8. The “Good Shit” Happens Outside Your Comfort Zone

This essay is part of my 42 Deep Thoughts project.

Just because something is cliché it doesn’t mean that it’s not true. This one, I’ve found, very true.

Your comfort zone is where you feel safe. The things you do regularly; the things you know. Your confort zone is where you are proficient.

Your comfort zone expands slowly as you push at the edges of it. But the good shit, the exciting things that happen — that looking back you could never have imagined. Those things tend to happen when you stretch beyond your comfort zone.

I wrote about how stretching can be good, and bad. Stretching for the sake of flexibility can leave your joints weak. While, stretching for the sake of mobility, is critical to your health.

It’s easy to tell yourself that you can’t do something. I always find reasons. We go through life, and tough shit happens.

I’ve lived though traumatic events. As a teenager I experienced the very bloody aftermath of a terrorist attack, in a place where I hung out often. The bus line I took to school regularly was blown up, multiple times — I’m grateful that it was never when I was on them. I went to too many funerals of peers. I was assaulted by a sexual predator and had to fight him off. I moved to a country where I didn’t know the language and had to figure out my way through high school there. All as a teenager. I could go on, but I won’t.

Some people have had worse challenges, others have lived easier lives. These are all things that may have “scarred” me, I could certainly have used them as an excuse to not accomplish things.

But then I wouldn’t have accomplished those things.

Sometimes, the very fact I’ve been through those things, I use as a strength to propel me further.

The edge of your comfort zone is where you’re faced with anxiety, or apprehension about taking the next step.

It’s important to trust your intuition, that apprehension is a protection mechanism. That’s when you check yourself, inquire into your fears. Sometimes you have to step back, and sometimes you have to plan alternatives and fallbacks. You shouldn’t stretch too far, or you’ll injure your joints.

But you also, as often as you can, need to jump and break through your fears and beyond your comfort zone.

The adventures I’ve had, dear friends I have, and successes I’ve achieved, have all happened because I pushed through my fears.

I’ve gotten to live and work in incredible places, in many incredible cities and countries. I have a house in the mountains. I have a great career, and I’ve gotten to help others build careers. I’ve met a princess, diplomats, inmates, and exiled dissidents because I broke beyond my comfort zone, to where the great shit happens.