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  • Writer's pictureAliza Davidovit

Shape Up!

When we were children my brother had a distorted old pair of running shoes which he refused to throw away because they were so comfortable. My mother, to no avail, kept telling him that distorted shoes affect your walk and can misshape a growing foot. She also had her own theory for me too when I was a teen. She’d say, if you walk around in baggy sweatpants all the time, you’ll grow into them and won’t feel yourself getting fat. Now this is no blog on orthopedics or weight, but the running shoe and sweatpants admonishments have become symbolic life lessons for me. Where she was a pragmatist, I was a philosopher. How often in life do we fall into what is comfortable for us instead of what is good for us? Too often! People are so reluctant to leave their comfort zones as though it was some exemplary state of being or Shangrila. I can tell you two things: Wearing tight clothes has kept me thin; as for my brother, I’ve seen straighter feet. The comfort zone, dear readers, is not your friend. It’s a place where we lull ourselves with excuses and it is also a place where we stop seeing who we are and what we are becoming. How many of us have chosen friends because we feel “comfortable” to be “ourselves” instead of finding friends who egg us on to try harder and be better, not out of our envy of them necessarily but because they make us realize that we can be better too. How many of us get too comfortable in jobs that are beneath us or “love” relationships that diminish us or body sizes that inhibit or habits that kill us? We even grow comfortable in our misery: The whole world is bad, I’m the only good normal person left and as such I will disengage, stay in my bathrobe, eat a can of Pringles and watch TV. Yes, it’s intimidating to dip one’s toe in the big wide world because even as we think we are great, we really think everyone else is better than us, smarter than us, more capable than us. We fear to venture forth and the comfort zone sustains the status quo, we think. But it does not. Life is like a treadmill and it’s always moving; you are either going forward or being pulled backwards, sometimes imperceptibly slowly but going backwards just the same. From experience I can tell you the world is filled with people just like you and me and some, excuse me, are schmendricks of the highest order. The only difference for the most part between them and us is they got of bed an hour earlier than us and stepped out of their comfort zones. Billionaire Mark Cuban who started out selling garbage bags door to door told me that he got into the computer business not knowing a single thing about computers. You know what his advice to me was? “No balls, no babies!” This week on the Hebrew calendar marks the month of Elul, which is a month of introspection wherein people try to improve themselves prior to the oncoming high holidays of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. But change can never really come if we don’t hone in on what needs to be changed. A first clue is offered to us in this week’s Bible reading: “Is there a man who is fearful and fainthearted? Let him go and return to his house, that he should not cause the heart of his brothers to melt, as his heart." In other words take a good look at who you are “hanging with” and how they are influencing you to advance or retreat in life. It is also written, “You shall set up judges...for yourself,” which on the face means what it means. But it also means to surround yourself with habits, people, environments, challenges that will not let you get too comfortable and which will inspire you and enable you to grow, that will be deliberate in watching you! Don’t be a shrinking violet. Your potential is not to be found amidst the lint in your bathrobe pocket. Comfortable is overrated. Get yourself a new pair of running shoes and as the Nike slogan says, "Just Do It." ************************* Sponsored by the Wordsmithy for all your editing needs. Contact: for further information


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