In one of the last scenes in the fun movie, “Pirates of the Caribbean,” the heroine makes a statement about the leading man. She says, lovingly, “He’s a pirate.”
As you may recall from the movie, that young man started out hating the pirates, and yet, in the course of his adventures, he’s become bolder and he has dared great things, and by golly he has become a pirate. And that’s a good thing.
And so … why is it a good thing to be a pirate?
Here’s an idea to consider —
“Personal growth only takes place outside your comfort zone.”
— Tony Robbins
Think about it. Think about moments when you’ve attained major personal growth. Think about the moments just before you attained this personal growth. Would you say those moments were “comfortable?”
Probably not. We grow the most when we’re challenged. Funerals. A breakthrough moment. Taking a chance where you could lose something important. Difficult contests. The terrifying moment just before you propose marriage. Something that scared you, and you did it anyway. When you go beyond what you know. That’s when it happens.
While it’s not always street-smart to “live on the edge,” it is usually exciting. And while the path of wisdom does not lead us to endanger our lives, our loved ones, or that which we hold dear, it is also a fact that living a life in which there is no challenge, no “danger,” no spice, nothing new, the same every day … well, I suppose it’s good for some folks, but I question whether it’s good for you.
Wouldn’t you rather be a pirate?
There. Didn’t that feel good, just thinking about being a pirate?
Why is that?
DILEMMA OF THE DAY
Mankind, and men (and women) have it in them to both (a) seek safety, and (b) seek novelty. I suppose evolution built that into us. I mean, some folks living way back long ago who didn’t seek safety left no descendants! And other folks who avoided anything new couldn’t adapt to the first serious change that happened to them and they didn’t leave any descendants either!
So you and me, and all the rest of humankind, are the descendants of those humans who did both (a) seek safety, and (b) seek novelty.
So that means it’s a natural fact. We’re built that way. That’s just the way it is.
Go along with how you’re built, and you have a chance of living well. Rebel and act like those way-back folks who left no descendants, completely shutting off either one path or the other … and your odds of living well … they’re not so hot.
HOW DOES IT PLAY TODAY?
How does it play out? Look around you, and consider people you’ve known.
On the one hand we’ve all known people who just behaved street-dumb stupid every single day, like for example drugs and driving fast and inebriated, and unprotected sex, and getting into roaring fights for no good reason except the thrill of rage, and live for today baby! And sure enough, they lived for that day, but a few days later, out of control and not so lucky, things went bad, and they died. The end. We all know someone who did that.
Travelling the other path, of never allowing any risk at all, a common scenario is a guy who works at a boring job, doing something he finds less than inspiring — it never occurred to him to create something inspiring, because his attention was fixed on renting an apartment and he needed some cash each month — and he’s seeking safety.
He’s a human, so he’s also seeking novelty, sort of … so long as it doesn’t ever feel like any actual risk.
How will he find it?
Television, I reckon.
Synthetic adventures. Stuff that happened to everybody else but him.
When he gets to the end of his life, lying on his deathbed, and maybe he’s thinking back, and he’s saying to himself, “Man, what a great life. I watched me some really good TV!”
So if that’s the obvious outcome of that behavior pattern, then why did he follow that pattern of behavior for 40 years? I can think of only one answer. He just didn’t know any better. He never looked. He never examined the path, and the outcome. He was too busy seeking safety, and finding his novelty cheap and easy.
Personal growth only occurs when you’re outside your comfort zone.
HOW TO HAVE PERSONAL GROWTH
It’s simple: Just operate regularly outside your comfort zone. Make it your habit to do so.
In other words, be a pirate.
You know you want to.
Perhaps you are now asking yourself, “But how?”
Well, you’re a grown person. Figure it out. That’s your first assignment.
There. You’re outside of your comfort zone right now.
Keep it up.