Since I learned how to feel really good, and that I can manipulate myself into feeling THAT good, I have thought about the ‘feel good sweet spot’. For me, it is a place just outside of my comfort zone, but not too far from it. Let me tell you about it.
In what mental space or place in your life you feel your best, varies from person to person. But I think we all have a ‘sweet spot’ where we feel really good, and feel like we’re thriving in life. This might be just a phase in your life, or certain moments. But many people (like myself) have learned how to stay in this spot for a longer time, by choice.
Find your sweet spot
Let’s start by figuring out under which conditions you get that ‘thriving’ feeling. Is it when everything in your life is calm and quiet, or when challenges come up? Is it when you’re surrounded by people you handle easily, or by people who make you second guess yourself and the way you live life?
What I’m actually saying is: many people love life the most when they have good mix of rest and accomplishment. Of course, it is nice when life is easy and everything goes your way. But most humans need some form of challenge to feel proud of themselves now and then, and to raise their own standards.
Think of a moment in your life when your balance between peace and provocation was just perfect. Do you want things to be quiet, more than you want them to be exiting? Then you’re probably more happy in or close to your comfort zone. Do you like life more when you can develop and prove yourself wrong? Then your sweet spot is probably far out of your comfort zone. Most people though, are somewhere in between.
Take your job for example. Of course, it is nice to know everything about whatever tasks you should be doing. But if you never learn new stuff, or run into new situations and people, it is quite hard to find excitement in your work. Or think about friends: it’s really good to be loyal and surround yourself with like-minded people. But if you never reach out to someone who has an opposite life or opinions – you are never challenged in your beliefs. That is not what most people would call life with a capital L.
Just slightly uncomfortable
For me, my sweet spot is right outside my comfort zone. Not too far away, just slightly over the edge. I love knowing what I’m going to get, and I wouldn’t say I’m adventurous at all. But I do like to dream big, and in order to reach your dreams, you have to stay in (almost) constant motion. And you guessed it – there is hardly any movement inside the comfort zone.
So I like to be comfortable most of the time. I prefer watching movies that I’ve seen before, and going to restaurants and countries that I know I like. I don’t like to be disappointed after putting in time and energy (which is probably why I don’t like cooking), so I prefer to take the paths walked before. But when it comes to my career, my hobbies and my friends – I do like to challenge myself a little.
Because I also like to learn and expand my capabilities. I think the main reason for this is that I like the sense of accomplishment. I hardly ever fail when I try new things (also because I don’t try things that I’m probably gonna fail at), but proving yourself that you can do something you’ve never done before is a really good feeling.
Other than that, I really believe in taking chances. When some good opportunity comes my way, I usually take it. And these are often the moments when I’m out of my comfort zone. In that sense, I don’t like to ‘struggle’ to reach my goals. But when life offers them to you on a plate – you better take it, no matter the costs. Then I choose to close my eyes and jump.
Because I really do believe in going with the flow, and not swimming against the stream out of fear, comfort or habit. And the stream sometimes takes you out of your comfort zone, but that’s where the big things happen for me. And when I feel my best!
I would like to leave you with a quote I heard on a podcast (about death, ironically) recently: Life is for us to receive, to learn and to love. Now ask yourself how much of these you can do on either side of your comfort zone.