Comfort zones are our safety nets. They are the levels at which we function with ease and familiarity. Where we are in a place of ease and distress. But What about comfort zones are keeping us from continually growing and reaching our goals?
There is a sketch drawn of two circles that works well when explaining comfort zones. A large circle says “where the magic happens.” The second circle is smaller and below the larger one. It reads “your comfort zone.” How do we bridge the gap in between those things? In one way or another, comfort zones set us back from accomplishing great things. And because of that, there are some worth conquering. How?
There are five good ways to start overcoming those comfort zones you want to break out of.
- Take nothing for granted: You learn a lot from suffering, and a lot from success. You have to be okay with the failures and all of the things that don’t go right. Be grateful for the suffering, because there are great things to learn from those failures. It took James Dyson (Dyson Vacuums) 15 years and 5,127 prototypes to find a successful design. That’s 5,126 failures! Your friendships, relationships, businesses, general opportunities, etc., could all be gone one day. You should not waste your time standing behind the chances waiting to be taken.
- Switch up your routine(s): Routines are as much about comfort as they are about efficiency. When you make yourself change up a familiar pattern, and go out of your way to experience unfamiliar or different things, it ends up in your benefit. Marianna Pogosyan is a consultant specializing in the psychology and she says “there is the willful fear and the pesky inertia that coax us back to “safety” every time we poke our heads out of our fortresses-it can be a far gentler affair. We could start with dipping our toes. We could find ways to ease out of our comfort zones—ways to wiggle ourselves into the other side.” Talk to someone new, initiate that conversation. Take a different route to your destination. Shake-ups in your routine end up being beneficial in your personal life-and that’s something to take advantage of.
- Move towards your fear(s): The things that we are afraid to do are often the things that have the greatest potential to expand our lives. When we feel fear, it’s an indicator that we need to do that very thing we’re afraid of. Making a commitment to lean into that can been really uncomfortable at times, but it can also be a great development of deep personal satisfaction. So ask the questions no one else will, audition for that solo you don’t know too well. Stand out for yourself. Surprise yourself. Teach your mind to be open to something different. In doing so, you teach yourself that your fears can be conquered.
- Give up personal control: It may be common sense, saying giving up bits of control will get you out of your comfort zone, but it’s important to think about. We need to get into the habits of giving up some control to push ourselves further. We need to be able to try and do new things until we are comfortable with doing them. If you have a fear of public speaking, openly express your opinions in a regular setting. Let people know you’re there. Give your life variety. We need to keep trying different approaches to the things we’re unfamiliar with until we’re no longer unfamiliar of it, all because we gave up that mental block that held us back.
- Agree to something you normally wouldn’t: Sometimes when someone offers you something, or when you offer yourself an idea that you would normally refuse, surprise yourself by saying yes. Whether it works out or not, you’ll learn from the experience; which is the whole point. Allow something different in your life to happen. If you have social anxiety, get out of your bubble. Go engage in a social setting on purpose. Take risks. Explore things you normally would not. Discover a strange idea and put it in action. Get into habits you can hold yourself accountable to. This practice forces you to keep stepping forward in an unusual way, and those unusual ways will continue to benefit you.
Muhammad Ali said “I don’t count my sit-ups; I only start counting when it starts hurting because they’re the only ones that count.” This teaches that physically, emotionally, and mentally, we do not progress if there isn’t that initial pain or fearful feeling. Growth happens after you’ve reached your limit and continued. Growth happens when you see your comfort zone line and keep actively moving forward. It is stepping over the line that counts. Your comfort zones are the most dangerous places to live. When you stay within those lines, you do not allow yourself to progress and to blossom. They are a natural and essential part of growth. So every time we consciously choose to step outside of our comfort zones, the next uncomfortable thing becomes a little bit easier.
Find your zones of courage and take it one step at a time. Conquer your comfort zones. You are capable of amazing things. Embrace the pain, don’t hold yourself back.
Citings: https://www.success.com/10-ways-to-overcome-fear-and-break-out-of-your-comfort-zone/: Success: 10 Ways to Overcome Fear and Break Out of Your Comfort Zone
https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/between-cultures/201612/how-leave-our-comfort-zones: tips on leaving comfort zones