Be Playful

Posts Tagged ‘playful

In which Nietzsche is quoted in a subheading.

When playing, children push at the boundaries of who they are, learn new skills, and develop their imagination. Becoming an adult, it is possible to lose sight of the need to try new things, to break out of one’s comfort zone once in a while.

island-hopping
Photo by quarxdmz.

To be playful, I think it is vital to keep pushing at the edges of your comfort zone.

What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger

If you’ve ever done any fitness training you’ll know that it hurts. To increase your fitness, you have to push your muscles beyond what they are comfortable with. When you train properly, you actually tear your muscles slightly, allowing them to grow back bigger and stronger as they repair themselves.

Most people, exercising or not, manage to maintain a stable level of muscle. This is because the activity they do pushes their muscles to the max without actually breaking them, keeping the same amount of muscle. Of course, if you start being less active, your muscle level decreases.

Pushing at the edges

bubbles
Photo by bubble gum.

I think that life is like this. When we are healthy, pursuing our dreams, living on the edge of our comfort zone, pushing at the boundaries, then our dreams get bigger, the boundary line of our comfort zone moves further out, and we become more fully alive.

It is easy to stop this pushing, to escape the pain, to live in a state of gradual decline rather than straining forwards. This is when we forget our dreams, when we allow ourselves to be swept away on the ocean of life, drifting on a calm sea, maybe after being shook up and misdirected by a storm.

There are also times in my life when I have allowed my comfort zone to shrink. Ironically, this was by seeking comfort, by only allowing myself to do the things I was most comfortable doing, to live in the places I was most comfortable being. The more I pursued this comfort, the less comfortable I felt, within my being, and with the world outside.

This reminds me of a poem by William Blake:

He who binds himself to a joy
Doth the winged life destroy.
He who kisses the joy as it flies,
Lives in eternity’s sunrise.

A health warning

Health warning: just like doing too much training can actually damage your muscles, pushing out of your comfort zone too far or too frequently is likely to leave you feeling drained and not wanting to challenge yourself again.

Expanding your comfort zone is a bit like fitness training – you need time to rest and recoup. Remember to have days off to relax!

Your Thoughts

Do you think that it is important to break out of your comfort zone?

What do you do to ensure that your comfort zone isn’t shrinking?

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