Life has a funny way of forcing us outside our comfort zones. We may go kicking and screaming, convinced that doing so will cause us to shrivel up and die a slow painful death. A friend of mine recently shared a quote by Deepak Chopra who said that “Most people live their lives regretting the past or fearing the future. Therefore most people live their lives in a dream.” Researching the quote I found that author Fulton Oursler had earlier written that “Many of us crucify ourselves between two thieves – regret for the past and fear of the future.”
As I sat and let these ideals seep into my head I realized that the times in my life when I felt the most stuck or frozen was when I was either regretting a decision I’d previously made or feared what may happen down the road because of those decisions. Panic has often ensued worrying about the “what ifs” rather than focusing on the here and now.
I am a person who thrives on momentum. I have periods in my life when it feels like I’m flying a mile a minute with each event leading me to another. All of which are leading me in the direction I want to go. In those moments I see myself climbing mountains and achieving goals. Such momentum is nearly impossible to maintain however and eventually it will either slow or stop all together. When that momentum comes to a screeching halt, it throws my system into complete shock and leaves me on the verge of uncontrollable depression. Regardless of how many times I’ve experienced the momentum eventually picking back up, I convince myself that this lull will be everlasting. Add a few additional negative punches to the soul and it can get awful dark.
The truth is, that we get comfortable in our lives. And fear tends to cause us to hold on to that comfort zone like a big log floating in a vast ocean of uncertainty. But when you’re growing. When you’re evolving. That floating log that you’re clinging to, could be the very thing keeping you from swimming to shore. And there you lie, bobbing up and down in the same ocean waiting for a ship to pass and pick you up.
Letting go of that comfort is scary as hell. What if I drown? What if I sink? And there you go again, worrying about the what ifs. Here’s a what if. What if no one rescues you and you live your life bobbing up and down on the same damn log the rest of your life? What if the log you’re holding on to gets waterlogged and sinks. Then what? Then you die and your kids get to bob up and down on the same damn log.
Some of the most successful people in the world got to where they are because they had no choice. They had to sink or swim. They were forced out of their comfort zone and forced to find out what they’re made of. Do you know what YOU are made of? What are you holding on to that’s keeping you from advancing and growing? Take a good hard look at your world. What do you fear? What are you clinging to?
I bet if you look hard enough you’ll recognize that your comfort zone is actually causing you a great deal of discomfort. Which should be your first clue that it’s time to start swimming.