On The Edge

on the edge


There is a magical point in life where we have stepped out of our comfort zone and reach the edge. For most of us who live in Western society, our day to day lives rarely if ever give us the opportunity to do this, and a lot of us choose actively to avoid stepping out of our familiar routines.

Being in the comfort zone is a psychological state in which a person feels familiar, at ease, in control and experiences low anxiety and stress. In the zone a steady level of performance is possible. This state represents a view of the world that seeks to determine and control all aspects of existence. Merely feeling in control isn’t the same as being in control of our lives and any objective look at existence would highlight the fact that at any moment life can change and it is beyond our ability to stop it. Illness, accident, death, change hover over us at all times, often it is only when we are touched by these do we feel the fleeting and fragile nature of our existence, then brush it off to continue on as if we are immortal and have all the time in the world to do the things we really want to do.

‘If it doesn’t challenge you, it doesn’t change you’ is a Facebook meme that I see posted on peoples walls and succinctly sums up why we need to move beyond our comfort zone in order to achieve and conquer ourselves. Life can be seen as a process of creation, as something we co-create and not something that is imposed upon us as we passively go about our everyday lives.

To move into uncertainty where there are no guarantees requires cultivation of self-belief, courage and determination. Better the devil you know goes the phrase, but can we truly grow and progress when we are not challenging ourselves to see where our true potential lies?

How can we know what we are capable of achieving if we never move in to the unknown?

Our limits are only stretched once we step outside into what is known as the edge. I found it curious that this place is a psychological one as well as a physical one.

‘The edge effect is an ecological concept that describes how there is a greater diversity of life in the region where the edges two adjacent ecosystems overlap, such as land/water, or forest/grassland. At the edge of two overlapping ecosystems, you can find species from both of these ecosystems, as well as unique species that aren’t found in either ecosystem but are specially adapted to the conditions of the transition zone between the two edges.’

I was struck by the parallel in nature to our own psychology; that the edge is where the most things happen and where more things grow. Movement is the best way I have found to access this place, although the place is still unfamiliar to me so I am often scared when I am there. I keep telling myself that the more I go to the edge, the landscape will be familiar to me and the rewards I get from it far outweigh the fear of stepping outside my comfort zone.

- F

Life begins outside the edge of your comfort zone
— Neale Donald Walsch