“In twenty years, you will be more disappointed with the things you didn’t do than with the things you did. So, sail out of the safe harbor. Explore. Dream. Find out. ” – Mark Twain
What is the comfort zone?
The comfort zone is our protected space, which is also called the safety zone. As the name itself suggests, this is the zone where we feel safe, comfortable, where we are on our own. It is made up of our familiar physical space in which we move, as well as our habits and rituals.
Each of us has his own comfort zone and there is nothing wrong with that, on the contrary. One of the most basic and strongest human needs is the need for security. That is why each of us strives to build and preserve our comfort zone, because it provides us with a feeling of peace, tranquility and comfort. We are protected here, because there is no danger in it, no unknown, no risk. Everything is known and it gives us a sense of security.
It’s best to strike a balance by exposing yourself to new experiences and then returning to your comfort zone and relaxing! This will give you the opportunity to think about your experiences, learn from them and apply them. You don’t want to run from one new experience to another, because then you will get bored and become a routine.
Over time, you will bring more and more inspiration, experience, creativity and productivity into your comfort zone. So the growth zone will then become your comfort zone.
It is for this reason that most people are not ready to leave their comfort zone. Because when we leave this zone, we enter another zone – the development zone or, as we still call it, the risk zone.
What is a development zone?
The development zone consists of everything that is new to us, unknown, different. These are all those places we have never been, jobs we have never done, people we don’t know, food we have never tasted… We have to learn, get to know and experience all these novelties and unknowns when we enter this zone.
But, the development zone has another name, and that is – the risk zone. When we find ourselves in this zone, that is, when we step into some new and unknown situations for us, we always risk something. Thus, there is a possibility that we will be disappointed, hurt, rejected, that we will not cope or make a mistake in this new situation. For all these reasons, we have a feeling of discomfort, discomfort and fear. In fact, this zone awakens in people one of the strongest fears, the fear of the unknown. That is why most people do not want to enter it at all, and even those who dare to do so, need to leave it as soon as possible and return to their well-known zone, the comfort zone.
Why is it good to leave the comfort zone and enter the development zone?
The comfort zone gives us a sense of security, but at the same time it stops our progress. Unlike it, the development zone, although it seems unsafe to us in the beginning, moves us, forces us to constantly improve, we progress in it and move our borders.
No matter how much new and unfamiliar situations make us uncomfortable or even cause fear in us, it is necessary to allow ourselves to get to know and experience them. Only in that way will we enable our personal growth and development, learn new things, develop talents, acquire new skills. That is why this zone is also called the learning zone, because it is in it that we spread knowledge, vistas and experiences, but in a stimulating and positive way. Because when we talk about entering the development / risk zone, we do not mean those people, relationships and events that can be dangerous and harmful to us, our lives, health and safety.
People who are ready to enter the development zone more often, are more confident, have more self-confidence, are more successful, have better social and communication skills, more friends, are more satisfied with their lives… But the biggest advantage of the development zone is that it gives us a chance to make our dreams come true and become what we really are.
Either way, only people in the comfort zone live a certain way. It would be said that they live according to a preconceived scenario which often, as Erich Bern said, is an unconscious way in which we have decided to live, although that is not the best possible way in which we could live.
We live according to a certain routine, we do things “because it is necessary”, because we feel the pressure of the environment or other people to live in a certain way, we do not dare to follow our authentic desires – although when we live this way long enough, then more we don’t even know what those wishes were ?!
The feelings we often experience when we live this way are: boredom, dissatisfaction, a feeling of emptiness, unfulfillment, numbness, etc.
As all feelings have a function, so unpleasant feelings have a function to motivate us, to get out of a situation that does not satisfy us and to do something about it. Unpleasant feelings are not something that just bothers us, neither guilty nor guilty. “They have the function of conveying the message that we should change something.
If we are really zealous in ignoring feelings, whether we deny them or suppress them and decide not to do anything, in time we will become resigned, grumpy, angry … And they will remember us for sentences like: “such is my destiny”, “what to work “, shut up and suffer “and other defeatist (discouraged) clichés that reflect our fear of getting out of the comfort zone. Because happiness lives somewhere else … As if out of spite!
To get out of the comfort zone, where we feel comfortable but dissatisfied, we have to take risks. We know that ourselves, so since we don’t take any risks, we invent various reasons why it is right to stay there and do nothing. However, happiness accompanies the brave! That was not said for no reason. So, if we dare, we can expect something good. Otherwise, no.
So, when we have a lot of unpleasant feelings that warn us that it is time for action, it is up to us to assess what we want to achieve, how we want to achieve it and to take responsibility for ourselves.
And of course, let’s take a risk!
Situations that allow us to face risk are usually the result of unpleasant feelings that tell us not to live as we really want and the shocks and crises of life, when we are faced with the inevitability of change. By the way, in Chinese, crisis is written in a letter that means both chance and danger, which is a good definition of the crisis itself! Every crisis is a chance for the growth and development of the personality, which does not mean that we cannot go backwards if we choose to do so in crisis life situations.
All because of our fears and unwillingness to take risks. J.K. Rowling, the author of the Harry Potter bestseller, said:
“I am a free woman today, because my biggest fear has come true. I have a daughter I adore, an old typewriter and an idea. That’s the foundation I built my life on. “
Life changes such as: job loss, relocation, childbirth…, are new crisis situations that often force us to step out of the safety zone and take risks, trying new behaviors, thought patterns or simply facing our flaws and virtues, resources and limitations .
Also, sometimes there is a breakdown of our established psychological defenses when we are no longer able to cope with the challenges of life in the same way as before. Very often, then we begin to produce psychological or psychosomatic symptoms in response to a life situation.
“It’s not that we don’t dare because things are hard; it’s that things are hard because we don’t dare.” Seneca
How can motivation help us?
To remind ourselves, the force that encourages our behavior in order to fulfill desires and needs is called motivation. It is a powerful and very complex force that encourages us to act, builds the will and influences decision-making. Thus, the motivation is historically and linguistically marked by the Latin verb mover, which means to move, to move, to remove when. In a broader sense, to turn mentally: to think, to consider, to judge, to drive, to motivate to work, to act on the body or spirit, on the heart, on the will, to move forward, to transform, and so on. George Miller described motivation as:
“What pushes and pulls us in the biological, social, psychological sense to overcome our laziness and take action willingly or reluctantly.”
It follows that motivation has evolved so that its action can help us reduce physical pain to a minimum, and increase pleasure to a peak, which can contribute to the support mechanism – our own or someone else’s experience!
In my opinion, this is the key knowledge on which we can make a good foundation, which will move us to expose ourselves to new situations, regardless of the outcome !?
When we take risks and start thinking and acting outside the established framework and dare to step, we can meet a person we may have forgotten about, and who is waiting for us and has a lot to offer us – ourselves!
Steps that lead to getting out of the comfort zone and the desired change
The first step in the process of change is certainly awareness. It is important to be aware of which areas of our lives we are not satisfied with and why. What is it that we would like to change? What should our life in that area look like after the change? So, first it is important to see what is our unwanted condition and what is it that we would like?
Second, it is important to determine if change is possible? Some of our wishes can come true, some cannot. Fortunately, we can really influence many things in life, especially if we take responsibility for ourselves – which is the third step.
Taking responsibility for ourselves and our behavior means that we accept the consequences of our behaviors, feelings, actions in an adult way … We do not blame others, we do not sabotage ourselves, we are able to accept our mistakes and good moves.
The fourth important step is making a decision that we will change something and determining the strategy in which we will report it. Making a firm decision is expressed by the attitude: I will succeed! instead, I will try! – which leaves room for rationalizations of the type: “well, I can’t do that; I didn’t even care about it; it didn’t matter, etc.”. Success already indicates that we have a vision and that we are firmly determined to achieve it.
The fifth step is to take action and deal with fears and possible losses in risk. We gradually enter new situations, analyze how we felt, what we were afraid of, whether those fears are real, what we gain and what we lose.
Of course, when we take risks by entering something new in order to realize our desires, we must be ready to endure some unpleasant feelings along the way, such as insecurity, fear, frustration … Tolerating unpleasant feelings during the change process is very important, because it helps us in the long run to harden, to increase our frustrating tolerance, to see that we can do something. It is also important to understand that the path to success consists of mistakes and attempts.
It is not easy to decide on something new and we cannot always expect that it will be easy and that we will succeed at first. That is why it is important to encourage and praise yourself on that path, as well as not to condemn yourself for mistakes, but to learn from them and progress further. If we need help and support along the way, it is perfectly fine to provide it for ourselves, whether it is the help of dear people or professional help.
When we succeed in something, when we take risks and that risk pays off, then we feel satisfied and happy. Happiness is otherwise an emotion we have when we realize our important desires. Especially if they are outside our security zone and achieving them allows us emotional and spiritual growth and development.
And what about those situations when we took risks and failed? We have said that success cannot be achieved overnight. It takes effort and work. If we try again and fail, that is still not a reason to despair. We may need to rethink our strategies to see if they are good or the goals themselves are well set and achievable.
“Never defeat only lesson”!
I hope you liked the content about the comfort zone?
If you have any questions or suggestions, please leave them in the comments!