“You need to get out of your comfort zone”…a statement that every person more comfortable with a book than a football has heard at least a dozen times. In my case it usually came from my father, who could care less about my disinterest in sports, than for my anti-social literary lifestyle.
What’s a comfort zone? Wikipedia describes it as “a psychological state in which things feel familiar to a person and they are at ease and in control of their environment, experiencing low levels of anxiety and stress. In this zone, a steady level of performance is possible.”
It’s the areas of our lives where we’ve created the routine and pattern for small-incremental successes, and low risk scenarios. They are the castles we build with the moat and fortress to protect us from the risks and dangers presented by the outside world, and their foolish “new” notions.
The danger inherent in a comfort zone is that it lacks challenge. No giants can get in the comfort zone of your castle. The rough and tough lie beyond the borders and core competency in the outside world.
We all have a comfort zone, be it as an intellectual, businessman, artist, salesman, or parent. To achieve growth requires stretching the perimeter of this zone, and taking the occasional risk.
Presented below are 3 ways you can push the limits of your comfort zone and slay a few new giants.
Try Something Different
Let’s go for the low hanging fruit first. Before all else, when looking to get outside of your comfort zone you should just try something different. Disrupt your well-ordered routine in some small way, introducing a low risk quantity of chaos to get your mind adjusted to the idea.
This can take the form of many different activities, being as small as reading a different kind of book than usual to taking your friends up on an athletic endeavor you would normally avoid.
Do Something With Your Opposite Number
Most of us can readily pick out the one to two people in our lives who are our opposite numbers. People who are like the you from an alternate universe where everything is upside-down. Spend time with that person and do something they enjoy (if it is non-life threatening, we do not advocate legitimate danger).
The point is to do something out of the ordinary course of events. If you are a bookworm, go rock climbing. Athletic? Try having a long drawn out conversation on the minutia of English political history. Such attempts can be easier when they are done with someone you trust that is already experienced in these habits and hobbies.
Fortune Favors The Bold
What would you do if you could not fail? Do that. (Of course we say this with the caveat that it is neither supremely dangerous or illegal. We take no responsibility for you jumping off the roof with a cape or trying to rob a bank, both are equally stupid in differing ways).
Is there something that has always skirted the edge of your life that you’ve never just gone ahead and done? Is there someone you’ve always wanted to meet but never pulled the trigger and talked to?
We avoid a lot of things because they are just far enough out of our comfort zone to seem impossible. The girl we didn’t talk to, the job we didn’t apply for, the skill we never tried. In reality, that thing that seems unachievable frequently is easier than you might think. While the risk seems incredibly high, if you fail, what’s the worst that happens? If we fail, we fail while daring greatly and generally are no worse than we where to start with.
What’s your comfort zone? Are you comfortably reclined in the armchair with a book, avoiding all social interactions, or are you spending all your time at work to avoid having a social life? Is your family becoming an excuse to avoid trying new things? There are hundreds of thousands of scenarios like these where we find an excuse to stay in the comfort zone and stay in the same place.
Instead, start small with little pushes to try something new, and gradually work your way up.