Barack Obama calls it “the bubble”. Some know it as their comfort zone. It’s that place where life makes sense. Everything is what it was yesterday – and what it still will be tomorrow. Generally, people strive to achieve this place of peace. But is there such a thing as being too comfortable? Most def’!
Finding your comfort zone is one thing. But staying in your comfort zone is stifling. All growth requires extending beyond your familiar comfortable boundaries and venturing out into the unchartered territories of life. And to step your life-game up…you need to experience realities outside your comfort zone. You need to get your butt outside of your bubble.
A volunteer excursion to California, sponsored by Toyota, awakened me to how much my comfort zone was stifling me. As 2014 approaches, here are areas of life where we need to burst our comfort zone bubbles so we can grow to the next level God is preparing us to occupy. I already started. You need to catch up!
1. Service To Others
Nobody of great worth is known for what they did for their self. Only those who gave themselves in service to others are the ones history heralds. This point rang true in Monterey, CA., when our group of volunteers were given decked-out 2014 Highlander loaners to pick up and donate locally grown produce to The Monterey County Food Bank. When we arrived, they put us straight to work sorting, packaging, and labeling food. As I was running around that 15,000 sqft warehouse, I felt a since of pride knowing that my meager efforts were helping feed families for the holidays. So take the focus off just you. Get out of your comfort zone. And give attention to the needs of others.
2. Develop Relationships with People of Different Cultures
By nature, people are drawn to others from the same culture. So at the volunteer reception in Monterey, I noticed that each ethic group gravitated toward their own kind. Even me. And I met some real cool dudes too. But the next morning, I ate breakfast with a 30-ish single Latina. Through our conversation, she found out what I write about and introduced me to a big-time writer in my genre I couldn’t have met on my own. Additionally, my driving partner for the day was a married, 30+ pre-tech-boom internet phenom of Indian descent who owns an online magazine. While he was crushing the curves of the winding mountain roads in the 2014 Toyota Highlander (in Sports-Mode – because he test-drives new cars for his online magazine – how cool is that!), he was schooling me on the online-game. I was sucking it up. The lesson I learned is that there are people outside our comfortable social circles with different backgrounds that we can learn from…and who can learn from you. But the only way to meet them is to get outside of your comfort zone.
3. Try New Foods
I know…this may seem silly. But life can’t always be so serious. And one way to spice it up is with food. Now…to be honest, I rarely venture outside my food comfort zone. So when we drove up to an artichoke farm outside Monterey, I wasn’t impressed. For starters, I’ve never eaten an artichoke…and never intended to (probably because I don’t trust any food that has the word ‘choke’ in it). My intentions were to load up the other produce in our Highlander and drop them off at the food bank. But when they offered us some fried artichoke, I figured, ‘what’s the harm?’. I ended up liking it so much I went back for seconds. Food is a way of injecting some excitement and adventure into your life without the risk of long term effects. Be adventurous and push the comfortable boundaries of your palate.
Don’t limit yourself to just these three areas of your life. Find more. What comfort zones do you need to break out of in 2014 in order to grow to where God is directing you?
Disclosure: This trip to was provided by Toyota. All views and opinions expressed above are my own.
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