This post may contain affiliate links.
What is the comfort zone
The comfort zone is exactly what it sounds like. It’s the zone in which you live your life that feels comfortable and safe. You don’t feel the pressure to break out because it’s warm and comfy here – why would you? You don’t feel the anxiety that comes with being outside of it, so it feels mentally healthier to be here. You perceive yourself to be happier, safer, and more in control here and leaving sounds dangerous.
You often see introverts and people with anxiety stuck here simply because they live their lives feeling uncomfortable as it is, so purposely going into perceived dangerous places spikes these emotions. The truth is however, anyone can fall into this pattern. No one is spared this psychological trap, and everyone needs to leave your comfort zone at some point.
Now it’s important to note that what YOUR comfort zone looks like, and what MY comfort zone looks like are very different. So any examples I give throughout this article are quite generic and symbolic to allow you to insert your own idea of comfort.
Why is the comfort zone dangerous
Simply put, the comfort zone is dangerous because it’s so easy to get comfortable here. Outside of the comfort zone is where you grow, you change, you evolve. Here you will find true happiness, accomplish goals, live your passions and find purpose in your life. Inside the comfort zone, you will watch others do those things while snuggled up in your favorite blanket, eternally pushing aside feelings of confusion and loss.
See the comfort zone is a master manipulator. It sees when you feel envy of others living their dreams, and it passes you another coffee. It notices when you feel jealous when your friends grow into beautiful human beings, and it wraps you in another fuzzy blanket. It watches for the signs of resistance against its rules and serves up a tasty dessert with a cherry on top to distract you.The comfort zone is a master manipulator. It sees when you feel envy of others living their dreams, and it passes you another coffee. It notices when you feel jealous when your friends grow into beautiful human beings, and it wraps you… Click To Tweet
And more often than not, it works. Because it’s so easy to get distracted by comfort. It’s so easy to see the appeal in things that you can control and feel safe in, versus things you can’t predict, could potentially hurt you, and ultimately feel darn UNcomfortable.
But it’s a trap.
It’s designed to feel that way. It’s designed to lure you into complacency with creature comforts so you don’t leave your comfort zone.
The truth is, your comfort zone is killing you.
As it placates you into inaction, its simultaneously keeping you from growing. You stop evolving, you stop changing, you stop becoming a better person. You get stuck in the same habits, the same routine, the same everything. You accept your shitty job as a way of life. You accept mean people as king. You accept living paycheck to paycheck as gospel. You accept it because it’s familiar. Sure things might be shitty, but it might be worse outside of this zone.
The comfort zone pairs itself with your ole’ buddy, imposter syndrome aka your inner critic. It whispers sweet nothings full of LIES. It instills inside of you unease of the unknown. It whispers “what if’s…” that paralyze you into doing nothing. And that’s just the beginning.
What are the benefits of leaving your comfort zone
We know it’s a trap, we know it’s comfortable, we can see through a blurry lens that maybe there is something more out there beyond the comfort zone. We know it exists when we see loved ones change and evolve in front of our eyes…but sometimes we just need it spelled out for us. Why the heck should you leave your comfort zone?
- GROWTH: Growth happens outside of our comfort zone. We stay stagnant inside, outside we can stretch, flex our skills, learn new ones and ultimately grow.
- HAPPINESS: Think you’re happy in the job you hate? The relationship that is destroying your soul? The life that revolves around other people’s rules? Nope, I promise you’re not. Happiness is when you feel a sense of purpose, a confidence in your soul, and are living a joyful existence. When you leave your comfort zone all of this becomes possible.
- PURPOSE: Purpose gives you life. It gives you a reason to wake up each day and leaves a smile on your face as you fall asleep each night. Purpose drives everything you do. But purpose doesn’t live in the comfort zone. In fact, it will attempt to manipulate you into thinking purpose isn’t important, that drive is useless, that purpose brings pain.
- PRODUCTIVITY: The comfort zone swallows you in comforts. It wraps you in a safety net and convinces you that productivity is for losers. It tells you that accomplishing tasks is not important, and it is too difficult, it isn’t worth it. It whispers into your ear that productivity is hard and a waste of time and then offers you fuzzy slippers to match your robe. Outside the comfort zone you can knock tasks off your list you didn’t even know existed. You can advance your career, achieve goals, complete a bucket list, be a productive member of society and produce more than you thought was possible. Your comfort zone is changing the clocks, you do in fact have TIME to finish everything.
- CREATIVITY: Don’t have a creative bone in your body? That’s what the comfort zone wants you to think. Because outside the comfort zone, you have ALL the creativity you could ever want. You don’t need a muse, you don’t need inspiration, all you need is yourself and an open mind and all things are possible. Creativity is not limited to a select few. It’s an unlimited resource in your heart that the comfort zone allows you to access by drips and drops on a random basis. It’s because ALL THINGS ARE POSSIBLE with creativity, and this knowledge will destroy your comfort zone.
- EXPERIENCE: Imagine if you lived on your couch. It’s comfy, it’s warm. someone delivers you everything you need and you have entertainment on the tv all day. Sounds decent right? But you would never know what restaurant food tastes like. You’d never know how much MORE comfortable a bed is than a couch. You would never know what watching a movie in a theatre is like, or play mini-golf. You’d never walk around a park or see an art gallery. Now imagine your couch is your current comfort zone, what experiences are you currently missing out on?
How to leave your comfort zone
The age-old question, HOW to leave your comfort zone. We know we need to, we know how important it is, how pivotal to our development and growth it is. But just how do we do it? There is great news! It’s not nearly as difficult as you may think it is, and it doesn’t have to be complicated or terrifying in the process! The most important thing is simply to do something. Step out of your comfort zone.
Trying to find one tiny step each and every day to get you out of your comfort zone will make bigger decisions that come up occasionally easier to accept. You don’t have to take massive risks right off the mat, and in fact, I highly recommend not doing that. The bigger the risk, the bigger the risk of failure, and big failures early on can damage your confidence causing you to retreat into your comfort zone even further. So start small, choose one small step to take today, another tomorrow and soon you will look back and see how far you’ve come! Time to choose to abandon FEAR today!
13 easy ways to leave your comfort zone today!
- Try something new on the restaurant menu
- Read a book outside of your normal genres
- Find a new recipe on Pinterest
- Click a random playlist on your music app
- Change your skillset/tools/weapons on your video game
- Park farther away to make you walk more
- Pick up a new art medium you’re not familiar with
- Attempt a new hobby
- Sign up for a class you’ve never tried before
- Do a 30-day challenge
- Turn on a new podcast outside of your normal genres
- Watch a movie you wouldn’t normally
- Dream big: don’t be afraid to create impossible goals
When you should stay in your comfort zone
Simply put, sometimes you just aren’t ready to leave it yet. Maybe you just got settled into your current version of comfort, it’s ok to take a break. Rest your feet, stay awhile until you feel confident. Sometimes you just need to catch your breath, and there is nothing wrong with that.
Expanding on this, sometimes you mentally aren’t prepared to move. Our mental states are fragile on a good day. And many truly don’t understand how easy they are to break. A strong self-awareness can help you judge if now is just not a good time to risk rejection.
For example, I’m a children’s book author. I spent a portion of time each week writing, editing, and querying manuscripts. Which means I have a MOUNTAIN of rejection letters. Sometime’s I’m ok with that. I can see the positives: tips to fix things, to make my manuscripts the best version of themselves. Time to find the PERFECT agent to represent me and my rewards for patience will be tenfold. Other times I’m not ok. It breaks me inside. I feel the insecurities, my comfort zone swallows me up, and my inner critic beats me down. I take the time each week to truly acknowledge my current mental state. I recognize the signs of a break and step away from rejection letters, emails, and anything else I need to. But when I feel confident and comfortable, I put my chin up high and hit submit on the next letter.
However, sometimes our confidence can get the best of us. Overly confident mindsets can make us skip steps. Sometimes we get lucky and land ok. But if we stumble (and unfortunately more often than not we do), the hard landing can send us so far back into our comfort zones we take twice as long to leave again! It’s important to take a single step at a time. It can be tempting to leap, but the reward isn’t usually as high as you think it will be by skipping steps. Go slow and steady and you’ll end up where you want to be much faster than large leaps with big tumbles.
The good news is, you can build new comfort zones as you grow. So when you need a break during your journey of growth, you can build a little comfy shelter right where you stand and huddle up for the winter (or the night).
Want more? Stay tuned for my personal development series:
Habits to Adopt to Live Your Best Life
11 Benefits of Personal Development
How to Create a Personal Development Plan
KPI’s of Self-Improvement
In the meantime, don’t forget to check out:
How to Find Your Passion in 5 Minutes or Less!
The ugly Truth About Avoiding Responsibilities: How to Stop Procrastinating
Life Boundaries Protect Time and Energy, Work-Life Balance Protects the Status Quo
Discover Your Personal Core Values