The comfort zone

As a millennial I am absolutely spoilt with the choices life gives me. Food? There are three apps for hundreds of restaurants serving thousands of dishes anytime you want to feel like ordering. Entertainment? Hundreds of websites offering thousands of options on my phone, laptop, TV, PC, anytime or anywhere I want. As Wi-Fi permeates our environment as the 21st century fuel, we are adjusting to this new world where we never experience scarcity. This assures us that we will always have options and more or less, life is sorted. The system works well for you if you have money and certain privilege. We get comfortable.

You get up, follow a routine, handle everything work throws at you and come back home. Watch something that catches your fancy online, meet your friends/ partners over the weekend and get ready for the next week. Rinse repeat. Boring? Slightly. Comfortable? AF! Why would you then rock the boat and throw away everything for a toss? Why would you completely put yourself in a new scenario where nothing is familiar and everything seems weird? Why would you voluntarily pick up a duel with your inertia? I did something like this a couple of months ago and here’s my understanding of what I am going through. I won’t go into the details or even give you any details for that matter because it’s not what I am doing but what I am going through that’s important.

Some time back I felt I needed change. Luckily after some heavy decision making from my end, I got that change. In a new scenario, things rarely start the way you want to. But in this particular case, I was parachuted bang into the middle of things and absolutely nothing made sense to me in the beginning. All I had was my determination to do it right. Whatever was being thrown at me, I had to do justice to it. So I went ahead with my usual pace. To my surprise, it wasn’t enough. I was left wanting in terms of work ethic and intellectual rigour – two things I pride myself of owning in spades. It was an absolutely harrowing conversation I was having with myself. For the first time in years I was asking myself, “Am I good enough? What if I fail? Will I regret my decision like Vipin Sahu or will I successfully lift my legs like I am supposed to? It was all so simple, you rocked the boat bro.”

Rust is an ugly thing. It affects us more than we imagine. Even if you are doing everything right, rust has this uncanny ability to creep up on you and before you know it, you are not what you once were. You need to constantly oil your gears. No matter what, you must challenge yourself consistently. Because if you are as a person what you were two years ago, you have messed up big time. Because let me warn you. Your body and mind get used to things far quicker than you are willing to admit. It’s not easy to form new habits but once they are adopted by body and mind, they are difficult to give up. That’s why army men find it so difficult to come back to civil society. They have been conditioned to be aware of any and every danger around them – real or imagined. The mind, in my opinion, has a very short memory. After certain high impact experience, usually trauma, we start believing everything our frightened self tells us. Those thoughts become your beliefs and inevitably your new reality.

If you do not shuffle your cards every once in a while, you don’t add to your arsenal of tricks. And the day you face a player that has superior skill, you will lose not only your cards but your confidence too. Think of yourself as the most ubiquitous object of our new world – a phone. If you don’t get a software update every once in a while, it will stop running even the most basic applications. Because the app makers are constantly updating and perfecting their offering. Life is like that. Apps are the things and people you are familiar with on a day to day basis. Life keeps raising the difficulty/ complexity level of these elements constantly and it is your job to adapt to them. This doesn’t happen without conscious efforts from your end.

Be it a relationship, personal project, work or even your exercise regimen, one must constantly refresh it. Otherwise stagnation hits you like a freight train and recovering from that takes more time than it would if you just kept yourself updated. Don’t think of change as a punishment. Think of it as a refresh button that’s keeping you alive rather than just in a state of existence. It’s important to be nice to yourself. Chances are that you will fail. And that’s fine in my eyes. At least you tried. You must leave the comfort of the sofa to work in the kitchen. Then either the kitchen is too hot for you or you are the had chef! No in between. So start cooking and let me know how your new recipe pans out.

I still don’t know whether I will succeed in my new environment. There are no guarantees but I know this one thing. Back in the day, I have faced much worse conditions and I have come out stronger, tougher, faster and most importantly, better. I just need to defeat my rust. This new level in the video game of life where the battle is more within than outside. My sword shall be held firmly as I sharpen it everyday for the duels that are necessary to be won for that software upgrade I’ve been waiting for ages. Hopefully I change for the better. But change I will.

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