LEAVING ONE’S COMFORT ZONE IS, BY DEFINITION, UNFOMFORTABLE—AND CAN BE DOWNRIGHT FRIGHTENING
ARGUABLY, IT IS NOT THE KIND OF THING YOU SHOULD BE DOING AT MY AGE—71.
I HAVE TO TELL YOU—IT’S WORTH IT. WHICH DOESN’T MEAN IT’S EASY.
How long is it going to take to adjust to being back in Europe after 14 years in the U.S.? I don’t know. It’s too early to tell. I’m still in culture shock—though being treated with great kindness. But, I don’t feel ready yet to blog publicly about it.
I’m writing about it, of course, because that’s what I do, but I’m too close to events to write with the kind of authority and professionalism I aspire to. This is more introspective therapy—for the moment. But, I’m getting there.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not unhappy with the change—in fact, I’m settling in to my totally new surroundings surprisingly well. It’s more that right now most of my energy is going into the actual process of adjustment itself. In fact,I’m still at the stage of learning to recognize the money.
Kind of embarrassing since—though I am Irish—I was actually born in London. Beyond that, we lived in the UK, when I was very young, I was at boarding school here in Yorkshire from the ages of 9 to 16, and then, I spent much of my twenties in either London or Wales. But, all of that was well over 30 years ago—and things change.
School apart, I have never lived in ‘English England’ before (London being a world of its own). Now, thanks to the ingenuity of one friend, and the kindness of another, I’m in rural Essex—about 50 miles from London—in a rather beautiful village which is just about as traditionally English as you can get.
The Vikings used to invade here—and the Battle of Britain was fought overhead. The farmland has been cultivated for millennia, the fields are small and irregular, and the hedgerows are dense, close to being out of control, a lush haven for wildlife—and spectacular.
I love hedges and regard endless acres of practical monoculture as arguably efficient—but uncivilized.
I have recently discovered www.medium.com which features some rather splendid long format pieces. The following is an extract from a piece by Chris Hill on comfort zones. I cannot but agree with the sentiments he expresses.
The piece itself is entitled:
The 5 Most Important Things I’ve Learned in 5 Years as a Business Owner
Risk: Your comfort zone is an unsafe hiding place. It discourages growth, and it limits your ability to see the world from different perspectives. It might seem safe and realistic, but that changes every single day, as the world evolves in unforeseen ways. Will Smith, in an interview a few years back said,
“Being realistic is the most commonly traveled road to mediocrity. Why would you be realistic?”
I try to ask myself a variation of that question every day. In making the decision to “give it a try” — we leave our comfort zone, and find ourselves somewhere else, somewhere beautiful, it’s where the magic happens. I haven’t always been like this, not until the last five years. I couldn’t ask a girl out, until text messaging became popular. I literally broke into sweats and turned mute every time I approached a girl, hoping she’d say “yes”. But finally, when I realized it was riskier to live my entire life scared to try new things, I quit my job in corporate America. I left my comfort zone. I followed my heart and my passion, and everything changed. Since, that day, I’ve continually tried things that “might not work”; the outcomes vary, but through each attempt, my view of the world expands, exponentially. By following my heart and having the willingness to “try”, I’ve discovered new possibilities, an endless curiosity, and new eyes through which to see the world.
The best part? Once you start down this path, stepping out there, challenging yourself, and putting it on the line becomes easier. Somewhere along the way, you realize regardless of the outcome, it’s worth it.
Every single time.