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Comfort zone?

[ 2009-05-22 17:05]     字号 [] [] []  
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Reader question: Could you explain “comfort zone” in this passage: The term “comfort zone” has always struck me as wonderfully descriptive, the perfect words for a place where all feels safe and right with the world. But contentment comes at a cost – comfort zones sometimes evolve into boring, same-old-same-old traps where nothing changes, including you.

My comments: I think it’s quite well explained in that very passage. Anyways, the term “comfort zone” is on the lips of motivational speakers all the time. Get out of your comfort zone, they say. By that they mean to encourage people to enrich their lives by taking on new challenges.

First, comfort zone. No idea who coined this phrase, but it’s a good one, descriptive indeed.

One’s warm bed in a cold winter morning, for instance, is a comfort zone. Young readers have no idea what I’m talking about, and rightly so. Imagine life in the 1970s before heating systems and air conditioners were installed. I was in primary school then, and getting out of the warm bed for school in a chilling winter morning was always a test. I coil just recalling the experience.

Comfort zone?

Today, in Japan and metropolitan China as well there are a lot of shut-ins, teenagers or young adults who shut themselves indoors all the time. Some don’t leave the house for weeks on end. What do they do? Well, they watch television and play computer games.

For these shut-ins, the home is their comfort zone, where they have been pampered by parents, perhaps since day one.

Warm bed and getting pampered in the house are great. But here’s the rub – There’s not a whole lot going on if you stay in bed or in the house all the time. The world is obviously bigger than the confines of your house. A lot of fun is going on outdoors as well and yet shut-ins are not going to be participants over there, be it in the playground at school, or in the mountains in the countryside.

And the biggest rub of all rubs is this: the longer one stays in one’s comfort zone, the less likely they would be able to cope competently if they stepped out of it, if ever, that is, they stepped out of it. Lack of practice, that’s why.

Let’s face it, we all have our little comfort zones where there is peace, ease and comfort, where life is relaxed, stable and familiar. That’s only part of the bargain. In the comfort zone, there’s no challenge. There’s no risk-taking. There is no adventure. There is no fun. There is some fun at first playing a computer game, I guess, but that fun wears out without change and variety.

The familiar, or the same-old-same-old, gets dull over time, and we want something else, something new and exciting.

That’s human nature.

The moral?

If you’re too comfortable with your life, perhaps you need a new challenge. So, step out of your comfort zone and do something new.

And in so doing, reignite your life, as butterflies do.

Once they were worms, but they break out of their cocoons and aim for the sky.



About the author:

Zhang Xin is Trainer at chinadaily.com.cn. He has been with China Daily since 1988, when he graduated from Beijing Foreign Studies University. Write him at: zhangxin@chinadaily.com.cn, or raise a question for potential use in a future column.


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