On My Mind – 18 – Comfort, Adventure and Panic Zones

This week at work, I took a class and part of what she taught us were these three concentric circles. In the innermost circle, you have your “comfort zone” which is where most of us are most of the time. And then there is the Adventure Zone which feels a bit scary but also thrilling and you can visit there and learn a lot and the more time you spend there, the wider your comfort zone grows. And then there’s the Panic Zone which doesn’t feel good and most importantly, you can’t learn anything while you’re there.

I’ve been thinking a lot about my life, my work, my choices in terms of these circles lately. I think my comfort zone is reasonably small and I often live in the Adventure zone and I really try not to go into panic zone because I hate being in a place where I can’t learn.

What’s interesting is how compelled I feel to go to the Adventure Zone. I was wondering why I might keep doing it to myself. I think one reason is because my comfort zone is smaller than average. I have very few things that really feel comfortable in my life. Maybe when I am curled up in bed reading but otherwise not often. I am anxious and scared often and I worry a lot so if I really needed to only be in my comfort zone, I’d have a pretty small life.

The other thing is that I have an almost obsessive need to learn constantly. About myself, about the world, about all things. I always want to grow, evolve, and know more. This incredible thirst for knowledge gives me the drive to go into my adventure zone and take risks because the reward of learning is so big for me. And because I live there so often the quiet times in my comfort zone are really important for my recovery. 

Which is also why I feel absolutely no desire to be in the panic zone. There’s nothing good for me there. And I avoid it at all costs. 

I really liked thinking about my life in these terms and I now will stop and ask myself what zone i am in at a moment in time so I can see if I need a push forward or the space to go backward into a smaller circle.

On My Mind is a year-long project for 2018. You can read more about my projects for 2018 here.

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