Hello cute little banana leaf package! So neatly wrapped up! What might you be hiding inside? A delectable treasure? Shall I try you? Ok then! But… what are you? With my Thai being limited to saying sawatdee ka (hello) and khop kuhn ka (thank you) it was difficult to extract further information about the mystery package from the lady at the market so I decided to take a gamble and bought it for breakfast. Ahoy! Inside was some yummy yellow rice with a slightly sweet and nutty topping. A fortuitous discovery.
Trying new foods is a recurring episode for travelers or those living abroad. Especially where language restricts communication to smiling, head nodding and hand signalling. You never quite know whether you are in for a nasty surprise or a golden ticket. It’s a bit like life really, opportunities and problems present themselves in assorted packages, leaving us guessing what’s inside or what’s coming up in the future. Sometimes life needs us to take risks, to jump when we don’t know whether we will land on our feet or sink into a stinky bog.
No matter who we are or where we live, we all have comforts that we like. Be it special foods (Whittaker’s dark almond chocolate and Vogel’s bread are two of mine), being around familiar faces (family and close friends) or favourite places (diving under waves at the beach or biking up and down bush clad hills); our comforts help keep us alive and happy. I’ll not argue that comforts aren’t important, but breaking free of our comfort zone is an imperative.
I was recently reminded of the concept below while reading the blog of the inspirational adventurer Anna McNuff (who, while running the length of New Zealand simultaneously promoted the value of adventure to kiwi kids):
I like returning to this quote when I’m finding things tough. Inside our comfort zones we feel able to function as normal human beings, but escaping this realm of coziness is where the “magic” happens. Outside our comfort zones are our unique challenges, our risks, our adventures, which have an insurmountable power to transform us. It’s easy and convenient to stay within comfort zones, but real change, on both personal and societal levels comes when we step outside.
So, if you too have aspirations to refashion the fabric of society into something more happier and healthier, more just and sustainable, you’ll need to be prepared to jump, to look inside the mystery package and take risks. Because to positively transformation our world, a new way of thinking is needed. A way that dares, is creative, innovative and confronts our neatly defined comfort zones.
This process will be different for everyone and it won’t necessarily be easy. For me, escaping my comfort zone has often included doing things I find scary or don’t really want to do (volunteer teaching and blog writing are two of my current challenges). Such experiences have often led to new opportunities and perspectives, learning and growth. For you it may be trying something new. Or confronting someone or something you’ve been meaning to for ages. Or translating your incredible idea into tangible action. Whatever your ‘thing’ is, find your own path and let the magic help you “be the change you wish to see in the world” (Mahatma Ghandi).