Broadly speaking, the comfort zone is a state of mind that does not allow personal growth and all those phenomena linked to learning behaviours that make us achieve a high degree of satisfaction with the way life is lived.
Although this comfort zone may seem pleasant (since it allows us to always remain on “automatic pilot”), it is not a sufficiently stimulating place and in the long run not leaving it can make us feel empty and fall into apathy or certain behavioural dynamics related to depression.
Between you and me… what is it that keeps you stuck there? I’m sure you’ve wanted to step up, be brave and eat the world, but you haven’t. You may be in pain, but you’re not lifting a finger because you’re in your comfort zone. If you’re afraid and anxious to leave the past behind to fight for what you’ve always dreamed of, don’t be so hard on yourself and step out of your comfort zone. You will see that a new and exciting world awaits you!
Reasons to get out of your comfort zone
Do you want more reasons to leave the grey routine and go out there and pursue your dreams? Here are six reasons why you should consider leaving your comfort zone .
1. It will make you stronger as a person
Leaving the comfort zone may scare you or make you anxious, but face the fear and you will see that it was no big deal . Feeling insecure is something natural and even warns us that the path will not be easy. But when fear immobilizes you, then it becomes a problem that will not let you develop your true potential. Start by recognizing that you are afraid of an uncertain future, but adopt a positive mindset about it.
Allow yourself to fall from time to time and look at it as another part of growing as a person. If you step out of your comfort zone and enjoy learning, you will eventually be able to look back and be proud of yourself . Your personal development starts here, so think about what motivates you, is it really not worth taking a step forward and fighting for your dreams?
2. It will make you more creative
Getting out of the comfort zone stimulates creativity by learning about new possibilities and breaking with routine. A study published in Applied Cognitive Psychology (2012) showed that students who spent a semester abroad had higher scores on two creativity tests than those subjects who had not studied abroad.
On the other hand, another study revealed that the personality trait of “openness to experience”, one of the 5 great , is the best predictor of creative achievement . This personality trait is characteristic of individuals who tend to take risks, challenge themselves or try new things constantly.
3. It will allow you to gain self-confidence
Getting out of your comfort zone and taking the necessary steps to achieve your goals will have positive effects on your beliefs of self-efficacy (or self-confidence), that is, on the perception you have of whether you will be able to achieve your goals. This concept was introduced by the Canadian Albert Bandura , one of the most recognized psychologists who developed the Social Learning Theory: which explains the regulation of motivation and human action.
Therefore, going out of your comfort zone and testing yourself will make you see with your own eyes that you have mastered certain skills that will allow you to get out of situations that may seem complicated a priori . A perception of positive self-efficacy is associated with positive thoughts and aspirations about successful behaviour, less stress, anxiety and perceived threat, along with proper planning of the course of action and anticipation of good results.
4.It will help you to continue your personal development
When we are young we are more likely to take risks, but as we get older we learn to fear failure , which can lead to learned helplessness and paralysis (do you know the “paralysis of analysis”?). This can have a serious emotional cost if we do not change our way of thinking, as it can be an impediment to continuing our transformation towards greater well-being.
In his book “Self-Renewal”, the writer John Gardner states “We pay a high price for our failures and it is a huge obstacle in our growth. This causes our personality not to develop and does not allow for exploration and experimentation . There is no learning without some difficulty. If you want to keep growing, you have to overcome the fear of failure” .
5. You will meet new people and have new rewarding experiences
Leaving the comfort zone allows you to have new experiences, do activities that were not in your agenda and meet new people . This will allow you to have a more pleasant life and to make new friends. You may even meet the love of your life by going outside your comfort zone.
6.New challenges can make you age better
A study conducted in 2013 found that learning new skills while maintaining a strong social network helps us to maintain good mental acuity as we age .
Study director Denise Park, a researcher at the University of Texas in the United States, concluded: “It seems that going out for activities is not enough. It’s important to go out and do activities that are not familiar and that are mentally challenging, because they provide great stimulation both mentally and socially. When you’re in the comfort zone, you may be out of your comfort zone.
Some recommendations to achieve this
Of course, is very easy to say, but it is much more complicated to do . However, even though getting out of the comfort zone is complicated by the very definition of this concept, it is not mission impossible. If you need some help or keys to get out of the comfort zone, you can follow these guidelines.
1. Challenge yourself and give your best
Getting out of the comfort zone is an important aspect of personal growth, because it is not possible to think that we will get to the place we want to get to by doing the right thing and being immersed in the same routine as always .
Reaching new heights involves the risk of doing things that we are not so good at or that cause us some fear or insecurity (at least at the beginning). According to a study carried out by a group of psychologists, a little anxiety can be positive for improving our performance and allows us to continue growing professionally. Therefore, turn those situations that cause you anxiety into stimulating situations and don’t let anyone stop you. Don’t call it nerves or insecurity, call it “emotion”.
2. Think about your style of doing things… and act in the opposite direction
Look for situations that might force you out of your comfort zone. Experiment with dance styles that you would never associate with your way of being, get involved in creative projects that force you to think differently , to experience challenging contexts to which you can adapt. If you set out to manage these changes, and they are not too extreme, this will make you more flexible and better able to cope with variability and change.
3. Look for material changes in things around you
To do new things you are not used to, nothing like exposing yourself to new environments. Physically new, literally.The key is to set yourself the goal of exposing yourself to new situations by making the spaces you find yourself in different ones. Encourage yourself to change the way you dress or the decoration of your house, move around in different environments and, of course, travel as much as you can or even go and live somewhere else , even if it’s for a while. This will have a similar effect on you as the previous advice, only in this case, instead of varying the situations whose meaning you would not associate with yourself, you will do the same with physical spaces.
4. Anticipate all the excuses you will make
Be aware that when you set uncomfortable goals within your comfort zone, you will unconsciously be looking for a lot of excuses not to do it . Judge these excuses for what they are: inventions whose sole purpose is to rationalize the acceptance of comfort.
5. Expose yourself to new people
Don’t you like talking to people? Make yourself do it, even if your body doesn’t ask you to . The dialogue doesn’t have to be perfect, nor do people have to get the best image of you. By acting naturally everything will flow as it should, and it will be fun to see how easily interactions with others can work if you don’t think through what you are saying.
6. Get your friends and family to cooperate
If the people around you know that you want to get out of your comfort zone, they will help you to achieve it and maybe they will prepare some “surprise” for you. Similarly, c hen you take the initiative and start new and exciting projects, they will support you and probably show you signs of support or admiration , which will serve as a reinforcement.
7. Give your spiritual side a chance
Do you know the benefits of meditation or the Mindfulness philosophy? There are habits that manage to improve our state of mind and free us from many beliefs that anchor us in our comfort zone. Developing a spiritual self and is one of the most practical ways of achieving emotional well-being that can end routine life . You can start by reading this collection of Buddhist phrases, perhaps they will inspire you.
- Cajina Heinzkill, G. (2013).Break out of your comfort zone: 52 suggestions for taking control of your life. Oniro Editions.
- Hemmi, M. (2013). Dare you dream: Put a date on your dream and get out of your comfort zone. Ediciones Paidós.