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Comfort zone and safety zone used to be interchangeable terms, or it was thought that our comfort zone was contained within our safety zone. Things that we do repetitively, without challenging ourselves to create something new, are comfortable to us, and they feel safe because historically we’ve been fine doing them. Maybe we go into work, do our 8 hours, collect a paycheck, and do it again. Or we’re expecting to have a similar family life as we had growing up, assuming that if it worked for our parents, it will work for us. Or we think we’re going to retire at 65 and everything will magically be fine. But this comfort is a false sense of security. We’re now living in a world where we have global influence, artificial intelligence, less privacy, and robots that will replace jobs and disrupt industries. We need to be more than just competent, and do more than just follow the current norm. We need to have vision, and offer unique value. Because of technology, the world is quickly shifting, and we need to shift too. If we are not creating something new and meaningful, then we may no longer be safe. It’s like getting caught out by bad weather when flying on autopilot; we’re hitting some bad weather and we need to consciously take control to avoid disaster. Conformity and living the status quo, may have worked for us during industrial times, but they are a mismatch with our current connected and technological culture. Instead, ideas, curiosity, specialized ability and surprise will do us well. If we’ve been stuck within our comfort zone, it’s likely we’ve developed mental boundaries and limitations about what we can do, so stepping outside of that will make us feel vulnerable. But, so long as we find, and stay within our new safety zone, avoiding things that will actually physically, emotionally, and spiritually harm us, we’ll be fine. Experiment by pushing the comfort boundaries a little, then a little more, and build on what works. When we can contribute to ourselves, our loved ones, and the world in our own personal and creative way, we’ll be adding unique value and we’ll find safety again.
Take action: Create something, anything, and share it. Here are a few ideas: If you love to write, start a blog. Love cooking? Try catering a friend’s event. Have a good voice? Sing in public. The point is to create something new, or put your spin on something existing, and put it out into the world. Remember, you’re not contributing to others until you share it.
Inspired by Seth Godin’s book, The Icarus Deception: How High Will You Fly?