It was one of the truly memorable great quotes, uttered by Marlon Brando over half a century ago
"You don't understand! I could've had class. I could've been a contender. I could've been somebody, instead of a bum, which is what I am, Charley, let's face it." Terry Malloy-On the Waterfront (1954)
It resonates, because so many can identify with the plaintive message. We all know people who live in the past and regale us with their stories of what they could’ve done, what they could’ve been, what they could’ve had, if only…
There lies the rub. No one really cares. Lost perceived opportunities exist in the realm of science fiction parallel universes. If you had asked that girl out, if you had got that dream job, if you had given up smoking, if you had started your own business, and any number of alternate choices had been taken, are fodder merely for idle day dreaming and the sustenance of frustration.
The only thing that will ever impact our current reality is that which we actually do in the moment.
We can all be contenders. There is however one very significant hurdle to be cleared, one that very few people will ever scale. Virtually every conceivable and measurable achievement we ever attain will be defined by the limits of our comfort zone.
If ever there was a mislabeled term or misnomer, it has to be ‘the comfort zone’
The gap between our potential fulfilment and the reality of our experience is mostly a factor of fear. Not only fear, but more accurately, perceived fear.
Fear of public speaking, fear of failure, fear of intimacy, fear of success, and fear of any number of illusory shadows in the dark, that are in fact rarely based on actual evidentiary fact.
The ability to extend our comfort zone, will, more than just about any other activity, redefine our future achievements.
Imagine, if you had a momentary insight in to that parallel universe in which you lived the alternate life you were capable of living. Imagine glimpsing the person you could be. Successful, happy, respected by your peers, with an awesome family life, healthy, wealthy and wise.
I would imagine that would be a thoroughly depressing insight to have on your deathbed.
The message therefore is as follows: expand your comfort zone, even incrementally, on a daily basis.
Take little risks. Ask for a pay rise. Ask your next-door neighbour, the supermodel, out for coffee. Set some real tangible hardcore goals for yourself that you want to achieve in the next 12 months, and start acting ‘as if’ you can’t fail.
You are a contender, every instant of your life, and the shackles around your neck are imaginary, as is the comfort zone that you inhabit.
Just a thought!