Get out of Your Comfort Zone
Get out of Your Comfort Zone
Is it time for you to get out of your comfort zone? Harv Eker, a great philosopher and lifestyle coach said, “Nobody ever died of discomfort, yet living in the name of comfort has killed more ideas, more opportunities, more actions, and more growth than everything else combined. Comfort kills!”.Thomas Edison, the ever famous American inventor stated, “We shall have no better conditions in the future if we are satisfied with all those which we have at present”(Wise Old Sayings, n.d.). Why is stepping outside of your comfort zone so important for progressing in life? Why is it so difficult?
The level of risk in one’s life relates to one’s possible rewards. Human beings, however are actually hard-wired for comfort and low risk (Inverse, 2017). Your comfort zone is defined as “a behavioural space where your activities and behaviours fit a routine and pattern that minimizes stress and risk” (Huffpost, 2017). But way back in 1908, psychologists John D. Dodson and Robert M. Yerkes noticed that relative comfort caps performance levels, with optimal performance and rewards only attained just outside of someone’s comfort zone (Lifehacker, 2013). As difficult as it may be, you may find some great benefit in practicing a few of these 18 ways to step outside or get out of your comfort zone.
1) Understand the Boundaries or Limitations of Your Personal Comfort Zone
Get a picture of the shape and size of your comfort zone, and then aim for taking action just outside it. The brain is supercharged when it is presented with situations it has not encountered before, or realities which it finds risky and new. This is where wonderful thoughts and ideas can be harnessed to put you on a direct path with your desired destiny.
2) Realise That Existing in Your Comfort Zone is Holding You Back
Numerous scientific studies have shown that simply being content with current comfort slows down your brain wave activity (ScienceNews, 2018). This will actually make you less aware of potentially life-changing positive opportunities. Mild discomfort causes action on your part, as your brain becomes more active and you begin to become more aware of your surroundings.
3) Don’t be Scared about Making a Fool of Yourself
We worry far too much and too often about what other people will think. In reality, only a very few people care about how you look, and whether you stumble or succeed. Think about the most magnetic and lovable persons you have met. They were most likely not preoccupied about what others think. In context, acting a bit out of the ordinary from time to time could get you one step closer to those things that you desire the most.
4) Face Your Fears
Most people, if not all, have had huge fears in their lives, but it is usually those tiny and subtle fears that keep you from reaching your full potential. Just like the fear of making a fool of yourself, you may be scared of alienating friends and family, or you may stay inside because you are fearful that you could get into some uncomfortable situation.
Is it really worth worrying about circumstances and fears which have not even evidenced themselves? Work on conquering your small fears, and you will find yourself gaining confidence to battle and overcome your biggest fears.
5) Live in the Now
Planning is great, and is certainly required for any true success. However, over-planning can sometimes keep you from living in the present moment. Embrace what is going on around you, keeping your eyes open for beauty, inspiration and challenges, and new opportunities.
By living in the “now” you spontaneously get your conscious brain working to adapting and enjoying events and circumstances that are presently happening. Appreciate the present, because the past is gone, and your future is not guaranteed.
6) Ask Yourself, “What’s the worst that can happen?”
After asking this, answer yourself, and be completely honest. One of our survival instincts is to avoid risk. Because of this, our brain often gets us to imagine that potential negative results from our actions are going to be calamitous; absolutely disastrous. Really though, what is the worst that can happen if you fail at something? Is it the end? Failure is not falling down, it is staying down. You may be better served asking yourself what is the best that can happen if you step outside of your comfort zone. Asking yourself what is the worst that can happen, can be very helpful though. It can help us put things into perspective. The worst may not really be as bad as what it first might appear to be.
7) Stop Comparing Yourself to Others
There are billions of people alive at this very moment. To even consider comparing yourself to anyone else, or to the achievements others have made, is incredibly limiting. You are a unique individual who is capable of incredible things. When you stop comparing yourself to other people, and begin to move outside of your comfort zone, you might be amazed at what you find is possible after you rid yourself of pointless and self-limiting comparisons.
8) Start Treading Uncertain Waters by Taking Small Steps
The psychologists Dodson and Yerkes mentioned previously concluded that one’s maximum achievement is realized when people step just outside of their comfort zone. This is because you still feel like you have almost total control over your situation, while still allowing for unknown and uncomfortable situations and opportunities to push you towards unique and as yet unsatisfactory outcomes. Tread uncertain waters, but don’t go in too deeply. Over time, these small, tentative steps out of your comfort zone will see you miles away from your past life, existing in a world where your goals and dreams become reality.
9) Visualize the Benefits of Doing Something Scary or Uncomfortable
The whole risk/reward relationship has kept people who “play it safe” from achieving their true potential for thousands of years. Before you take a step into uncharted and possibly scary territory, visualise in your mind the benefits and rewards of the ideal outcome.
The unconscious mind drives your conscious activity toward your most predominant thought, so focus on the pluses, and not the negatives, of stepping outside of your comfort zone to achieve the greatest results.
10) Quit Aiming for Perfection
If you are waiting for the perfect time to write your book, launch your business, or perhaps even stop gambling, or achieve some other major goal in your life, forget waiting, and take action.
You can constantly review your progress and fine-tune for better results as you step further and further out of your comfortable surroundings on your way to exciting new triumphs.
11) Celebrate Small Wins
Those exciting new victories just referred to should be celebrated at every level. If your goal is to write that book, and you step outside of your comfort zone by perhaps even just getting started on it, celebrate when you have written your first chapter.
There is an old country saying which reminds us that, “You catch more flies with sugar than with vinegar.” Instead of beating yourself up when you fail, celebrate those small victories, and that positive reinforcement will build and multiply to deliver larger triumphs in the future.
12) Be Spontaneous
By just taking an unplanned and unprepared step out of your comfortable surroundings in some small way, you put your brain in a highly receptive and alert state. For example, if you catch yourself driving to your friend’s home the route you usually do, stop and take detour or a different route altogether. Do you always watch a television show at a particular time? Perhaps when it is about to begin, turn off your TV set and do something, anything, that is spontaneous and outside your regular routine. While this may be uncomfortable, it could prove very rewarding as well.
Stop expecting that your old way of doing things will always create the new, exciting and fulfilling life you have always dreamed of, or that you are capable of. This will much more likely happen when your new actions move you outside of your comfort zone.
13) Make Changes Happen and don’t Allow Changes to Determine You
Change is inevitable, and it is necessary for growth. Deciding what changes to make in your life may prove to be far more rewarding than just being passively accepting of changes. Don’t just allow change to come your way in a reactive, passive manner. Welcome change. Initiate it.
Life is full of changes, some good and some bad. But when you take action, be proactive, and make changes in any area in your life, you promote growth and take control of your situation, rather than simply waiting to react to whatever changes are headed your way.
14) Make New Friends
Start associating with like-minded people. The fact that you have dreams and desires is a wonderful sign that your brain and your heart are ready to move toward a reality that is better, happier and more peaceful than your current one.
When you start mixing with new friends that also seek positive change, you will happily take those first few tentative steps into uncomfortable territory when you know you have a good friend walking along with you on the journey.
15) Congratulate Your Attempts at Challenging Your Comfortable Existence, Even When the Results are Less Than Positive
You will almost certainly be not successful at times when you step out of your comfort zone. Who ever succeeded the first time at everything they do? Stepping outside of your comfort zone may entail taking risks. Yet this can be extremely rewarding. Can you think about any time when you have taken a risk, and it worked out? Perhaps it worked out really well, perhaps even better than the best result you may have expected. Congratulate yourself and acknowledge your strengths and willingness to try when you step into unfamiliar territory.
16) Feed Your Brain Something New
Find new stimulation. Try reading a book that you normally wouldn’t read. Perhaps challenge yourself to listen to one hour of music every week that does not include the typical tunes you enjoy.
Push your brain’s boundaries and mental fences to kick-start brainwave activity which is currently lying dormant. Learning challenging new skills can aid neuroplasticity to strengthen existing connections, or forge new connections in the brain (Huffpost, 2017).
17) Create a New List of Things to do
Write a list of 10 things you want to do in your life. Perhaps you can increase this list to twenty, or fifty, or perhaps one-hundred. These might include physical and mental achievements, or include professional, financial, romantic, spiritual and other endeavours.
Successful people have claimed that this simple action formed the basis for new realities, which were created when they were forced to realise that their comfort zone was not that appealing to them after all.
A quote from Pierre Nanterme: “Do you feel good in your role? If yes, that’s the perfect time for you to experiment with something new, to get out of your comfort zone”.
18) Learn to Say “No”
Have you ever found yourself saying “yes” to your friends and family. Learn how to say no. Self-sacrifice and compromise has its place, but there are also times when saying “no” is the better option. It can be very uncomfortable to say no. But you only have so much time in the day, and by pleasing others instead of yourself, you tend remain stalemated or stagnant, instead of dreaming and achieving.
Conclusion: Stay Motivated and Keep Progressing
Remember, by stepping outside of your safe and predictable comfort zone, amazing and wonderful new realities and possibilities will present themselves. By learning to try new things and search for new possibilities, you will likely become more productive. You will begin to automatically engineer your mind and body to easily deal with new and unexpected changes that will no doubt arise in your life. This also helps you push your boundaries further in the future, and each time you take an uncomfortable step and survive, you will continue to push further for even greater results and rewards.
Before long you will push yourself to harness the potential of your creativity. Seeking new experiences and learning new skills open new doors to inspiration and self-education, which can pay off in a myriad of ways.
Change is constantly happening in our lives, so isn’t it smarter for you to initiate that change intentionally, rather than waiting for change to disrupt your comfortable world?
You may find great benefit by practicing some of the above ideas to work in your life. Stop allowing invisible and imagined fear and uncertainty to hold you back from the incredible achievements you are capable of.
BrainyQuote, (n.d.). Comfort zone quotes. Retrieved January 12, 2019, from https://www.brainyquote.com/topics/comfort_zone
Huffpost, (2017). Here’s how picking up a new skill can help your brain. Retrieved January 12, 2019, from https://www.huffingtonpost.com.au/2017/01/18/heres-how-picking-up-a-new-skill-can-help-your-brain_a_21657171/
Huffpost, (2017). 6 reasons to step outside your comfort zone. Retrieved January 8, 2019, from https://www.huffingtonpost.com.au/entry/stepping-outside-your-comfort-zone_us_5872638
Inverse, (2017). Neuroscientists just gave lazy humans a free pass. Retrieved January 8, 2019, from https://www.inverse.com/article/28139-laziness-neuroscience-path-of-least-resistance-effort
Lifehacker, (2013). The science of breaking out of your comfort zone (and why you should). Retrieved January 8, 2019, from https://www.lifehacker.com.au/2013/07/the-science-of-breaking-out-of-your-comfort-zone-and-why-you-should/
ScienceNews, (2018). Brain waves may focus attention and keep information flowing. Retrieved January 8, 2019, from https://www.sciencenews.org/article/brain-waves-may-focus-attention-and-keep-information-flowing
Wise Old Sayings, (n.d.). Retrieved January, 8, 2019, from http://www.wiseoldsayings.com/comfort-quotes/
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