Well, Pasha and I finally did it. We moved!
We left Texas for California, now residents of the Bay Area, right in the heart of Silicon Valley.
Yes, I know, everyone is leaving the Bay Area and moving to Texas. I know, I know. Everyone keeps telling us that.
But surprisingly enough, when we got here, there are actually people still here. Lots of people.
We weren’t following migration patterns anyway, our move to the San Francisco area, was primarily to pursue a career opportunity for Pasha. He’s accepted a teaching position at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music Pre-College – a really prestigious and renowned program – and I couldn’t be more excited for him.
But in all honesty and being fully transparent, it wasn’t just coming to California, there was certainly a decision to leave Austin. I’m not going to bore you with all the reasons, but let’s just say, Austin isn’t what it used to be – obviously – places change – but the changes just weren’t in alignment with what we wanted for our lives.
And so, here we are! I’m recording this podcast on day 19 of living in California.
And to be honest, it’s been a bittersweet transition.
I think it was day 2 that my mom called to check on me and I just sat and cried on the phone with her. Yeah, I was a mess. A 40-year old man crying on the phone with his mom – “Oh my god, what have we done!?” I asked her.
Then my in-laws called. And I cried on the phone with them.
Only to find out that Pasha had just hung up with them and he had been doing the same thing.
Messes. Just messes.
But I can report today, day 19, that the crying has stopped. Mostly.
Austin was good to us.
I moved to Austin in 2004 for graduate school at the University of Texas.
I started my first business there.
I was deeply involved in the community there for a long time.
It’s where Pasha and I met and got married. Bought our first home.
There were just a lot of memories created in Austin. And in leaving, it brought up some stuff for me. Some of which I’m sure is still brewing, but most acutely has been this awareness of the state I had settled into in Austin.
A state of comfort.
And I know, some of you are saying to yourself; well, what’s wrong with being comfortable?
And I agree, there’s nothing wrong with comfort – so long as that’s a state you’ve chosen and a state where you have intentionally arrived.
What I’m talking about isn’t that. It’s more like a state that I settled into. A state that snuck up on me. A state that I didn’t chose – but allowed to happen. And worst of all..I had been living in this state of denial about it all.
This was an unsettling realization because I study mindset so much and, and even in my book, I wrote that, for a person who wants to grow, comfort is the enemy. And by god, I identify as someone who wants to grow.
And yet, even with that knowledge, I slipped into a state of this…. “sticky comfort.”
That stickiness became clear as soon as that state was interrupted – when I was forced out of that state.
I noticed it when I started paying attention to my behavior, and my emotions.
My reaction was actually surprising to me – it wasn’t just crying on the phone with anyone who would listen, but also major frustration, anger, and even hostility.
I had thrown myself out of this posh lifestyle I had created for myself and I was like a mad wet hen.
REFLECTION ON THE NARRATIVE
You see, what I’m realizing is that this state of comfort was created by a lot of preferences, or nice-to-haves. And those nice to haves, somewhere along the way, turned into what I believed were have-to-haves, and then they turned into things that were have-to-haves in order to survive!
And those things were stupid, I’ll admit. Here are a few for your entertainment:
I don’t have to get my haircut from Sara. I thought I did. But the nice man down the road gave me a haircut that’s just fine and dandy.
I didn’t think I could survive without my grocery store. I mean have you been to a Central Market in Austin? They are amazing! The fresh tortillas alone are worth the trip. But, as it turns out, they have food in California. Really good food actually.
I lived in a building in Austin with Fiber internet. It’s very fast! I nearly had a full-on mental breakdown when I discovered that fiber isn’t available in my new neighborhood. I live in Silicon Valley, how the hell is there not Fiber? But, guess what, I’m doing just fine with the internet I have.
When we were unpacking, Pasha looks and me and says…where’s the dishwasher? Jesus, Joseph and Mary. No dishwasher? For what we’re paying for this place? Are you kidding me?
Ok, so I am still a little pissed about the dishwasher thing, but you know what, I’m still alive. I’m doing alright.
And what I’m realizing is that all of these things and more. Trust me, there’s a long-ass list of things going in my head that I’m processing through, are opportunities for me to learn more about myself – lessons that I can share with you.
You see, for the last several years in Austin, I created the most comfortable situation possible, at the expense of my own growth.
We had been talking about leaving Austin for years, but all these little things were created, one by one, bars of an invisible prison.
Yes! A comfortable prison, but a prison nonetheless. One that stunted our growth and allowed us to remain delusional thinking that we were really growing.
It was the mortgage, memories, reputation, familiarity – some things that were real that I would actually have to deal with should we move – but many things that were imagined – but all of which were bars on this self-constructed prison that limited my potential for growth.
Far more famous than even Alcatraz, we know this prison as; the comfort zone.
On today’s podcast we’re going to explore comfort and what lies on the other side of comfort – but first, I want to tell you where you can get a FREE copy of my new bestselling book.
How is it that we intellectually know that comfort is the enemy of our own growth – and yet we’ll do anything to stay there?
I know in my head that if I want to grow, that I have to move beyond comfortable and move through challenge.
But for some reason, we allow ourselves to slip into the state of comfort – we seek homeostasis and what’s worse is we then lie to ourselves about our state of growth. Why is that?
Before we can answer why, first, we have to come to recognize the side-effects of our comfort.
What do I mean by that? Well, what am I experiencing in my life now? We have to bring awareness to where we are.
I can tell you that for me….side effects of comfort were…
I was comparing myself to other people
Getting too involved in other people’s problems
These were all ways that comfort was toxic for me.
I think we disguise our comfort to the point that we don’t recognize it as comfortable, but as something else entirely.
We’ll say things to ourselves like: That’s just the way it is” – which is really making ourselves the victim of our own created circumstances.
We come to see our lives as a reward for all our hard work. We brag about how hard we worked for this posh life and yet we’re secretly miserable with ourselves.
People who are growing don’t have time to criticize others. And yet people who are comfortable criticize or compare themselves to others as a sort of backward way of criticizing themselves.
We hear people say all the time, you gotta move beyond your comfort zone, you gotta get out of your comfort zone.
But the comfort zone is dynamic. It’s always there – because we keep creating it.
We’ll either achieve what we were after, or we’ll adjust our expectations. But either way, we will find our way back to comfort.
So to answer the question we started with….why do we seek comfort, even though we know it is the enemy of growth?
As I write about in my book, our brains are survival machines. They seek the familiar in order to diminish threats.
In seeking comfort, your brain is just doing what it was built to do. Find safety and familiarity.
But it’s in your mind – in your awareness – in your consciousness that you’re able to push through the survival instinct and actually thrive.
And that distinction makes all the difference.
Why do we see successful people who are miserable? They are successful in a way that they thought would bring happiness, but their success really only brought boredom.
Why? They just forgot the function of their brain is different than the power of their mind.
Their brain did exactly what it was supposed to, while the mind went unattended.
The point of this life is to live it. Go do something, go try something. Pursue that thing that makes you feel most alive. Go for your dreams. What else are you doing? What else are you doing?
Most people are living in a self-constructed prison of things they have decided they have to do.
Self-constructed because we have created this prison bar by bar, with each decision we make about bullshit that we have decided is important.
Does that mean that nothing is important in our lives and we should all live without commitment or constraint? No, absolutely not. The point I’m making is that most of the things we have made important were either: not consciously decided (they were created by default of our routine or we inherited them), or we are using those things to mask our fear of actually living.
How many things are you letting run your life that you think you just have to have?
What makes up the bars of your self-constructed prison?
How are your attachments to those things keeping your life from working?
How is your attachment to those have-to-haves keeping you from living your life?
Comfort says – I like this prison.
Growth says – I want to feel more alive.
And, btw, neither is wrong. But either can be wrong if it’s unintentional.
So what lies on the other side of comfort? I’ll share 3 things that I think about…
Number 1 – Your life. Living full out. Your messy, complicated, wonderful life. When you move outside of comfort it is, by definition, uncomfortable. And you’re going to find all the ways that you experience discomfort. And you can chose to experience that discomfort as misery. Or you can chose to experience it as something else.
I have really wanted to bitch and complain about this move. If I do (when I do) I am choosing how to experience this move.
Number 2 – Clarity. When you grow, you experience things like “breakthoughs.” We break the barrier, come out on the other side. All ways that our language tries communicate a clearing. We’re able to get an unobstructed view – clarity.
What’s on the other side of comfort, Number 3. More comfort
The function of our brain will be to, even in the new environment and having pushed through comfort to something new, we will want to return to homeostasis, we will seek out comfort once again.
Ironically, once we break this barrier and the next one becomes clear, we being the process all over again of creating what we know as comfortable.
So the goal isn’t to alleviate comfort, or even to develop a mindset of growth – but to become aware of ourselves at any state. To recognize what is in this moment, to know that what is, is.
And continue to continually seek that which pushes us to feel more alive.
To realize that our perfectly functioning brains will seek comfort – but to feel alive we have to challenge our minds.
We have to become aware of that distinction. Because in that distinction is where we find meaningful satisfaction in our lives.
In that distinction is where we no longer see ourselves as the effect of our circumstances, but the cause.
Comfort is seeing your life as the effect of the satisfying conditions that exist in your life.
Growth is constantly being the cause of the conditions.
Thank you for listening to the podcast.
I’m Chad Peevy.
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I wish you joy, peace and happiness.
Good health and well-being.
A life of ease and prosperity.
The courage to get what you want out of this life.
The clarity to know what that is.
The imagination to not sell yourself short.
The discipline to see it through.