Official blog for the book "Just Behind the Door"

Posts tagged ‘expanding our comfort zone’

Refuse the Shrink Wrap!

How many of us find that the older we get the more our lives seem to become smaller, as our comfort zone reduces in size until we become a walking add for a new product that could be titled, ‘Shrink Wrap Your Life For Greater Comfort, Security and Protection.’ In this scenario we find ourselves continually judging, complaining and ultimately rejecting any thoughts or ideas that are different from our own life experiences. This mindset is usually followed with the thought that ‘this new idea is uncomfortable to me and I reject it …end of story,’ as we begin to consciously pull the shrink wrap ever closer around us for temporary ‘comfort.’ The irony, of course, is that this type of ‘comfort’ causes us to become wary, insecure and just downright more difficult to be around. Can anyone spell curmudgeon?

Truth be told, as the years pass, unless we actively work against this tendency of living in the past it will infiltrate our very core and we will become less rather than more. To combat this hijacking of new life experiences or thoughts requires two things. First it takes an awareness that temporary discomfort may not be a bad thing and then a commitment to think more deeply about something before allowing ourselves to decide on its merit. Different isn’t automatically bad…simply different. Life is constantly changing and evolving. Are we up to the challenge of it all?

Visualize, if you will, an older version of yourself sitting comfortably in a rocking chair. Maybe your hair color has changed, and your physical energy is not what it used to be as you sit with a friend complaining that ‘things are just not the way they used to be.’ As you are speaking can you feel the energy ebbing away from you? Do you actually want to spend the remaining years rejecting the new and yearning for the past?

Every moment of our life is a choice – what we think, do and say is totally up to us. Yes, life is changing at a breakneck speed and we can choose to hold on and have the ride of our life or reminisce about an easier, slower time.

Our unconscious keeps a running record of all feelings and experiences in our lives. It is the depository of all of who we are … what we have done and learned to date. When something new or different comes along we find ourselves at a crossroad. Should I go left and accept or right and reject? This question confronts us on a continual basis – on the news, in our jobs simply every moment we are alive.

In reality, living life to the fullest requires that we slow down when confronted with a new or different thought and think about it long enough to seek the pros and cons of it. When we practice withholding judgment of the unfamiliar or feelings of discomfort we we may just find that there is something to be valued and learned from the experience.

The easiest thing in the world is to reject a new way of thinking. That takes zero intelligence! The goal of being a life long learner is to roll these new ideas or events around in our minds until we see the possible benefit rather than merely the challenge or discomfort. It increases our energy when we see our glass as half-full rather than half-empty.

Regardless of the lives we have lived, every day we are presented with something that has the potential to alter our comfort zone. Will we choose to pull the shrink wrap ever closer around us or be willing to say, ‘Why Not!’ and become more of everything…more interesting, more exciting and filled with wonder of what this marvelous place called earth has in store for us just around the corner. As always, the choice is up to us.

Have a great few days!

Saying Yes to Life!

In 2008 Jim Carrey made a movie entitled, ‘Yes Man’ from a book written by the British humorist Danny Wallace. The movie was a box office success because it gave us something to really think about with its potent message. Carrey as a bank loan office becomes increasing withdrawn and negative following his divorce. His friends tried suggesting a host of things to help get him out of his doldrums but to no avail. ‘NO’ was his constant reply to anything and everything that was out of his increasingly narrow comfort zone. His life changed dramatically when he attend a self help seminar in which the attendees were instructed to make a commitment for one year to say ‘YES’ to people, places and opportunities. He started on a pathway to personal happiness that just made you smile inside. When a movie can do that for people we know the message is significant!

Dr. Wayne Dyer highlights this mindset of saying YES to life in his book, ’10 Secrets for Happiness and Inner Peace.’ He instructs us to have an open mind to everything and to refuse to allow ourselves to have low expectations about our own capabilities. He implores us to resist ANY pessimistic tendency (also known as being the resident critic). If we find ourself saying ‘but’ someone’s idea just know that we are actually correcting and rejecting their thought rather than considering or allowing it as their authentic feeling.

When we choose (and it is a conscious choice) to say YES rather than dismiss a new idea or opportunity we are choosing to expand our comfort zone. A new idea may not be comfortable but it’s important to keep an open mind and consider it rather than automatically rejecting it. As Dr. Dyer suggests, rather than saying a new idea or perspective is wrong practice saying, ‘I’ve never considered that before.’

A mindset of ‘YES’ is healthy. It keeps us growing, learning, and becoming all that we have chosen to be in this lifetime. It says regardless of what I know today or what I have been conditioned to believe in the past today is a new day with new ideas and opportunities.

Our mindset not only affects us but everyone in our environment. We can uplift others or weight them down simply by our responses to life. Check yourself over the next few days – listen to your responses – really listen with your mind and heart – are your comments energy enhancing or energy depleting. It takes work to change a habit if it has been to control, reject, or dismiss anything that is new, different or may require a change in our thinking but it is so worth it!

We have chosen this life with the challenges and opportunities that present themselves for a reason. Being happy, open and positive just makes the ‘medicine go down a bit easier!’

Have a great few days!