Thursday, November 25, 2010

Leaving your comfort zone

I must say, I am truly blessed with a comfortable life. I have a job, a loving family, many friends and wonderful colleagues at work. And if we go by the trend, I could afford to drive around in luxury, vacation outside the country every now and then, but go party every evening or play golf during weekends. At work, I could stick to rules, play safe, avoid making mistakes, come and go on time and never step on anyone's toes. Lest someone question my being "true" Buddhist, I could invite monks to chant some prayers and play some drums and horns at my place. I could also be seen going around the Memorial Chorten every day.
Or else........ I could come out of my comfort zone. I could give some time and energy to some social works with those who are less fortunate, help some poor children complete their studies or pay for some addicts go to some rehabs. At work, I would not only "do my job", but also spend few hours more every day to do my work better, make an extra effort to help someone who doesnt fit the criteria, take some initiatives to develop the system (after all the existing rules or business models were created by someone before you) and challenge the conventional wisdom - everything in good faith, of course.
Few days back I met a group of former addicts and alcoholics. I had met them some years earlier while I was researching on my film script. While I was happy to see them again, I was saddened to realise that many of them, despite being clean, have not moved on with their lives. The reasons were varied - a society refusing to accept them back, friends and families who have erased them from their lives, a system that has stereotyped them and public officials who throw them out of job interviews, etc.
It was heart breaking and equally disturbing for a society that brags about jampa dang nyingzhi (love and compassion). But getting discouraged by what is not going right, or disheartened by people who live in their comfort zone, is not style. I tried to lift their spirits by saying that we were all born for a purpose and as long as we breathe there is hope. Of course, I empathized with their hardships. I know the unreasonable bureaucratic hats we wear in our official positions or when we are in positions of power and all our contradictions and hypocrisies. Still this is a country with a bright future and a nation that can always hope in a functioning government and, above all, in a caring King.
Leaving one's comfort zone can be tough. One has to make sacrifices in terms of time and resources, be almost immune to public badmouthing and not be carried away by gossipmongers and cynics. However, as a human being you have one chance to do something good so that when it is time for you to leave this world, and you don't know when, you will at least leave feeling good that you made a difference in someone’s life.


  1. Its always easier said than done. Wont this world be perfect without any poverty and major epidemic diseases if the wealthy were to advance beyond their own comfort zone? Nevertheless doing anything good, even if it is a trivial thing, is indeed a good way forward. That's it for the article.

    I am stunned, literally stunned, by one of your reckless tweet -- "North Korea says artillery shells it fired Wednesday in waters near South Korea were part of a drill. You don't kill people when you drill." Perhaps careless? I hope so! In the eye of a person who isn't familiar with the current situation in the Korean peninsula, you might be viewed as a person who is championing (or sympathising with) the "just" system and ridiculing the "not so human" commies. Good for you!

    But the problem is that you're totally out of touch. The firing of artillery shells which the North Koreans claimed were annual drills happened in January this year and the shells didn't even cross the border. On the other hand, the firing of artillery shells which killed few people happened just two days ago on Tuesday. They are completely separate incidents and you have to be careful with it. Well, I don't intent to give any lectures but I couldn't resist it after seeing your tweet and thinking about the consequences it will have on some "filter-less" people.

  2. Dear Anonymous, Didn't really get you on my article.

    On my statement on the Korean issue, thanks for correcting me. I have deleted the tweet, which was based on several links, articles and information sent to me by my sources over the past two days.

    You are, however, not right to assume that I sympathise with one or the other. Definitely I am not an expert on the Korean issue although I have visited SKorea several times, including a visit to the 38th Parallel. And I might also sound weird expressing an opinion on an issue that doesn't concern me at all.

    Basically, I hate violence whether they are committed by the "not so human" commies or by the so called "just" system. Whether it is in my country, in our neighborhood or somewhere half the world away from me. Hence, my outright and "reckless" condemnation on the killings in the Korean Peninsula.

    I would have condemned the SKoreans if they were the ones to commit that crime. Just as I opposed to the war in Iraq and Afghanistan. In 2006 I flatly refused an invite to a US film festival citing this reason. You may laugh at that because obviously it wouldn't have made a dent on the Bush's foreign policy. But still, as far as I am concerned, and what it important to me, is that more often than not, I exercise my views and opinions based on my principle, whether they are right or wrong. Or whether it would make any impact on the overall outcome.


  3. Sir,

    I am going to be a little direct so you must excuse me.

    I don't get this post of yours.

    Good work to give time and energy to those who are less fortunate or poor. But you are well within your comfort zone because you are in a position to do so. I see little stretch in it and I would be surprised and disappointed if you do not do this.

    Many people do it and in any case, here in Bhutan, the 'social factor' or the 'CSO' or whatever it is called has now become a vogue. Everybody wants a bit of it and be able to talk about it.

    However, it seems when you did go out of your comfort zone, you messed it up re the twitter message about North Korea. Having worked in media, you would identify with this more - some boss somewhere told his mentee - 'never put anything in writing that you do not want to see in the papers'

    I get this uneasy feeling that, probably you are extolling your own accomplishments here more than inspiring people to leave their comfort zone.


  4. Thanks Bhutanese Blogger,

    But before I respond to you (and I don't know if I should respond because yours is a comment rather than a question), can you tell me what is the relation, in terms of the content, between this blog post and my statement on the curent Korean crisis?