This post was originally published on Mairead Kelly’s blog Ask anyone what they want in life and the chances are the replies will go along the lines of “to be happy”. Happiness is an emotional state and I can teach you how to be happy right now if you wanted. However, like all emotional states it’s transient and that is a good thing. If we were to stay in the same emotional state all the time our ability to deal with life’s issues would not function as well as it could. When we start to make changes in our lives it is because we are not comfortable with where we currently are. As teenagers we want to get out there and explore the opportunities that are our’s for the taking. As young adults we experience paid employment and all the financial freedoms and responsibilities that it brings. As we mature as adults we want to find a mate, settle down, start a family and continue our family lines. Often though, at different stages in our lives we can get nicely comfortable and decide we’d like things to stay just as they are. For a while that is great, after a while though, things can get stagnant and we can become stuck in a rut. We are comfortable to a degree, yet we are not progressing as much as the people we share our lives with are and can often feel as though we are being left behind or abandoned. We either ignore it hoping they will return to their old self, or seriously resist the changes that are taking place preferring the comfort of what we already know. Yet we still don’t want to change. As humans we tend not to like change, or rather sudden changes. We don’t notice the gradual ones and the sudden hit you in the face ones can leave us feeling very defensive or vulnerable. That is why being comfortable is not always a good thing. We tend to live our lives within two self-imposed boundaries. Some people call it the grey area, or the comfort zone. So long as our lives continue within these lines, life is fine, boring maybe, but comfortable. Every now and again our life will take a sudden dip and drop us to a horribly uncomfortably negative place, like job insecurity, an illness, a huge relationship row or something along those lines and we scramble to get back above the base line. Sometimes however we really take a big dip like a relationship break-up, a death in the family, a job loss and it takes a bit longer to get back over the base line again. Other times we do something that reaps huge rewards, like win a fairly large sum of money, buy our first house far away from where we grew up, land a promotion and that takes us up over the ceiling line. We feel uncomfortable and scramble to get back below it, so we blow the money, feel isolated and lonely and sell up instead of making new friends, or we decline the promotion. It is by pushing through the ceiling of our comfort zone daily and getting used to a little bit of discomfort that we develop as humans, and that type of change we are easily able for. What can you do that can push you past the boundaries of your comfort zone and move you forward? I’d love to hear the different ways you achieve this.