I read a brief article recently about comfort zones. The author made the comment that comfort zones will destroy your life. I totally disagree. I believe that a comfort zone is a good thing to have, but I also agree that you have to step out of your comfort zone to grow as a person, to try new things, to make more money and/or grow your net worth, and even to be happy.
As such, I would posit that it is better to continually grow your comfort zone. if you are constantly doing the same things and not pushing to increase your comfort zone, that could destroy your life, health, wealth, and happiness. Because at the point where you stop, you are stuck. Proper stuck… And I’ve started to see these people in all walks of life. They are on the same wavelength all the time, they say no to new ideas, they say no to doing new things, and they decide to stay stuck. In fact, I would argue that they are not even in a comfort zone. They are in a much worse place…the uncomfortable zone. It’s a dimension where you tell yourself everything is fine, but you are just going in circles. Maybe you are getting by with you job, your relationships, your income, and even your happiness. But I would also venture to say that you are not doing things that can enhance your life – you may not be trying new things, you may not be building relationships that can elevate you, you may not be working in increasing your income or growing your net worth, and you may not be doing things that make you happier.
I truly believe that this is because you are not challenging yourself. Comfort zones do not make us happy, healthy, or wealthy. I believe that creating scenarios that provide you with challenge are more rewarding… What we really need to do is get out of the uncomfortable zone, push into the comfort zone, and then keep growing your comfort zone by trying new things.
Below are a few rules and challenges that you can try to use to expand your comfort zone:
- Smile – I don’t care if this is a fake smile or genuine. Smile when you wake up, smile when someone annoys you, smile when someone makes you laugh, and smile at people you pass in the office or the street. It’s contagious and makes you feel better.
- Nature – I’ve lived all over the World. It wasn’t until I lived in Europe that I learned that I am a water person. I need water around me to be happy. It’s calming to me, it reinvigorates me, and it helps me think. We are all connected to nature, so spend some time trying to figure out whether you need to be in the mountains, in a park, in a forest near water, or in the desert. Figure out where you get energy from and try to get to a place that provides that serenity as often as possible.
- JP Morgan Rule – I am not as good as I would like to be at this, but when I read Morgan: American Financier by Jean Strouse, I picked up a great tidbit from JP Morgan. He had a plaque on his desk in French that translated into: “Listen often, say little, write nothing.” The more we can genuinely listen to others, the more that we can learn about them and the way they view the world.
- Be persistent, be determined – You have to work hard in this life. I come up with short-term, mid-term, and long-term goals each year. I also have a running list of “Bucket List” items that I evaluate and try to accomplish each year.
- Make your own choices – Don’t let anyone tell you what you should or should not be, what you can or cannot be, and what you can or cannot accomplish in your life. At the end of the day, it’s your life, your only get one shot at your life, so live your life!
- Live below your means – This is simple math. I think you should live your best life, but too many people who fake it until they make it end up broke. I’d rather gradually expand my lifestyle as my income and net worth increases.
- Start now – Too many people are looking for a perfect time to start. There is no perfect time. Start with what you have and grow from there.
- No one cares – I know a lot of people trying to impress others with things. People may think it’s cool when they see your newest toy, but most people just care about their situation. If you can afford a Lambo and truly want one, go for it, but at the end of the day, no one really cares if it doesn’t affect them or if they are not after something.
- Rejuvenation – Whether you exercise, meditate, get massages, or read, find ways to help you rejuvenate. You need to be at your best for your family, friends, clients, and investors.
- Read – Reading is a way to grow your mind. Read everything. My favorite books to read are historical fiction, history, biographies, investment, real estate, and self-help.
- Learn – Along the same lines as reading, try to learn topics that not only expand on what you know, but also topics that also challenge you and make you grow. Again, challenge is good.
- Trust but verify – In grad school, I always told my classmates that numbers don’t lie, only people do. So, while you should trust people, verify for yourself. I try to regularly check “facts” to ensure that our assumptions are correct and that we fully understand the data set.
- Have fun – Seriously, we tell our kids to have fun, but why does it get harder to live this as you get older? Sure, we have more responsibilities and more things that we are managing, but we should still strive to have fun.
- Life – People always say that life’s short, but in a way, it’s also long. You have to strive, be determined, be persistent, and grow continuously while having fun, but I would also prefer to look at life as the long game. I’m 45 now and seen a lot of cycles – both personal and economic. There is a lot that is out of my control, but I just try to set some goals for myself and work towards those.
- Give back – This is bigger to me than charity. Give back to your family, give back to your friends, give back to your community, give back to causes that you care about… This world that we live in is bigger than you and me, so let’s think bigger and how we can help elevate those around us.
Comfort zones don’t destroy your life. Comfort zones give you a safe place to expand from. Figure out how to expand, how to grow, how to develop, and then you will expand your comfort zone. It’s not always easy, but that’s the place from where the best things happen.
Until next time, let’s continue growing our passive cash flow and net worth together!