If you are anyway like me, you are guilty of becoming comfortable in not so comfortable situations. The reason being: we resist change. We become used to a routine, living in a certain way and then when change knocks at our door, we freak out. We refuse to open the door and embrace the new. We cling to our comfort zones for as long as we can until our inside voice or the outside circumstances push us enough to dive into the change.
The latest turn of events in my life is the proof of my response to change- Our landlord declared that she wants to sell the house we are living in, and my reaction was- “AAAAGH! This can’t be happening! I’ve got comfortable in this house, and I do not want the pain of house search, the move, and then the re-settling.“
I moped on the situation for over a week until I talked myself out of it and realized that this is a great opportunity to find a house with a bigger closet, and no scorpions. For long I had kept section of my wardrobe packed in a suitcase, and finding a new place with a bigger closet is the chance for those suffocated clothes to taste fresh air .
The metamorphosis of my inner dialogue turned me into being enthusiastic about finding a new abode.
Inner dialogues are an intrinsic part of our everyday life. These conversations either push us to adapt to change or convince us that we are comfortable in our existing situations, be it about hitting the gym, trying a new craft, changing food habits, wake up/sleep routine, starting a business and so on. More often than not, the voice of comfort wins the argument.
Moreover, if you reflect on our status quo, you would realize that you are NOT all that happy being in the so called comfort zone. Take for example any of these everyday life situations-
Inside voice: Hey, you! You've been sitting comfortably on that chair for an extensive time, following the same daily routine of waking up in the morning and sipping on your coffee. Why don't you get your act together and join your buddies for the 5:00 am run? Nah! I am good. I am not out of shape, so why take extra pain to get up early and change my routine. I am comfortable! But won't you miss the morning fresh air, the cardio, and the socializing? You might not need the coffee after all. Shush! Mind you I am not indolent, I have a long day ahead!
Inside voice: Hey listen! You have been in this dysfunctional relationship for so long.Isn't it time to get out of the rut and give yourself another chance? I am used to it now! Known evil is better than the unknown! But, you would never find out what is in store for you, until you leave this familiar territory. I am good. I have spent years with this person. I am used to this person now.
Inside voice: You've been slogging for years doing this office job. You have to stay late, miss on the family times, and it's been long since you've taken a vacation. Isn't it time to say quits to your workplace and find something that is a better fit? Not really! This job is working for me. I have loans to pay off, and thisjob gives me a good salary. I know how the system works here and people respect me. It is not always that I have to do late nights or miss on thefamily occasions. But don't you want to learn something new? You might like that better. I will have to spend time in creating my reputation in the new workplace.I have a secure job and I am not comfortable leaving it.
Inside Voice:Hey listen you! Are you excited about your move to a new city? You will see new landscapes, and make new friends. Not really, I like it here! I have my friend circle, so what if that circle is empty most of the times. I know the people and places around here. I am settled. But you are not a tree! You can move. You might end up liking the new place better. You might make stronger bonds, find great neighbors and get to try new adventures. Leave me alone. I feel like being depressed about leaving this place. I just do.
Another great recent example is that of my friend who continued in his unfulfilled and dry job for decades, on the pretext of security and comfort. Then one day he was let go which suddenly freed him from his illusionary comfort. Little he could do to shield himself from the change he’d been resisting for years! After the initial phase of discomfort of finding a job, he is now happy in his newly created comfort zone.
It is the fear of unknown that holds us back in taking risks and trying new horizons. On the contrary it is also true that ‘a bird in the hand is worth two in a bush. So what should you do? Stick to the familiar or take risk and try new avenues.
The answer lies in asking the question- Are you happy or just comfortable? If you are not happy, you know that it is time to test new waters. After all, ‘a bird in the hand is good, but a bird in the bush might sing.’