Comfort zone or chicken?

As a horse, I am very much a creature of habit. I’m also a prey animal, which means my nature and instinct keep me on my toes looking out for any potential predator threats that might be cruising around somewhere on the edge of my field, waiting to take me by surprise.  That’s why I like being in the herd – safety in numbers. There are more equine eyes to keep a lookout for possible dangers!

Having said that, I do have my favourite place in the field where I like to relax and stand quietly in the sun. Just last week, all four  mares laid down at the same time to soak up some of the winter sunshine. We felt secure and safe in our field.

To give it a human expression, we were in our comfort zone.

People have great tendencies to get into comfort zones too. Sometimes they never get out of them. They resist any pressure put on them to get them out of their comfort zone. This pressure tends to bring up all sort of unwelcome fight-or-flight emotions like anger, fear, self-doubt and distrust.

It’s a bit like the feeling I have when I’m on the outside of my field without the rest of my herd members.  All I want to do is get back on the other side of the fence and into my comfort zone again.

How do you feel when something comes along that forces you out of your comfort zone?  Do you feel fight-or-flight emotions like anger, fear and distrust too?  Do you regard that as being bad for you?  Fear can bring with it a whole wheel-barrow full of emotions, which you feel you want to avoid at all costs.  So fear holds you back from doing things and then you never get the chance to find out if the fear is justified (assuming one doesn’t self-sabotage any intentions to get you out of the comfort zone in the first place!). You tend to create stories about how it is better for you if you don’t get out of your comfort zone.

But, maybe if you don’t get out of your comfort zone, you might never give yourself the chance to learn something new.  To learn something new, one has to have one’s senses heightened or stimulated in some way – “fear” can bring about this heightened awareness in the form of clarity and greater focus.

Now, I’m not implying that you should use fear as a primary motivator. Rather, I’m saying try not to let the fear make you miss learning opportunities you might have chance to experience through heightened awareness and clarity.

As young foal I rarely left my mother’s side. Then I was weaned. Now, with over twenty years experience of being away from my dam, I’ve learned a few things about fear. My comfort zone has expanded; I’ve learned not to be head-shy or frightened of things from above me. And I have even enjoyed the grass on the other side of the fence, without my herd mates.

I’ve learned that “It’s alright to have butterflies in your stomach. Just get them to fly in formation.” – Dr. Rob Gilbert, motivational speaker and sports psychologist

Enjoy your ride!


(Photo: Mittinger

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4 Responses to Comfort zone or chicken?

  1. I hope in next weeks segment that Lucy can deal with how to deal with when your comfort zone ceases to exist. Either by catastrophy or things beyond our control in general. She is so wise I sure she has seen this happen in her 20 plus years.

    • haffnerhorse says:

      Hi Richard, thank you for your comment. Catastrophes, natural or otherwise, are somewhat out of the scope of this blog.
      But one phrase does spring to mind for you to ponder as you will:

      Miracles happen with commitment.

      So many people believe that they should be able to “succeed” all on their own. Sometimes to “succeed”, it helps to have eyes, ears and motivation from someone qualified in that area of expertise.

  2. Margit says:

    Wise old mare!!!
    You really are so good in putting everything into simple words.

    My son is in his junior high end of year tests, and your wise words have saved some of my days.
    They teach me how to encourage and console and challenge him, at one time.

    Thanks a lot for your green grass wisdom, and I hope you can enjoy the white underground as well. It must be so cold in the snow, or not? I always wonder how you guys are feeling in winter. …

    • haffnerhorse says:

      Hi Margit, Thanks for your reply. I’m glad you have found some encouragement in my musings!.

      Emily is going through similar things to your son, so I can relate to what you are saying!

      Being a Haflinger, a native breed of Austria, snow goes with the territory. We have had a few thaws over the winter, but it snowed again recently and is now cold and dull. However, Elizabeth tells me that she has seen some snowdrops in her garden, so nature is running its course!

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