Human beings are interesting creatures. Outside of a few DNA differences, our opposable thumbs, and our proclivity towards machines that do all the work for us, we’re not all that different from our poo-throwing primate cousins. One of the differences, however, is our capacity to feel like we need to know our place in the universe and change ourselves to a make us the hero of our own story.
Why? Probably ego. This isn’t a bad thing, but this concept spawn ideas that we should always look to change ourselves in the form of “personal improvement.” I think this is a fundamentally bad idea.
Heck, we’ve survived however long we individually have been on the planet for a reason. We grew up determining that certain things are better than others. It is better to eat when hungry than to stick your face in a fan when bored. When we are tired, we have determined that sleep is something we should heavily consider. When we are depressed, watching Bing Bong’s sacrifice in Disney’s “Inside Out” is NOT a good idea as it will cause irreparable harm to your psyche and mood. These are all things we’ve learned and know how to use to keep us happy, well fed, and not exhausted.
You’ll often hear of recommendations from people that you should “think outside the box.” This is very bad advice and the offeror of said opinion should be on the receiving end of a Three Stooges eye-poke. Why? Because we all worked very hard to build our box to the nice and virtually impenetrable fortress it is today. We know what works, and we know what doesn’t work. Thinking outside the box may indeed get you where you want to go, but it may just as easily deliver a world of hurt to you and your confidence. Stick with your box. It’s a nice box. You’ve decorated, kept it clean and has all the things in it that makes you happy. The box is your home. Home is good.
If the box is your home, the “comfort zone” is your back yard. Sometimes you will find people saying you need to experience things outside of your comfort zone to make your life more interesting to expose you to new ideas and new experiences. This is idealistic twaddle. We’re all old enough to have found our comfort zones. We know what makes us happy and what makes us uncomfortable. In the interest of simplicity, we’ll just make the sweeping generalization that comfort equals good and discomfort equals bad.
If all this seems a bit negative, it is not supposed to be. Everyone’s comfort zone and box is different. One shouldn’t give a rat’s behind what others view as theirs so long as it doesn’t affect yours. Want to judge others? Fine, go right ahead. Just do it safely from your own box. Besides, at the end of the day, wouldn’t you feel better resting in the comforts of your metaphorical box and looking outside to your beautifully manicured comfort zone?
I know I would.