I’ve recently been out of my comfort zone on a trip to New York. I wanted to see how martial arts are taught in the united states and visit the big city at the same time. This is quite a big step for me as I’m a small town boy, living in a Warburtons bread world.
We’ve all seen the memes about bursting through our comfort zone, hell I’ve written a few, so I’ve decided to write a blog about this topic as well. Let’s start of with what is it?
The Oxford Dictionary describes a comfort zone as
” A settled method of working that requires little effort and yields only barely acceptable results”. ‘if you stay within your comfort zone you will never improve’.
The science behind the comfort zone suggests that we’re naturally creatures of habit and tend to play it safe most of the time. Why is this a bad thing, surely we’ve adapted to be like this to encourage our survival as a species.
Research suggests that people who seek out new experiences are usually more creative and resilient than those stuck in routines. However, I’ve noticed that people who burst out of their comfort zones too quickly can move beyond comfort into a panic zone with high anxiety and poor performance. Namely, me when I tried out my first performance motorbike.
So should we expand out of our comfort zone, if it ultimately leads to chaos?
Some psychologists believe that to live our “real life” which is the sum total of all of our experience you need to push your barriers. Learning that it’s OK to fail, becomes refreshed to mean that it’s OK to make your first attempt. This mindset will allow you to learn, even when you don’t excel first time, or the second with a new activity or task.
Is the key to success getting comfortable with being uncomfortable?
For me, I always look for the challenge. I feel recharged after a new challenge and enjoy the journey as well. Last year I learned to swim freestyle for a Tri-Athlon. Lesson one, I achieved 2 metres and drank a lot of pool water. I did not see this as failure, but a baseline to build on.
Enjoy the opportunity to learn and don’t be scared to fail. If a test pass mark is 60% and you score 55%. You know 55% more than before you started the course, then it’s only a 5% step to the next milestone.
Sometimes, we don’t get to choose when we’re getting out of our comfort zone, I’ve a life transition happening at the moment, with a close member of my family with stage 4 of the big C. I like to think that each of my smaller transitions, has helped prepare me for the ones I can not control, making it more bearable.
Think about why you want to try something new and allow yourself to step out of your comfort zone if necessary. Whether it’s trying a Krav Maga Class (see www.kravclasses.com) or starting a business. You’ll find that it will get easier to add to your sum total of life experiences.