Stepping out of the comfort zone

Girl walking on bridge into the unknown

You set your own limits

Have you heard of Bethany Hamilton? She was born and literally raised in the waters of Hawaii. As a child athlete she won several surfing contests; it only seemed too easy to wade into the waters and dodge the waves like she belonged there. One day when she was 13 and in the water; she lost her left arm and almost her life, to a vicious shark attack.

A shark bit away her arm, yet it took her a mere 30 days to get back into the water, this time with one arm less, but twice the determination and manifold positive attitude! Living without an arm was uncomfortable. But living without accomplishing her dream was even more cumbersome. Two years later she won the first place in the Explorer Women’s Division of the NSSA (National Scholastic Surfing Association) championships in America. Today she’s a professional surfer who lives her dream and never fails to look beyond the horizon. She fails to see limits because she believes there are none. She chooses her comfort zone and it appears that she finds solace in her struggles.

What is this comfort zone?

The comfort zone is an area where inertia and disinterest tend to overpower drive and ambition. It is a conceptual space wherein life is on autopilot, stress is minimal and risk, non-existent. In the comfort zone we feel protected and safe — like the tiny space under the desk where some of us have likely hidden on a dark rainy day when we were children; afraid of the lightning and thundering outside. But how much can we accomplish sitting there? We can’t hide under that desk forever. Someday the thundering might stop or maybe it won’t. Or it might stop today and be back tomorrow. When you become comfortable with the storm, it doesn’t seem like such a bad thing. It does take some resilience nonetheless to accept the chaos and keep working within it with zest and enthusiasm.

Why do we need to step out at all?

We like a worry-free existence, a predictable future and familiar people. We desire care, concern and attention. We want it easy and effortless, and we want it now. And the comfort zone provides just that. There isn’t much wrong with being comfortable. However; if we get too contented, laziness sets in, and we miss the challenges that allow for self-change and personal growth.

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Dr Shefali Batra is a Psychiatrist and Mindfulness Coach. Connect with her on Instagram @drshefalibatra and read more about her work at

Dr Shefali Batra

Dr Shefali Batra is a Psychiatrist and Mindfulness Coach. Connect with her on Instagram @drshefalibatra and read more about her work at