Something that you don’t learn about life until it’s often too late is that growth is not inevitable, it’s optional.
We often grow up assuming that one day, everything will fall into place. We assume that one day, we will become the people we always wanted to be, by the sheer virtue of time. We grow up, we evolve, we adapt, we change. We assume this means we get better.
It does not.
Not everybody leads the life they want. Not everybody becomes the person they were meant to be.
This might disrupt your worldview, and it should. Because there’s something very important at stake, and that is your potential.
It is completely possible that you get to the very end of this thing and realize that you spent your days feeling apathetic, bored, harboring resentments and fears. You never leaped. You never began. You placed all of your hopes and expectations into the future, assuming that one day, eventually, you’d begin to change. You failed to realize that change is a present choice, or it is nothing at all.
Many people are not given the gift of a comfort zone collapse. This is what happens when not changing who you are becomes the less comfortable option. In other words, you never reach your breaking point, which is the ground zero on which most of life really begins.
We have a lot of addictions in life, and the majority of them are subtle. You are subtly addicted to your phone, the TV, your relationship, and your sense of self. You don’t begin to realize this until it starts to be taken away from you.
Subtle addictions are the most dangerous, because you run the risk of never becoming aware of them. They feel comforting and good, and so you continue to strengthen the reinforcement loop in your head that makes you compelled to act on them.
You are subtly addicted to being a victim, to playing small, to being scared, to entertaining fears, to being exactly the person who you are right now.
This happens because of reinforcement loops. Your life works on a feedback system where you strengthen the behaviors that are reinforced. If you are rewarded every time you do something, you become highly inclined to do that thing. Until these feedback loops start breaking, you never wake up.
The reason why some people never outgrow their childish behaviors and end up completely unhappy is because they never get to that point. They are coddled, they are enabled, and mostly, they coddle and enable themselves.
They are never forced to grow up.
They are never forced to change.
They are never forced to become the people they want to be.
One of the most essential facts about human nature is that we are comfort-seeking animals. We are always in pursuit of the familiar, the known, and the simplistic.
What we often do not realize is that it is only by confronting the dark corners of our minds do we open up to an entirely new field of potential.
In trying to avoid discomfort, we become a shell of the person we were meant to be. In being willing — or forced — to experience it, we become exactly who we’d always intended. Life is ironic like that.