The big matter of leaving our comfort zone

The big matter of leaving our comfort zone

When does what we do matter? More importantly, how do we handle the moments that matter?

Each day, we go through so many activities that are so mundane as to require little to no concentration. We can walk to a deli, order a sandwich, nod at someone familiar on the street and engage in a conversation with our boss on a cellphone.

We have become incredibly adept at multitasking, making it so much easier not to focus on any one activity or even thought. We are not exactly grand masters of chess, thinking several moves ahead to gain an advantage over an ingenious opponent. We allow ourselves to wade through a pool of activities and decisions that are a collection of loose change jingling in our pockets.

But then there are those days, hours or moments that turn the ordinary into something filled with so much electricity that the muscles in our legs that hold us up threaten to buckle.

The thrilling and terrifying collide in our minds. Something real is at stake and the outcome isn’t predetermined, at least not as far as we know.

We need these moments that matter, even if they make our mouths dry, send pinpricks to our fingers and make us feel as if we can suddenly sense the rotation of the Earth.

Why? How does leaving our comfort zone help? Well, for starters, it reminds us of who we are and what we want. Yes, she might say “no” and yes, we might not pass our driver’s test. So what? If this is what we want, the only mistake would be avoiding trying to get what we want because we might not get it. It’s easy to believe we are not ready or that we are not good enough. Why not roll up our sleeves and give it a shot?

Maybe if we could convert all that energy and anxiety into something else, we’d feel empowered by big moments. Those pinpricks in our fingers might make them even faster and more nimble than we could imagine, allowing us to play the piano more efficiently than we ever have, while that racing heart and dry tongue could be just the kind of internal obstacles we need to overcome to
believe in ourselves. When these telltale signs return, they might become familiar companions on the road to something bigger and better.

Butterflies feel strange in our stomachs because they give us the sensation we don’t get when we turn the ignition on for our car, when we pick up the phone and dial a number we know by heart or when we walk down a familiar hallway at work to hear our colleagues share views they have constantly offered for years.

Maybe we need a few more butterflies in our lives. We need to feel something unusual and exciting, something bigger and brighter and something that shakes us up. Maybe we need to imagine seeing those butterflies outside of our stomachs and fluttering around us.

While we take for granted that those butterflies are a sign of nerves, they are also an interesting choice. Butterflies fall in the same category as bunnies. We like them. If we can somehow imagine them fluttering just outside us, circling a room or a field, we can breathe deeply in the moment.

When we look back on any given year, we can gain a new appreciation and perspective on these opportunities. They may not only define a time, but they may also help remind us that our lives are not just about the ordinary — they are about embracing and conquering the moments that matter.