Comfort Zones

Thursday May 11

I will start this blog post with a single quote: if it doesn’t challenge you, it doesn’t change you.

The concept of ‘comfort zones’ is an odd one. The comfort zone is a state within which a person operates in a neutral condition, using a limited set of behaviours to deliver a steady level of performance, usually without a sense of risk (Judith Bardwick “Danger in the Comfort Zone“, 1991). We like to stay in this zone because it means no risk. However, remaining in this zone for too long through your lifetime implies the fear of change and inability to grow.

Source: ‘Leaving The Comfort Zone’ Toolkit

This image represents the stages of growth when moving out of your comfort zone. You are going to have to face fear, but eventually that fear will teach you lessons you never could’ve learnt if you hadn’t taken the initial step in moving away from your comfort zone. Later, those lessons will bring you growth and may this process of growth and evolving never stop.

We often feel the need to stay in our comfort zones for the feeling of safety and normality. We fear the unknown. Why fear the unknown when you can endeavour the exciting? The future holds more good than bad. When you start to look at life that way, leaving your comfort zone may seem less daunting.

Leaving your comfort zone, in whatever way this may come to you, in a social environment, changing your career path, moving on from an ex, is inevitably what leads to full self-actualisation, which features at the top of Maslow’s Pyramid of the Hierarchy of Needs (1943). Here (and only here), we can start to reach our full potential (and beyond) and experience the sensation of growth and thus achievement. Those dreams and hopes and desires that you have are not attainable without first stepping out onto the rocky shore and starting your journey in navigating your fear zone, learning zone and then growth zone.

As I have said before, life should be exciting, not daunting. We shouldn’t hold this perception that everything will fail if we try to leave what we know behind in search for bigger and better things. This negative outlook on life is what is so damaging to the human psyche.

Today, try and do one thing that pushes you out of comfort. It might be walking to class on your own (an act of independence), or going to that art class you’ve always wanted to attend (an act of trying something new), or even saying yes to more things (an act of positivity). This is just one step, even if it’s a tiny one, towards a better life for you where those goals are in fact attainable. Stretch yourself and push your limits, you never know where it might take you!

P.s if you liked this post, be sure to check out by other recents!

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