For how long have you been living in your comfort zone? And do you have any plans to depart it in the near future? Is it really that comfortable?
Looking for definitions became one my favourite activities. After enrolling in a Neurolinguistic course, I was alarmed at the amount of misconceptions most of us have. We’ve learned many vocabulary words since our childhood, attached meanings to these words and carried our lives without reexamining them. Take ‘dogs’ for example. In our Eastern culture, in my childhood, most people associated dogs with bites. I used to feel threatened and my heart used to race the moment I saw any dog. I believed that dogs were dangerous till my daughter reframed the meaning of dogs for me few years ago. What about comfort? Do we have a clear and correct frame for this word?
Comfort, as stated in the dictionary, is a state of physical ease and freedom from pain or constraint. It means prosperity and a pleasant lifestyle. Does living in our comfort zones provide us with freedom from pain; emotional pain? Does it enable us to live in prosperity?
To push myself out of my unpleasant zone and lead my life I kept Margaret Thatcher’s words at the back of my mind. I allowed them to echo constantly to awake the giant in me. “Watch your thoughts for they become words. Watch your habits for they become your character. And watch your character for it becomes your destiny.” My first baby step to lead my life and urge myself to go out of my comfort zone was watching my ‘thoughts’. I was both shocked and choked. Though people used to praise me for my professional and personal successes I was blaming, scolding and torturing myself. I belittled it and was telling it that I will never be able to make further successes. I was about to turn forty which, from my perception, meant that I will start to become weaker, less energetic, less productive, less creative, less successful and less beautiful. These were my thoughts that Thatcher demanded me to watch. Awful and sad discovery by then.
This discovery forced me to slow down and study the quote. My thoughts will form my ‘destiny’. Which meant that I will, truly, start getting weak, less beautiful and my success curve will start to go down. I thought of my grandmother who was in her eighties and who was spending her last thirty years staying in bed watching television and chatting over the phone. She was more than double my age which meant I could live more than what I had lived. And? And if I allow myself to live with these weak thoughts I will end mostly like her. My question to myself was: “Are you ready to live as a weak person for decades?” This became my most dominant thought; that getting older means getting weaker and become helpless.
After weeks of watching my thoughts I started to quality control them. I reminded myself with the great role models who had blasting success stories while they were above their forties. Stephen R. Covey, Robin Sharma, Lisa Nichols, Oprah Winfrey and many others. I admired Nelson Mandela’s story and how, not only he watched his thoughts, yet, he nurtured and empowered them till his destiny became the President for South Africa. Forties became for me the beginning of a new life, of adventures, accomplishments and meaningful contributions. I departed my comfort zone and blowed it up. I started to scribble my novel and a month after my forty first birthday I was awarded as a Success Story among the community of Passion to Profit; people living with passion.
Thatcher and Mandela became two of my close friends who salut me every morning, tapping on my shoulder and asking me to lead my thoughts.