I am a great believer that challenges make us a better person. I have had many seasons in my life stuck in my comfort zone, miserably happy. Quite confusing I know, but the happiness I’m engaged in when it comes to comfort, contributes in no way at all to bring me to the next season of my life. What a comfort zone does, is pamper our inability to break free of what is familiar to us, to break free of that ‘safe at home’ feeling, and to learn new things that potentially develop us into the Einstein hiding somewhere in our more than capable bodies.

Miserable Comfort

From personal experience I had been stuck in that comfort zone for far too long, miserably happy. Happy because I felt safe where I was. I got to hide my insecurities instead of challenge them, I got to remain anonymous to anyone or anything new. I knew I was good at whatever was in that box with me, as I had been living with it for so long that of course I was the expert. Who wants to be a nobody in a big world, when you already rule the box you live in? Only I was not aware that my comfort zone was in fact such a small box that I was missing out on a whole lot of world that contrary to my belief, was in fact waiting for me and not shunning me off. I was miserable because subconsciously I knew this, and my subconscious never leaves me alone.

False Conceptions

Our minds are capable of absorbing so much information, that when we don’t do so our mind becomes stagnant. I’m no doctor but I would imagine that has some contribution to diseases such as Alzheimer’s. Our bodies are the same. I have recently seen a photo of a 50 year old actor who is more ripped than most 20 year old gym enthusiasts, why, because he pushes his body past any preconceived idea that it can’t possibly work that hard. This idea is a falsity that we believe as we compare ourselves to people with the same supposed constraints, instead of being aware that the world we live in does not often cater to the longevity of our lives.

Paralysis

I had a candidate fresh out of college come in for an interview a few days ago. She was a sweet girl who, once entering the interview room just froze in her chair. With her wide eyes staring at me, it seemed she was frozen solid to her seat. I was as friendly as ever to her and assured her I was nervous too, that I was there to help her, coach her, and prepare her for any future interviews with the widest and brightest smile I could muster up. After about 5 minutes of questions I saw those frozen eyes start to water, then drip, and then stream with tears. It was quite a surprise to see, and I quickly asked her what she was feeling to which she replied “actually nothing at all, it’s really nothing.” I then asked her if she was a highly sensitive person and she said yes with a slight sigh of relief that i had ‘understood her’. I questioned how she would handle dealing with customers that might not always be friendly if she is scared of my smile, and she said she would just leave the cash register to take a few minutes in the back to gather herself, if the customer upset her. I asked her how she thinks an angry customer might feel being left for a few minutes to wait even longer for service. Basically she had no clue, so I then moved onto her sensitivity. I asked if her mum babies her when she feels sensitive and she said yes, (I have been babied from a loving mum, so I understand). Then I challenged her to go home and seek people who don’t baby her sensitivity, who challenge her to step out of her comfort zone and hang around them as much as possible. Basically to be around people that quite possibly terrify her in order to break free of this inhibition, and I asked her to come back in a month or two once accepting the challenge, if she feels it’s still the type of job she wants to chase.

Challenge and Grow

Truth is that sometimes it takes something substantial to break us free from our nest. And often it takes an unpleasant experience to do so (as in my case). I don’t wish that on anyone, but wish for everyone to thrive on challenges, to welcome them with open arms. Doing so does not mean we will never revisit our box, it just means that when we do, we will be able to see that what we had was of such insignificance to what we have become. We all need to start somewhere, and the time we start is up to us. If your answer is to hold off a few days, months or weeks, then a first challenge for you might be challenging your tendency to delay things. There’s no time like the present, as present time is not an unlimited gift, so it’s best to make the most of it.

Psalm 90:12
So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom.