Have you ever stepped into a hot tub and immediately felt the need to step out because the temperature of the water was too hot? Have you ever entered a room full of people and immediately felt the same way? Both of these situations are examples of stepping out of your comfort zone. One is physical and one is mental, but both are uncomfortable.
But if you didn’t step out of that comfort zone, what would you have had to do instead? You would probably deprive yourself of a good time with people you care about and end up regretting not pushing yourself.
Yet even though you know that not stepping out of your comfort will result in unhappiness, you cower away when the push comes to shove. You shudder at the thought of breaking out of your daily patterns. Would it really be so bad if there were an unexpected change in your life?
Psychologically, we are programed to seek comfort. The thought of doing something that is uncomfortable or will cause us to feel some kind of discomfort will drive us away from doing such a thing. But is comfort really the best thing for us? Let’s analyze.
One metaphor that always comes to mind when thinking about comfort zones is the boiling frog. It is hypothesized that if you drop a frog into boiling water, it will quickly jump out. Instead, if you place the frog in the pan with cold water and you slowly bring that water to boil, the frog will not notice the gradual heat increase and will die.
Now, granted, this is just a metaphor, but why do you think it comes to mind when thinking about comfort zones? Because just like comfort, if we are not careful about what we don’t do, we won’t notice there is anything going wrong.
When you find yourself in front of a new situation, think about yourself as that frog. Don’t sit there waiting for your life to change because you will die having done nothing meaningful. When you start to feel like your life has been sitting in the same spot for a while, when the temperature of your water is very nice and warm, that’s the time to jump out of that water and do something new.
Now, everyone has comfort zones. Everyone has a list of things that they feel fine doing without one second thought, and then the other list of things that you cannot pay them to do. Sometimes, though, when people feel discomfort, they think it is because they are not supposed to do that thing. First mistake. Then, when nothing changes in their life, they complain that their life isn’t fulfilling. Second mistake.
When you find yourself feeling out of comfort, you have to learn to ease your mind. Don’t freak out at the fact that there is a new opportunity in front of you. Instead, realize that stepping out of your comfort zone is a new action, and just like any other action, it requires a process. Part of the process of embarking on a new opportunity is just that, a chance to start something new. Starting something new is always scary and it might bring about doubt. That’s normal. Change will cause a lack of ease because it’s unfamiliar territory, nonetheless, the unfamiliar can become familiar once we embrace it. So how can you embrace jumping out of your comfort zone?
You can start by asking yourself the following questions:
- Where do you think your current actions are taking you? Take a look at the things that you are doing now, almost every day. If you compose a list, it will make it easier to see exactly what you are constantly doing. Keeping your life goals in mind, do you see your current actions taking you in that direction? If not, then ask yourself:
- What can you change so that your actions will ultimately take you to your goals? After going over your day and activities, you realize that you were not doing enough and will never get to your goals. It’s up to you to change that. Look at the list of things you are doing daily and think of a minimum of three things you can add that will start you on your road to success
- What are you doing to jump of your comfort zone? Now that you know what you need to do, do you feel ready? If you answered yes to that, you need to go back and come up with a new set of activities that will launch you into your success.Stepping out of your comfort zone should feel a little uncomfortable, but you cannot expand your zone of comfort if you do not reach outside of it and stretch it. Evaluate your situation. If you are unhappy with it, then stop sitting in your comfortable water and jump out!
Opinions expressed here by Contributors are their own.