"The comfort zone is the great enemy to creativity; moving beyond it necessitates intuition, which in turn configures new perspectives and conquers fears." ~Dan Stevens
Life is meant to be experienced; it's meant to be LIVED. Life is where we learn, love and grow; and we can't grow if we remain in a state of disengagement. As Eleanor Roosevelt so aptly put it, "Life is meant to be lived, and curiosity must be kept alive." But for many of us, we tend to become complacent in our situation of feeling a quiet pleasure or security. We enter the comfort zone, a state of mind, where we feel at ease and in control; a sense of familiarity. We feel that scarcity, uncertainty and vulnerability are minimized.
What keeps us from moving forward to new experiences and the adventures of living life? What keeps us in our mind-made prisons?
Whether it is consciously or unconsciously; it may simply be conditioning – learned behavior, a sense of unworthiness – perceiving failure or rejection. The bottom line is FEAR – that's the hideous monster that keeps us from stepping outside the box and moving forward in a new direction, towards a new goal.
Fear and anxiety are emotions induced by a threat that is perceived as uncontrollable or unavoidable. It may be in response to a specific stimulus happening in the present, or to a future situation, which is perceived as a risk to health or life, status, power, security, or, anything we hold valuable.
Fear can be learned by experiencing or watching. Fear is not just a matter of personal history; a person may learn to fear regardless of whether they themselves have experienced it or not; or if they have observed the fear in others.
Fear of the unknown is one of the reasons that people don't make an effort to move forward. Many people are afraid of the unknown, which can branch out to many areas such as the next ten years, tomorrow, or even the hereafter – afraid to take the path they want, because of what may lie ahead. Many people would rather remain in a familiar situation they know than to move on to something new; even if the current situation is unhealthy, such as an abusive relationship. People will make excuses, trying to convince themselves that what they currently have is good enough – they settle! Their way of life is known and familiar, but this can lead to procrastination, keeping one from moving forward to a healthier life situation.
Fear isn't always a negative entity. Of course, stepping out of our comfort zone raises anxiety and generates a stress response, but the result is an enhanced level of concentration and focus. A fear response can generate an appropriate behavioral response, causing a change in our brain chemistry and ultimately changing our behavior, thus serving our survival.
Take a look at this cute little video of a goat who stands up to the bull. The goat has no sense of unworthiness, nor is he experiencing any fear in this moment. I'm not sure what lead up to the confrontation, but it is no doubt the goat has decided to take the bull by the horns, so to speak!
We, too, must first make the decision that we are tired of being where we are, and to do this we need to strip away what we have been taught.
It wasn't something I was conscious of at the time, but looking back over the years, I can see where my life had been a series of stepping out of comfort zones. At first, there was great fear, and I would continually walk around the idea in my mind for quite some time, before I wholly desired to take that leap of faith and make a change.
I was an extremely introverted child; shy and withdrawn. I became the scapegoat for everything that seemingly went wrong in the world. No matter how hard I tried, I never felt that I had a place in my family. Other than school, and the occasional babysitting jobs my parents would commission me for, I would spend my time in my room listening to music, reading and daydreaming of better times ahead. My sense of unworthiness would carry me into a dark world of depression for years after. I couldn't take it any longer, and by the time I was fourteen, my overwhelming sense of unworthiness, of course, caused me to become too fearful of failing and making things even worse for myself. By the time I was sixteen, I had made the decision to leave. I was going to get out come 'hell or high water'. This decision opened me up a little more and brought me out of my little world of self-protection. I spent months planning, and just after my seventeenth birthday, I escaped!
I did return back to my family after a year or so, but soon realized this was a mistake. It would be years later that I would come to the realization that I was carrying this sense of unworthiness with me into every situation and relationship thereafter. However, each time I stepped through the fear and doubt and moved forward into the unknown, it would become easier and it changed who I once was. Later, when I was in my late twenties, I left an abusive relationship of eight years. This is when I finally woke up and came into my true self!
There is no longer a sense of feeling less than anyone else. I make the decision immediately before getting entangled in a situation of how I am to be treated. There is no longer a need to escape anything.
Now, following a spiritual path, I turn toward grace with a knowing that everything has been given me for my growth.
With lessons of forgiveness and a healthy dose of self-love, looking back, I am truly grateful for all of the lessons life has brought to me. If it wasn't for each person and each situation, I undoubtedly wouldn't have realized the courage that existed within me. I have grown with each scenario passing through my awareness; gaining knowledge and strength on the journey.
"Fear is the cheapest room in the house. I would like to see you living in better conditions." ~Hafiz
I used to have a comfort zone where I knew I wouldn't fail.
The same four walls and busywork were really more like jail.
I longed so much to do the things I'd never done before,
But stayed inside my comfort zone and paced the same old floor.
I said it didn't matter that I wasn't doing much.
I said I didn't care for things like diamonds and furs and such.
I claimed to be so busy with the things inside the zone,
But deep inside I longed for something special of my own.
I couldn't let my life go by just watching others win.
I held my breath; I stepped outside and let the change begin.
I took a step and with new strength I'd never felt before,
I kissed my comfort zone goodbye and closed and locked the door.
If you're in a comfort zone, afraid to venture out,
Remember that all winners were at one time filled with doubt.
A step or two and words of praise can make your dreams come true.
Reach for your future with a smile; success is there for you!
Related Video: Famous People Who Failed Before They Were Famous
"Dan Stevens." BrainyQuote.com. Xplore Inc, 2015. 30 May 2015. http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/authors/d/dan_stevens.html