I thought that seeking more comfort in life was associated with growing older. We stop sleeping on floors while traveling, we tent-camp less and buy smoother riding cars. These creature comforts seem to gain more importance as we age. A conversation with a 25 year-old who just quit his banking job to seek a less comfortable more authentic life woke me up to the deeper, more pervasive wish for comfort in our culture. He realized the comfort and security of his banking job was slowly killing him. His spirit dimmed and his expectations for life of adventure faded bit by bit as he sought, then slid into a comfortable predictable future. An hour after we met, he texted me a quote, “Success lies outside your comfort zone.” I would add “joy, growth and discovery” to “success” in that quote as well.
Life in my 20′s and 30′s, was little concerned with being comfortable. I sought new places, experiences and people. Life was an adventure. Adventure by its very nature demands discomfort. Trading comfort for adventure and accelerated growth was an easy choice. I had a huge tolerance for having very little money and no security but my own mind and body to explore the world.
So I was shocked to find how deep the quest for comfort could be for a 25 year old. He assured me he is typical of his age. The “need” for job security and the cultural pressure to “look good” could be a mistake. There is always the possibility to live outside the box for a few years especially before marriage, family and “too much to lose.” This insight has made it more important to work more on writing this book, The Comfort Quest. The desire to be comfortable informs most of our choices and is a monumental danger to our growth and well-being at all stages of life. When we stop pushing the edge, we start to die.