What a day. I learned something interesting. I do better a little bit outside of my comfort zone than when I’m within it. The difference is that when I’m a little bit outside of it, I grow. I acquire new skills. I meet people by choice. And most importantly, I gain a lot more information that interests me. That last bit is the most surprising. It’s all surprising to me, though. I sincerely believed that when I’m in my comfort zone, I’m at my happiest, and therefore also my best. I was mistaken.
I’m already tired of saying ‘a bit outside my comfort zone’, so I’m renaming the state as ‘uncomfortable’ for the remainder of this post. I’m not sure how I feel about this new discovery. I do like growing and learning. I love gaining information that I find interesting. Love. So that’s all good. Even the meeting people part is good, because I’m getting better at recognizing people whose company I consistently enjoy. I can remember two occasions where I went from, “OMG this person is so dope!” to blocking them on Twitter, so my confidence in reading people took a hit. I’m glad to see any improvement in that area.
I think when I’m uncomfortable, it forces me to problem solve in real time. This is a skill, so naturally, it improves with practice. I have a therapist who helps if I get stuck. Usually a few texts back and forth is enough to get unstuck. Sometimes, I have to schedule an extra session and get help with perspective and processing. As a Software Engineer, problem solving is most of what I do. But I do it internally when I’m running, showering, or sleeping much of the time. Not in real time. It’s something the Army teaches, but not before teaching the opposite lesson. First, you learn to react without thinking. Then you learn to think before you react without thinking. The latter is usually leadership related.
So if you serve long enough to acquire some rank, you gain an astonishing amount of skills. Some are better at translating them into civilian livelihood than others. But I’ll step away from military-to-civilian transition issues, lest I give myself a stroke. Back to my point. Uncomfortable is my new default. My comfort zone, lovely and peaceful as it is, has lost it’s appeal. It’s being reassigned as my recovery zone. My safe, but time-limited refuge from times when uncomfortable becomes melting. I’ll give myself a few days to let myself fully process this change. I’ll just need to continually remind myself that I’m not really changing anything. I’m just making a logical adjustment to keep up with what’s become reality.