By Wes Annac, Editor, Openhearted Rebel
I wrote the following for the 276th issue of the Weekly Awareness Guide, a written document distributed weekly via email that I offer for $11.11 a month.
Income from the guide helps me get by and ensures I can continue to offer free content, and every subscription is appreciated. The option to subscribe is given at the bottom of this post (learn about subscribing with cash/check here).
If you want to live your purpose, the first thing you should do is leave your comfort zone. Although it’s, well, comfortable, staying there can squash the dreams of anyone looking to pursue their passion. Especially if you want to succeed independently, choosing comfort over hard work will most certainly land you back in the rat race.
Obviously, it’s good to stop once and a while to rest so you don’t burn out. Everything has its place and time; but spending too much time resting will effectively prevent you from working hard or succeeding.
The following are five reasons to get out of your comfort zone before it’s too late.
- Staying comfortable has never gotten anyone anywhere
This is especially important for independent artists and creators. If you want to be good enough at your craft for people to support it, you must do it. A lot. Nonstop. It sounds daunting, but if you truly enjoy what you do, every second will be worth it. You’ll feel exhausted most of the time, but at least you’ll have put that energy into something worthy.
At some point, the couch will call your name. Rest will start to sound nice, and you might tell yourself you’ve earned it by getting as far as you have. Don’t give in. Keep working and improving at your craft, and eventually, you’ll be miles ahead of those who stopped working early every day.
Artist and game developer Lorne Lanning has said that the only people who create truly remarkable things are those who work ridiculously hard every day (and most nights). This is how they create works they know will resonate with people for decades to come. If you’re willing to push yourself, you can too.
- You can discover your gift by leaving your comfort zone
If you’re looking for something that can give meaning to your life, the best way to find it is to get up and start searching. Figure out what ignites that flame in your mind and heart, and instead of settling with the first thing you find, be sure to choose something real, graspable, and meaningful. Once you have, be careful not to retreat into comfortable territory.
Far from over, the work has just begun.
Chances are slim you’ll find what you love by lying in bed all day or find success with a lackluster effort. Once you know what you want to do, try pouring your heart and soul into it for more than just a few hours. It’ll be difficult, but you’ll uncover ideas and inspiration you never thought you had.
- Once you’re out of your comfort zone, you can use your gift to help people
If you work hard at your craft, you’ll find at least a few ways you can use it to help others. You can use financial success to help the less fortunate and show that the world isn’t all cold-hearted. Or, depending on the level of influence you gain along the way, you can raise awareness of important issues in society.
You can also help those who share your passion. If you paint, for example, you can teach and inspire new artists in your downtime. If you make videos, you can show new creators how to create quality content and build an audience. Or, that extra time you spend on a painting, video, article, or song might give it the depth and power to reach someone who really needs it. As we covered (and will cover more later), you’ll never know what you can do if you don’t try.
- Leaving your comfort zone brings a sense of accomplishment
This point isn’t too exciting, but the sense of accomplishment you feel from being dedicated to what you love is far worth the comfort you sacrifice. It’s the best feeling in the world to not just enjoy something, but to live for it. When you start to accomplish things with it, you’ll feel like a superhero.
Dedication brings countless rewards, and if you’re 100% onboard, your first few successes will drive you to work harder and achieve more. If you’re not, your mind will see success as a reason to stop and relax. This would be the beginning of the end. Instead of letting it make you lazy, let the “high” you feel from your initial accomplishments drive you to chase your passion vigorously.
- You’ll never know what you can achieve if you stay comfortable
This is like the second point, but it’s worth asking: Would you regret it if you lived your whole life comfortably, never chasing your dreams like an idealistic madman? This is a tragic reality for many people, who never do what they love because it’s hard work or they convince themselves success is impossible.
Being complacent about your potential for accomplishment is just another way of staying comfortable. Don’t be complacent or afraid to struggle. Embrace that struggle and let it drive you.
You only have less than a hundred years on Earth. Why not fill them with the most meaningful pursuits possible? Why accept a life handed to you by some CEO who gets rich from the masses’ unwillingness to live for themselves? Instead of living for the American dream – the comfortable choice – follow your dreams. They matter.
If you love what you do, the work will come naturally. Striving harder and staying far away from your comfort zone will help, and the more you enjoy what you do, the easier it’ll be to find inspiration and spend long hours honing your craft.
Staying comfortable will most certainly lead to failure, so no matter how much you love that comfortable space that zaps the potential out of its inhabitants, let go of it and let a life of purpose take its place. Try to motivate yourself when you’d rather rest and remember that the point of all this is to do what you love.