A vast majority of us can probably agree that out of all the places in the world, the comfort zone is our favorite place to be in. After all, It’s the only place on earth where we truly feel safe, where we can allow ourselves to be restrained from the mental image of our capabilities, or actually, more the lack thereof. I, myself, am no exception. For a long time, I used to love my little bubble that kept me ‘’safe and sound’’, far away from everything that might be even slightly unpredictable or much worse, confrontational.
Knowing what to expect and having that expectation met, is probably one of the most reassuring feelings that we as human beings can grope. However, as I grew older I started to notice how this way of thinking was holding me back from my personal progress. In fact, the more I became aware of who I wanted to be, the more I realized that outside the comfort zone is exactly where I needed to be.
With this article, my goal is to help you understand why the comfort zone isn’t really that comfortable at all, so you can finally gather the courage to leave yours far behind and start living a more purposeful life.
Reason #1: The comfort zone is the most hated enemy of progress
When we’re stuck in our comfort zone, we tend to look at the outside world as a mean and scary place, one that must be avoided at all costs. The thought of attempting something even remotely experimental is one that most of us cannot bear. It’s not even so much the risk that comes with trying something new that frightens us as it’s the risk of losing the old and familiar. Biologically, we as human beings have always been risk-averse creatures of habit. So, even if we do understand to some degree that change is an inevitable requisition of growth, we do not like to defy the status quo at all.
Our subconscious constantly reminds us of our comfort and safety and uses that as a justification to resist change of any sort. Though this need for certainty and security is completely natural, we cannot ignore the side effects stemming from overvaluing these needs. When we live under a glass ceiling, we destroy all possibility to reach our full potential. Therefore, it is fundamentally imperative to explore the limits of our abilities, as such endeavors contribute to our personal growth. We need challenges in our lives, as progress is an indispensable feature to our happiness.
Reason #2: The comfort zone’s least favorite state is contentment
Though the ‘’comfortable’’ feeling of being in the comfort zone is often confused with contentment, it is understandable why someone may think that way. See, our comfort zone is a mental construct created by the sum of our expectations, and to ensure that those expectations are met, most of us will subconsciously choose to lower their standards. Over time, this lack of progressive action creates the false feeling of contentment, which in reality is nothing but a concealed state of fear.
Deep down you probably know that you are capable of more. You’re just too afraid to lend an ear to the distant whisper of your gut feeling. Just thinking about all those times when I didn’t take a leap of faith while I should have, already makes me feel dismal. No point in looking back of course, but my point is, your biggest mistake often appears in the form of the choice you didn’t make. Regret is the painful reminder of that inadequacy, one that needs to be eliminated at all costs.
Reason #3: The comfort zone’s best friend is pessimism
Although it is our natural tendency to opt for security over freedom, there’s a better argument for why one shouldn’t. Sure, it has long been known that our craving for security pertains to a broader spectrum of our primal emotional needs. However, as I mentioned before, it’s not so much feeling the need, but giving in to it each time an obstacle or challenge presents itself, that causes a problem.
We live in an ever-evolving world and not evolving with it only creates ‘’distance’’ between ourselves and the society we live in. Over time and through the rapid pace at which this evolvement occurs, we feel more and more of this unfavorable dissonance, arising from a state of enduring stagnation. The illusion of feeling comfortable at one point turns into a realization that we have become somewhat pessimistic as individuals. That is, if we’re lucky enough to even realize that we’re stuck in the first place…
Reason #4: The comfort zone does not allow opportunity to knock on its doors
The moment you’re about to attempt something new or find yourself in a situation which you’ve never been in before, is the moment you’re leaving your comfort zone behind. In the same strain, the rewards of such efforts can only be discovered after these kinds of challenges have been faced and conquered. We’re all familiar with expressions such as, ‘’Nothing great ever came out of the comfort zone’’. In fact, we live in an era in which we’re pretty much drowning in the bottomless pool of Instagram quotes. And though there may be a whole lot of truth to some of these catchy wisdom idioms, most of us remain still, only receding to merely reading or “sharing” them, too frightened of what may happen if we actually act on them.
New opportunities arise only for those that are willing enough to leave the comfortable behind. In a nutshell, you have to learn to become comfortable with the uncomfortable. Only by stepping out and trying something unfamiliar to your abilities can you increase your confidence level and feel a regained sense of independence. Always remember, the universe only compensates for those who use progressive action as their fuel, despite of their fears and insecurities. Likewise, those who are crippled by it will be punished with the lifelong burden of resentment.
Reason #5: The comfort zone only grants access to the entitled
One of the main reasons I decided to start this blog is because I sincerely care. Every time I see some of my old friends or even relatives not getting ahead in life, it breaks my heart a little. What’s even worse is that these same people were often the smartest and most talented ones of the lot. However, somewhere along the line, they started to feel entitled. They started to think they deserve to receive the fruits of labor without putting in the actual work.
Entitlement is the mother of arrogance. One that is very dangerous, as it can almost never be seen by he who is. Of course you carry your personal luggage of challenges and obstacles. Of course you have your ‘’reasons’’ why you can’t be doing the things you should be doing, but the truth of the matter is, so does everybody else. Here’s the thing, you can either have results or excuses, but you can’t have both. Simple math, right?
Reason #6: The comfort zone is unsustainable for drive and purpose
In order for us to move forward, we have to comprehend on a deeper level that whatever gives meaning to our lives is driven by everything outside of our comfort zone. Simultaneously, we have to figure out how to discern empowering beliefs from dis-empowering beliefs that don’t serve us in any way. The comfort zone is full of such dis-empowering beliefs, leaving no room for some good ol’ fashion company of meaning and purpose. They are like unwanted hotel guests who just got kicked out due to noise complaints.
To improve the quality of our lives, we must learn to take calculated risks so we can attract higher levels of consciousness, higher vibrations and thus higher callings. Think of the worst thing that could happen if you do. Then think of the worst thing that could happen if you don’t? The alternatives to the latter is presumably a life full of ‘’what if’s” instead of an exhilarating journey of lifelong learning.
I wish I could say that there’s an easy way to resolve this, but unfortunately, there isn’t. However, what I can say out of my own personal experience is that the anticipation of a new endeavor is usually way more frightening than the actual performance or outcome of it. We need to replace the never-ending list of doom scenarios in our heads with circumstances that fit more into the perspective of actual reality.
So, go on and ask for that raise! Start that new company you always dreamed of! Approach that person you always wanted to take out on a date. Fuck it! You have nothing to lose. Trust me, you really don’t!