Life Lessons

Venturing out of comfort zones

Person with red sneakers standing inside comfort zone
Photo: © Oksana Ryzhinskaia / 123RF Stock Photo

Our comfort zone is the place we are most at home. Within our comfort zones, there is little stress and strain. Many of us are reluctant to move out of our comfort zones. We feel great in our comfort zones, but that is not where we need to be. “A ship in harbour is safe, but that is not what ships are built for.” Getting stuck in a routine is easy to do. Comfort zones encourage in us an attitude of learned helplessness or hopelessness, making progress or evolution stiffer.

The capability to take risks by marching outside our comfort zone is the rudimentary or primary way by which we grow. In fact, comfort zones are not really about comfort, they are about anxiety or fear. We have to break the chains of fear to get outside. Once we do this, we will learn to enjoy the process of taking risks and growing in the process. While staying in our comfort zone can result in constant, stable performance, walking out of our comfort zone into a new task can create the conditions for ideal performance. Learning, creating, growing happen only when we step outside our castle and endeavour into the wilderness. People who regularly seek out fresh experiences tend to be more productive and emotionally resilient than those who remain stuck in routine.

Success comes from taking calculated risks, not by living in a bubble and hoping for the best. All successful people made tough decisions and stepped out of their comfort zones. Getting out of our comfort zone can greatly result in a rewarding experience as it triggers growth and progress.

Innovation or invention happens when we move outside our comfort zone. Being stagnant in routine often results in plunging creativity or ingenuity. Brian Tracy rightly said, “Move out of your comfort zone. You can only grow if you are willing to feel awkward and uncomfortable when you try something new.” Whatever goal we are trying to accomplish, no doubt, at some stage we will have to make a move that makes us feel uncomfortable. Greatness is found beyond our comfort zones. There are many ways to step out of our comfort zones and extend our boundaries:

Change your daily routine
Most of us have a pre-arranged and monotonous daily routine. By making small changes to this we can push ourselves to step outside of our comfort zone. We do not have to make huge changes or modifications. Minor differences in our day-to-day routine is good enough to transform our standpoint.

Change your mindset
Changing our thoughts can help us to travel in the direction we want. We should change our frame of mind. We should consider our comfort zone not as a shelter but a prison. We should learn to encompass profitable discomfort. We should select challenge over comfort, and set goals that compel or induce us to get out of our comfort zone.

Feel comfortable with the uncomfortable
One way to get out of our comfort zone is to expand it. We should design a goal to avoid running away from discomfort, and progressively enlarge the border of our comfort zone. We have to push the walls out and do not try to knock them down. Learn to be comfortable with being uncomfortable.

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Shivanand Pandit, based in Goa, is a tax specialist, financial adviser, guest faculty and public speaker.

Shivanand Pandit

Shivanand Pandit, based in Goa, is a tax specialist, financial adviser, guest faculty and public speaker.