COMFORT ZONE SYNDROME BY COLIN SULLIVAN
Like many of you, I suffer from CZS. Comfort Zone Syndrome is an epidemic and it affects all of us. We tend to become creatures of habit and settle in our routines. Until recently, I have always been this person who resists change. I did not accept new things in my life or try anything unfamiliar because it was a leap into the unknown.
I was always content with being the hockey player jock. I simply accepted the role because it was how everyone perceived me. Everyone knew me as Colin Sullivan the hockey player. No one knew me as Colin Sullivan, the kid that likes to read military textbooks or who can read and write Latin. People saw me as a simple jock, and I was afraid of changing how others thought of me. I liked routine. I figured if I continued doing the same familiar things then I would never have to be uncomfortable. I felt as though I was stuck in some current floating down a river. I simply accepted my fate and did nothing to change it.
Why would I do such a thing? Why just lie down and die? The answer is simple. I did it because it was easy. I did it because I am sure, like most of you, I wanted the easy way out. In these past few weeks, I have learned how effortless it is to get caught in this flow. Being in one’s comfort zone is simple, but it leaves no room for growth. The creative mind needs to be pushed. Our ideas and feelings are useless if not put to the test. Separating ourselves from comfort forces us to push ourselves to think and do things we never knew we could.
I now realize that I have nothing to fear if I put my hockey stick aside. I can shed my gear along with the stereotypes that come with it when I walk into the classroom. I should not fear this change but instead accept it. I have been taking steps every day to challenge myself like this and do things that make me feel uncomfortable. For example, speaking in class is something that is, and always has been extremely hard for me. Growing up, I had a terrible stutter and was embarrassed to communicate in school. Even though the stutter is gone, I still find myself nervous and worried about using my voice in class. Making it a habit to be actively engaged in the classroom has opened up so many new doors for me. Am I still uncomfortable? Yes, of course I am. But I have found that the more you do something, the easier it becomes.
My ultimate goal is to eventually become comfortable being uncomfortable. I figure if I can do that, then my fears of straying from my comfort zone will disappear. Without a comfort zone, my creative mind will be left to flourish and I will be free to think and act in ways I never thought possible. So I challenge you, the reader, to do the same. Push yourself, get out of your comfort zone, put yourself in an uncomfortable situation and see how you react. Who knows what you might discover.