One day last week I was in the community pool in 31 C (87 F) water. This was quite comfortable when entering and just floating. No effort needed to be at ease. But if I tried to move around at all it was anything but envigorating. Within an hour I had lost all ambition.

The next day I was in the sea in 19 C (67 F) water. It was not only uncomfortable when I got in, it was assaulting my nervous system. Yet while swimming along briskly it was completely envigorating. I did not want to get out after an hour.

Comfortable is that condition where my body and mind are not being challenged, where I don’t have to put out any effort to protect myself from change or adaptation. This is where my environment conforms to me. The hallmark of comfortable is that very little effort is required of me.

Envigorating is where my body and mind are stimulated and challenged to just the right degree, where I have to put out effort to reach and maintain this sensation. The hallmark of envigorating is that although I put out effort, it infuses me with energy. I am engaged in the experience, where I find myself enjoying the process of adapting, expanding how I can better fit into my environment.

So what is a better investment for my time, my effort, and my resources?

Try to control my environment to keep it within my comfort zone? Or expand my comfort zone?

When I play at the edges of the zone, I am calling the bluff of what I perceive to be my limits. I lose comfort but gain energy- physically, mentally and spiritually. The more those perceived limits are removed, the larger my so-called comfort zone becomes. I don’t need to control a small space when I can instead create a larger one by adapting.

This raises another question? When I expand that comfort zone, where then will I choose to hang out? In the safe center, or stay near the risky edges? Where did I find the most life-giving experiences?

Among creatures is the supreme human strength control, or adaptation? One is driven by fear, the other by hope. Which is more fulfilling?

I am certain of my answer to those questions.

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