Photo of asphalt ground with a horizontal yellow line painted. Above the line are 2 white arrows pointing in opposite directions, one labeled "growth zone" and one labeled "comfort zone"

I’m not talking about physical pain so much as I am about emotional/social pain i.e. the ‘pain’ of self-discipline, the ‘pain’ of social rejection, the ‘pain’ of failure (in both cases often more in the anticipation than in reality). All too often we cringe and shy away from imaginary boogiemen, anything that lies outside our comfort zone, fearing the unknown or the awkward. None of us are immune. I can remember as a pre-teen, my mother dropping me off outside a church youngster social to which I’d never been before. I never went inside! I waited what I thought was an appropriate period of time and then trudged home, never letting on about my non-attendance, giving evasive grunt answers (it was okay) to my mother’s inquires.

Folks, I’m approaching 72 and I’m still working on this self-discipline thing, this tendency to give away my power to my fears, avoid uncertainty, to live smaller than I could due to anxiety about moving beyond my known, safe places. When I fail to move forward, I know that I am giving away my grandest future; choosing to be less than I might be. Of late I’ve become better at embracing potential discomfort, more often boldly (and as quickly as possible!) journeying through the desert of my fears to the promised land beyond. This has led to some interesting synergy and serendipitous outcomes and yes, at other times reach-outs have been meet with re-sounding silence or auspicious beginnings have faded away but by far the net is to the positive.

Closing Quotes:

“Do the thing you fear, and the death of fear is certain.” – Samuel Clemmons aka Mark Twain, 1835-1910

“The Cave you Fear to Enter Holds the Treasure you Seek.” – Joseph Campbell,1904-1987, ‘The Hero with a Thousand Faces’

“The thing you fear most has no power. Your fear of it is what has the power. Facing the truth really will set you free.” – Oprah Winfrey

As always, I share what I most want and need to learn. – Nathan S. Collier

PS: I’m indebted to ‘The Tools’ by Phil Stutz for the title of this blog