Comfort zones are wonderful places to be. When we’re in them, the world is a warm and familiar place. We feel confident, because we aren’t at risk of being thrown off guard, of making a serious mistake, or of being embarrassed. For many of us, comfort zones are places of rejuvenation. Why would we want to leave?
On the other hand, stepping out of our comfort zones challenges our confidence. We have less experience handling what comes our way, and that makes us more likely to fail. It’s natural to want to avoid making mistakes. Why take the risk? Why invite difficulty?
Because we believe that the second law of thermodynamics might just apply to our life circumstances. Things do not remain stagnant—they eventually decay. This applies to our comfort zones as well, which makes them uncomfortable.
When we stay fixed in our comfort zones, we begin to view them as having permanent boundaries, and that the things that are outside of our comfort zones should stay that way forever. But imagine if we thought that way about everything in our lives?
What if we never read a new book because we didn’t believe we could learn anything from it?
What if we never exercised because we thought we could never grow stronger?
What if we never practiced anything because we were certain we could never get better? Or didn’t think we should possibly be better than someone else?
Growing your comfort zone is a challenge, but as you work at it, you begin to notice two things:
First, you begin to become used to feeling uncomfortable. And in the process, you learn how to handle that feeling. It no longer sends you into a state of nervous panic. You don’t like it, but you know what to do. Once you realize that failure isn’t always permanent or guaranteed, you become less afraid of it.
And secondly, as you become used to more experiences, they cease to make you uncomfortable. Because you know how to do more things, you feel confident in a wider range of situations, and the more you explore, the bigger your comfort zone becomes. You also recognize that there may be parts of you that are made for more, for growth—for greater expression—and you won’t know what they are until you try.
It’s a huge world out there, with tons of experiences, ideas, tastes, sounds, and views. You will never be comfortable with them all, but your life will undoubtedly be richer for having tried more. So don’t allow your fears and insecurities to limit you. Throw yourself in it with everything you’ve got.
Expand your comfort zone, expand your world.
If you were comfortable in a wider range of experiences, how would that change your view of the world?
What fear is holding you back?