“If you want something you’ve never had, you must be willing to do something you’ve never done.”
― Thomas Jefferson
Each of us have our own “comfort zone” which, more than an actual place is an emotional-psychological safe haven involving our daily habits and routine. Being in our comfort zone implies protection and security, minimizing any risks and stress. It’s a warm, safe cocoon where we are happily existing, distant enough from any mishap or blunder. When we step outside of our comfort zone, we’re taking a risk and opening ourselves up to the possibility of stress and anxiety! (Well, who wants that now?) As humans, we are creatures of comfort and taking risks is a menace that we are not well equipped to handle. It is too much of an effort and labor, something that we usually shy away from!
Fact – Creating a comfort zone is a healthy adaptation for much of our lives. But so is stepping out of our comfort zone – specially when it’s time to change, grow, and transform. Think about it – Your best, most productive moments of life have always been out of your comfort zone, when you were experimenting and analyzing new things/tasks!
Stretching your limits, going for the so-called “impossibles” in your dictionary and challenging yourself are crucial, and almost universal factors in personal growth. Reaching new heights involves the risk of attempting something we might not succeed at! (And that is absolutely OK! Rome was not built-in a day!) Experiencing a little stress and anxiety now and then is a good thing, aiding in evolution of our lives and careers. Even science says so! If we are really going to change our lives and the world we live in we have to be willing to feel uncomfortable. (Unapologetic-ally!)
What happens when you get out of your comfort zone and try things that raise your anxiety levels just a little bit –
It Will Help You Grow – Taking risks, regardless of their outcome, are growth experiences. Even if you make mistakes or don’t get it right the first time there are always these experiences to take back home. When mixed with the feeling of success, some anxiety and self-doubt – getting out of your comfort zone can lead to undoubted personal growth and development! It is an engaging process, which helps you to eventually become a specialist instead of just a novice. (You wont know until you have tried!)
“Success is not final, failure is not fatal – it is the courage to continue that counts.”
― Winston S. Churchill
Doing New Things Motivates Us And Helps Us Learn – Daniel H. Pink, author of “Drive : The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us” says that what we are ideally looking for is a place of productive discomfort. According to him – “If you’re too comfortable, you’re not productive. And if you’re too uncomfortable, you’re not productive. Like Goldilocks, we can’t be too hot or too cold.” So, the trick is to find a middle ground, where anxiety levels are manageable. This not only expands your comfort zone but also motivates you to safely transition into the “deep seas” where you are not scared to take chances and try new things. (Sometimes we just need to throw our hats over the wall and take a big risk for big rewards!)
“There is only one thing that makes a dream impossible to achieve – the fear of failure.”
― Paulo Coelho,
Trying New Things Can Make You More Creative – If you keep doing things the same way you always have, you will easily fall into a rut. To feed your creativity, you have to step out and try new things. When you try new things, you put your brain into unique situations which forces it to really think. This stimulates creativity, which eventually rubs off in other areas of your life. As a result, you begin to think about everything in a new light. Eventually, it will be easier for you to brainstorm and be more innovative and ingenious, top full of ideas!
“Don’t spend time beating on a wall, hoping to transform it into a door. ”
― Coco Chanel
Understandably, it may seem overwhelming and daunting to step into the unknown. It is tempting to stay where it is familiar, but no one ever got anywhere by staying at one place! Trusting yourself and taking small steps is the key. To begin with, try to make small changes that are not too emotionally challenging. Change your daily and/or work routine. Attempt something new every week, or every month. Try something new – food, music, art, activities you’ve never done (but always wanted to do). Undertake a creative project of any kind, where your thinking is channeled in a whole new way. Be brave and try to add newness to your life. Lastly, be open to adventure and don’t shy away from the freshness – aspire, desire, be determined and have an intent to be an exceptional YOU! (All you have is one life, this life!)
We all have it in ourselves to be better than today, the aim is to trust our instincts and go for it!
How did you get out of your comfort zone? I am all ears!