The Days of Futures Past

This week’s article focuses on the subject of comfort … specifically as it relates to how we let it affect our life, in general. So the question would be “How comfortable are you with the life you’re living?” But before we delve into this, let’s differentiate between that which is comfortable and that which is familiar

When we speak of something that’s familiar, I interpret this simply as something that repeats throughout our life so often that we’ve become accustomed to it. To put it another way, familiar can often just be ‘the devil we know.’

On the other hand, to me comfortable is something that is far more than familiar – it’s something that’s been evaluated and found to be acceptable, pleasurable or otherwise desirable. We can be familiar with something, even if it’s unpleasant … and we can still be decidedly un-comfortable with it.

Do You Believe In Your Own Potential?

So … it seems that many of us have a tendency to cling to our comforts. We like them ­– they make us feel safe and secure, and­ maybe even successful. But is this fact or fiction? Comforts can also become extremely self-limiting, and can actually prevent us from growing – particularly if that growth requires us to actually give up some of those comforts.

Comforts can lull us into a false sense of security, encouraging us to reject anything that resembles risk. But with never risking anything, we can easily fall into a rut … and the by-product of a rut can often be fear. This fear can take root, and before we know it, we see it being attached to things that were once part of our daily processes or activities – we become fearful of any kind of change; of making bad decisions; or of not living up to our dreams. So we instead abandon these things in exchange for … that old devil called comfortable.

Comforts Can Become Stifling …

As we live from day to day, we obviously mature and evolve. But in order to do this evolving, we typically have to make room in our paradigm for new ideas, new experiences, new insights or wisdoms. How shall we identify which thoughts or beliefs can be replaced with updated ones? And what happens when we encounter unexpected internal resistance to updates that could potentially deliver tremendous benefits to our life, but we’re conflicted because we’ve become entrenched in our comfort zone?  

I’m not trying to give comforts a bad name … I enjoy my comforts as much as the next person. But it’s important to also realize that if we’re going to create a life of purpose and meaning – that life we’ve always dreamed of – we have to make sure our paradigm is up to date and accurately reflects and supports those desires. And in order to do that, we have to project those dreams into our future, rather than always clinging to the safety of our past. So, how open are you to embracing the wondrous possibilities of tomorrow?

How Willing Are You To Grow?

Nobody would begin construction on a new house without a blueprint to work from. Neither should we expect to build our best life without a plan. So, how are you preparing your path forward? Have you set goals? Do you know what comforts can be risked or sacrificed? What encouragement do you offer yourself daily to build up your confidence, strengthen your determination, and nurture your self-esteem?

We don’t need all the answers at once. We still have to allow our futures to develop, but we must also remember to acknowledge our progress. And even with all this, the most important ingredient in this strategy is to be kind and loving to ourselves as we move forward – patiently, forgiving ourselves when we falter – after all, we are only human.

I recently read that “… Just like in the eye of the storm, there is always comfort in chaos. Becoming aware of this, however, is your responsibility.”  I think that sums it up rather nicely!

… as you consider this, remember to always focus on the Good Things in Life!

Posted in Things To Ponder ... permalink

About Lily-Ann MacDonald

Lily-Ann MacDonald is a fully-trained Certified Life Coach and author, whose engaging articles encourage readers to reconsider their perspective on a wide range of personal growth and social development topics. Her comfortable narrative puts the reader at ease, while giving them food for thought. To find out more about how to work with her, visit http://stepoutofthemist.com and get better acquainted.

Comments

The Days of Futures Past — 30 Comments

  1. Hi Lily-Ann,

    Moving outside of the boxes of comfort zones is a challenge for sure. However, nothing ventured, nothing gained … good stuff on the page!

    As we move steadily toward 2014, this reminder of releasing to receive is timely as we begin to ponder what kind of New Years resolutions we will set in play for ourselves … will it be variations of the same themes or will we find the courage to right a new chapter with a different theme?

    Thanks for making me say, um!
    Lyndah

    • Hi, Lyndah …

      Ahh … New Years Resolutions!! I guess we’re approaching that time again, aren’t we? Time to reflect on how many of our 2013 objectives we were able to achieve, time to realign our intentions with any course corrections our path has brought upon us over the many months. For me, it’s been a year of many changes, so I expect to be deeply immersed in reflection on this past year … and fully engaged in embracing what newly comes my way.

      I’ve definitely stepped outside my comfort zone on numerous fronts, so it will be interesting to see how it all balances out in the final analysis. Here’s hoping I’m able to draw lots of good energy onto my path … and I would wish that for you, as well.

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts here …

      Namaste,
      /L.

  2. I just tweeted a quote by Danielle LaPorte that I feel fits into this nicely:
    “Take back your power, own your choices, make new ones if it’s time.”

    With this, I interpret it as, if things aren’t working for you right now, it may be time to make new choices about those things. And they might be choices that are out of your comfort zone. If you don’t make new choices though, is anything ever going to change?

    Thanks for this thought provoking post Lily-Ann!

    • Hi, Phillipa …

      I like that quote – concise and to the point … and exactly in accord with my own thoughts on the subject! And another one that I quite like is … em>”If nothing changes, nothing changes …” It’s a slogan that has resonated with me for many years, and really can help to crystallize the need for change when someone is being resistant. Pretty hard to refute the logic behind it, anyway …

      Thanks for dropping by and leaving a comment …

      Namaste,
      /L.

  3. Great stuff. Only a short distance between an comfort zone and a rut and the same again between a rut and a grave!

    Thankyou for the timely reminder . . . . . . :)

    • Hi, Kate …

      Wow – what a stark relational observation you make here! But spot on, in my view … because at some point – probably without us even being aware – we transition from comfort to rut, and find ourselves wondering why this feeling of discontent has been steadily creeping up on us. And as for your second relational observation, I guess that one may have to be considered an angelic retrospective …

      The truth is, because life is already so comparatively short, we should feel at least some sort of urgency to shake off the dust of our complacency and climb our way out of any ruts we may find ourselves in. We don’t need to unveil the entire plan at once but, from my experience, just taking that first baby-step outside our comfort zone can be completely exilharating … and that can encourage more baby-steps, which can eventually turn into full strides of momentum … until before we know it, we’ve completed that paradigm shift with far less pain than we ever thought possible.

      Thanks for dropping by and leaving your comment … I hope to see you again!

      Namaste,
      /L.

  4. I’m a firm believer in taking risks, stepping outside your comfort zone in order to achieve success or really anything worth working for. It was hard for me to do when I was younger, in my 20s. As I’m slowly making my way to 40 though, I’m really starting to feel like take hold and I’m not going to waste a second of it “being comfortable”. Thanks for the inspiration this morning!

    • Hi, Misty …

      I think you’ve got the right idea … and I bet that as your years go by, this sense of urgency will become more prominent, and your determination to pack sixty seconds into every minute will grow even stronger. That’s how it’s been for me, anyway – I’m very willing to ‘spend’ time doing things that are meaningful to me … but I’m not willing to ‘waste’ time doing things that are pointless. Yet when I was much younger, I think I must have had those opposites mixed up! But I’m clear on them now, and thank goodness for that – and it sounds like you are, too!

      And with that in mind, I hope you’ve had a very productive day … 😉

      Namaste,
      /L.

  5. What a wonderful post! I find the concepts and self-reflections encouraging and growth provoking. I can totally relate to the discussion of familiar and comfortable. Many times I find myself in a ‘rut’, as I call it. Food rut, exercise rut, business rut, etc. Doing the same thing over and over because it’s easy and familiar. But it is not growth provoking and in fact becomes tedious and irritating. That’s when I find I am ready and willing for a change. When the familiar has become a nuisance. Thanks for a wonderful article. I really enjoyed it!

    • Hi, Elizabeth …

      It seems that there can be a rut for just about every occasion, don’t you find? Doesn’t really matter what the category, ruts are indeed tedious and irritating. And they are almost always a by-product of becoming comfortable … or worse, complacent. So when it becomes more painful to stay stuck than it is to take action, we will suddenly find the motivation we need to take those first steps towards creating our paradigm shift. Until then, most of us will personify the Einstein quote about doing the same thing over and over, while expecting a different result – he called it insanity … to me that that might be a bit of an overstatement, but for sure, it can be at least crazy making

      I like your point that when familiar has become a nuisance, you find you are ready and willing for a change – that is a tidy way of expressing it! Familiarity is only slightly less seductive that becoming comfortable, when considering barriers to dynamic personal growth. I do find that the familiar becomes tedious more quickly, but if I do fall prey to it, I’m no less stuck than if I was entrenched in my comfort zone – although probably a lot more cranky.

      I appreciate you taking the time to stop by and leave a comment …

      Namaste,
      /L.

  6. It is quite difficult for me to step out of my comfort zone. It is something that I am really trying to work on at the moment. Easier said than done! But hopefully, bit by bit, I can inch my way out of my comfort zone and release my full potential. I think the key is to do something everyday that is out of your comfort zone. Push the limits a bit more everyday and soon your little comfort bubble will be destroyed. Great article!

    • Hi, Timothy …

      I think it’s difficult for most of us to step out of our comfort zone, so you’re not alone there. But I also think your approach will net you a great result … there’s no need to do it all at once. Baby steps are quite acceptable in the beginning – you’ll naturally take bigger steps as you learn to trust your own instincts and judgements. Extending your limits a bit more each day is a great way to support personal growth … it allows you the ability to closely monitor your progress, and also affords you the chance to make any course corrections that become apparent. It’s always easier to make incremental changes than to undergo a massive overhaul …

      Thanks so much for your comments … I hope you’ll stop by again.

      Namaste,
      /L.

  7. I so agree that many people go through life without a plan and therefore never reach their full potential. To achieve anything, you must have a goal, a course of action, and a timeline. Naturally, all great plans are notified along the way, that’s how we know we are making progress.
    Thanks!

    • Hi, Marilyn …

      Quite right – most of us go through life in a state of ‘reaction’ rather than ‘proaction’ … I prefer the latter, myself. If we don’t have a goal, how are we ever going to reach one? Even if we start out with small, achievable goals to practice on, we can learn how to effectively create and execute a plan that allows us to reach them. This doesn’t come naturally to some of us – especially if we’ve never been exposed to the concept of proaction. But these are learnable skills, and will become more automatic as we awaken to the fact that we have a great deal of influence on how our life turns out … it’s all dependent on our choices, our decisions and our values.

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts here …

      Namaste,
      /L.

  8. Great post and a great reminder to be mindful of what we hold as comfortable versus familiar. I love your quote, “… Just like in the eye of the storm, there is always comfort in chaos. Becoming aware of this, however, is your responsibility.”

    • Hi, Carrie …

      Thanks for stopping by … it’s always nice to hear from you.

      In terms of allowing ourselves to grow and evolve, both the comfortable and the familiar can represent a barrier to achieving our goal – but as long as we can identify that we are creating our own roadblocks to success, the solution may become fairly easy. We just have to learn to trust our instincts, and be open to exploring the art of the possible.

      Life is such an awesome adventure, there is no good reason to settle for less than the very most we can make of it …

      Namaste,
      /L.

  9. There is so much food for thought in what you say. Sometimes we hide behind that which is familiar. Often we are brave enough to come out of hiding — usually either because we were forced out or we became too uncomfortable — only to crash into the limit of a comfort zone. Isn’t it interesting the way life works as it nudges us forward. Sometimes this can be kicking and screaming and yet somehow we manage.

    Thanks for a great article. You made terrific points!

    • Hi, Rochelle …

      Kicking and screaming – that paints a vivid picture of how some people respond to change, for sure. But you’re quite right … eventually, the inevitability of change demands that we leave our comfort zone, and we can do this the hard way or, more preferred, the easy way – because when change is upon us, we more often are left with only those two choices.

      Having worked many years for the government, I recognized that change and change management issues were constant … and that resistance was, indeed, futile. I watched many people metaphorically swim against the current for months and months – all in vain, of course. And the emotional upheaval they put themselves through during that time was actually painful to watch. That’s the worst part about being entrenched in a comfort zone while functioning in an change-prevalent environment: people lose their emotional equilibrium, and are no longer able to be rational about the reality of their situation.

      Yet, as you point out, most of us do make it through relatively intact. Our incredible human spirit allows us to be far more resilient than we might ever have guessed possible – so much so that we wonder what we were so afraid of, once we’ve successfully navigated the change that was once so overwhelming. Still, it feels very threatening and real at the time.

      Kicking and screaming notwithstanding, personal growth is so much easier when we embrace it as part of the adventure of Life … don’t you think?

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts …

      Namaste,
      /L.

  10. Hi Lily-Ann,

    What a beautiful reminder to us all of how important it is to acknowledge ourselves. Without this acknowledgment we don’t realize how much progress we have made and can potentially end up giving up on ourselves.

    I find when challenging ourselves it extremely crucial to acknowledge our milestones with a gift – this could be anything you find valuable as a way of saying, “I did it!” I don’t mean, necessarily, we have to spend money when I say gift – but it could be a treat to a museum with a friend – or an afternoon off to spend time doing what you love – anything that fills and nurtures you.

    Thank you for this,

    Dawn

    • Hi, Dawn …

      I’m a great advocate of self-acknowledgement and personal nurturing … so I completely agree with you. Not only does it allow us an opportunity to take stock of our progress, it associates a positive reinforcement to offset whatever level of discomfort or sacrifice we experienced in the pursuit of that milestone. This helps to train our subconscious mind that we do have the courage to step out of our comfort zone without the sky falling in on us. And closely monitoring our progress also affords us the ability to course correct more efficiently if we do drift a bit.

      Some of my most meaningful ‘rewards’ didn’t cost me a penny, but their dividends were so much more valuable than anything money could buy – because my confidence was strengthened, my self-esteem boosted, and my determination was elevated upon achieving each milestone along the path to my overall objective. With a background in Project Management, I learned very early in the game that establishing milestones is critical – and that celebrating them one by one is almost an operational imperative. And, for me, there can be no Project more worthy of my attention than creating a life that aligns with my aspirations.

      I’m glad you stopped by and shared your comment … I appreciate your perspective.

      Namaste,
      /L.

  11. Today was a day about changes and how uncomfortable that makes us. My daughter has autism and quite a bit of support through community organizations. Two of her support staff let us know they will be leaving within the 2 weeks ahead.
    One has been a key member of our team for about 4 years now, so this is a big blow!

    • Hi, Jenn …

      Wow … that’s some kind of day! Talk about being jettisoned out of your comfort zone – that’s an awful lot to contend with on such short notice. I have several friends who have autistic children in their respective families, and I have an appreciation for how important itis to have a routine for providing emotional equilibrium for their kids. So I’m guessing you have some intense days ahead, while your daughter learns to adjust to new members of her care team. Be of stout heart, Jenn … there’s nothing you can do but go through it. Things might turn out better than you think …

      Still, while this transition is in the volatile stage, please remember to also make time for your own emotional equilibrium. Without knowing the level of her functioning ability, I would still suspect your daughter will be sensitive to the vibes she’s picking up from you. So make sure to include yourself when sorting out your priorities.

      Wishing you strength, patience, and peace …

      Namaste,
      /L.

  12. Clinging to the “comfortable” things in life has kept me stagnant for far too long. That’s why this year I stepped outside the comfort zone and tried different things – video for one.

    Podcasting for two and now product creation for three. :) I’m slowly getting over the fear and doing it afraid because without moving past the comfort, I am unable to grow as an entrepreneur.

    • Hi, Bonnie …

      Yes, in many cases, comfortable IS just another synonym for stagnant, isn’t it? So I know exactly what you mean. But you have done some remarkable things this year and you should be very satisfied with your breakthroughs. You have established yourself as an influencer of a great many people – like those of us who interact with you in these Groups, for example.

      You may still be pushing through your comfort limits and fears, but to many of us, you already present as an expert in Social Media … and we look up to you as a guiding light. I hope that your business is reflecting this progress in a tangible way …

      Thanks for taking the time to post your comment here …

      Namaste,
      /L.

    • Hi, Milan …

      Good summary re: comfort zone vs safety zone. I hadn’t thought of it that way, but it’s a completely appropriate analogy. Thanks for pointing it out!

      Namaste,
      /L.

  13. thanks for a great post, lily-ann. i’ve been pushing myself out of my comfort zone in crazy ways since my family and i became global nomads earlier this year! it’s been such an interesting experience – full of richness and chaos and adventure and frustration and education and exhaustion. (and i wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world!)

    • Hi, April …

      Well, I’ve never been a global nomad … it would certainly exceed my comfort level, I must say. But if you’ve been managing for the better part of a year, it sounds like your comfort zone has been willing to expand to keep up with your adventure. Good for you!! I have a number of friends who have taken to the road for extended periods of time – maybe not a year, but for several months. They, too, have learned and grown tremendously from their experience – and I’m sure it was similarly challenging, as well.

      Maybe you’ll feel inspired to write about your travels at some point – I can only imagine you’d have so many very interesting stories to tell. I`d love to read about some of them, so if you ever do that, please let me know?

      Meanwhile, thanks for taking the time to read this article and to leave a comment. I hope you and your family enjoy the rest of your adventure.

      Namaste,
      /L.

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