transitioning from foreign to familiar, but not too familiar


When I say I foreign, I mean the uncertain, awkward and unsure phases like when we’re learning something, experimenting and trying something new and how we transition towards certainty, or maybe not even that — more so being comfortable with the uncertainty and all the prickly feelings and limiting beliefs that come with that.

Reflect for a second on the world we live in and how marvellous and amazing it is.. how small the world has become as access to information, people, location and pretty much everything becomes easier and more convenient. Great right? Now, think about how predictable this world is. I mean look at your typical day.. how much of it is a mystery, uncertain or unknown?

We wake up, do our morning routine, go to mahi, tech or uni or whatever, eat, keep doing the thing, maybe a meeting or catch ups with our mates, have a scroll online, wrap up, go home and into the evening routine. Sure, there might be the odd random event here and there, but c’mon….

how much of our lives have we curated?

How much of our lives are predictable? Have we made our lives so familiar that we’re just going through the motions and living on auto-pilot? Did you know up to 95% of our day is unconscious? Because when we’re operating on habits, on auto-pilot, our brains don’t engage in cognitive decision making — we’re not consciously making decisions i.e. we’re unconscious.

If your life is great and habits are producing the results you want, awesome. But if it’s not, can you start to see why? You’re not even consciously making decisions?! Let’s be clear, I’m not anti-certainty and I love how I don’t have to consciously think about how fast to move my arm or how much force to use and which muscles to engage when I’m lifting a glass to my mouth for a sip of water (hydration is key, this is your reminder lol). But if my whole life is on auto-pilot and I know what’s coming each day.. that’s too familiar.


that’s comfort zone.. and while it may be a nice place, nothing ever grows there.


Even out in our taiao (environment), when the flowing water becomes stagnant, it starts to rot. So if we liken ourselves and our mauri to the stream of flowing water, if we become so familiar with our surroundings (and lives) that we inhibit growth, we stagnate and begin to rot (metaphorically.. or literally too lol). I dunno about you but I’m not keen on that and even when I’m unsure of how to progress or grow or keep from stagnating.. I always, every time find inspo in the old people.

They were navigators, scientists, innovators, explorers and voyagers.. amongst all their other genius. They sought out new frontiers, they traversed the unknown, they made the foreign familiar, then set their sights a little further each time. And since they live on through me, the potential to do the same exists in me too. The potential to make the journey from foreign to familiar, but not too familiar before it’s time to recalibrate and reach a little further once again.

Tēnā tātou,


*Side note, ‘from foreign to familiar’ is the name of a book I’ve just finished reading and it’s pretty cool. it compares hot and cold climate cultures and the subtle differences in communication, time, values etc. a nice quick read, check it out here.

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