Jason Wrobel is a past Wanderlust teacher, and, with Whitney Lauritsen, the co-founder of Wellevatr. Wellevatr’s mission is to help you get out of your own way, focus on what truly matters and make healthier choices that lead to sustainable results so you can feel more joyful, confident, loving and fulfilled. Through focused, intimate, heart-centered and effective strategies, we help people improve their overall wellbeing in every aspect of life—mentally, physically and spiritually—through powerful mindset practices to elevate their lives and unlock their inner super powers.
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“So are you comfortable right now?” she asked.
“Well yeah, of course I am,” I quickly retorted with cocky self-assurance.
She looked me dead in the eyes and, without blinking and replied, “You know Jason… comfortable is dead.”
I stared at her with indignation, furrowed my brow and responded, “Uhhhh, what do you mean?”
My longtime teacher, Nancy, looked deep into my eyes and said, “You’re not living on your edge. You’re not taking any risks. You’re too comfortable right now and this kind of comfortable is dead. Absolutely dead.”
Needless to say, her words hit me like a ton of bricks. Here I am, a young actor in Chicago, feeling like I just put my very best performance into a scene and my favorite teacher is basically saying my performance was the equivalent of death. Tough audience in Chi-Town!
It wasn’t until many years later that I finally understood what the heck she was talking about. Here’s what I learned.
How Choosing Comfort Keeps Us Stuck and Small
It’s easy to get comfortable with daily routines, the way you relate to your loved ones, the way you run your business, the way you do yoga, even eating the same exact foods day in and day out. This is not to say that a certain amount of comfort in intrinsically bad for you. Taking time off to relax and rejuvenate is absolutely necessary for your mental wellness and emotional balance. (Laying in a hammock for a few hours to recharge is not the kind of comfort that I’m talking about!) But all too often, comfort can be a sly euphemism for “I just don’t feel like trying new things or expanding my horizons. I’ll just stay put exactly where I am. That way I have familiarity. And familiarity equals control in my head.” Sounds way too familiar, doesn’t it? (Hand raised over here!)
There’s something about willfully making yourself uncomfortable, taking big risks and finding where the edges of your fear live that makes you feel viscerally alive, exploratory and curious about what life has in store for you. It’s the opposite of certainty and control.
Comfort can be a sly euphemism for “I just don’t feel like trying new things or expanding my horizons.”
So what is it about staying comfortable that inhibits your growth? Think about a relationship you’ve experienced where things were well enough. When people asked how your partner was, you said, “Fine. Everything’s fine. Yeah, it’s cool.” You get along well, the sex is decent, you laugh a lot; everything on the surface appears wonderful. But perhaps there’s a clear boundary you wanted to express, or something that made you feel unseen or made you want to talk about your feelings on a raw and vulnerable level. Rather than bring something up that might have created ripples in the pond of illusory romantic bliss, you stayed silent and you stayed comfortable. You didn’t rock the boat.
The growth opportunity in a relationship like this is to choose to speak up, stand up and share your truth, which can feel absolutely terrifying at first. You might think, What if they don’t understand? What if they don’t want to be with me anymore? What if I find out they’re not ‘the one’? By choosing the cold comfort of complacency instead of discomfort and change, you stay stuck and you keep playing small. And this filters into every area of your life.
How to Expand Your Comfort Zone
Here’s an interesting idea for you: instead of creating a list of New Year’s Resolutions, make a list of things that scare the absolute heck out of you and make you feel really uncomfortable when you imagine doing them. Things that your inner voice responds with, “But it would be CRAZY if we did THAT! Are you nuts?!?”
Your list could include things like skydiving, or telling your longtime crush how you really feel about them, or finally taking singing lessons, or doing standup comedy, or traveling to another country alone. Only you know the things that are going to push you way out of your comfort zone and into the realm of new possibilities and opportunities.
The things that terrify you are where the real treasures of your life exist.
Joseph Campbell once said, “The very cave you are afraid to enter turns out to be the source of what you are looking for. The damned thing in the cave that was so dreaded has become the center.”
In other words, the things that terrify you or make you dreadfully uncomfortable—that’s where the real treasures of your life exist. That’s where all the juicy, amazing, expansive, joyful things can grow and expand from. So instead of holding what you fear at arms length, what if you actually took steps toward them? Or, better yet, learned to understand, embrace and integrate those fears into the collage of your entire being and celebrated them as your teachers?
That’s some powerful soul medicine right there.
Make Your Life an Ongoing Experiment
At the very least, when you choose to do something uncomfortable, you’ll learn something new about yourself. At the very best, you’ll discover that what you really desire is born from your willingness to experiment, to try new things and consciously choose to do uncomfortable things.
Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “All life is an experiment. The more experiments you make, the better.” So remember to have fun with learning more about your fears, get comfortable with the uncomfortable and try things you’ve never done before. You never know who (or what) is waiting to embrace you on the other side of a new life experiment!
Jason Wrobel is a celebrity vegan chef, TV host and co-founder of Wellevatr, a high-performance wellness brand dedicated to helping you find the fun in your fear, discover the diamonds in discomfort and align with the innate greatness of your true being. Learn more at Wellevatr.com.