Michael Easter is the author of The Comfort Crisis, a contributing editor at Men’s Health magazine, columnist for Outside magazine, and professor at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV). His work has appeared in over sixty countries and can also be found in Men’s Journal, New York, Vice, Scientific American, Esquire, and others. He is the co-founder and co-director of the Public Communications Institute, a think tank at UNLV that conducts science communications research and helps public and private organizations adapt complex messaging for a general audience. He’s spoken to or consulted for various top-tier universities, medical schools, Fortune-500 companies, government agencies, and some of the country’s largest nonprofits. He lives in Las Vegas on the edge of the desert with his wife and two dogs.
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The Power of Leaving Your Comfort Zone
In most ways, people today are more comfortable than ever. For example, we spend 93 percent of our time indoors in temperature control, we get our food from a drive-through window or microwave instead of by hunting and gathering, and our biggest stresses are presentations and artificial deadlines rather than ferocious tigers.
This lifestyle clearly has benefits, but it also has pernicious drawbacks. Michael Easter’s investigative reporting shows that our overly comfortable and convenient lifestyles explain everything from why we feel burnout and get so stressed by events as harmless as traffic jams and work presentations, to why we’re suffering from a creativity crisis and face the highest rates of chronic mental and physical diseases in human history.
Easter spent 33 days in the Arctic and traveled the globe researching his book, The Comfort Crisis. Through vivid storytelling, he reveals the life-changing power of leaving our comfort zones. Along the way he lays out a handful of simple tactics we can use to expand our comfort zone. The result: We’re left healthier, happier, more creative and productive, with calm and grace in the face of even the biggest stressors.
What 33 Days in the Arctic Taught Me About Expanding Human Potential
Over millions of years of human evolution, our ancestors had to do challenging tasks to survive. These challenges could be from hunts, getting resources for the tribe, moving from summering to wintering grounds, and so on. Each time we faced one of these challenges we’d not only learn what our potential is, but also expand it. We’d become more capable, confident, calm under pressure, and even undergo profound positive shifts in our perspective and gratitude.
In modern society, however, it’s possible to survive without being truly challenged. We’ll still have food, a comfortable home, a decent job, a family. But we often have no idea of the true power and ability that lies within us.
Easter reveals what he learned about expanding human potential from spending 33-days in the Arctic and traveling the globe to interview the world’s top researchers, athletes, business leaders, doctors, and more. His expedition was at the extreme end of a prescription that scientists and thinkers across disciplines say we should make a part of our lives. It was part rewilding, part rewiring. And its benefits were all-encompassing. Through colorful storytelling, Easter presents a practical action plan that allows us to discover our own challenges, expand our potential, and rediscover what it means to be human.