Tuesday, 21 November 2017

What's wrong with being comfortable?

I like a good sofa.  A nice big sofa which is squishy enough to mould itself to my shape as I relax on it and yet not so soft as to let my back slip into a position that's going to cause me grief when I stand up.

I've been sitting on sofas for a lot of my adult life, and never once has someone suggested to me that I should try sitting on something less comfortable in order that I see what it feels like, and maybe expand my definition of comfort.

And yet, there seems to be an obsession with "getting outside ones comfort zone" as reason enough to do things wouldn't normally do - even to spend vast sums of money on them. 

Some people thrive on a thrill.  Those are the people who enjoy the adrenaline rush of jumping out of a plane, or sticking their hands above their head on a roller coaster and enjoying the feeling of being upside down flying through the air.

However, not everyone is wired that way. 

I've been on roller coasters in the past, and they don't really do much for me.  I get the adrenaline rush as you'd expect, but it's not a high I enjoy.  I don't get particularly scared on roller coasters, I just don't get much out of them and so tend not to bother.  Fairgrounds aren't somewhere I enjoy spending a lot of time.

I've had friends who've jumped out of planes and say it's a wonderful experience, which I don't doubt. But it's definitely not for me; of that I'm certain.

And yet there are people who seem obsessed with the idea that everyone needs to get outside their comfort zone.  Apparently we can only grow as people if we do things we're not comfortable with.  Frankly, I can't be bothered with that.

Don't get me wrong, I enjoy learning new things, I enjoy seeing new places and I enjoy garnering new skills - but I do so quite happily from within the confines of being comfortable.

The idea that thrilling things are pleasurable is so prevalent that I do wonder whether I'm in the minority.  People go on holiday and throw themselves off bridges attached to elastic, whereas I'm quite happy to just stand on the bridge and drink in the beauty of the view.  I don't need to throw myself off a boat into the sea to understand how blue it is, nor do I need to go and join in with a group of dancers in order to enjoy watching them dance.

In recent years I've come to realise that I'm a watcher rather than a participator.  I'm quite happy to it on the sidelines and enjoy what other people are doing rather than feel the need to be part of it myself. I naturally learn by watching rather than by trying.

Admitted this affect how I learn new things.  The most obvious example is that I enjoy learning French by reading and by learning the theory; I'm not someone who's naturally at home trying it out and learning by my mistakes.  You've no idea how frustrating it is that whenever I'm at social event and there's a French person present, people keep telling me I "should practice my French".

I maintain that it's absolutely possible to learn and grow without leaving your comfort zone.   And if I'm happy within my comfort zone, I don't understand why other are so concerned with needing to encourage me to step outside of it.

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