Trapped in the Comfort Zone: Why I'm Too Busy to Change My Life for Good

Are you too busy holding onto what you have that you're afraid to reach for more? Dive into my journey to understand the psychology and emotional barriers that make change seem impossible.

Trapped in the Comfort Zone: Why I'm Too Busy to Change My Life for Good
Photo by lucas Favre / Unsplash

Breaking Free from the Fear of Loss and the Paralysis of Risk-Aversion

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I have been on a never-ending treadmill since I got on the treadmill in the first place. I was told that I would be comfortable and safe as long as I stayed there running. But as days turned into months and months into years, I had a nagging thought: am I so busy preserving the status quo that I'm missing out on the vibrant experiences life has to offer? The fear of losing the familiar and my inherent risk-averse nature have created a formidable barrier to improving my life. This barrier, while comforting, has also become a cage. And when I add family and responsibility that comes with it, it becomes even more difficult to step away.

I also had a question: Is the rule book I am expected to follow, written by the so-called economic elite & high society or the government, meant to keep me chained so I don't look up and question them? That could be how you control 7 billion people on earth. Just set up a timetable like study, work, mortgage, bills, vacations, pension plan, insurance premiums, etc., and the herd will never point a finger at you and quietly follow.

It's a paradox β€” the very things that provide me comfort are the same things that hold me back. But is breaking this barrier truly unachievable, or is it a self-imposed limitation that I can overcome with introspection and effort?

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The Paradox of Being "Too Busy"

In today's fast-paced world, being "busy" is often equated with success or at least being productive. The more packed our schedules are, the more meaningful our lives must be. But as I've navigated this facade of constant activity and busyness, a stark truth has pierced my consciousness: my busyness has become a convenient excuse.

It's a shield I've used to protect myself from the uncertainties of change. By convincing myself that I'm too busy to change, I avoid confronting the real issue β€” the fear of losing what I have. This fear, while valid, has kept me in a state of inertia, preventing me from reaching out and grasping life's amazing opportunities. I want to live in Europe, but my fear of losing the job that pays my bills in Canada is stopping me from jumping the ship and finding, yes, another ball & chain job that will, again, pay my bills. But I will live where I like, walk on the cobbled street full of cafes, and discover another country within a 3-hour drive. I want to stop pretending I am busy heading in the right direction since all others are doing the same. I want to break free.

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The Fear of Losing What You Have

Human beings are inherently resistant to change. We find solace in the familiar group, drawing comfort from routines and the known environment. But the truth is, we are not afraid of the dark but of the absence of visibility.

This has manifested in a gripping fear of losing the life I've meticulously built or perhaps someone made me build. Every decision, every potential change, brings with it a flood of 'what ifs.' What if I lose the stability I've worked so hard for? What if the change doesn't bring the happiness I have or anticipate? These questions plague my mind, creating a whirlwind of doubt. But even if the mistakes are expensive, one should not hold on to them. However, I find it hard to let go because I have invested my years, effort, and money.

As I introspect, I realize this fear stems from a deeper place. It's not just about losing materialistic aspects of life; it's about losing a sense of identity. Apparently, my social status, like my job, earnings, position, social clubs & associations, house, and possessions, defines me. Take these away, and I am nobody.

With all its routines and comforts, the life I've built has become an integral part of who I am. The thought of changing any aspect of it feels like altering a part of myself or perhaps all of me. But growth necessitates change. And it's time to redefine my identity, not by what I have, but by who I can become. Well, easier said than done!

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The Psychology of Risk-Aversion

Throughout my life, I've understood that my risk-averse nature is more than just a trait; it's a mindset deeply ingrained in me, shaped by genetics, upbringing, and personal experiences.

In its hundreds of years of existence & rebuilds, society has tried and tested the best model that works on a larger population that contains them in a system. The thinkers, philosophers, and wise ones have written books, had discussions, and agreed to this.

For individuals like me, the world is viewed through a lens of potential pitfalls rather than opportunities. Every decision is weighed against potential negative outcomes, often leading to analysis paralysis. This risk-averse psychology, the glass half-empty, has served as a protective mechanism, shielding me & many like me from potential harm. But it's also been a double-edged sword. While I've avoided many pitfalls, I've missed countless opportunities. Most of my biggest life-altering mistakes are of omission and not commission.

The comfort of the known often outweighs the temptation of the unknown, no matter how promising the latter might be. This mindset, while providing a sense of security, has also created walls, limiting my experiences and potential growth. Recognizing this has been a journey in itself. Understanding that risk-aversion has merits, it shouldn't become a dominating force dictating every life decision. Life, after all, is about balance. And it's time for me to find that equilibrium where I can safeguard my interests while embracing the uncertainties of growth and change. It does not have to be an either-or option; it can be a gradual thought-after transition.

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The Cost of Inaction

Inaction, often disguised as patience or caution, has its price. One of the biggest costs is the Time that will never come back. While it's comfortable to remain in the cocoon of familiarity, the world outside continues to evolve, presenting opportunities and challenges in equal measure. By choosing not to act, I've inadvertently made a choice β€” the choice to let life happen to me rather than actively shaping it. It's like I live in a constant chain of accidents like the chaos theory, where my small, seemingly insignificant actions and events are creating my future. - The butterfly effect

Over time, the cost of this inaction becomes evident. Some of the repercussions are missed opportunities, stagnation, and a growing sense of discontentment. My today is a copy-paste of yesterday and keeps going in a loop. There is a reason why I and many more like me make impulse purchases like expensive phones, vacations, designer clothes, etc. These instant gratifications give me a sense of happiness, purpose, satisfaction, and a feeling of success. But inside, I know if I was traveling the world, running a 5k, reading books under a tree, having a nice cup of coffee in a stress-less moment (seems like a myth), or playing with my kid in the park, none of those instant gratification dopamine shots would matter. Also, beyond the tangible losses, there's another profound cost β€” the Diminishing Potential. Every day spent not making a decision is a day not spent exploring, learning, and growing. The more I wait, the more difficult it will get to jump over the guardrails. What I could do so easily in my 20s and 30s is seemingly impossible in my 40s (literally). On top of that, my returns on effort are reducing by the day. I belong to the traditional workforce, and the world has moved on to AI. It will become increasingly difficult to transfer my skills to the new world, so it must be now if I have to make a change. All I need is to take the first step.

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Life, in its essence, is a series of choices β€” choices that define our journey, our experiences, and, ultimately, our legacy. As I reflect upon my journey, I recognize the comfort of the familiar path, the appeal of the known, and the security it offers. But I also realize that true growth, fulfillment, and discovery lie just beyond the boundaries of this comfort zone. The fear of loss and a risk-averse mindset might have held me back, but recognizing this fact is the first step toward transformation.

Change has never been easy. It's fraught with uncertainty, challenges, and the potential for setbacks. But it also promises new experiences, learnings, and life more aligned with our true potential, desire, and self. As I stand at this crossroads, I'm reminded of the words of Neale Donald Walsch, "Life begins at the end of your comfort zone." It's a call to action, an invitation to welcome the unknown, and a reminder that sometimes, the biggest risks lead to the most significant rewards. We must let go of what we hold on to so tight for years.

To anyone reading this, I hope my journey serves as a reflection of your fears and aspirations. May we all courageously step beyond our self-imposed boundaries, seek, explore, and live a life worth living.

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Books Recommendations

  • "Atomic Habits" by James Clear
  • "The Power of Habit" by Charles Duhigg
  • "Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less" by Greg McKeown
  • "The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People" by Stephen Covey
  • "Mindfulness in Plain English" by Bhante Henepola Gunaratana
  • "The Four Agreements" by Don Miguel Ruiz
  • "The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck" by Mark Manson
  • "Daring Greatly" by BrenΓ© Brown
  • "You Are a Badass" by Jen Sincero
  • "The Happiness Project" by Gretchen Rubin

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Related Article Links

  1. Breaking the Chains of Busyness: A Guide to Changing Your Life Even When You're Too Busy
  2. Unlocking Your Full Potential: 10 Remarkable Strategies for Personal Growth and Mindfulness
  3. If you don't do anything different, nothing different will happen to you

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