Life Begins at the End of Your Comfort Zone… or Does It?
Are you the kind of person that finds even the idea of adventure a little too adventurous? Is your rut too comfortable to dig yourself out of, even if you could be bothered to find a spade? Then you’ll love these ideas for staying put, staying safe, staying inside and staying as you are. Don’t believe those people who tell you life begins at the end of your comfort zone. You can live a life inside it. If you want to. Do you recognise anything of yourself or your loved ones in this guide to how not to live a life of adventure?
The comfort bubble: How not to have an adventure
Sometimes I wonder if it might be easier for Richard Branson to realise his plans of a holiday home on the moon than for me to get my kids out on a walk. And every time I suggest my family is getting into a Sunday afternoon rut, they all raise their eyebrows and give me a look of pity.
Am I out of sync with the world? Are we hard wired differently now? Has challenge and adrenalin seeking gone out of fashion? Has interactivity taken the place of activity? Are some people just not built to adventure? If there was a downloadable life app would some people never get out of bed at all? It sometimes seems that way to me.
I don’t want an adventure-lite existence. It would drive me crazy. I want an adventure everyday. But if you want to live a life devoid of it here’s some suggestions for how to succeed…
1 Stick to your routines
Creating and sticking to routines makes life efficient, predictable and easier to deal with. Routines save time and reduce anxiety. You know what to expect, don’t have to think much or waste time learning new things. Routines make life slick and predictable. So go the same way to work, shop in the same shops, sit in the same seats, stick at the same job, follow familiar recipes, mix with the same old people. Stick to your routines. Always. No exceptions.
2 Live life through your gadgets
Modern technology enables us to experience the world in the most incredible ways without ever getting up, going out or speaking to another person face to face. Embrace these technologies fully and use them first and foremost as your means of experiencing, interacting and dealing with the world. Let your screen be your window on the world. Let your finger be your interface. Live life fully through your gadgets and venture out only when you absolutely have to.
3 Say ‘No’ to anything new
Haven’t you got enough on your plate without trying anything new? Saying ‘yes’ may sound a cool and positive life strategy but let’s be honest, it comes at a cost. If it’s not money, then it’s probably going to take time out of your diary, mean another commitment, involve extra responsibility or require effort or energy. And there’s only 24 hours in a day and so much energy to give. Better to conserve it. Say yes perhaps to a glass of wine, a quiet night in, a meal with old friends, but no to anything else. And mean it.
4 Tread the path most travelled
Forget all that road less travelled nonsense. A well trodden path is well trodden for a reason; it goes somewhere people actually want to go, often more quickly and efficiently than the alternatives. So don’t be tempted by the back-roads, ignore those unmarked paths, wild trail-less spaces and go where the people go. The people you already know of course.
5 Don’t talk to strangers
Your parents probably warned you about strangers. If not then hopefully the media will have done a good job. I’m not one to scaremonger, usually, but there’s probably no smoke without fire eh? The danger with strangers is not so much that they might harm you, but they can challenge your worldview, contradict you, invite you to do something different. It’s challenging, uncomfortable, pointless, best avoided. Stick with those you know. It really is for the best.
6 Rest on your laurels
You already are what you have achieved so far, so relax, there’s no need to stretch yourself further. Rest on your laurels, bask in your former achievements and know that whatever happens, no-one can take them away from you. (Unless you did them on drugs). Surely better to bask in the glory of former achievements than to try something new and fail.
7 Stick inside your comfort zone
Living in your comfort zone is safe, familiar, warm, fuzzy and undemanding. It takes time to create a comfy home like this and once you’ve got one, why would you ever want to step outside it? Don’t believe those who tell you that life begins at the end of your comfort zone. You can live a very comfy life inside it.
8 Do not gamble
This hardly needs saying. It should be one of the ten commandments. Do not gamble. On anything. Not even the lottery.
9 Know that you know best
We all know other people can be a great source of advice, ideas, wisdom and inspiration but how sure can you be that their ideas will work for you? After all who knows you best? You do. I’m not suggesting we should ignore or distrust other people, rather take what they say with a pinch of salt. Watch what they do with casual interest, listen politely to their ideas and suggestions, show enough interest in their hobbies and pastimes to maintain a relationship, and be circumspect when they try to influence you. Then stick to what you know.
10 Stick to the rules
Rules are there for a reason. All of them; the laws of the land laid down for you, the cultural norms of the groups and communities you are part of, and the hundreds of personal rules you have made up for yourself. Rules, like routines, help things run smoothly so why challenge them? Especially those personal ones. An intelligent person made them and it would be ridiculous to examine them or change your mind. Life an unexamined life. That way you can’t fail.
So there you go. Ten easy ways to keep adventure and spontaneity at bay. If adventure is always calling, then rest assured you do not have to answer it. Even if it bangs on your door. Or follows you to Tesco. With a megaphone. You can ignore it. And it gets easier with time. In fact in years to come, all you’ll need to do is turn down your hearing aid.
Did you recognise anything of yourself in there? Or your friends or family? If you did and you like it that way, then I’m happy for you. Really. But know there is another way. And it’s never too late to change. In ways little or large. I believe adventurers aren’t born, they’re made. Self-made, through the choices they make day to day, and over time. If you see something of yourself in this list (and to be honest there’s more of me in there than you might think) then don’t be afraid to step away from the duvet and come join me. I’ll probably be somewhere in the great outdoors. Looking for something more. Unless it’s a Sunday.