The Comfort Zone
by: Lawson Magruder
I have been blessed to live a lot of life. In a couple of months, I will turn 70 – which I am reminded of each morning as I get out of bed “in sections”. My body took a beating during my decades of soldiering in some pretty physical Army units but I wouldn’t trade a day for when I was serving our great Nation.
As we get older I have found it is easy to get stuck in the comfort zone of life. We have been to a lot of exciting places, experienced a lot of crucibles, attacked many challenges and forced ourselves out of the comfort zone to effect change in our lives by the time you get to my age. The “known” feels comfortable and we just are not too interested in trying something new or reaching out to make new friends. Unfortunately, the comfort zone can sometimes lead you into a Season of Drought and into a rut in your life. A few months ago, I got into one of those ruts and decided I needed to make some changes in my life in three important areas: my relationship with my beautiful wife of 48 years Gloria; my Faith journey; and my golf game. Yes, my golf game! Let me tell you what I am doing to get out of this rut.
First, I decided that I needed to do something with Gloria on a frequent basis that she likes do and that is to dance. So, I surprised her on our 48th wedding anniversary in late July and bought us dance lessons at the local Fred Astaire studio. We have been taking lessons from a young Pro for over a month and are having a great time. We are reaping many benefits from the lessons: companionship, improved balance and rhythm, challenging dance steps, and great exercise while having a wonderfully fun time together.
Second, I was in a rut in my prayer life and had recently fallen off taking time for daily meditation, prayer and journaling. I was using the “I’m too busy” excuse when truthfully, it only takes me a maximum of 20 minutes per day to do my daily devotional reading and journaling and to offer thanks to my Lord for all the wonderful gifts bestowed upon me. I am getting back to this morning practice each day and have found my attitude has improved and I am viewing life through a much more positive lens. I am also much closer to my Lord as I navigate the challenges that come my way each day.
Lastly, I was in a rut with my golf game. I was introduced to this special sport when I was 13. My Dad was a tremendous amateur player and my Mom was also a real competitor. Golf was in my “genes”. I love the game because it requires individual skill that comes from practice and combines a mix of strategy and tactics to achieve success. It is also an honorable game that requires you to know and abide by the rules and to be fully accountable for your own play. There is no one else to blame when you hit a poor shot. Recently, I had a string of poor rounds that got me discouraged with my game. I was not having fun and I was blaming my loose swing and lost distance on my age. I bought new clubs and changed to the best ball on the market but they did not yield results. My dear Gloria got tired of me returning home discouraged and encouraged me to seek help from a local golf PGA Pro. Hardheaded me said I could work it out on my own. I just needed to practice more. But practice did not help. I finally relented and went to see a Pro for a diagnostic check-up. Charles is an older teacher who truly knows the science of the golf swing. He understands the physiology of the human body- particularly older bodies. After a few swings, he immediately diagnosed my problem. He offered a simple basic solution that has yielded great results. He got me out of my rut and I am now hitting more solid shots and smiling more as I recharge my energy tanks out on the links. By the way, for you golfers out there. his tip all had to do with tightening my grip with the last three fingers on my left hand and never letting go on my backswing.
I am excited about these recent changes in my life. I must admit I have been uncomfortable with the complexity of some of the dance steps and with the adjustment to my golf grip, but I know from experience that being uncomfortable will lead to positive changes and to growth in my life. I feel recharged physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. I have decided that I will not allow myself to get stuck in the comfort zone regardless of my age. I want to continue to adapt, learn and grow as I enter the next decade of my wonderful life. Time seems to be streaming by and I have a lot of dancing to do with my girl and a lot of golf to play with my friends.
True Growth Takeaway:
Being stuck in a comfort zone can oftentimes deplete your sources of energy and stifle your personal growth.
True Growth Journal Question:
Are you currently stuck in a comfort zone in your life? If so, what actions can you take to change and continue to learn and grow?
About the author: Lawson Magruder is a retired Army Lieutenant General, member of the US Army Ranger Hall of Fame, founder and principal owner of LWM III Consulting, and married for over 45 years to his beloved Gloria. They have three children and four beautiful grandchildren.