Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Pushing The Limits Of Our Comfort Zone

 "To the degree we're not living our dreams, our comfort zone has more control over us than we have over ourselves." Peter McWilliams.

I dedicate my knowledge of my comfort zone to Peter McWilliams, for without his powerful words this blog and my attempt at achieving my dreams would not be. I thank you from the depths of my heart.

The comfort zone is a powerful thing.

It can charm you into staying right where you are in life, whispering sweet nothings that will keep you at a standstill. It can also strike venom into your veins, threatening what will seem to be the very fabric of your reality. The comfort zone will continue to pressure you, torment you, darken out the very pinpricks of light that you might be so diligently following.

The comfort zone is also yours to abide by...or turn a cheek to.

When I was a wee one, growing up under my parents' watchful eye I didn't give much consideration to my comfort zone. My parents were near me, which meant I was free to explore. That was that. It was only when I began to get a little too enthusiastic with my explorations that I was informed, as every child is normally warned, of the dangers of the world. Each parent has their own way of explaining these things.

Mine made sure I understood.

That was the beginning of my subconscious acknowledgement of the comfort zone. When I was little it was important to have that imbedded into me, so that I knew when my comfort zone felt threatened I knew to turn back, to stay away from someone or to not eat what I found on the ground.

However, as I got older I didn't shake off the over-exaggerating shackles of childhood and the restricted thinking. I kept my comfort zone as small as possible, I didn't try stretching it out to try new things that became available in my life. My comfort zone was filled with doubt, insecurities, questionable variables that I just didn't want to confront. Inevitably, it meant that if I didn't do something about them I would never get past them.

Fortunately I met new friends and had, albeit a bit frustratedly, my parents' support and I began to grow. I realized that the world really doesn't topple down when you threaten the old boundaries of your life with something new.

And believe me, this can range from such little things as picking something new out for lunch to bungee jumping off the bridge. The comfort zone of an individual is different things for different people.

It can be deciding whether or not to get your bum off the couch and work out. It can take the form of a bad friend pulling you into an equally bad habit, just because that's the norm. It can show up as the mundane chores you put off for the pleasurable extra hours of sleep on a Saturday morning. It can even be the fear of getting to a college course late and having everyone stare at you while you skulk inside, causing you to obey your comfort zone and sulk outside the door in indecisiveness. I know that last one pretty well.

But what is a life worth living when all you're letting stand in your way is yourself? Your comfort zone?

I've been asking myself that very question for years.

I've decided to try something new.

So let's all stretch the limits of our comfort zone day by day. Not in a harmful, life-altering, one-single-event sort of stretch. Let's just take it slow and continue on realizing how much we have control of both ourselves and our lives.

So what have you done to push your limits, readers? Do tell!

If you have a chance, please stop by the website Peter's Page. It is dedicated to the gentleman, Peter McWilliams, whose self-help book "Do It! Let's Get Off Our Buts" inspired me in my times of uncertainty and hardship. Much thanks to "The Curator of the Peter McWilliams Online Museum" for creating such a splendid website.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

The Importance Of My Own Proactivity

Yesterday was an important day for me.

It marked the very first time I chose my dreams over short term gratification knowingly and willingly.

I was lounging around the house after a day of work, wondering what to do, when I got out the onion dip and ruffled chips. As I was going to eat I decided that it was also a great time to play one of my video games, the big fan of Xbox 360 that I am. So I sat there on my behind for a half hour or so, getting increasingly frustrated at an area of the map I couldn't quite circumvent. 

Then it hit me.

I created a blog about following my dreams, striving to surpass my comfort zone...

And what was I doing? The same thing I did almost every other day!

I realized that without school to force me into using my brain and body I was simply doing what came naturally to me, gaming. And although it would be a pretty nice ambition to become a pro gamer, I knew that wasn't exactly what I had in mind when following all my other dreams.

I narrowed my brow, shot off from the couch and stormed to my front door. Filling my lungs with cool, winter air I let out a triumphant bellow that shook the nearby trees and chucked that bag of ruffly-potato goodness into the sky, followed promptly by that delicious and creamy onion dip. As they fell I watched them drop into a heap on the icy dirt below and banished their likeness to the moon forevermore!!

No. Not really.

I hopped up from the comforting confines of the couch, placed the onion dip and chips back in the respectful shelf spaces and turned off the Xbox. Then I stood there for a minute, wondering what in the world I was to do next.

It came to me after a minute of looking around, something that would both fulfill my temporary need for entertainment and technology, but also assist me in achieving my goals!

 The Spanish learning software I had purchased last year! Bueno! Perfecto! Yo tengo un gato!

So I rushed to the nearest computer, installed this lovely software and began my hour long study session. It was great to see I hadn't lost all the vocabulary I'd learned in high school and with this I'd be primed to take a class the next semester of college.

To top it off, after the session I was tired and a bit grumpy and yet I still convinced myself to work on a Yoga session, got a bit further than I'd gone before if I might add.

In the end, I am reminded of how important it is to get the ball rolling when it comes to your dreams and ambitions. You can put them in the back seat of your life all you want, in fact most people in your life will help you with that, but it is up to you to make them happen.

Strive to commit to what you want.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Yoga You Go!

I'll be the first to admit that Yoga appeared intimidating to me.

I've never done it in my life, not once. So when purchasing items for work and spying this freebie I snatched it up just as fast as I could. After all, I'm trying to get my body in top shape in order to better pursue my dreams.

I'm on my third day with this DVD. It is epic.

Although I can now tell how horrifyingly out of shape I am at the same time I'm beginning to feel better about my body. The exercises are simple thus far, but definitely test my endurance. I'll be honest, there are only two classes and an introduction area to the DVD. I'm still on class one because I only have time to work out for about fifteen minutes right now, but I really am enjoying the experience and I hope to continue it both in the morning and before bed.

If anyone else is interested in trying it you can find it here to purchase at Office Depot.

And now here are some fun links about Yoga on the website Care2

- Back Function Can Be Improved By Yoga

- Six Ways Yoga Supports Weight Loss

- Avoiding The Dangers Of Yoga

Monday, January 23, 2012

What's Your Lucky Cat?

I love positivity, I thrive in it as I'm sure the rest of humanity consciously or unconsciously does. So it's no wonder that New Years is my favorite holiday. I enjoy imagining all the people in the world, gathering together with friends and family, making promises and new ambitions for the upcoming year. It's thrilling to think that for at least those few days around that time you're joining many others filled with high hopes and - you guessed it- positivity. It doesn't matter who's bound to lose out on their resolutions or who keeps them, it's all about the moment where you look into the future and see opportunity!

Brrr...Just gives me goosebumps thinking about it! Positive ones, of course.

Getting back on topic though, I love positivity and that's exactly why I adore New Years. So it's no wonder that I went all out in my own, quirky sort of way. That meant going down to the local Japanese goods store a few cities away and having at their stock.

And I got myself a Lucky Cat. Two, to be exact.

One of them is about the size of my actual housecat, which I lovingly deemed "Muta" (Which anime fans may know is from "The Cat Returns") and the other, as seen above, can comfortably sit in the palm of my hand.

I've yet to name the little one, but once I saw it I knew right away it'd be my way of getting through the day at work. And there it sits, right between my computer and work phone, continuously beckoning me to run my finger between its ears and plunk my spare change into the slot behind them.

Having a Lucky Cat really does help me through the day, too. It's something that's personally mine in the office, something that wouldn't be there without my intention of bringing it in. Whenever I'm having a hard time I take a moment and run my finger over it's little medallion collar and between its ears. It's a soothing little ceramic statue and also a symbol of good luck and prosperity.

I advise anyone who has the chance to fill their office space with something that's from home or purchased specifically for the object's aesthetic value. It's more beneficial than we sometimes realize.

So...what's your lucky cat?

Sunday, January 22, 2012

What Are My Dreams, Anyway?

So, what exactly are my dreams?

Some are big and some are small. A few only need me to take on a new attitude while others will require a bit of hard work. The rest? They'll take my entire lifetime to achieve.

I know I won't manage to make each and every one come true. And yet that's the very beauty of dreams, how they are mine and mine alone to breathe life into. It is within my power to achieve them or release them, I'm the one responsible for making them wither or raise up within my life, in the most glorious way they can.

So, yet again, what exactly are my dreams?

Short Term Goals  

Goals that, if I maintain constantly, will give me quick results
  • Have A Manicured Yard
  • Have a Consistently Clean House
  • Maintain A Self-Discovery Blog
  • Maintain A Fit And Healthy Body
  • Save Money To Visit Nearby Conventions
  • Seek Out Adventures, Both Big And Small, In My Everyday Life
  • Practice The Beginnings of The Minimalist or Voluntary Simplicity Lifestyle

Long Term Goals

Goals that, if I maintain constantly, will eventually give me results
  • Compete In Ninja Warrior
  • Voice Act Successfully In An Anime
  • Compete In Anime Expo's "Ax Idol"
  • Raise My Self Confidence Extrodinarily
  • Write A Successful Fiction Novel
  • Write A Successful Self-Help Book
  • Acquire A Masters Degree In Psychology
  • Voice Act In A Fable Video Game
  • Figure Out The Career Of My Dreams 
  • Speak French Fluently
  • Speak Spanish Fluently
  • Speak Japanese Fluently
  • Speak Chinese Fluently

Lifetime Goals

Goals that I will never truly finish, as there is no end to them
  • Obtain Inner Peace
  • Attain Self-Actualization
  • Become Proficient In Tai Chi Chuan
  • Become Well Rounded In Self Defense

Merriam-Webster describes a dream as: "a strongly desired goal or purpose". 

The next step? To find the courage to leave my comfort zone and seek out the ways to achieve each and every one.

Friday, January 20, 2012

I Have Achieved My Dreams

I have achieved my dreams.

I stand before myself in the mirror and breathe in deep. I close my eyes and let the weight of time hold on my shoulders, all that I have committed to I have completed. I have lived an enduring life, one of which I can freely say I have little regret in.

I let these thoughts sink in and smile, not just from the outside of my body, but within.

I have achieved my dreams.


I have no doubt in my mind that it will be quite some time before I can stand before myself and make such a boast, but this blog is one of the first steps among many I have begun to make to make this into a reality.

This is what The Balancing Owl is all about. My attempts to achieve each and every dream I set out for, whether I make it or not. That, and the journey to making them happen. I'm excited to be here and I plan to chronicle my growth as best possible.

Here goes!