Many of us can relate to the familiarity of a 9-5 corporate lifestyle.

A typical Tuesday may look something like this:

  • 7:00 AM: wake up and get ready for work
  • 8:30 AM: get your morning coffee and check your first batch of emails
  • 9:00 AM: attend your first meeting and hope to not get drilled by upper management
  • 10:30 AM: sit down on your desk and begin your morning grind
  • 12:00 PM: round up the troops for lunch
  • 1:30 PM: scroll through social media until the post-lunch fatigue wears off
  • 2:00 PM: attend another meeting hoping again not get drilled
  • 3:00 PM: get drilled, let out a sigh, and sit back down for some rework
  • 5:00 PM: clear off your desk and head home
  • 6:00 PM: workout at your local gym or fitness studio
  • 7:30 PM: eat dinner while watching the latest episode of Game of Thrones
  • 8:30 PM: binge watch something on Netflix and flip through the news on your laptop
  • 10:00 PM: get ready for bed and read until you fall asleep

There’s something very comfortable about this schedule. It contains all of the tasks that you need to do in order to live: money, food, sleep, and social interaction. Though there is nothing inherently wrong with a routine, some people (more specifically, myself) are engulfed by a fear of conformity. A fear that makes one wonder: what do I have to offer this world that the person next to me isn’t already providing?

There are many good side effects that come with following a daily routine, including increased personal health, general life structure, and reduced stress levels. But what about the opportunity costs? What are we giving up to live these ideal lifestyles that our school systems and colleagues speak so highly of? I believe we are sacrificing a lot.

An ability to deal with uncertainty. As we become more comfortable with the status quo, we become more anxious about events that we cannot control. Instead of resorting to logic to resolve these unexpected situations, we perhaps resort to emotional distress or apathy. Uncertainty keeps us on our toes and allows us to stay versatile and relevant.

A passion for change. The need for change seems far and remote when there is no apparent harm in a consistent routine. However, some of modern society’s biggest movements come from a call for change – legalization of same sex marriage, the emergence of social media, and the tech boom. Settling with the norm deprives us of an opportunity to be a part of the movement of our choice.

Opportunities to meet new people. To partake in change and take on uncertainty, we need the right people on board. For most of us, the need for new friends is minimal, especially when you have a group of friends who already understand your quirks and know which brand of liquor to buy you on a bad day. However, meeting new people means adding new perspectives to your life. New perspectives means new opportunities to shape your vision and share its fruits with the rest of the world.

So while I won’t go as far as to say a daily routine is bad for you, I will say that I believe large, impactful movements come from stepping outside of this prescribed comfort zone. And however we plan to achieve this “comfort exodus”, whether it be by making it a point to learn a new skill every month or by moving to a place where you have no friends, our ability to take the path less frequented keeps us relevant in a world that’s constantly being disrupted by change.