Being resilient is a key way to be rich in what matters. When we’re resilient, we can adapt to a wide variety of situations and still be happy. We can flex our choices, our behaviors and the amount of resources that we use.
Rigid comfort zones can confine us like handcuffs.
When we have narrow, rigid comfort zones we are the opposite of resilient. They can confine us so that we might as well be wearing handcuffs. Unfortunately, the mainstream culture encourages these, and
it’s easy to embrace narrow comfort zones as our own, without even knowing we’re doing that. Examples of narrow, rigid comfort zones:
Got to have the room temperature at 70 degrees
Must have hot coffee first thing in the morning (um, this would be me)
Can’t have a silent pause in a conversation
Got to go by car, even if it’s one mile away
Single people should live alone
Couples shouldn’t have housemates
Must have ice in our drinking water
Got to have people agreeing with us
Got to agree with other people
Yards must have lawns
Lawns must be green year-round
Got to have wine/beer/cocktail in hand while socializing before dinner
Narrow, rigid comfort zones can weaken us, even as we feel like they are taking care of us. They handcuff us to the familiar. They lower our resiliency. Moreover, they often lead to behaviors that impoverish the earth’s resources. Green lawns take enormous amounts of water. Heating and cooling things requires boatloads of energy. Burning the fossil fuels that produces that energy is what drives climate change.
Here are a
variety of ways to expand our comfort zones, in both our social lives and the way we use resources. I enjoy spending time around people who have expansive comfort zones. Role models are powerful, not necessarily because they say anything profound, but because of how they are living. Finally, the blog Zen Habits is by a man who has expanded his comfort zone masterfully over the years by practicing self-discipline and voluntary simplicity. He’s vulnerable and down to earth, with hundreds of helpful posts that apply to anyone’s life.
What invisible handcuffs might you be wearing? How would you like to expand your comfort zone? How have you expanded it in the past?
photo by D.F. Shapinsky
Receive future posts on how to be rich in what matters:
I will never share or sell your email address.