Sunday, March 7, 2010

Comfort Zones and Ruts

People generally don't like to go outside of their comfort zone. Lets face it, most people's lives are in a rut. They have a set routine and rarely go outside of it. Oh no, some of you are thinking, my days are all mixed up. Sometimes instead of doing the laundry on Saturday I do it on Sunday. Big woop. Yeah, they might not do the exact same thing on the same day, but their choices are limited: work, home, laundry, shopping, card night with the boys, Bible study, and TV -lots and lots of TV.

That's how Medieval peasants lived. (in general, their TV was better -it didn't exist yet.) They had a fairly narrow set of things they would or could do. We are supposed to be so much more advanced, yet we live like serfs. Why is that?

People get in ruts. They get comfortable. Fear is part of it. Nobody wants to look silly. People want to feel safe. Okay, fine, but please please please don't complain to me about being bored.

It's like when people do travel and go somewhere exotic. How many will book with a tour? The tour basically promises them that everything will be taken care of; everyone will be safe. So imagine a tour group goes to a foreign country. The group is made of people who have a lot in common and speak the same language. They go to a country with a guide who deals with all those strange local people and customs. The hotel they stay at keeps them safely away from the local culture. The staff may be specially trained to speak English. The restaurants they eat in may be "Americanized." If there are "local" foods, they've been toned down to an American pallet.

Fine if you want to travel that way, but don't say you've been to a foreign country. It's like you went to Brazil and spent the whole time at the US embassy.

If you want to experience another country, go alone or with a small group. Go without a guide. Learn some of the local language. Travel the way the locals do and do what they do. You might end up at a wedding or a funeral. Then you'll know something about the people. The experience isn't as "safe," but it will expand your mind. You'll actually have something to talk about.

Now travel is just one example of being in a rut. How about your job? Maybe you only work at your job because there are certain assumptions you won't examine. Do you work to pay the mortgage? Maybe you could live in an RV, or a boat, or even a tent -at least for a while. The spouse will hate it. Talk about it with your significant other. Maybe they are ready to get out of the rut too. Maybe your spouse is part of your rut? What will people think? Who cares what they think?

Read books on subjects you've never been interested in. Learn to play a musical instrument. Learn a second language, or a third. Study other religions and cultures. Go places you haven't gone before. Talk to the "wrong" sort of people. They might not be so wrong after all.

Examine your life. Try and discover the ruts you've fallen into. They may be hard to see.

Why bother with all this? You life will be more interesting. You will be more interesting. One of the biggest bonuses is that you'll have a more flexible mind. If something out of the ordinary happens in your life, you'll have the tools to deal with it.

You'll be able to think outside the box. It won't just be a slogan for you, but a way of life.



  1. It's not outside the box
    It's not inside the box
    It's not the box at all.

  2. Sixbears,
    As your post discribes, I'd have to say I've been on an un-guided tour all my life as in.."what box are they talking about?"
    If your "Great North Woods" area (and mind set) are the same as know exactly what I mean!
    Best to Ya..