Why Your Comfort Zone Is the Most Dangerous Place to Live

Why Your Comfort Zone Is the Most Dangerous Place to Live
From Recruiter - December 6, 2016

Article by Megan Nicole ONeal

I am writing to you from seat 14A United Airlines, Rochester-bound from San Diego. Its an 11:45 p.m. red-eye.

You see, this year I set out to accomplish one thing: to stay open. It sounds simple enough, but you may not realize how often you innately hang a Closed for Business sign until you try to transition to a 24/7 operation. We can be stubborn and closed-minded, unable to listen to others opinions and perspectives without judgment. We can be guarded and closed-hearted, afraid of appearing vulnerable and somehow weak by association. We can become disinterested, uninvolved, and often so paralyzed by our daily lives and stressors that we forget there is an entire world out there.

I didnt want to be one of these closed people because when I sat down and honestly thought about it, the times that Ive hurt or been hurt by others have had a lot of (literal and metaphorical) closed doors in common. But openness, Ive noticed, is a slow and often complicated process.

I see openness as having curiosityand not just about what hair regime Blake Lively is on or the name of the Avengers character with the bow and arrows (Clint Barton). Curiosity about new people, places, cultures, experiences, foodyou name it. Simply put, being open means having a willingness to not immediately say no to something unfamiliar. (To be clear, you dont actually have to say yes; you just need to consider it a viable option beforehand.) This way of being sounds great, and it is! However, the only way to do this, to be truly open (here comes the fun part), is to live outside of your comfort zone.

Live. Let that sink in for a minute because that word was carefully chosen. Typically, we hear the phrase step outside of your comfort zone, which I believe is certainly an important move in the right direction. But Im talking about putting more than just your right foot out. You have to pack up your bags, your shoe collection, and your favorite childhood stuffed animal and move across that line into a house with a very long lease. Being open is a character trait that must be embodied, on more than a handful of occasions, for it to be genuinely earned. Think of it this way: You cant claim to have an open-door policy with nothing more than a doggy door and expect anything great to be able to squeeze through.

The problem with comfort zones is that we often cant tell when weve been sucked into them. From the safety of our comfort zones we get complacent. We fall into our work-gym-(Netflix)-sleep routines and forget to live outwardly from our hideaways, ultimately sacrificing the ability to impact our world.

Have you ever wondered why casual and casualty are such dangerously similar words? Perhaps its because abiding by a casual life in the comfort zone is the ultimate casualty to the stories of our lives. Someone once said to me that in our adult lives, we have, on average, 22,000 days to live. For some that might sound like plenty; but to the open and the curious, that almost sounds like a challenge. You have 22,000 days to discover the world. Ready? GO! Do you really want to waste one of those days, weeks, or months doing the exact same thing as yesterday?

Now, I know we need jobs to provide for ourselves and our families, which doesnt leave a lot of wiggle room for adventuring. Trust me, Im not some barefoot granola-hipster who lives in a treehouse somewhere in the Arizona mountains; I pay my dues at a 9-to-6, too. But theres a way to live, even with daily obligations, that doesnt leave your personal story a casualty.


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