Why Being In Your Comfort Zone Is Hurting Your Comfort in Life
We all know our comfort zone. That’s where everything is easy, stress-free and you are in control. It’s where you love to be, because it’s safe and predictable. But there’s a huge risk of losing control in life if you keep living only in your comfort zone. Here’s why.
One of the laws of nature is that everything that lives, grows. If it’s not growing, it is dead. All kinds of biological processes take place in a living organism that stimulates cell growth, reproduction, etc. As a matter of fact, the moment it stops doing that, it will shrink. So not stay the same, no, it becomes smaller.
Energy can’t be lost, it transforms into a different form, according to the first law of thermokinesis. So the moment something stops growing (where energy is used), the energy will go somewhere else to continue a process. Meaning: that this energy is lost from growth so it can only shrink.
So, let’s look at this non-physical world of our comfort zone.
We define our comfort zone as a ‘thing’, but it’s more of a state of being. You are in your comfort zone, or you are not. It’s how you feel when in a certain situation or experience. For example your work. You do your work with ease, with no surprises and you can predict any outcome of the production work you do. You are working in your comfort zone.
Now, can a comfort zone grow or shrink?
Well, as a matter of fact, it can. Your surroundings can change, the status quo can change, and reach an area you’re not familiar with. Let’s say for example you work with a certain computer program at your job, and have been using that tool for 5 years. You know exactly what to do and how it works, to get your work done. But all of a sudden, management decides to implement a whole new different tool. Now, all of a sudden your comfort zone has shrunken. The tool is not part of your comfort zone anymore, and the knowledge you had, isn’t sufficient enough anymore to stay at the same level of comfort in your work.
This will make you feel uncomfortable, insecure even maybe, and in order to do your work at the same level, you can’t predict the outcome anymore. So you need to learn this new tool, right? And after a while, you start learning it, and you make it in your comfort zone again. So you expanded your comfort zone to its original level after the shrinking phase it went through.
So we can grow in our comfort zone by learning new skills. Not only how to use a certain IT tool, but in general.
You can grow back into your comfort zone by learning new skills.
If you move to a different country where they speak a different language, your comfort zone shrinks a huge part, because communication is such a big part of our day-to-day life. Learn the new language and you restore your comfort level again.
Knowledge, skills, and experiences are what can make your comfort zone what it is. So expanding those will expand your comfort zone. Lose a level and it will shrink.
Now, how bad is that really when your comfort zone shrinks? Well, that’s an interesting question and has everything to do with the amount it shrinks and on what area in your life. Small effects won’t harm you as much, but if it’s happening day in, day out, you’ll soon start to notice a feeling of discomfort. And as human beings, we don’t like that feeling. Like I said in the beginning, we like being in our comfort zone.
Now when life gives you such a situation, you become reactive to that situation. Especially when it happens because of outside factors you couldn’t control. You have to play catch up to restore the feeling of comfort, and that can be very stressful.
And this happens to a lot of people.
Getting pushed outside your comfort zone can lead to major stress and depression.
You can take matters into your own hands though. And that is to keep your comfort zone growing all the time. Use the law of nature, that it always has to grow. So you’ll never be forced into the situation your comfort zone shrinks and you get uncomfortable.
The thing is, when you are constantly growing your comfort zone, it means you spend a lot of time just outside your comfort zone, but in a controlled situation. You can learn new skills, and start practicing them where you stay in control of the time frame, and the amount of energy you put into it, without being forced into the situation where there are huge amounts of pressure to get it done.
When you decide to move to another country, while you are planning and organizing it, start learning the language before you go there, for example. In that way, you stay in control of your ‘uncomfortable’ state when learning, but in a safe environment of a course or class. Instead of having to talk to people in real-life situations, not being sure your communication skills are sufficient to get your message across.
So how can you stay ahead of growing your comfort zone? Well, that’s easier than you might think.
Read non-fiction books, and follow (online) courses, as part of your daily routine. Wake up 15 minutes earlier to read a book in the morning. Listen to podcasts about a topic of interest (or a language class) in your car when commuting to work. Watch YouTube videos on certain topics by the top of the field people in that industry (there’s a lot of awesome free content out there). Follow a class on Udemy on Saturday or Sunday for 2 hours or so.
Do this and you’ll see that you are running ahead of those who don’t. You will not only grow in your comfort zone, but you will actually grow in life. Because you can use this exact same technique to plan your career, a hobby, or life in general. Especially if you focus on things like communication skills, relationships, or even on more esoteric things like personal development, philosophy, or spirituality.
And the funny thing is, that being just outside your comfort zone — the so-called ‘learning zone’ — can get comfortable too. You actually expand that comfort zone on your demands, and not by someone or something else.
This is how you can create more control in your life and live life on your terms more, than just being a victim of life in general.
And it’s very comfortable to live like that.