‘Listen, if I had a magic wand and I could make myself really be happy, I’d zap me onto a farm… and I know nothing about farming.’- Scott Baio
When a certain part of your life descends into the familiar and mundane, is this really a good thing?
I’ve done a lot of reading on the basic human needs as articulated by Tony Robbins and you can read more about it in my post here. What struck me about his research is the idea that we need BOTH certainty and uncertainty in nearly equal measures to be fulfilled. I have definitely found this to be true. Over the past few weeks, I have been navigating a personal change in my earning dimension and it has truly brought me a new level of zest and excitement. Don’t get me wrong, I wasn’t unhappy in my previous job, the problem is I was dangerously comfortable.
Upon reflection, I am now convinced the words comfort and unhappiness are have a lot in common.
We’ve all heard the familiar quote ‘Life begins outside of your comfort zone’ and I have fully found this to be true. To become a 3D titan, we must constantly evolve, grow and to build ourselves.
When I was 19, I took on a 10-week internship in an investment bank. Many of you are familiar with these, it seemed like a great opportunity! I was pretty sure I would be granted an offer to return full time about 6 weeks in, but I was torn. A few months earlier something strange had happened. I woke up from a dream at a friends house and told her with intense authority: ‘I am moving to Paris.’ She looked back at me with a confused face. I spoke before she could: ‘I don’t know how but I am.’ I began researching different ways I could move to Paris and Erasmus was one of them. It was a competitive process but I was convicted to go to Paris so I persevered and visualised it. My Erasmus application began with the following:
‘Being away from home has been a regular occurrence for me. When I was 15 I said goodbye to my parents and headed to America for the Global Young Leaders Conference in New York and Washington, where I spent a month adapting to a brand new culture and socialising with people form every single country of the world. This was a rather intense way of adapting to leaving home as it was a very overwhelming experience but I was not home sick at all. Those weeks today as the one of the best experiences of my life. Shortly after that, I started boarding school as Sevenoaks School Kent where I did the IB for two years…
In total I have been away from Nigeria for about 4 years now and I have become a more cultured and motivated individual as a result of the change. I love gaining new experiences and meeting new people and I always take advantage of every opportunity available to me in a new environment. It is with this same vigour, motivation and adaptability that I intend to go to France.’
Reading it back now, it was a craving for that vigour, motivation and adaptability that prompted me to find a new challenge. I was in the middle of a very familiar and comfortable university experience and I craved more. That need is still critical to my exploration of new opportunities and challenges today.
Why am I sharing all of this? It is simply because I believe that we often ignore our need to leave the familiar. I think if you search deep down or look back on areas in your life where you have struggled to find purpose, you’ll find that your hands were or are firmly clinging to the familiar. Until you make a conscious decision to let go or to release your grip a little bit, the feeling of purposefulness will not come.
At 19, I decided to let go of my norm, by turning down an offer to return to my job and embracing a fresh challenge of going to Paris for a year. I’ll just say here, that i did not ask for many opinions on this and to most it made no sense. I held on to what was true for me: I was drowning in the familiar. I made up my mind, I knew I needed to leave my regular life for a year so I stuck to my gut and went to Paris.
I completed my internship on a Friday and literally on Saturday morning I had a one-way Eurostar ticket to Paris. That was it. I had no real plan apart from a room in shared accommodation for a month. That entire month of figuring out friends, a home, a routine and a life was the most unfamiliar time of my life yet it was the most exciting.
So for some of you who are at a crossroad in your lives, either in your job, or in your pursuit of you next dreaming opportunity, I encourage you to depart from the familiar path. Leap boldly into unchartered territory. I strongly believe that when you do you’ll find life on the other side is fuller and richer.
It is a scary decision to make.
Your heart will beat a little faster, but I promise you your soul will sour equally higher.