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Posts tagged ‘comfort zones’

The more you just ‘do’, the more you will continue to do 

I observe people quite a lot in my life.

My work is very varied, and involves public speaking, training people, working in groups, coaching people, leading people in outdoor activities, meeting friends and colleagues, mentoring people, working on collaborative projects and so on. Throughout this varied work, over the last two decades, I have observed that it’s only really quite a small percentage of people who ‘just do’ things, compared to a majority who live somewhere on the periphery of action – usually either right ‘on the cusp’ observing, wanting to take part, vicariously living on the edge, but never quite stepping up, or others tend to be further back, watching the action from something of a distance, or even way back, along with the ‘wall flowers’ of our world.

It takes all sorts, as they say.

Allow me to explain what I am talking about.

I find that few people ‘just do it’ as the expression goes. By it, I mean all kinds of things. Most people move into adulthood and fairly quickly settle into a set of circumstances that are familiar and comfortable. When the suggestion comes up to do something different, to push into unfamiliar territory, they default to a bunch of ‘reasons’ (ummm, excuses I call it) to hold back.

It might be trying a new sport, going on a trip, or changing a familiar routine, but people resist new, they resist change, and this can go on for months, for years, for decades. If you are one of those people, maybe you realise, it can go on for an entire life time.

All the excuses

I’ll write using the terms “I” and “you” but these are not about me, and you, they are just generalisations, about many people.

Last weekend I led a couple of friends to climb their first ever mountain, so that seems like a good place to start.

You’ve never climbed a mountain but you have always thought you might like Read more

You don’t really want to change…you’re happy as you are…

You like your life just the way it is. You’re comfortable where you are, you don’t want to change.

Your body, your weight, your health…how you look and how you feel, you are happy where you are, right?

The brilliant, original and funny Larry Winget says this, and I think he is bang on right. Perhaps you are sitting reading this. As you sit there, I’ll bet you are sitting mostly still, not really moving much at all. I guess you are fairly comfortable. I mean, if you were uncomfortable, you would move, right?

If you were sat there and you were uncomfortable, say your left buttock had ‘gone to sleep’ or you had pins and needles in one foot, or the chair side was digging into your leg and making you sore, or if there was a lump or spike sticking out of the chair seat that was painful to sit on, well then you would move, right?

You see, as Larry says, when we are uncomfortable, we move, we shift, we change, until we can become comfortable again. But when we are comfortable, we stop moving and stay put, we relax.

Now apply that to everything in your life.

  • What you see when you are naked standing in front of a full length mirror
  • How you feel, your energy levels, your level of vitality
  • How you look, your body shape, your weight, your muscles, your belly and bum
  • What you have in your bank account
  • How you feel about the job you get up and go to every day
  • How you feel about your relationships…with your spouse or partner, your boss, your kids
  • Your sex life
  • Your performance in your choice of sport or hobby
  • Your performance in bed
  • Everything

You are comfortable with where you are at.
If you were truly uncomfortable, you would move, shift, change.

Every week people tell me how unhappy they are about their weight, or how they look, or how they feel, or their energy levels, or their muscle mass, strength, speed, love, life… but then they trip out all the endless excuses why they can’t eat this, won’t train that, too busy to work this, don’t like to eat that, don’t have time for this, feel awkward doing that…the list is always long, it just goes on and on.

The truth is, they are comfortable, and until they get uncomfortable, they just won’t change.

I’m not saying they are happy. Just, comfortable.

Ouch.

Sadly, all too often, I meet people in their 40s, 50s and 60s, for whom finally ‘getting uncomfortable enough’, is a heart attack, or a cancer diagnosis, or the loss of a loved one.

Don’t be one of them.

Set your goals, keep your standards high, and get uncomfortable enough to make forward progress.

To your good health!

Karl