Comfort Zone – Friend or Foe?

The notorious comfort zone – the mystical place that everyone talks about, and where you feel as safe as a child. The promised land of no worries, no fears, no failure. Seems like an awesome place to be, right? Why on earth would anyone ever want to get out of there?!

Like most good things in life, even the comfort zone has a downside, and a rather big one. With every moment spent in your comfort zone, your productivity decreases.

The good kind of anxiety

Even back in the day (in the beginning of 1900’s), psychologists like Robert M. Yerkers explained that in order to maximize performance and productivity, we need to be in “Optimal Anxiety” – a state where our stress levels are a tiny bit higher than usual. Without that little pinch of stress, we get too comfortable and our productivity will start the slow, yet steep decline – before you know it, your productivity has hit an all-time low and you didn’t even see it coming.

I think we’ve all been there. Taking a look at things from the outside, life seems like smooth sailing. But on the inside, you feel like you’ve grown roots and the idea of pushing yourself to unexplored grounds will remain barely a daydream and you think: “Ah, I’ll get my butt off this velcro seat later and do something new TOMORROW”.

It’s the next biggest lie after ticking the box next to “I have read and accepted the terms of use”. So get moving!

“By challenging yourself on a daily basis, you get used to the productive discomfort.”

The boost in productivity and performance is just one of the many pluses you get from pushing yourself out of your comfort zone. By challenging yourself on a daily basis and consistently broadening your horizons, you get used to the productive discomfort and you’re willing to take more onto your plate with each step. Stepping out into the unknown and questioning our confirmation bias educates us like little else does. So leap in – the net will appear!

Breaking free from your comfort zone doesn’t mean you have to go from zero to hero in split seconds, jumping out of planes and killing sharks with your bare hands.

Start with the little stuff. Reinvent your reality – make a change in even the most common everyday things that might seem insignificant. Screw the fear of failure, we all fail from time to time, it just comes with the package and if anything, it helps us grow. So don’t go running back to your comfort zone too easily.

Wrapping things up –you need to master the art of juggling with your comfort zone to get the best out of everything, mostly out of yourself. By constantly pushing the boundaries a little further, you’ll never go in circles and will experience things even the best TV programs, books or dreams fail to deliver. But it’s also important to value the importance of returning to your comfort zone every now and then to reflect and reprioritise.

And remember – in the end we’re just a story. Make it a good one, make it count and make the best of it.

By On February 28, 2014