Comfort zone v magic zone

For days now, sleep has eluded you. Your eye bags are bulged to breaking point. Your fear [of everything] and your need for success have been fighting it out for years: time is nigh for one of them to throw in the towel. Your advisors are as conflicted as Lucifer. All your life you’ve been standing on the edge unsure of whether to jump or wait to be pushed? Well, today you jumped, and the fear is frighteningly real as you hurtle towards the ground: will you crash on the pavement or develop wings and soar? A millions things flood your mind as the ground looms near…..

Whoever said ‘fear does not belong to us’ was obviously mad. You are not just fearful, you are scared shitless. Fear belongs to us and is present in every situation. Now, you have embarked on a potentially dangerous situation: the few people you confided in, believe you are not of sound mind. Their jaws drop to the floor as they watch you grasping at straws as you speed towards imminent death. The fearless ones tell you wings are about to sprout, don’t give up; the fearful ones, you know, the ones that can’t match a pair of socks when under severe threat, tell you to retreat. What no one knows is that you are past scared, you are dangerously dehydrated, and your heart palpitations have increased exponentially since making that life altering decision. You are hurtling towards earth with more than just apprehension and fear, but tangible dread.

It was a few years ago when you decided your life was nothing more than a chore, bad decisions and foolish choices. Instead of progressing you constantly lived in the past, you became a master of what ifs: “what if I had taken this route instead of that? What if I had married that woman instead of that woman? What if I had stayed in Ghana? What if what if what if!” Not only did you make terrible life choices, you associated with dream killers who added to your fears like oxygen to a fire.

They say smart people adapt the 33% rule: surround yourself with 33% of uplifters or mentors, 33% of challengers, and 33% of people you can inspire – you can do whatever you want with the 1%. You, however, surrounded yourself with 33% arseholes, 33% manipulators and 34% self-destructors – these are the people you meet with occasionally to drink alcoholic beverages at various establishments as you fuel your collective failures and fears. The kind of people who find solace in sayings like “job is job”, and “there are people worse off” etc. As much as that is true, it doesn’t have to define destiny because the alternatives are too hard or too risky.

Over the years you invented fictional girlfriends, non-existent projects abroad, promotions and wealth to save face. They say ignorance is bliss but ignoring the obvious is anything but.

You found yourself a therapist when your hopelessness reached a new low. She told you that your problems stem from your childhood.
“If only you could change your mind set”, she had said, “you might recognise things about you that hold you back and do something about it.”
You asked her what she meant. She explained how all humans have preconceived ideas about their capabilities and capacities from ideas others instilled in them. For example: if your parents were overly strict and controlling, you probably grew up thinking you are incapable of thinking for yourself or taking risks. Or if you were not challenged enough or held accountable for decisions, you probably grew up thinking the world is against you or worse. She also added that you might need to be mindful of any underlying issues and deal with that before embarking on life changing undertakings. Many of these things formed during your formative and impressionable years have become your blue prints for life. Half of the things the therapist said came in one ear and out the other within seconds. Probably something else wrong with you, you thought.  Now in hindsight, it all made sense.

Now you are a 58-year-old man in a dead-end job with colleagues young enough to be your grandchildren and you hate every aspect of it. These colleagues of yours have realised your insecurities and they use them to their advantage. They have no problem stepping over you to the next promotion. They praise you as they would a little child, because they’ve learned this makes you feel good – for a few hours a day.

Ten years ago, you thought it would be good to find a good woman to marry and some have kids – you took no action because every woman you met was not good enough. Those who were brave enough to stay soon realised your inability to make decisions and left. One woman told you she wouldn’t date you anymore because your future together looked bleak – she had standards.
“You…. being in the same job….. and position……. for 10 years……. doesn’t sit right with me.” She had said cautiously as she packed her stuff and got the hell out of there.  You stared at her incredulously but deep down you knew she was right.


Her audacity spurred you into action – this took 10 years for any tangible action to be taken, but you did and became a supervisor. A few years later you learned that you got that job because your company rewarded royalty: the extra pennies they added to your salary did not match the extra activities they added to your job description.  Most importantly for them they knew you would stay.  However, you were not happy about it, but it took you so long to complain that management changed hands. The new bosses announced that due to ‘the recession’ salaries would not be reviewed or increased for the foreseeable future.  Brave one moved on to other adventures, you stayed content with ‘just’ having a job [in the recession]. It took you another ten years to stand in your light and take the leap….

Now you have made the decision to do what you have always wanted to do. You realise the odds are not in your favour, but you are facing the fear and doing it anyway. You have an uphill battle. Your limiting beliefs have been your downfall and the little red horned devil who sits on your shoulder need to die. They say you cannot teach people things they already know, you can only heighten their awareness of that knowledge.

Sometimes in life, people opt for the comfortable because they fear the unknown. This is understandable and sensible because the brain is designed to protect; but sometimes trying is knowing. Swimming in unchartered waters may open opportunities or capabilities previously unknown, or one could drown but…. as the book says, “feel the fear and do it anyway.”

John Hagee once said, “Gather in your resources; rally all your faculties; marshal all your energies; focus all your capacities upon mastery of a least one field of endeavour”, this is the only way to know for sure if you will drown or swim, crash or soar.

1 Comment

  1. Sheila Gatonye

    Interesting read and quite a brutal reality check….. unconditioning the mindset is one hell of a task for many especially for those who pay no attention to the 33% of people they spend the most time with.

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