As I woke up to yet another subzero morning here in Minnesota and heard people whining about the temps, I started to think about how this kind of weather stretches us. Or, how it could stretch us if we were up for that kind of thing. We see what we look for and if we look for the negative and the poor me and the downside, we will see it. I typically choose to look for something else. Here are just a few of the thoughts I had about how this cold weather could stretch us in good ways, if we would open ourselves to the possibilities.
* New soup recipes
* Getting out for a walk instead of hibernating
* Shivering is actually a GOOD thing - it's healthy for you!
* Move --- if you hate the cold weather that much --- check out living in a milder climate :-)
* Find friends that like doing things in the cold, and ditch your warm weather friends :-)
* Search for the ultimate jacket, hat, boots and mittens/gloves that keep you warm
* Make tons of cookies and store them on the back deck in ice cream pails
* Try out lots of new lotions to see what can actually keep your dry skin semi-moist
* Improve your skills when driving on black ice
* Develop patience
* Make money for a worthwhile charity by taking the polar plunge - it won't kill you
* Spend more family time together - play games, do puzzles, cook
* Get some Yak Trax for running or walking and exercise outside all year long without the fear of slipping
* Meet some neighbors by having a cabin fever party at your house
I could go on, but you get the idea, right? If you look at situations or circumstances as opportunities to stretch, you will find it.
This post isn't only about the weather; it's about life in general. I find many people seem to be searching for a comfort zone where they can just settle in and stay there all warm, secure and safe for the rest of their lives. That sounds a bit too much like complacency, settling, status quo, stalling out, being stuck ... I like to push and be pushed. This is for all of you that are feeling a little complacent and are ready for a good push - this reinforces your desire to try something challenging or new. This is also for those of you that are happy right where you are - in hopes that you will rethink your current state and push yourself.
While I was thinking about this very topic, I received an email with this little "prose" that a friend of mine wrote (Thanks, Warren) ...check it out!
Not much changes when I'm in my comfort zone. I go through unexamined habits, take no risks, rely on my defaults, do little thinking, and learn very little, if anything.
So, why stay in my comfort zone?
To avoid challenges. To escape from looking at other options. To value comfort over everything else. To send the message that I'm really a nice guy who won't get in their face. To become friends with the middle of the road.
And then what happens?
Standing in the middle of the road will ensure instant death. Emotional retardation sets in. Intellectual muscles are under nourished. Relationships deteriorate. And I become a serious drag.
Invite trusted friends to challenge your status quo. Say THANK YOU when someone takes you out of your comfort zone. Create an activity that is unusual, creative, out-of-the-ordinary. Do something that borders on being ridiculous.
If you're a manager, you are likely to say NO when others want to engage in unusual stuff. Become a leader, take the risk, make friends with unstable people and stuff, take the brake off your brains, go with the flow, become a Henry Ford or Steve Jobs. Learn that when you're kicked in the rear, you must be out front.
Getting out of your comfort zone reading this? YES? Wonderful. You're on your way!
My favorite line is LEARN THAN WHEN YOU"RE KICKED IN THE REAR, YOU MUST BE OUT IN FRONT! Come on, decide to be out in front with something ... take off the shirt and jeans that allow you to feel all sloppy and sit on the couch. Put on the pants that are a little too tight and are downright uncomfortable - then GET UP AND STRETCH THEM OUT!
As always, I'd love to hear where you would like to stretch ........................