14 March 2016

What to do before you leave your comfort zone

Via: "Lost in Space" (source)

Look closely at that picture above. Enlarge it. Click it. 
Can you see where your home is? Can you see where mine is?

You can't. This is the vast and expanding universe. A depiction of it. From a far travelled distance.

To be able to have this view of this magnitude, you must travel out of your comfort zone (your home) and beyond. Far into the distance. You will see things. Many things. You will have a better overview of anything around you as compared to anyone else who haven't been as far as you have. You may still have contact with home but the farther out you go the more unpredictable and complicated making contact becomes. The voices start to crack, distort or disappear. 

If you don't remember how you got to this point, then you might not know how to get back to where you came from. And then there will be silence as you find your way back home. And you either find it, or accept the fact that this entire space you have has now become your home - your new comfort zone. Bigger, heavier, quieter and emptier. All the better for you… to fill.

This is why it's hard for any normal human being to leave his/her comfort zone: because like travelling interstellar, you will always end up alone.

Is the comfort zone worth leaving?
Yes, if you feel so safe that you are suffocating in life. If you need space to even breathe. If you have been silently screaming inside. If you need to grow and fly and build a dream you have always been envisioning. 
No, if where you are right now is making you feel uncertain, insecure or anxious (it means you probably are already outside of your comfort zone). 

How do I know if I should leave my comfort zone?
You should do it when the first thing that comes to your mind when you think about it is how afraid and uncertain you feel about stepping out into the unknown. Afraid of leaving your comfort zone? Good. You're ready.

What do I need to know before I leave my comfort zone?
Here comes the fun part. Here are nine things you should have in mind before you decide to leave your comfort zone:
  • Take what your soul needs: a journal to write in, some kind of connection to home (or someone at home), your faith and beliefs if you like, and your strongest of memories.
  • Directions: Where exactly are you going? How far do you want to go?
  • Accommodation: Do you know where you are going to stay? I don't mean this just literally. I mean this metaphorically as well. Do you have a place to stay? Does your mind/soul have a place to stay?
  • Have someone to accompany you whether in person or from afar: You're going on this journey alone, but you don't have to go through it alone. There will be days, weeks, months and years when you are going to have no one to talk to. So you wouldn't want to take a simple message for granted from a person, out there someone, maybe in another country, another time, another space, who is thinking of you right this very moment wishing you well.
  • Prepare for shock: Shocks are going to happen very frequently once you're out of your comfort zone. Shocks are signs that you are entering the panic zone. If you're a hardcore 'traveller' like me, then you will not give in to shocks. But be mindful of yourself: shocks are capable of crippling and damaging you. You either adapt - fast - or die. But do not ignore them. Shocks are a sign that if you are not ready to adapt, turn around and go back.
  • Activate defence mechanisms: In many new situations you might find yourself either personally, verbally or physically assaulted. And in many other situations you might find yourself out of place - literally not fitting in into any shape, form or design. You will know once you feel or become rejected. And you thought you should let down your guard but that was a mistake. And you become hurt and find yourself at the lowest of the low. When you are down there, do me one favour: rebuild your fences as you rise. These will become your new boundaries. And then show the new world, who you let in and who you leave out. Choose consciously.
  • Don't go too far: You venture out and you might notice how addicting it becomes. You think you have grown, you think you are far better off now than you were before when you were home and safe, you think you know more, you think you know better. Well stop for awhile and reflect: Remember who you really are.
  • Contact your family, your friends, your relatives back home: You are proud that you are making your journey far and wide on your own. But once in awhile, contact those familiar voices at home. You will need to hear them again. And you will long to hear them again. They are your directions back home if you were to lose your way. A door that will always remain open, if you decide to come back one day. And you will long to come back one day and that's okay.
  • Come back: You have been away for so long and you decide how long you want to stay out of your comfort zone. But once in awhile look back at the distance you have left behind. Look how far you have come. Remember the way you came. Because coming back doesn't mean you can never venture out again. It means you can venture out again next time: even further than you have ever gone.

How do I know if I have gone far enough?
The thing about leaving your comfort zone is: once you do it, you wouldn't want to stop. Once you leave it you will realize that magic happens. Once you are out, you're out and that moment of freedom is that one thing that will grab you by the throat and make you carry on. The beauty of it all is: you can go in any direction you want and need to. And you decide when to turn around. So I don't know how far is far enough. I knew after five consequent years of being outside of my comfort zone: immense homesickness, hairloss (yes, because I'm not getting the same nutrition I'm getting at home) and despair.
So whether or not you've gone far enough is something I cannot say. You'll just know.

What's the point of leaving my comfort zone?
The only reason (for me) for leaving your comfort zone should be to expand your comfort zone. See you probably thought this whole time that I'm talking about leaving your comfort zone because the comfort zone is 'boring'. No, it isn't! Your comfort zone is the REAL place you want to be. But it's up to you, how big it can become.
I wasn't as lucky as some other people with huge mega comfort zones. Mine was small, almost strangling. I felt enchained and encased. I needed space to grow. So I broke away to claim more space. To build new boundaries. The new boundaries of my new (and bigger) comfort zone. My old comfort zone is still there, I just no longer confine myself within those old boundaries because I already built new ones.
The point is to make your comfort zone bigger when you're sick of suffocating in it.


So now you have the tools you need to make your journey a reality.
I wish you courage. Remember who you are. Keep the voices and your strongest memories alive. Memories that make you who you really are.
Remember to come back.

Now go. And tell me stories of your interstellar adventures.


   

2 comments:

  1. Now that you have succesfully left your comfort zone and gave instructions, are you happy with how you are living? Does leaving your comfort zone give you happiness and content to see the world?

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    Replies
    1. The more I think about 'looking for happiness' the more I feel like I am kidding myself, because nothing can give me happiness as long as I have the wrong mindset; regardless of whether or not I left my comfort zone. What this experience has given me though is confidence, wisdom and knowledge... all of which contribute to feeling safe.
      So I feel safe knowing that it doesn't hurt to think and go outside of the box. So there is definitely so much more to see and learn from.

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