Change is a funny thing. It is neither wholly good or bad, it is merely something different. Yet, it is something that we can still find ourselves afraid of when it disrupts our lives and makes us step outside of our comfort zones. Discouraging us from seeking the things that make us uncomfortable and seek for things to remain the same as they always were. However, we are not the people we were yesterday, nor will we always be the people we are today, and that is okay. I would even go so far as to say that is one of the most special things about being human. So, as scary as stepping out of your comfort zone might be, finding the courage to step into your discomfort zone and disrupt the everyday is something we all need to fight for.
The Disruptive Power Of Discomfort
Many of us live in comfortable times with many of our desires and essential needs being met. There is safety and familiarity to be found in our self-made comfort zones, but little else besides that. In our lives we should not just seek comfort and familiarity, but we should strive to be challenged and to grow as a person. Although changes to one’s comfort zone can be frightening, there is truly something special and unique to the things we are unfamiliar with that we will never get the chance to experience if we only remain in our comfort zones forever.
In order to experience life to its fullest, there are many small and disruptive changes you can make to enrich it. Look towards someone like Theodore Roosevelt. He is not fascinating because he succeeded at everything he attempted, but because he challenged himself at every opportunity to grow and improve as a person. I mean to say, not all interesting people are born that way, they put in the time and effort to become interesting. Even though they might be uncomfortable at first, the rewards are worth the work.
Not to worry, adding some discomfort to your life is not about diving straight into the deep end, but about slowly wading out and building up confidence as you progress. One does not simply walk from Rivendell into Mordor in a day. You need to begin by taking that first leap, and then step by step, even though it may become more difficult, you will reach the end. Your own journey though maybe far less poetic and fantastical begins with stepping outside your comfort zone and disrupting your norm.
When you look back at the memories you’ve made, you don’t immediately think of the mundane everyday ones but you think about the ones where something unexpected happened, you think of a disruption. These disruptive moments are what makes our lives interesting and worth sharing with others. Disruption does not have to be bad, there are plenty of pleasant things that can be found in the disruptive moments of life.
Finding Your “Discomfort Zone”
However, introducing this discomfort is not always simple and can initially be intimidating. There is an undeniable challenge in intentionally seeking out the places and activities in life that make you uncomfortable. Yet, it is these moments in my life that I actively sought discomfort that are my most fond and treasured. They made me grow as a person. Seeking discomfort is not just tolerating something unpleasant, but an active process that can increase motivation and lead to personal growth.
Something to consider when it comes to this type of change is that the window of opportunity is never locked. Yes, it is possible to miss an opportunity when it passes by, but the choice of whether that window remains open or closed is entirely our own. And sometimes the way to open that window is with a reasonably sized rock. There is no one uniform way in which we can enter our respective discomfort zones, and the means of opening that window will be unique to each and everyone of us.
A good place I would recommend starting with is your routines and habits. Do not be afraid to look critically at these and ask yourself whether the things you are doing today are helping who you want to be tomorrow, or hurting them. Good habits and routines can be wonderful tools to bring us closer to that person, but bad ones will only take us further away from them. By their nature, they are something we find comfortable and familiar, so it is only by stepping into our discomfort zones to replace the bad habits with good ones that we find more satisfying lives.
As scary as stepping out of our comfort zones can be, there are few things that terrify me more than knowing I did not try to reach my full potential. Although failure and discomfort will always be possibilities when disrupting the everyday, it is more preferable to being left to wonder the great question “What If?” for every opportunity that passes us by. And if variety is the spice of life, then there is nothing more varied than what makes us uncomfortable. We all have a choice in what we can change to better our lives, and I only hope you make the ones most disruptive for yourself. The kind of disruption that makes life worth fighting for.
Editor: Luca Rietkerk
Cover Image: Min An