When you really think about it, we spend a lot of our lives preparing for things, and trying to plan out how we will spend the rests of our lives. We can divide our lives into two sections; the time spent preparing, and talking about doing things, and the time spent doing those things.
Let me give an example. I am fifteen years old, and attend high school. High school is preparing me for post-secondary school, and that is preparing me for my job. Would my job be considered time spent preparing, or doing?
It depends. If my job is something that I love doing, then it would be time spent doing. But if I didn’t necessarily love my job, then it would be planning. I don’t mean to say that all jobs entail planning; but rather, if you are not doing a job that you enjoy, then you are most likely working that job to earn money, which you most likely need to pay for food, shelter, and other necessities. So really, a job you don’t enjoy is simply a means of preparing yourself for the future, even if the future is tomorrow.
Time spent preparing is time used to prepare for actually doing something, such as studying in preparation for writing a test, or cleaning your house in preparation for having family over. And all of that is fine; life would be incredibly chaotic if no one prepared for anything (can you imagine?).
The trouble is that some people spend their whole lives preparing for or talking about something that never ends up happening. For example, imagine someone who works at a job they don’t enjoy, simply to earn money. Most of that money is used for purchasing things, and if there is any left over, it is saved up. Perhaps this person has aspirations of travelling the world, or starting their own business. The money they have saved up over a period of time could be used for that.
But even when their piggy bank begins to overflow, they don’t book a plane or use the money, because they are comfortable in the routine that they are in. They have found their comfort zone, and they might not be happy at their job – in fact, they might be downright miserable! However, they’ve been doing their job for so long, they’ve convinced themselves that venturing out of their comfort zone, and stopping preparing and actually doing something, is not a good idea.
I think this is something that we can all relate to. In some way, we have all found our comfort zones, in preparing ourselves for bigger and better things. This can apply to anything, from simply preparing to make a big decision, or change in your life. If this sounds familiar, then ask yourself this question: have you stopped preparing, and began doing?
If you have, then congratulations! You are probably reading this with a smile on your face, because you know exactly what I am talking about. You are a living testimonial to the fact that stepping out of your comfort zone is a good thing.
If you haven’t, what are you waiting for?! Life is unpredictable, and it is for that very reason that you should spend it doing what you love, and not just planning to do what you love.
Yes, your comfort zone is, well, comfortable, hence the name! Yes, stepping out of it can be scary. And yes, that risk doesn’t always pay off. But if you don’t try, how will you know?
If you are spending your time planning and preparing to leave your comfort zone, and then hesitating to actually leave it, then think about this: there are only two possible outcomes.
One, you fail. All of the time and effort you put into your preparations was wasted, and your dreams are crushed. But you know what? You tried. And because you tried, you can’t even call this a “failure”. At first, you might be devastated. Grab some tissues, and cry your heart out. When the box of tissues run out, take a moment to reflect.
More often than not, mistakes and so-called-failures mask important lessons that can be learned about yourself. And if you do happen to do some self-discovery, then this endeavour was most definitely not a failure. Sure, you didn’t end up with the end result you wanted; but maybe, just maybe, you got the end result you needed.
Of course, failure is not final. Keep trying, and you never know; you might just fit into the second possible outcome, which is succeeding!
First of all, congratulations. You stepped outside of your comfort zone, and your preparations paid off. You spent time planning; now you get to spend time doing. Your journey doesn’t end here, though, because if you spend all of your time doing, then guess what? Doing whatever it happens to be that you’re doing will become your new comfort zone.
And then when you think about challenging yourself, and expanding your horizons even further, you are going to be faced with the same problem as you conquered earlier; take the risk, or stay in the comfort zone?
The good news is, once you’ve become comfortable stepping out of your comfort zone, you will become a master of balancing planning and doing. Because really, like a lot of things in life, it is a cycle. The cycle can go different ways, depending on your willingness to take risks.
So, the next time you are preparing for your future, take a step back and ask yourself; have I done enough planning? Is it time to take Sherina’s advice, and leave my comfort zone?
More likely than not, the answer will be yes.
Thanks for reading! I would love to hear from you; have you ever stepped out of your comfort zone before? Was it worth it? Let me know in the comments!