Reliability and stability are admirable traits that, when demonstrated in peoples’ lives, can provide an extended portion of both trust and effectiveness in the relationships with those around them. However, many of us mistake comfortability for reliability. The difference between these two are definitely distinguishable; being comfortable in a position means that you are no longer growing in it, whilst reliability means that you will fulfil obligations or agreements in a dependable nature. In the case of comfortability, your potential happiness becomes hindered because you give up new options or paths for the sake of not having to learn or challenge yourself. The result is a major short-change, in which you miss out on potential experiences, knowledge, and consequentially, power; instead opting for decisions that are easy and non-rewarding.
I’ll elaborate for the sake of better communicating my thoughts on this subject; however, before we continue, allow me to note a brief disclaimer. I am not incorporating the dictionary definitions of “comfortability” and “familiarity”–I am using them as buzzwords in order make this concept more applicable.
Now, how to distinguish between comfortability and familiarity.
Being comfortable in a situation means that you don’t challenge yourself, because you don’t have to; familiarity means that you are confident in challenging yourself, because you know something well. Example: a comfortable person would keep buying the same Caramel Macchiato every day, because it’s the only coffee they had ever ordered. A familiar person wouldn’t be afraid to try new drinks, because they’d been to the coffee shop before and knew what drinks appealed to them.
For the sake of both providing more examples to solidify this idea, and to make this article more relatable/applicable to my audience, I’ll spend the remainder of my writing listing five examples in which the difference between comfortability and familiarity can be applied.
1: Driving a long route that you’ve driven before, rather than following a more efficient one your GPS has found.
Depending upon the same “scenic” route for the sake of enjoying your drive more, or ensuring that you take a path that you’ve calculated in order to not be late or too early to an important event—understandable. However, using that same scenic route—one which spends more gas, time, and miles on your vehicle, just because it’s the only path you’ve driven before, is a comfortable decision. One that, as stated above, wastes your resources and makes you less-efficient.
2: Accepting someone’s opinion or view just because they have a good track record.
Overtly, it’s very healthy to find dependable and truthful people to speak into your life. Listening to a podcast that offers you new ideas, attending a church that teaches good concepts; these decisions are both healthy and recommendable. However, no matter how trustworthy someone is, everyone is human, and no person’s ideals should be accepted without first passing through examination. Firstly, it is arguably disrespectful to simply take a person’s view without ever subjecting it to a thoughtful pondering; it is lazily not applying tests that would validate the opinion as substantial. Secondly, and more certainly, it is foolish. You would not excuse border guards for accepting shipments without scanning them; don’t allow yourself to accept new concepts without first offering them appropriate consideration. Otherwise, you’re comfortably giving in to new ideas, rather than familiarly opting to take someone’s conceptual offering and looking at it subjectively.
3: Always purchasing the same type of car or phone.
Phones and vehicles are extremely important to Americans; most peoples’ smartphones are large centers of their communication, entertainment, scheduling, and punctuality. On a similar level, many peoples’ lifestyles depend majorly on their vehicles, both for transportation, self presentation, and general time-spending. Because of this, it makes a large amount of sense for people to shop for brands and types of products that they have found dependable in the past; however, it is important to not completely silence the possibility of change or variance when purchasing a new or alternative phone or car. Truthfully, everyone would admit that a week of having to relearn where the home button is located, or repeatedly pulling into a gas station to find that you’d placed the gas tank on the wrong side of the pump—would be infinitely worth having a superior phone or car. Don’t be afraid to look into new options, no matter how large a difference they could make.
4: Not breaking a bad habit.
Number four on this list is likely applicable to every human on the planet. Habits, in principal, are universal. Because of how often they manifest in your life, it is absolutely essential to ensure that you aren’t burdened with ones that hurt you. Smoking, drinking, cutting: these are obviously bad habits that become comfortable. Most people find an easier time knowing that they are condemning themselves to an early and more painful death, rather than being constantly and temporarily uncomfortable in the present. However, there are more habits—or more accurately titled “addictions”, that have become socially accepted despite how detrimental they are to people. Firstly, eating badly. A person’s diet, especially the amount of calories they consume, is one of the easiest ways to determine how long they will live and how healthy their body will be. Habits that revolve around their daily consumption; whether it be where they eat, how much they eat, or what type of groceries they often purchase, should be subject to intense scrutiny. And yet, a poor priority becomes apparent: most children are taught how to survive quicksand, and the formulas for non-realistic math dilemmas, and yet they don’t know how to best prevent heart disease.
Secondly: laziness. Lazy habits, such as being late to school, putting off homework, and searching for mindless entertainment over intelligent discussion, can be hugely hurtful to people. Although it is difficult to estimate the extent of this damage, due to nature of trying to study it, I’m certain that most people can agree that taking a month to retrain yourself to prioritize studying will most certainly be worth missing a few social occasions.
Thirdly, and most simply, there remains a category of general habits and addictions, like biting finger nails, lying, and drinking too much coffee. Do not become comfortable in indulging dopamine-releasing activities, which, in the long run, will prove hurtful to you on a whole. Be familiar with them, in the sense that you recognize and predict your temptations, and can take the time to fix them and become a more effective person.
Number 5: Giving up on career paths.
The career you choose, out of anything on this list, is perhaps the most important decision that you will make. An estimation by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, regarding middle-aged Americans with kids and careers, provides an excellent demonstration of how important your job will be. Out of all of life’s major categories, working outweighed every one except sleep by a massive margin. The majority of your life will be spent performing your work, whether it be at an office, on a construction site, or in your basement on a computer. So, the essentialness in picking a career you enjoy cannot be overstated! Despite this, countless Americans end up pursuing careers that they don’t find optimal, for the sake of immediate job promises, having to perform less work, or being able to afford marrying someone earlier in life. I cannot stress how important it is to set yourself up with work you appreciate: spending four years of your life in school and another ten in debt will almost always be better than spending the next forty working a full-time job you despise. Do not fall into comfortability, especially in regards to careers and employment; accepting your a high-paying position at your father’s boring business will never trump venturing out and performing a separate, less-paying job that you love. Instead, practice familiarity: examine the job you truly want to perform, find the path which you can take to reach it, and work hard and passionately through any obstacles that you encounter.
Those are the five situations which I decided to delve into. However, be aware that this comfortability versus familiarity concept is applicable to every one of life’s many considerations. Remember that temporary comfort will always be inferior to long-term optimality, and that being comfortable does not equate to being happy.
Thank you for reading this long, arduous article. I hope that you benefit from it, and find an effective way to apply this concept to your life. If you found any flaws, disagree with any of my points, or have additional thoughts to add, please leave them respectfully articulated within the comment section below. Remember to subscribe if you’d like to read more of my posts, and to have a good rest of your day. Thanks again!
One, lonely citation, via the Bureau of Statistics: