Every year I come into contact with thousands of men through my website, workshops, online classes, private practice, and consultation. Out of this work with men, one truth has become undeniably clear to me -- men are happiest, the most fulfilled, and at their best when rising to meet challenge.
It doesn’t matter if it is a challenge visited upon us or a challenge consciously chosen -- the dynamic is the same.
Whenever a man tells me that he is unhappy in work or relationship; or he is struggling to find passion and purpose; or he is lonely, sad, or depressed, I pull out a piece of paper with three words printed on it:
I have found that if a man is feeling stuck, lethargic, or unfulfilled, he is probably dwelling in what I call the Comfort zone.
These men are unhappy or bored because they are avoiding challenge in life and escaping into “Junk Food Comfort.”
Junk food comfort can include food, drugs, alcohol, television, the internet, video games, porn, masturbation, even work and co-dependent relationships.
These men are hanging out in the nursery avoiding anything that might challenge them, frighten them, or make them anxious. They see everything outside their comfort zone as stressful.
While we are not at our best when in the Stress Zone, everything appears stressful when we are addicted to junk food comfort. So paradoxically, the more a guy avoids stress by distracting himself with the internet, television, video games, or trying to make his girlfriend happy, the more dependent he becomes on his drug and the more frightened he becomes of anything that might require something of him.
You can tell at any time which zone you are in.
When you are in the Stretch zone, you feel both scared and excited
When in the Stress zone, you just feel scared
When you are in the Comfort zone, you don’t feel anything at all