Manchester has everything but a beach – Ian Brown
I love this quote. Manchester (Well Salford, but I’m being broad – I’m Salfordian, not Mancunian) is my home. I’m proud to be from there, it’s part of who I am. The music I listen to, the clothes I wear, the people I get along with; these are all influenced by where I’m from. Manchester is the city I compare all the other cities in the world I visit to. And as far as I’m concerned the bar has been set very high. It’s always hard to beat having a pint of beer and a steak sandwich and the Christmas markets whilst wearing a thick coat and gloves. It’s also where a lot of my family are, and I’d be a very different person without them.
I also have a massive vendetta against this quote though. Manchester is awesome. You could swap it out for any city and the quote would apply to you personally. But, Manchester is not everything. Your city, suburb, street, workplace or community – is not everything. There is a world beyond your wildest imagination out there, and it’s all yours to be explored.
People are creatures of habit. For the most part, most of us are happy with homeostasis. We enjoy the same routine. The same seat on the sofa, the same treadmill at the gym, the same commute, that same shirt that makes you look dapper and the same places to go on holiday. We enjoy living in our own bubble and when something throws the day-in-day out off course, we get super-duper annoyed. I’ve been in the bubble; and it’s not a nice place.
Picture your life as a house. If you had the choice between living in a cupboard, or a mansion which would you choose? Unless you’re a contortionist I’m going to assume the mansion. Most of us though are closed in to a cupboard that’s dressed with a few holiday snaps, a couple of similar looking t-shirts and an original version of Monopoly that’s missing all the £1 notes. A mansion however is a house filled with swimming pools, pictures of creeks in Thailand, random hats you’ve collected from sports games, a constant flow of friends from around the globe and a massive fridge full of foods you didn’t think were even edible.
Now, a mansion might not be for everyone. Some of you might just want a three bedroom semi-detached house with a dog and a fence. On the spectrum between cupboard and mansion, there are as many different houses you can think of filled with with whatever combination of things you can think of. Have a think, you might surprise yourself.
The cupboard is airless and stale; but coming out is easy. All you’ve got to do is push yourself a little. Do something that scares you (Unless that means holding a spider, we’re not going crazy here). Take an evening class, go back to playing your childhood sport – heck, even go to a new bar on a Friday night. There’s the bedroom the cupboard is in sorted already.
I’m not going to preach travel – even if I do find it the most scary and enjoyable thing in the world – because it’s not my place to tell you to up and leave your job and start exploring the world. But your comfort zone is what stands between you and living an awesome life. It’s the difference between being the boss or being the assistant. Being the person with a model or Quasimodo stood next to them at the alter. The guy with a story for everything, or the quiet guy in the background wearing double denim.
My comfort zone was killing me. I was losing sleep, energy, appetite and my personality. I was becoming depressed and angry. That’s why I broke the walls of it. Since I left my job and started out, I’m a whole new person. I’ve not quite got my mansion yet – there are still lots of things I need to figure out how to do – but I’m getting closer every day.
Now it’s your turn. look at yourself. Has your routine been the same for more than the past 3 months. Are you honestly really happy with where you are right now and not just comfortable? If you’re truly happy, well done, you’ve achieved what most of strive to find on a daily basis. If you’re just comfortable, then now’s your time to do something about it. Make one small change. Do it. Right now.