Nobody who spends any marginally significant portion of their time on social media will have recently gone a day escaping the steady stream of inspirational memes peppering their various newsfeeds. And there’s one particular subject that’s no stranger to an inspirational meme or two that can be well summarised with a pretty handy umbrella-phrase. A phrase that I like so much it’s written on my fridge in industrial-strength sharpie.
Fuck The Comfort Zone
This sentiment takes many forms. So many that you probably come across it most days in one configurement or another:
“Do one thing every day that scares you”
“In the end we only regret the chances we didn’t take”
“If you want something you’ve never had, you have to do something you’ve never done”
“If it does not challenge you, then it does not change you”
“The person who risks nothing, does nothing”
“He who dares, wins”
“Nothing worth having comes easy”
“Your largest fear carries your greatest growth”
“What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger”
It’s struck me more than a few times that we all use these sayings on a regular basis but few of us really employ them. In fact it seems like it’s the norm not to employ them – at least not on a tangible, practical, consistent basis. As a way of life.
Instead some of us post them regularly on social media and some of us scoff at others for regularly posting them on social media.
But they’re persistent, aren’t they? The words take different forms but the idea never gets old.
I could go all the way down the ‘conspiracy’ route (what I think of the connotations placed upon that word over the centuries will probably have to spill into another post) and suggest that someone, somewhere (in a broad sense of course, I’m not referring to one guy sat on his couch) maybe doesn’t want us to look all the way down the line on these ‘inspirational’ sayings and really understand and employ the meaning behind them. After all, we’d sure as hell be harder to cram into manageable categories like those based on our political persuasions, social classes or career choices, if we en-masse were living by those sentiments.
Of course I’m not saying that I’ve cracked the code for fully downloading the ‘fuck the comfort zone’ mentality and living life on the edge with a complete conviction that I’m capable of anything.
I’m not trying to pretend that I’m way cooler than I am.
But I do make sure to factor the knowledge that the comfort zone is nothing but a self-prohibiting illusion, into every major decision that I make.
I refer to it as an illusion because I don’t think people are too often happy when they confine themselves to what they think of as their ‘comfort zone’ and I’m not sure how a person can be comfortable in a place that they’re not happy. Put simply, I don’t buy that the ‘comfort zone’ is a comfortable place to be.
Anyway! What got me onto all of this is the latest major decision that I’ve made – which was to take my less-than-warrior-like body and complete lack of natural fighting prowess through some intensive training and into a ring in front of 800 people to fight on Fighting For Ellie: Season 2.
Fighting For Ellie is a renowned charity event in the one and only Blyth, Northumberland which has through it’s first 3 outings, played a huge part in Princess Ellie’s Trust’s incredible achievement of raising a phenomenal £100,000 for The Meningitis Research Foundation and the Paediatric Intensive Care Unit at Newcastle’s Royal Victoria Infirmary, over a period of just 5 years.
This fourth event – the second edition to be produced in partnership with Blyth’s Millennium Martial Arts who have recently become an official partner of major martial arts equipment brand Sandee Thailand – is taking things up a notch or 3. This time the previously 350-capacity event will seat around 800 people in it’s new home at the town’s Sports Centre. Meaning that it’s set to comprehensively obliterate the already incredible £13,565.28 raised by the last event in 2015.
I’m all over it this time around for a few reasons:
Firstly and probably most importantly it’s an incredible cause that radiates positivity and pro-action in the face of disaster. Rachel and Dan Long lost their 2-year old daughter Ellie to septicaemia caused by Meningitis in 2010 and they have reacted to this tragedy by creating a legacy for their Princess that has inspired more good in and around their hometown of Blyth, than any other single organisation. Through their carrying of the bright torch that is Ellie’s sparkling personality, they’ve lit an enduring fire under our struggling community – and the sense that they’ve only just gotten started is definite. I’ll be collecting sponsorship for my fight from my community and hope to make a significant contribution to the fundraising achieved through this event.
Secondly – as Punch-Drunk has seen me start spending a lot of time at Millennium Martial Arts, helping out on their Home Show as well as Fighting For Ellie and producing our own fight-event in the shape of the UK Comics Boxing: Fight For Kian, which I’ll be talking a lot more about on this blog over the next few weeks – I’ve been hearing A LOT about the transcendent experience of getting into the ring, what there is to be learned from it and how much fun it can be. Not least of all from the rest of Team Punch-Drunk and particularly Gav Humphries. So I can’t let another opportunity to have a go, pass me by!
And thirdly – my belief in the importance of fucking off the comfort zone as regularly as possible. Not just refusing to let it’s pull affect your decisions but actively letting opportunities to remove yourself from it, decide your actions. I’ll be posting updates about everything that I inevitably learn from the process right here, if you’re interested at all 😉
Thanks for reading!