The Diminishing Comfort Zone
Your comfort zone might feel secure and safe, but it's also small, confining, and narrow. This is what it looks like from your very own favorite chair
Imagine yourself alone in a white room. Your favorite chair is there with you. In fact, it’s the only furniture in the room.
Sit in the chair. Feel how it fits your body shape and body size perfectly. The seat cushion is just the right softness and just the right firmness. The curve of the back gives you the exact amount of support you need. The armrests meet the bend of your elbow at the ideal height. It even smells like home. Take a deep breath and let yourself, all of you, sink deeply into this chair. This is comfort. This is your Comfort Zone.
Now imagine that, because this chair is sooo comfortable, you sit in it for several hours. After a while, you begin to shift your weight. But this chair fits your body shape and body size so perfectly, you don’t have enough room to move. You try throwing your legs over one of the armrests and leaning your back against the other. This position, too, quickly becomes unsatisfactory. At the same time, you notice that the upholstery is kind of scratchy and that it has the faint odor of something…burned popcorn? the cat, maybe? dirty socks? Whatever it is, you realize that you are really uncomfortable in this chair and, at the same time, that there is no where else to sit. This is your Discomfort Zone.
Thoughts begin popping into your head, thoughts like, “I’ve got to get out of here. I need to do something about this situation. I know there must be something better than this.” Other thoughts like, “This is the best thing for me. I really like the way things are right now. It’s too hard to do something different. Who am I to think I deserve anything more than this? This is good enough,” creep across your brain, as well. Then the what-ifs arrive: “What if I can’t find what I want? What if something better is beyond my reach? What if there isn’t anything better?” These limiting beliefs keep you from doing anything about the misery of the chair you’re sitting in. In order to find out if all or any of these self-limiting thoughts is true, you must enter your Fear Zone.
So guess what? You continue to sit in the chair, even though the zone of comfort is decreasing and the zone of discomfort is increasing. This stinky, scratchy, restrictive chair is better than crossing the Fear Zone to find out what other options and opportunities might exist beyond the white walls of this room in which you are twisting and shifting and turning in your no-longer favorite chair.
How long are you willing to sit in comfy crap?