The Danger of the Comfort Zone
Familiarity and comfort are the feelings experienced when operating within the boundaries of your comfort zone. It’s so easy to stay within it and not to step over the lines of the unknown that you find yourself coming to a halt. Without reaching out of your comfort zone it’s impossible to develop your skills and experiences.
“I am good at what I do within my comfort zone. Why should I step out of it?”
We may shy away from presenting in front of over 10 people because we are used to presenting to 5. “Why should I step up and increase the audience size? I’m good at presenting to 5 people”. Well, think of the comfort zone like an ever-expanding circle. The moment you step outside of it, it grows, and other actions and experiences are no longer alien or scary to you. This is the increased confidence you receive through these new experiences. This newfound confidence can give you the courage to push this comfort zone even further. One day you might be comfortable with presenting to 5 people, but after small incremental changes, you can soon become easily ready to tackle a hall filled with 50 to 100 to 500 people.
The important thing to know is that your comfort zone is as big as you want it to be. You may look at people who can easily present in front of thousands, or take on huge amounts of responsibility and wonder if they have a comfort zone at all? But it’s important to realise that everyone has a comfort zone; it’s just some people developed the sizes of theirs at different times. These confident people put themselves out there much earlier than those who currently live within theirs, but there is no time limit to begin stepping over that line.
“If you opt for a safe life, you will never know what it’s like to win”
Richard Branson has quite aptly summarized life within a comfort zone in this quote. How could you ever reach your true potential if you don’t challenge yourself? Fear and doubt are like bubbles inside of us, which pop the moment approach them face first. You may fail, you may see some sort of consequence, but its what you learn from these experiences which is what’s so vital to your development and progression. As Michael Jordan once said “I’ve missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.”
Think about where you’re comfortable, and what activities make you worry the most and tackle them one by one. Begin the never-ending cycle of commitment to personal growth by recognising that you can do anything if you push yourself. Speak at that meeting. Apply for that promotion. Learn that new skill. Jump on that rollercoaster.
By staying within your limits, you’ll forever live a life of ‘what if’s.
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