Your Uncomfortable “Comfort Zone”: #20 Thriveology Podcast

Our uncomfortable comfort zone.Last week, we began a new series on making an impact in the world.  I revealed my belief that we are built to make an impact.  I firmly believe that we are designed to make an impact.  And yet, we often stay stuck, not making the kind of impact for which we are capable.

In this week’s show, we look at the 7 biggest excuses we use to NOT make an impact.  All are based in our attempts to stay in our “comfort zone.”  Yet, a comfort zone can be very uncomfortable.  It is just the world we know.  It can be uncomfortable, but feels safe.

Yet our truest self, our most centered part of our existence, our Spirit, calls us to a higher place.  We can avoid that voice in many ways.  But it keeps on calling us.  It keeps on trying to pull us forward.  We may pull back.  But there is another option.

Where will YOU make an impact?

Rule 12: It’s never too late to be what you might have been.

“It’s never too late to be what you might have been.” — George Elliot

this is one of my favorite quotes.  He reminds me that we are never finished developing into who we want to be.  Who we are becoming is a constantly changing and developing piece.  We are always growing, changing, and becoming more and more of who we are.

Were reading about how Michelangelo talked about his creating a sculpture.  He said that he looked at the rock,  decided what was in it, then chipped everything else away.  In other words, he was looking to see what the rock was supposed to be.  That’s what we do.  We are constantly seeking to find what we are supposed to be.  Then our job is to get rid of everything else.

We grow up becoming who others want us to be.  Then one day we look around, realize that the path we have been on has not been ours, and we have to make a decision.  We have to decide whether we will continue following someone else’s path or whether we will start our own path.  Sometimes, people decide that it’s too late in life to change paths.  Too bad.  When we realize that we were on the wrong path, then we have a chance to take the right path.

Sometimes, we just know that were not on the right path, but we don’t know what the right path is.  That’s when we have to get rid of the things that are in our way of discovering a new path.  That’s when we have to chip away all that doesn’t belong.

Once we do that, our path becomes much more clear.  In fact, what we discover is that fear has kept us off the right path.  Fear has kept us from doing and being who we want to be and what we want to do.

Until we face that fact, we keep ourselves from being who we could be.  More importantly, we keep ourselves from the being who we want to be.  Perhaps, we even keep ourselves from being who we should be.

It’s never too late to be what you might have been.  Decide if you are on the path you want to be on, or if it’s time to change paths.

The Rules: A Starting Point

OK, so let’s set some parameters for these 99 rules of thriving.  You see, these rules are not pulled out of thin air.  They come from my frame for what I understand are the elements of a thriving life.

As I have studied this, four areas of concern emerge in the pursuit of a thriving life.  Each area is important, but it is the presence of all four that really put the whole thriving life into motion.  Here are the four areas:

thriving life graphic

thriving life graphic

So here is a brief overview, and we will begin to enlarge as we move through the rules:

Thoughts and Mind: This broad category basically means that a thriving person understands the role that thoughts play in creating our reality, weaving our paradigm.  In fact, I maintain that the majority of people misuse a major resource in life:  their mind.

I believe that we have come to have very poor mind hygeine.  We let our thoughts rule us, not us ruling our thoughts.  We fail to notice that we are just thinking, and instead believe that our thoughts are reality.

Let’s face it:  our mind was designed to think, to create thoughts.  But it is up to us to decide on whether this will be a productive or destructive process.

Letting Go and Moving On: Our capacity to let go of something that is on our mind, has happened to us, or has not happened to us, is in direct ratio to our capacity to thrive.  I would use the term “forgiveness,” but there is a great deal of extra baggage attached to that term.  So I will say that forgiveness is a subcategory of this.

And in order to thrive, we must be able to take the next step past letting go of something; we must move on.  People who thrive have discovered how to keep moving forward, regardless of the circumstances around them.

Gratitude and Appreciation: A hallmark of thrivers is the ability to experience gratitude.  No, let me change that:  to choose gratitude.  Not only do they live in gratitude, they live in appreciation, the application of seeking out gratitude.

This is a choice in the stories we tell.  Am I upset that I don’t have a big bank account, or am I grateful I have been able to pay what is necessary to keep going, for instance.  This is partly about optimism, but is slightly different.  Optimism is about how things will be in the future.  Gratitude is choosing to be grateful for what already is.

Gratitude and appreciation helps to shift us out of the scarcity “what I don’t have” model to abundance.  This keeps us from feeling desperate, which then leads to creative responses.

Meaning and Purpose: This is the final element of my model.  It is the most important, and yet the most difficult to master.  It is not the question “what is the meaning of life?”  Instead it is the question of “what is meaningful to me?”  Having a sense of meaning keeps us moving ahead, regardless of what is going on around us.  Purpose is the way we live out that meaning.

When we have discovered our sense of meaning and how we find it, our purpose, then life becomes a joy to live.  Too often, we pursue happiness, forgetting that this grows out of a meaningful life, lived with purpose.