Saturday, July 18, 2009

Is Your Comfort Zone Shrinking?

I recently had a conversation with a client about our comfort zone, what it is and how you purposefully have to expand it or, without you realizing it, it begins to shrink, especially as we grow older.

To use a simple example, when you were a teenager and your friend bought a pair of jeans that you loved and you found out the only place you could get them was clear across the city, you'd get on a bus and travel an hour or more to get them. Sometimes you'd call a group of friends and make an outing out of it but you did go and get those jeans no matter what it took.

As you got older, perhaps without realizing it, even with a car, first you'd get on the phone calling other stores closer to work or where you lived to see if they might carry them. And then the rationalizing would start as to whether or not you really needed them because you do have two pairs of jeans and so what if these were great looking 'cause it was clear across town.

As you get even older often people say "No, I don't feel like going so far. I'll buy a pair that's similar or won't even bother". They'd start going to stores nearby rather than venture out of the neighbourhood 'without even recognizing you're doing that.

And so it goes. Your comfort zone or world begins to shrink unless you purposefully stretch it and go beyond your immediate boundaries. That goes for trying a new food, listening to new music, expanding your horizons in your area of expertise, especially if you tell yourself you're too close to retirement or "you can't teach an old dog new tricks". Who's boundaries are those exactly? Who said you have to stop learning or stretching into new territory?

"You have to leave the city of your comfort and go into the wilderness of your intuition. What you'll discover will be wonderful. What you'll discover will be yourself." - Alan Alda

Even though we grow older, we have a whole world out there to discover, starting with who we are and our place within it. People do things out of habit rather than conscious choice until they start paying attention. Are you paying attention to your choices?

Donna Karlin

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