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"The Uncomfort Zone", by Rachel Dickson
January 13, 2006: The Jackson-Today

The Dickson Gallery of Fine Art, Art Gallery Tennessee , Jackson Today Weekly Column by Rachel Dickson 


        The Uncomfort Zone



      Whenever I find myself caught in a mental tailspin, I reach for one of three little books (Choice, Renewal, and Purpose) I have propped up in the corner of my office next to my desk.  The Portable 7 Habits are little books written and presented in a fun, easy read, inspirational format, by Franklin Covey.
     Today I picked up Renewal and read, “Safety is the most unsafe spiritual path you can take. Safety keeps you numb and dead. People are caught by surprise when it is time to die. They have allowed themselves to live so little.”
     This quote by Stephen Levin, a poet, author and spiritual teacher, caught my attention because lately I’ve been pondering the topic of “comfort zone” (safety) and how often I find myself outside of mine.  As a basketball referee, naturally, you can guess how often.  On the basketball court surrounded by screaming fans and sometimes explosive coaches it can get quite uncomfortable.
     I discovered early on in my basketball officiating career that you can’t be a people pleaser and referee.  You simply have to master the rules, be confident in your ability to apply, interpret and implement them and then make the call.  My experience has been that the people exhibiting the most fury over a call, don’t know the rule.  Granted…as officials we do make mistakes…of course…we’re human.  (FYI, it’s impossible to have 3 seconds in the lane if there’s a shot in the air.  So next time you’re screaming 3 seconds and the referee isn’t making that call…check where the ball is at the time.) Needless to say, I’ve learned a lot about becoming comfortable out of my comfort zone.  Or maybe better said, expanding my comfort zone.
     Jennifer Louden, a best-selling author, life coach and social commentator said, “I define comfort as self-acceptance. When we finally learn that self-care begins and ends with ourselves, we no longer demand sustenance and happiness from others.”


     Ahh, so my comfort zone is where I experience self-acceptance?  Interesting.  And I can also say that my personal acceptance rate is higher in places I’ve previously experienced and excelled in.  I think that’s probably the case for most people…if you’ve been there and done that before…then you expect the same or similar results.
     In owning and operating my own business much of the same applies.  Oooh, talk about risk taking, and stretching the realm of personal possibility?  But without taking that first step into unfamiliar territory nothing would ever change.  And let me tell you, having lived in unfamiliar territory…often…it stretches you, molds you, drives you to keep trying new things.  Pioneering new ground is scary on one side and satisfying on the other.  At any moment you can fail, but at any moment you can also succeed.  That’s the joy of trying.
     When I look up to people I admire…to name a few…
     General Dwight D. Eisenhower,”There is no victory at bargain basement prices."
     Amelia Earhart, “The most effective way to do it, is to do it.”
     Eleanor Roosevelt, “Human beings have never been as fine as they should be except individually in great crises.”
…I’m inspired by the mere fact that they didn’t set out to do great things.  They simply lived who they were and greatness followed…but I suppose this depends on your perspective.
     Day-by-day downtown Jackson is collectively stretching and expanding its comfort zone.  So long as we continue to take action…all will be well.  Because as best selling author Victoria Holt said, “Never regret.  If it’s good, it’s wonderful. If it’s bad, it’s experience.
     Dickson is the owner of The Dickson Gallery of Fine Art at 118 E Lafayette Street. She may be contacted by email at
rachel@dicksongallery.com or by phone at 423-9708.




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