33 | 🪤 The comfort zone is a TRAP
That's right. It's a trap. It might feel nice, but it won't get us anywhere.
The mornings are getting darker, and getting out of bed is getting harder.
Which means that any kind of morning habit - going to the gym, morning runs, waking up early - becomes much more difficult.
And who can blame us?
A warm bed in the morning is one of the hardest things to leave.
A warm bed is an immediate comfort, vs the delayed gratification of going to the gym.
Waking up early to go to the gym may not feel great in the short term
But over time, the benefits will stack up.
In many ways, this is a great metaphor for the comfort zone.
Welcome to the Comfort Zone™️
Ahhh the comfort zone. So warm and easy.
In his recent (and excellent) book Before and Laughter, Jimmy Carr says:
A comfort zone is sounds like a soft play area. It's not appropriate for adults. Your comfort zone is no more than a set of self-imposed rules.
Generally speaking, everything falls either inside or outside the comfort zone.
Running, waking up early, learning a new skill - these things are difficult and uncomfortable.
The further out of the comfort zone something is, the more discomfort it causes.
But usually, things outside the comfort zone are good for us.
Inside the comfort zone are things that are easy and have no mental resistance.
There's no discomfort caused by staying up until 1AM playing Call of Duty.
But after a week of these things, I'd feel... the same.
Because there's no growth from staying in the comfort zone.
🎯 Discomfort is the goal, not the thing to be avoided
The more we subject ourselves to discomfort, the happier we get. Meeting people, exercising, trying new things.
And when you look back at these things, it's those things that give you energy.
When you're on a chilled holiday, sitting around, not really doing too much - you start to avoid the interesting stuff, like going on hikes, or visiting new places.
You get lazy and sort of... useless. That's the comfort zone at play.
It's main aim is to get you to avoid discomfort, and stay within its warm reach. Jimmy Carr says:
Your comfort zone is no more than a set of self-imposed rules. They're guidelines, it's what you're used to [...] - they're literally conserving the status quo.
Over time when we stay within our comfort zone, it shrinks even further, and gets harder to leave.
🗺 The comfort zone is a terrible guide
Clearly, the comfort zone is rubbish at telling us what's good for us, and what isn't.
So what's the solution?
Instead of making decisions guided by our comfort zone, Joey Schweitzer from Better Ideas says:
I think you can't go wrong with making value based decisions. Your values. Figure out what kind of person you want to be, what kind of traits you want to adopt, what kind of skills you want to learn, and make your decisions based off that.
Acting like the person you want to be, and being the person you want to be, are the same thing.
He goes on to say:
[...]using your knowledge of the comfort zone, be aware that any potential discomfort in the way of doing the thing that you want to do isn't a real obstacle. It's all in your head.
Living as the people we want to be and ignoring discomfort gives us the lives we want to live.
Once discomfort no longer has a say in how we make decisions, the potential for what can be achieved increases dramatically.
New job / side hustle
Physical growth - fitness, aesthetics, ability
Mental growth - learning new skills, confidence
Expanding our network - meeting new people, potential significant other
And here's the secret:
After a while, these things get easier, and the comfort zone grows to meet us.
These previously uncomfortable things become part of everyday life.
So remember this next time when you're in your warm bed, it's cold and dark outside, and the alarm is going off to get you up and off to the gym.
It's only my comfort zone that wants me to stay here. It's all in my head!
It will get easier - and discomfort is only temporary anyway. I always tell myself this:
"I'll thank myself later."
Here's a nice final quote from Jimmy Carr's new book:
When you look back on your life you won't remember sitting on the sofa watching TV, you'll remember the uncomfortable times. You'll remember the times you struggled, the sweat, the tears, you'll remember when you overcame adversity. Those are great moments of your life.
See you next week!
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Photo of the week 📸
How am I 1% better this week? 📈
I'm doing my first marathon in the summer. I'm decent enough at running, and starting swimming in January, but my cycling is definitely lacking big time. So, after swearing to never go spinning ever again several years ago, I'm going tonight. How's that for getting out of my comfort zone?
This Week’s Recommendation 🔝
Audiobook 🎧 - Before and Laughter - Jimmy Carr. An immense self-help book that's also hilarious, and a great memoir of sorts. Jimmy reads the audiobook which naturally adds to the experience. It's so good that I'm going to download is on my Kindle and reread it.
This Week I’m: ⬇️
Reading 📚 - Designing Your Life: Build a Life that Works for You - Bill Burnett, Dave Evans
Listening to 🎧 - Actual Life 2 (album) - Fred again.. - the master is back
Learning 📝 - More like trying to learn how to use social media effectively. Turns out this stuff is very time consuming and tough!
Looking forward to 🍹 - Dry Jan! It's that time of year again
Also looking forward to ⚽️ - The Christmas football calendar 😍
This Week’s Quote 💬
We are what we repeatedly do; excellence, then, is an act, not a habit.
What is something that would take less than 5 minutes to sort, but you've been putting it off?
There we have it!
Looking forward to catching up next week.