where we push and strive. The more we venture into this zone the bigger our comfort zone gets and, worryingly, the more time we spend in our comfort zone the smaller it gets. There is no such thing as maintaining progress in life, you’re either going forwards or you’re going backwards. Comfort is going backwards.
One of the big drives for this comfort seeking is fear. Pause at this point and do some self-reflection. When are the times you are seeking comfort? What are you avoiding? Why? Our modern lifestyles guide us to avoid fear through comfort, whether that is bought through conveniences or provided by relationships.
This comfort seeking attitude is hugely detrimental to our success. It seeps in and saps our drive, our hunger. Do we really need to push for that next achievement? It’s nice here, what’s wrong with settling? You’ve worked hard enough. If this self-talk is creeping in it’s time to take action, unless you are prepared to side-line your goals and dreams.
So how do we remedy this situation? How do we start progressing again? The answer is simple, the action requires some effort. You have to chase discomfort, put yourself in situations where you aren’t comfortable, do your best but fail and fail often. Then step back into your comfort zone, recover and do it again, imagine that zone of comfort getting bigger and bigger with every foray beyond its wall.
Happy lives aren’t easy lives. Don’t let fear shrink your world. Don’t sacrifice your happiness for comfort.