Your irrational discomfort zone

Paul Duffy
2 min readJan 11, 2018
Photo by Phil Hearing on Unsplash

A few years ago I took improv classes. There I was, my British restraint cast aside, and I’m yelling, laughing, and loving the troupe with whom I found myself. Free from judgment, and where the prime directive is to support your partner, it’s a place of safety. But despite that nurturing environment the instincts remain.

One Thursday evening I was happily reeling off my (admittedly poor) Scottish, Irish, French, and South African accents, but as soon as I was called on to produce an American one, I clammed up; suddenly I had 15 experts in the accent who’d judge me!

Their attitude was nothing but supportive. Indeed their response when I finally caved was similar to that of my friend, Geoff, at karaoke. Namely that it’s not about being good, instead it’s about having fun, having a go, and letting go.

One of my favourite sayings about friendship is that a friend is someone who knows you and yet still loves you. When in their company they provide a little papoose of comfort and safety.

Getting older also helps dissolve those deeply rooted fears of being judged, because the older I get the less I care. I wish I had been older when I was younger.

Originally published at on January 11, 2018.



Paul Duffy

An ocean loving, tea drinking nomad. Curiosity can elevate us above our wiring.