Life is best organized as a series of daring ventures from a secure base.
Are you Warren Buffet or Elon Musk?
Are you Marie Kondo or Bear Grylls?
Are you a scheduler or an explorer?
Are you a saver or an investor?
Which seems the worst situation to you: boredom or overstimulation?
We all have a set point along the continuum from order to chaos. And our comfort zone extends to the left and to the right, but not too far.
We can’t imagine how anyone can live farther to the left of us or farther to the right of us.
We make moral judgments in both directions.
Those to the left are neat freaks. Those to the right are messy slobs.
We smugly ask, “How can they stand to live like that?”
We need security. We need novelty.
We need order. We need chaos.
We need stability. We need freedom.
If you happen to be an organizer, you might think more organization is always better.
But at some point, organization becomes a prison.
If you happen to value freedom, you might think more is always better.
But as Janis Joplin realized, “Freedom’s just another word for nothin’ left to lose. And nothin’ ain’t worth nothin’ but it’s free.”
Those to our left and to our right on the scale from order to freedom are not better or worse than we are. They are just different.
We should, however, work to expand our comfort zone, especially toward the extreme that makes us uncomfortable.
For example, if you are an organizer, you might find it beneficial to leave some unstructured time in your schedule.
If you are an explorer, you may want to do some advance planning before your next adventure.
Comfort zones tend to shrink if left to themselves.
Ironically, the more we expose ourselves to somewhat uncomfortable situations, the more comfortable we are in a greater range of circumstances.
If we share living space or working space with others, we need to negotiate a balance between order and freedom that can accommodate our different styles.
Here’s an empowering question, “What specific action can I take today to expand my comfort zone so I can be more resilient and be more understanding of others?”
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