Two Things You’ll Need to Leave Your Comfort Zone and Grow
We tend to think of growth as a natural progression in life. But why do some people seem to evolve while others stay stuck? There are two things that push us or inspire us to leave the comfort zone and grow.
“A comfort zone is a beautiful place, but nothing grows there.” ~ Gina Milicia
If you Google Comfort Zone, you’ll find mostly negative characterizations of this illusive psychological state of being. If you’re the one in the comfort zone, you may not be able to see it, but you can definitely feel it. Despite its negative reputation, the comfort zone serves a purpose, and the purpose is not necessarily bad. I would even go so far to say that at certain times in our lives, we may even need to seek a comfort zone. That’s right. This place we’re often told we should avoid at all costs can be a place of refuge, a safe haven in certain situations.
Could it be that we’ve gotten it all wrong about the comfort zone?
How to Recognize You’re in a Comfort Zone
According to Wikipedia, a comfort zone is a psychological state in which things feel familiar to a person, and they are at ease and perceive they are in control of their environment. It’s a place where you may experience low levels of anxiety and stress. And you may even perform at an acceptable, steady state.
Brené Brown talks about the comfort zone like this. It’s “Where our uncertainty, scarcity and vulnerability are minimized—where we believe we’ll have access to enough love, food, talent, time, admiration. Where we feel we have some control.”
Does this feel like where you are currently? The truth is all of us visit the comfort zone at various points in our lives. And now we don’t have to feel so guilty about it.
It’s not that we should never sit in a place of comfort, it’s just that we can’t stay there. For all the certainty and ease the comfort zone provides us, it is just as true that you will not grow there. I often think of this analogy when I think of the comfort zone. You’re on the road to your desired destination, but along the way, you get tired, and you need to stop and rest, perhaps refuel. That’s the comfort zone. A pit stop. But if you’re going to reach your destiny, you must get back on the road and continue your journey. That’s growth.
You Can’t Grow in the Comfort Zone
To repeat the quote above, “A comfort zone is a beautiful place, but nothing grows there.” There have been other quotes that also remind us that the comfort zone is a danger zone and a place where our dreams go to die. Neale Donald Walsh put it this way, “Life begins on the other side of your comfort zone.”
The comfort zone provides homeostasis. It’s not disruptive. It does not deal with the unknown or uncertainty. And it requires very little of us. That’s all good if you have no goals, no dreams, nothing more to accomplish, and you’re already your highest, best self. But I don’t know anyone who is at that place in their lives. And, in my opinion, unless you’re already a centenarian and fully satisfied with your life, you shouldn’t be at that place.
The comfort zone is for visiting, not staying. So, what does it take to leave the comfort zone and get back on the road to your destination? Two things.
Two Things You’ll Need to Leave Your Comfort Zone and Grow
Inertia will try to keep you in a comfort zone as long as possible – and potentially forever. That’s why some people stay stuck. It can be hard as hell to leave predictability, control, and adequate supplies – trade all of that for an uncertain future. But if your life is on the other side, as Walsh said, then you have no other choice. You must leave to pursue your goals, dreams, and Personal Legend.
To leave the comfort zone, you will need Vision and Courage. I could tell you to pack other things for your escape from the comfort zone, but they may or may not be as useful for where you’re headed. But what I know for sure is that when you have a vision for your life and realize you can’t accomplish it by staying in the comfort zone, the zone immediately becomes “uncomfortable.” It can turn into a prison of sorts, holding you back from living your best life.
Vision alone won’t break you free from the comfort zone though. You can have a vision and still sit stewing or resentful in the comfort zone. Vision needs a companion, and that companion is Courage. The comfort zone and courage are incompatible. “You can choose comfort, or you can choose courage,” Brené Brown says, “but you cannot choose both.” Courage enables you to leave complacency and moved toward growth.
With a vision for your life and who you wish to become and the courage to step out into the unknown to achieve it, you are destined for greatness. And you will grow!
For more of my thoughts on the comfort zone, truths and lessons, and how to move forward toward growth, listen to my podcast episode, “Visit Your Comfort Zone (If You Must) But Don’t Stay.”
Thanks for reading and being a part of the Your Aha! Life Global Community. I hope you found this article insightful and motivating. May it serve as a reminder that the comfort zone is a temporary place. With Vision and Courage, you will leave the comfort zone and move toward your destiny. Please share the article with your friends.
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My purpose is helping others get to know, believe in, and accept themselves so that they live their best lives – lives with more joy, more purpose, and more fulfillment. Their Aha! Life. I’m so grateful you’re on the journey.
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