Contradictory injunctions #2 : comfort zone

Here is the translation of a chronic for a paper magazine coming out every 2 months in Montpellier area in France, Le Tafeur, this one came out the 15 of April. The first one was also published on this blog so the translation will come!

comfort zone

We get to hear a lot, a lot, a lot about comfort zone. Really. To a point that we start to feel guilty about it, especially when it is starting to become a bit too precise about what is it and what it is not.

Personally, I heard about this strange concept for the first time 6 years ago, in a Girls episode, Lena Dunham’s TV show. Her character Hannah is going to an interview for a job she finally will not get but where the interviewer, behind her aquarium like glasses, is showing her a scheme on the wall behind her. The one I actually choose to illustrate this post, you probably have seen it already. Since then, the notion made up its way, you can find plenty of cute videos or articles, or at the opposite quite tyrannical, trying to explain to you what and how to get out of this much-vaunted comfort zone that is seemingly keeping you from living your life the way it should be lived, 1000 per hour.

But actually, how should you live your own life? Is there still some people to genuinely think this is something everyone should decide freely, by following your own aspirations? How naïve. The comfort zone is usually described as things you do because you are used to do it, without questioning them, without daring to try something different because of fear, shame, unknown, etc. Comfort zone is not a bad concept in itself, I sincerely do think it can be very beneficial to question our beliefs, our limits, our prejudices, to dare to go to what is frightening but also very attractive. It is an evaluation tool like any other and, seen this way, it should not be subverted by any other norm than our proper value scale. But it’s been a while now I think that we understood it is not working this way.

According to the widely spread idea of modern human comfort zone, we would need in order to get out of it to practice extreme sports, to travel a lot, to flirt a lot (if you are a man, I stupidly assume), to create your own company, mentor a lot of people, speaking louder than everyone else. What about the qualities that are making our together time nicer, such as empathy, ability to listen, discretion, quiet time, thinking time? None? How weird is that…

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