Is Your Comfort Zone All It’s Cracked Up to Be?

comfort zone vs.discomfort zone
Most of us like to feel comfortable. We like staying within our comfort zone. But is being comfortable all it’s cracked up to be?

Maybe. Maybe not.

I personally think being uncomfortable offers more benefits. For this reason, I prefer my uncomfortable zone.

When I stay in my comfort zone, nothing changes…not even what I want to change. So I remain the same, and my life and circumstances stay the same.

And a comfortable life becomes boring after a while. Everything is predictable. It’s all the same…all the time.

But give me a bit of discomfort…and BOOM! Suddenly I feel alive! I’m focused, engaged, and excited. Plus, life looks bright, shiny, and new, and transformation happens.

The Positive Side of Comfortable

Don’t get me wrong. I do appreciate and enjoy being comfortable some of the time. I see the positive side of comfortable. For instance…

1. It’s known.

A comfortable life grows out of predictability. When nothing changes, you become familiar with your routines, habits, experiences, and interactions with others. You know what will happen tomorrow or the next day…next month or next year. So you expect things to remain the same—even when you desire something different.

We like the known. In fact, our brains tell us to stick with what we know and not delve into the unknown because the unknown seems scary. And that’s the next positive aspect of your comfort zone…

2. It’s safe.

Comfortable is safe. And human beings like to feel safe.

As mentioned, your brain—specifically the part known as the reptilian brain—wants you to stick with what you know. Everything else is deemed unsafe, and its job is to keep you safe at all costs.

But the reptilian brain sees discomfort of any type—especially if related to change—as unsafe. So you feel better when everything stays the same. You experience less negative self-talk if you don’t even entertain change.

Known equates to safe, and if you stick with known and secure, you are comfortable. (And even I can attest that comfortable often feels better than scared, worried, or anxious.)

3. It doesn’t require change.

When you are happily in your comfort zone, you don’t feel the need or desire for change. In your mind, everything is A-okay just as it is.

Keep in mind that your mindset related to comfort might be fueled by your dislike of change or your negative self-talk related to being uncomfortable. Therefore, you prefer to stay comfortable.

The Negative Side of Comfortable

Now, let’s look at the negative side of comfortable.

1. Being comfortable doesn’t allow you to experience the unknown.

If you stay in your comfort zone, you don’t get to experience what is on the other side—the unknown. You don’t get to activate your human drive for novelty, variety, and change.

Safe in your comfortable life, you can’t live fully. And you deprive yourself of the opportunity to learn and experience new things.

At a foundational level, staying comfortable means you prevent yourself from growing. And we are all here to do just that.

2. Don’t take risks.

People who enjoy a comfortable life don’t tend to be risk-takers. Yet, risks help you break through the barriers in your mindsets, beliefs, behavior, career, and even physical ability.

Taking risks also helps you grow. Safe in your known, comfortable life, growth can’t happen.

In fact, you might have ambitions for more. Yet, as long as you stay comfortable and avoid change, rather than move into your discomfort zone, you can’t create the more you desire.

But take a risk, and watch how much you learn and experience. See how much you accomplish and create.

No wonder some people are addicted to risk-taking.

3. You don’t live or experience life fully.

If you want comfortable rather than uncomfortable, you won’t live your life fully. In Certified High Performance Coaching terms, you prevent yourself from living a charged life. When you live a charged life, you operate on all cylinders. You are engaged, enthusiastic, and excited about life.

As long as you live a comfortable life, you won’t activate all your human drives, especially those for change. So you won’t experience all there is to experience in life…only what you know.

But the world has so much more to offer you…if only you get a little uncomfortable.

Get Uncomfortable

I challenge you to get uncomfortable. This week, do something outside your comfort zone, like eating at a new restaurant, driving to work differently, or watching a new television show.

Why bother? After all, you are pretty comfortable with how you do things, right?

If the reasons I’ve already given aren’t enough, here are a few more that might encourage you to enter your discomfort zone.

  • When you get out of your comfort zone, new opportunities become available. Part of living fully is to take advantage of those options.
  • Nothing changes unless something changes. If you don’t do something different—which means moving out of your comfort zone, you find it difficult to create what you want.
  • Novelty and variety are the spice of life! Without them, it’s as if you are eating unseasoned meals—bland and boring—day after day.

A Little Discomfort Lets You Know You are Alive

If I’m candid, I can easily stay in my comfort zone, too. I like to eat the same things, go to the same places, participate in the same routines, and watch the same television shows.

However, I also know that even a little discomfort helps me expand my consciousness and knowledge, experience personal transformation, and become a better version of myself. It also helps me feel more alive.

I recently took on a lot of discomforts as I chose to give my marriage another go and move to New Mexico after 20 years of living in California. I even adopted a puppy. As a result, I am enjoying—and experiencing—life more than I did six months ago.

You will never experience all that life has to offer from the safety of your comfort zone. When you are comfortable, you can’t realize your potential. To do these things, you have to reach a new level of performance. Getting that result requires change, which can, indeed, feel uncomfortable.

We often know we can do and be more but remain in our comfort zone anyway.

That’s a broken strategy that won’t help you be and do more. You must get out of your comfort zone to be the best version of yourself—the one that can do the things that help you create what you desire.

Get Out of Your Comfort Zone

It’s time to get out of your comfort zone and experience all you can be and do and live life fully, is it not?

If you aren’t convinced yet, imagine what you and your life will be like in six months, a year, or five years if you remain comfortable. What will you be like? What will your life be like? What will you accomplish?

Next, imagine what you and your life will be like in six months, a year, or five years if you break out of your comfort zone. If you are willing to feel uncomfortable for just a bit…so you can realize your potential and live fully…what then? What will you be like? What will your life be like? What might you accomplish?

Are you willing to give up that vision to remain comfortable? Or would it be worth a little discomfort to become that person and manifest that dream?

I’ll gladly get out of my comfort zone to make my dreams a reality.

How to Get Out of the Comfort Zone

Here’s the thing. Eventually, you will have to get out of your comfort zone. How that happens, though, is mainly up to you.

You can wait until you get so uncomfortable with your comfort zone that you have no choice but to change something. Or you can wait for external circumstances to force you out.

Or you can choose to get uncomfortable and then do something different. As a result, you will create the transformation you desire in your own time and way.

Personally, I prefer to choose my brand of discomfort—and the benefit I want for going through it. I don’t like having discomfort forced on me in any way.

But no matter how I end up outside my comfort zone, I know I will benefit each time I step into it. I know you will, too. That’s why comfortable isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.

Do you think comfort is all it’s cracked up to be? Tell me in a comment below. And please share this post with a friend.

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Photo courtesy of Elnur.

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