Much has been written about ‘the comfort zone’, and how staying there is depriving you of the opportunity to experience real happiness. This is about taking that all important leap…
It’s ironic that we refer to that place of stasis as the comfort zone, for comfort is not what it brings. Comfort is an illusion. You don’t have to spend much time in the comfort zone before feelings of angst, discontent, agitation and even depression will get hold of you. And here’s the thing, you should welcome those feelings. You should welcome them with open arms and recognize them for what they are – it’s grace. Now, the word grace is associated with religion. You don’t have to be religious to embrace grace. All you need to do is to heed the call to action. When I speak about grace I refer to that inexplicable ‘voice’ that finds you when you’re down in the dumps. That voice that makes you realize that where you are is not going to cut it and that you need to do something to bring about change. Some people never hear that voice, those that do are the lucky ones. You don’t find grace, grace finds you.
Few people are found by grace and even fewer act on it. We have a natural resistance to grace. In many instances that resistance to act is brought about by fear. In most, it’s brought about by laziness. To act requires effort and since we’re programmed to follow the path of least resistance, we shy away from effort. M. Scott Peck writes in ‘The Road Less Travelled‘ that love is the extension of oneself for the sake of spiritual growth (of another). To extend oneself requires effort. Few people are willing to expend the effort required to maintain a relationship. Hence the high divorce rate. Same with grace. Grace is the realization that something’s wrong and that something needs to be done to change it. Few people are willing to do that something.
But for those who do heed the call to action, doors are opened. Leap and the net will appear. Julia Cameron, in ‘The Artist’s Way’ refers to this phenomena as synchronicity: We change and the universe furthers and expands that change. This domino effect cannot be brought about without us doing something first. It is my experience that when we move out (out of the comfort zone) on faith and into taking action, things (mysteriously) start to fall in place. Leap and the net will appear. It’s like opening the gate at the top of a field irrigation system. Once we remove the blocks, the flow moves in.
Heeding the call to action not only sets in motion a series of events that conspires to fuel your journey, it also changes your mood. Taking action, even if it’s just getting out of bed when the alarm sounds, drives changes in your emotional state – not the other way around. Mood follows action. On so many mornings I didn’t felt like doing the workout. I heard the alarm (and the voice for that matter), I knew that getting up and getting on with it is the right thing to do but I didn’t feel like it. I was not in the mood. Guess what, your mood’s not going to change while lying in bed. It’ll change after you get up and do the workout. Mood follows action. Don’t let how you feel about doing something stop you from doing what needs to be done. Feelings are misleading. Most of the time they’re nothing but lies that all too often get in the way, obscure our clarity and prevent us from moving forward.
Simply thinking about change won’t bring about change. You can’t afford to wait for ‘feeling in the mood’ to change behavior. It won’t happen. Instead, silence the resistance to grace, don’t indulge your low-grade emotional state and just take action. Because what matters is what you do, not how you feel about it. Take the leap, the net will appear.