Sunday Thought July 18, 2015: Don’t Wait for a Life-Changing Event To Change You

There were many ideas for today’s Sunday Thought floating around my head this morning, each of them calling “Pick me! Pick me!”

But none of them grabbed me.

You see, I try to always write from the heart, rather than from a sense of obligation that I must write something.

Then serendipity struck – I spotted this tweet bearing this fab graphic (thanks Gill!):

Now it’s the sentiment that is important here, not the exact statistics. There is no citation to explain where the figures are from, nor who did the research. It doesn’t really matter.

What does matter is that we can all recognise the disparity between the number of people we know who live in the safe, cosy comfort zone and those who are getting the most out of their lives.

There are probably as many reasons for staying in the comfort zone as there are motivational quotes on social media (clue: lots). Those reasons might include something as understandable as staying in a job you don’t like because it suits your and your family’s current needs, and pays the bills; or simply because it’s just not possible to fly to Mars yet.

In seriousness, though, we need to be mindful of what are reasons for staying in the comfort zone – and tell them apart from excuses.

Excuses are hurdles you put in your own way. Hurdles that stop you following your dreams, embracing the unknown, exploring new things because you’re worried about what others might think, you’re scared of rejection or failure, or it’s just easier to not bother.

It’s a sweeping generalisation, but those on the outside of the circle tend to have in common a life-changing experience. Something that has stopped them in their tracks, made them realise tomorrow is not guaranteed.

Something that made them realise that rejection and failure are not the worst things in the world (and that not trying – regrets – are worse).

It doesn’t mean that the people on the outside of the circle are heartless, unfeeling narcissists. Quite the contrary: I would argue a life-changing experience makes us more feeling, empathetic, caring, and kind.

The difference is the life-changing experience has helped us put life in perspective, identify what is important.

The trouble with life-changing events is that they’re usually not fun. The experience may have involved you losing someone you love, or a very real threat to your own life. They are definitely not to be recommended: the emotional, psychological and physical effects endure months, years later (I still have panic attacks about my own time in hospital, and about Hugo’s death as well as a number of related things. It’s exhausting.)

So what I would like you to think about this Sunday is: are you sitting comfortably in your comfort zone? Would you like to do something about moving out of it? It doesn’t mean transforming your whole life – it’s not always feasible. But there’s usually at least one thing we can change about our lives to turn us from getting by, playing it safe, settling for less to living life without limits, going for your dreams, getting the most out of your life.

Stop procrastinating.

Go. Reflect. Make a list. Talk to your friends and family. Whatever works for you.

Just do it.

And don’t wait for a life-changing event to change you.

 

8 thoughts on “Sunday Thought July 18, 2015: Don’t Wait for a Life-Changing Event To Change You

  1. Hannah Budding Smiles says:

    What an interesting and thought-provoking post lovely. I think that I’ve been sucked into a comfort zone in recent years, yet at the same time have made jumps such as giving up my full time job to go freelance and be with Toby. I definitely think it’s important to do, to be xxx

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  2. Notmyyearoff says:

    I saw this pic on Twitter and thought about it for a good while. I do love the comfort zone every so often but I love stepping out of it too. Right now I feel like I’ve been chucked out of it which is pretty scary but I’m hoping the confidence will come soon x

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    • Leigh Kendall says:

      I don’t think anyone likes being chucked out of their comfort zone – pretty uncomfortable! It’s why resilience is important to build, because with the best will in the world the unexpected will happen. Thanks for commenting xxx

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  3. Alice @ The Filling Glass says:

    I am definitely trying to live some of my life outside my comfort zone and battle my own hurdles. Like you say it is the life changing events that force this way of thinking. Another brilliant post Leigh – I love that you write from the heart and not just because, a sentiment I always want to follow. Xx

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  4. jillbeech2014 says:

    Interesting provocative read.
    My thoughts are slightly different , or are they ?
    To external eyes it could appear , I play it safe, am risk adverse , don’t do extreme hobbies or travel the world regularly. I have worked in the same work place for the past 30 years.
    I could be viewed by some as failing to get the most out of life. Everyone is entitled to their opinion, but should not judge.
    However, what counts is how I feel and what I believe, and yes the opinions of those close to me matter but they don’t dictate my choices.
    We all struggle with the big questions, why are we here , what is this all about?
    We are here and making sense of the disparity, despair and deprivation can be a question that rips us apart. I don’t ignore it. At times I ponder on it.
    I do agree , it is not the things we collect that matter but the moments we share, the experiences and memories that stay with us a lifetime. For me this is enough. To make a tiny difference for the better.
    Thanks for yet another post that reminds me, I don’t regret, but I do reflect on the choices I have made and the consequences. The two are different.

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    • Leigh Kendall says:

      Absolutely, Jill, it’s all about perception. As long as you are happy with what you are doing, that’s fine – it’s about the people who dearly wish they could do something else but never do anything about it. And you’re so right it’s the moments, experiences and memories that are most important. Thanks for your lovely comment xxx

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