“You never change your life until you step out of your comfort zone; change begins at the end of your comfort zone.”
What would you do if you knew you could not fail?
I suppose in that regard we would do just about anything on earth from running for president to stapling water to trees. Life, however, is not that simple nor will it ever be. I think THAT is what makes life so interesting. The existence of challenges and overcoming them despite the odds being stacked against you. Those moments of overcoming the obstacles and relishing the moments of achievement is what makes life so interesting and appealing. It creates the best stories and makes life worth living. The comfort zone is the enemy of this.
The comfort zone: The best and worst place at the same time.
You feel the safest and most at ease and yet…nothing particularly interesting happens there unless your idea of a comfort zone involves juggling knives and chainsaws simultaneously. It’s a bubble of security in which nothing can penetrate the control you have in the situation. Which is after all what we all seek. The ability to be in control of our lives and the things around us. This way we minimize the risks of disappointment, pain, heartache and failure.
Keep in mind that the comfort zone may not always be the sofa and television. The comfort zone can also be something entirely detrimental. Staying in a relationship that is not fulfilling, but not having the strength to walk away because ‘it’s hard finding someone new’, or ‘that’s just the way he/she is, I must simply accept it’. Sometimes people become comfortable in their own discomfort. Rather settle with the pain you know of than attempt something more radical.
While staying in the comfort zone is fine for certain periods of time. Prolonged stays can lead to symptoms such as stagnation, boredom, routine and a familiarity that breeds contempt. While the benefits of stepping out of the comfort zone may not seem so clear allow me to offer a few positives.
- THE MAGIC HAPPENS WHEN YOU STEP OUT THE COMFORT ZONE:You know that thing that people say all the time, ‘time really just flew by hey?’ (I absolutely hate when people say that. Time does not move fast. It moves at the same pace ALWAYS. But when we get caught up in routines time seems to fly by as the days tend to blend together into a blur.
The reason time APPEARS to be moving faster than normal is because we are not creating any new memories or learning anything new. Thus the time feels insignificant and tends to be fleeting.
When we are young however, time seems to drag on because we tend to experiencing new things all the time. We are learning and trying new things constantly. We are creating new memories and having fun at the same time.
There is no reason o stop doing new things at this point in your life. You are never too old to try new things or to challenge yourself. The world is out there waiting for us to jump in and experience any adventure we want to.
- GROWTH:Doing new things always teaches us something. New experience or new knowledge. Nothing is wasted. When we attempt something different in our life we should not focus on the possibility of failure or success. But rather take on the perspective of being able to learn something new and thus improving yourself.
- INCREASE AWARENESS:The more we do in the world. The more we step out of our comfort zone. The more we see in the world and the more we see in ourselves. We may discover a passion for something we may not have dreamt of or we may discover people that share the same ideals as you. We may learn new skills or discover a new perspective on life that we never thought of before. By stepping outside the comfort zone we are personally taking responsibility for our own development as human beings.
- IMPROVING PRODUCTIVITY:Studies have shown an increased level of stress can push people to work at their optimal level. Studies have also shown that if pushed too far into stress then the performance of work declines steadily. A bit of anxiety and stress of being put into a new environment i.e. thrown out of the comfort zone can have positive effects on productivity. It may be exactly the fire up the ass we need to get going on some project.
- HELPS WITH LIFE CHANGES:The only thing that is constant in life the fact that it is always changing. By stepping outside of our comfort zones, we understand the concept of change and how it is not as scary as we may feel. Change can be as good or bad as you decide it to be. The more we step out outside our comfort zone the more comfortable we get with change.
Well put in the most simplest of terms, the comfort zone the one place where we feel most SAFE. Nothing threatening happens in the comfort zone. Anything that comes our way, we can easily handle
So why do we stay in the comfort zone??
The main reasons we remain in the zone can boil down to fear and lack of motivation. The fear of failure at any venture you may attempt and not having the motivation to push yourself for more. And most people only change when they at the precipice. The point where they must either change or face total self-destruction.
But the truth of the matter is, we are fully conscious of our decisions when we choose to remain in the comfort zone. When the idea to do more pops into our head, we simply procrastinate or manufacture an excuse as to why you cannot do it. “I don’t have the time.” “I’ve got other things to do.” “I’ll do that another day” etc.
If you are fully satisfied remaining in the security of your comfort zone then by all means, remain there until the end of days.
If you are looking to challenge yourself and the world. If you are looking for adventure and challenge and want to see some differences in your life then emigrating out of the comfort zone requires no visa or passport.
It simply requires small changes from us namely:
- SMALL CHANGES:It does not need to be big in the beginning of this journey. But it does require some small changes. Changing the route you drive to work. Going to a different restaurant to the norm. Trying different foods, reading different books and watching different things or even try taking up a few classes to learn a new skill. Do not do them all at once. Take it slow and steady but be determined to make time for the small changes.
- DEVELOP A CURIOUSITY TOWARDS THE WORLD:Understand that there is so much in this world that we have left unexplored. There is so much for us to discover, to learn, to understand and to see. There is more to the world than your sofa or your office. The world is open for you and waiting for you to jump in.
- DO THE OPPOSITE OF WHAT YOU’RE GOOD AT:The things are we good at will not challenge us and thus not allow us to escape our comfort zone since the possibility of failure is so minimal. By seeking out activities we are not good at, we are able to develop new skills, new experiences and may even discover hidden talents.
- FAILURE IS NOT A LOSS:Failure does not mean you have not succeeded. Failure is in indication that you attempted and are willing to try again, to get better, to learn more and to eventually achieve success. By realizing that failure is a natural phenomenon in life, allows us to detach the sense of fear from any given activity. To realize that a human who has never failed, has never actually tried.
- FOCUS ON HAVING FUN:No point in doing something without enjoying yourself. Go into anything new with an open mind and be positive about it. Look at all the good that can come from it and don’t be afraid to have a good time.
Make some time to challenge yourself with some new things to stretch the boundaries of your comfort zone. Make stretching your boundaries a habit and soon you find yourself having epic adventures, learning new things and having new experiences to improve your personal life above the norm. So try new things, learn a new language, connect with people who inspire you or talk to people who you want to, volunteer somewhere, travel more, smile to everyone and mix things up in your life to make things more exciting.
Take the time to consider the things you have being saying ‘NO’ to for a while because of ‘reasons’ and evaluate the reasons behind this. Is it fear? is it lack of motivation? Or is it something else. Think back to your past perhaps and consider the possibilities of your past that influenced the way you think about things and how it is stopping you from achieving what you really want to. Be a little bold with your life. Every moment you choose what to do with your time. Why waste it? Make the most of it and make life an exciting adventure. You are the in the driving seat of your reality, your hands are on the wheel and you alone decide in which direction to steer.
PS: Be sure to always take some time to return to your comfort zone to unwind again before setting off on adventures again. I don’t want you burning yourself out.
For now…the world is waiting, JUMP IN!!
“I have realized; it is during the times I am far outside my element that I experience myself the most. That I see and feel who I really am, the most! I think that’s what a comet is like, you see, a comet is born in the outer realms of the universe! But it’s only when it ventures too close to our sun or to other stars that it releases the blazing “tail” behind it and shoots brazen through the heavens! And meteors become sucked into our atmosphere before they burst like firecrackers and realize that they’re shooting stars! That’s why I enjoy taking myself out of my own element, my own comfort zone, and hurling myself out into the unkno
wn. Because it’s during those scary moments, those unsure steps taken, that I am able to see that I’m like a comet hitting a new atmosphere: suddenly I illuminate magnificently and fire dusts begin to fall off of me! I discover a smile I didn’t know I had, I uncover a feeling that I didn’t know existed in me… I see myself. I’m a shooting star. A meteor shower. But I’m not going to die out. I guess I’m more like a comet then. I’m just going to keep on coming back.”