Your Comfort Zone Is Killing You

I can’t take credit for saying you need to get busy living or accept the fact that you are busy dying but I can say I agree with the sentiment.

Ask me what I mean by it and we might have a long conversation about how short our lives are and how long it takes for some of us to figure out what we really want to do with our lives.

It might even turn into the sort of conversation where we both choose to take it beyond the surface and really engage or maybe not.


Lately it feels like 89.5% of the people I speak with tell me how busy they are in a way that makes it clear no one else could possibly be because they just aren’t as important.

I don’t think they intend to be rude but I don’t think they recognize how they always try to one up you with their tales of what has them running from place to place.

Sometimes when they poke my inner curmudgeon hard enough I’ll point out how much of their busy lives exist because of the choices they make and not because that is just how life is.

What Are You Doing With Your Time?

Every time I walk away from one of these conversations I wonder what would happen if you asked these people to account for their time.

I don’t mean in the sense of logging where they were and how long they were there for but questioning what they are getting out of racing from place to place.

Are they ever present where they are or are they always focused on figuring out how to make it to the next very important stop.

It is the kind of question you have to phrase carefully because it is the kind of thing that makes people respond from a defensive and not thoughtful position.

When I have had the odd discussion about this people have told me they like being busy and that it makes them feel productive.

That may be true but sometimes what I hear is “don’t take me out of my comfort zone.”

I understand that because I am by nature a creature of habit and for years I did my best not to leave my comfort zone unless I had to.

Some years ago circumstances forced me to take a harder look at how I liked to do things and I realized I had to change.

Had to change because my comfort zone was killing me.

Life Is About Experiences

I don’t mean I was dying in a literal sense of the word because unless I am the victim of very bad luck I have no reason to believe I don’t have another 50, 60 or maybe even 80 years.

What I recognized then was that the best part of life was framed around experiences and creating moments in time that I would always remember.

And while I was lucky to have already collected an enormous amount I looked around and felt like my opportunity to continue had at best stagnated and that was intolerable.

So I climbed out of the comfort zone, looked around and decided I could figure out how to make things work for me outside of it.

It was hard at first but the longer I stayed outside of the bubble the more comfortable I became with being out there and the less comfortable I became with putting myself in a position again where I only stayed within it.

Now I look back sometimes and shake my head at opportunities I passed upon because I let fear of stepping outside of that warm place prevent me from seeing what could happen.

For Me & For The Kids

Now when I look at where life is going and think about the future I am far more conscious of adopting a perspective that includes myself as well as the children.

That is not to say they don’t maintain a position of prominence within the decisions that are made but we have finally reached a place where I can begin to see the outlines of a time when they won’t be living at home any more.

It is a surreal place to be, go back ten years in time and I couldn’t begin to really believe that one day the house would be child free.

But that was then and this is now.

Look ten years into the future and I am just a guy in his fifties who in theory has become an empty nester.

So the plan is to do what I can to maintain and or improve my health and provide a financial foundation that allows me to take advantage of the opportunities that come when you don’t have to think about where the best schools and neighborhoods are for families.

Or maybe it is better expressed as for now the plan is to work on doing things that improve our ability to have more experiences together as a family and to help them reach a place where they don’t let their comfort zone keep them from going after opportunities to have experiences they might not otherwise have.

The real trick is figuring out the best way to make it all happen. I am not particularly worried about it, I have some ideas and am already working on turning them into reality.

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  1. jens June 22, 2015 at 3:38 am

    Hey Josh,

    I can relate to this. I do my best to have experiences with my kids as well. And, I schedule new things to happen each week. I actually use my calendar and add when we’ll be doing things together. I try to be creative and find new things that we haven’t been doing together before.

    • Joshua June 22, 2015 at 9:29 am

      Hi Jens,

      It is funny, but I never thought about using the calendar to pencil in time for them but it makes sense to me. It is not because I am too busy to do stuff with them, but it might be a way to help stimulate more thought about things we could do that we haven’t tried before.

  2. tim June 21, 2015 at 8:37 am

    I live in a nice comfy comfort zone. Being at home all day is gradually eroding my ambition.

    My kids are still heavily dependent on me. I look forward to the day they’re less so but don’t want to rush through things either.

    My problem at the minute is I’m busy but I waste so much time doing stuff. That’s all I can call it, stuff. I’m a man without a plan.

    So to get to my next destination, I need to make a plan and get out of this comfy existence I’ve made for myself.

    It’s not going to happen overnight but at least I realise I’m stuck in a rut.

  3. Larry June 18, 2015 at 6:23 pm

    I hear you about people being busy. It’s always like, I’m soooo busy. How do they even stand? On a personal note, I have to push out of the comfort zone. I’m throwing up too many no’s these days.

    • Joshua June 19, 2015 at 8:35 am

      How do they even stand? That made me laugh.

      It is easy to get caught in that zone, but with some ‘practice’ I think we find our way out.

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