“Courage is being scared to death and saddling up anyway” -John Wayne.
I discovered something odd about myself the other day. I examined other test subjects (coworkers, I mean) and found a similar phenomenon among them.
I am well aware that my life contains comfort zones. We all have them—protective bubbles of familiar tasks, people, places and viewpoints. What I hadn’t considered was that comfort zones might contain uncomfortable things.
I just completed a training program for a job at a large manufacturing facility. For two weeks I sat through presentations and worked in a lab. But the bulk of our time was spent reading Standard Operation Procedures (SOP’s). These give step-by-step instructions for every mundane detail of factory life—all in highly technical language. Often they were for machines or procedures I had never heard of.
I’m sure you can imagine how ‘exciting’ that was.
The odd thing was that because I was afraid to go work on the plant floor, which was part of the program, I began to look forward to the safety of SOP reading. There were no new people. There were no surprises—just me and the other two girls. Boring as heck, but comfortable (the SOP’s, not the girls).
Pathetic, right? It makes me wonder what other circumstances I’m accepting in life—boring, unedifying or harmful as they are—because they’re comfortable. Maybe it’s unpleasant but it’s familiar unpleasantness. Like: “Oh, I don’t mind living paycheque to paycheque. At least my bills are paid.” Or “I don’t mind being fat. I dress well so I still look good.”
It may be fear, apathy or plain laziness. But whatever my reason for staying in the comfort zone, once the pain of staying there becomes greater than the pain of changing, I’ll change. Hence, the second job. And often you won’t be able to stay in that zone forever. My employer sure didn’t let me stay in training. I’m on the plant floor now, like it or not.
So if our comfort zones are actually uncomfortable, and if others might force us out of them anyway, shouldn’t we root out these little islands of complacency ourselves? Or, if you’re a person of faith, why not let God work on these parts of our lives instead of dragging our heels?
Just a little something to think about. I’ll be thinking about it too–as I’m working on the plant floor.