Why Living In Your Comfort Zone Is Stopping You From Reaching Your Potential
Many of us, including me, have established a comfort zone in our lives, we have a routine and a structure that we find easy to maintain. We coast along taking the path of least resistance and we get by. This is an extremely common and understandable attitude and I can see why and I know too well this feeling myself.
Sitting in one spot and doing the same as you have always done is easy and its human tendency to do what is easy. Having habits each day that are easy, heading to a job that requires little effort is easy. Having a business that doesn’t grow is easy. Eating what you want is easy. Riding the same way you have always ridden is easy. Spending 2 hours a day on Instagram (you should check your screen time stats on your phone, you will be shocked) is easy. Criticising someone and pointing out what they are doing wrong is easy.
This is all staying in your comfort zone.
Comfort zone frame of mind
The comfort zone frame of mind is settling for who you are today. Which in my experience usually also equals plenty of complaining, criticism of others and dissatisfaction with your life. Now while this is ok for some people, those comfortable habits you have developed are slowly stopping you from reaching those goals you have always wanted.
Without some discomfort, risk, and progression to the next level, you are never going to be who you really want to be.
The truth is, if you’re living in the comfort zone, beware – the danger of the comfort zone is that it doesn’t hurt. It’s easy, it actually feels quite good while you’re in it, and you often don’t realise until you’re so deep in it that you really don’t enjoy it.
Embracing the discomfort
We’ve all worked hard to get where we are today, you may have had to overcome some huge challenges and setbacks. However at the same time, if where you are today was an easy path to get to, in most cases you’re probably dissatisfied and you probably want more.
When you get to the stage of dissatisfaction you will feel agitated, frustrated and annoyed. Looking to blame others and it becomes easy to throw criticism around. All this, however, is just a clue that your mind is telling you that it wants to change.
You want to change.
Rather than letting these emotions annoy me, I use them as fuel to go to the next level.
I’m a believer that everybody has unlimited potential. But unfortunately, most people don’t know how to tap into it, simply because they are scared to take the next steps or they are in an environment that doesn’t cultivate change. You owe it to yourself to become what you dream about and the only way to make this happen is by embracing the discomfort.
Fear of failure
The reason people don’t progress to the next step is the fear of failure, the fear that they think they don’t have what it takes, that they don’t have the right skills and experience. Or one of the most common excuses is that the results they want won’t happen quick enough or it just simply won’t work.
Remember this… the last thing to grow on a fruit tree is the fruit.
The truth is, the fear zone is as dangerous as the comfort zone, it’s what screws it all up, however in most cases the fears that you fear rarely come true.
In my experience, most people’s fears are often criticism from others, low self-confidence or simple laziness. The crazy thing is once you muster up the courage to conquer those fears, you will look back at all those excuses you told yourself and realise how common they are and how all they did was simply delay your path to success.
Dreams and ambitions are supposed to scare you, if they don’t, dream bigger!
Sometimes you need to stop being scared and stop using excuses to derail you.
You just need to be brave and go for it and if it doesn’t work out, that’s life and at least you now know what not to do next time around.
The learning zone
Once you get out of the fear zone, the magic begins to happen as you head into the learning zone. Often though many don’t make it to even this point. A closed mindset can inhibit your growth. Thinking you know everything and there is nothing new to learn is one of the biggest ways to stay in the comfort zone.
However with a growth mindset and moving to the next zone you can really start to make progress.
I find this zone is fun. The brain loves learning and gets addicted to progress. It’s fascinating to observe people around me who are just getting into the learning zone and seeing how quickly they can make changes, form new habits and their lives are transforming. I find this so incredibly empowering.
All of a sudden they begin seeing things clearly and start making better decisions that work for them and the path they are on. They are activating the creative part of their brain and learning to think again and problem solve. The approach obstacles with open minds and are ok with not knowing the answers.
Reading is a great way to get into this zone. New fresh ideas come in, which then generates a lot of new fresh ideas outward. A lot of your happiness is attributed to how much you’re progressing in your life, and progression comes from learning and trying new things.
I really want to encourage you to try and get to this stage because you will love it.
It makes life exciting.
You will start to see a lot of, if not all, of your old bad habits disappear if you stay in this zone. Your brain becomes so addicted to this new path you have embarked on, it will do anything to avoid going back to the old you.
You are far more likely to reach your goals if you embrace this zone too.
We all have bad days/weeks
If I ever find myself in a funk or feeling frustrated or stuck on a problem. Or if anxiety, anxiousness and worry about others are thinking have all clouded my thoughts. I know it’s because I have moved back to the fear zone and that I need to move forward again.
To get out of this funk, I will surround myself with tools to move forward. Books, audiobooks, podcasts and the people I talk to and surround myself with will help me move forward again. Understanding that there can be a constant movement between zones is ok. However, the awareness of where you are at certain points will help you find the tools to move forward again.
It’s not a linear process, think of it as more of a guidance and a tool to help you progress and work out where you are sitting at certain times.
When in the learning zone colours become brighter, you become smarter, happier, more articulate, you will attract better people and opportunities into your life. You will become far more resilient to the inevitable kickbacks that life throws at you. When you encounter these setbacks, you will embrace them, because you anticipated this to happen and you expected the obstacles and setbacks along the way. You will learn not to react, instead, you learn how to grow when it does happen.
When was the last time you did something for the first time?
When was the last time you felt your brain had had a workout?
The growth zone
The next step is the growth zone.
The zone of achieving your goals, setting even bigger dreams and goals and conquering your objectives.
As I continue to adapt my goals and vision I am discovering a new purpose both through my riding, business and my life as I am entering into this zone. This is when you begin to do things that aren’t money or ego driven and you begin to look at life differently.
You’re no longer just thinking about you, you’re thinking more about others and the impact you can have on them.
You begin stepping outside of the box and begin seeing the bigger picture.
Deep down, we all know exactly what we are capable of. It’s in this zone though that you begin to get a glimpse of that potential more often. It’s fully alive and activated.
You constantly begin living in a positive frame of mind because you know and believe that your external world is a direct result of what’s going on in your internal world.
You begin understanding that all the pain you went through in order to get this stage is worth it and there’s absolutely nothing standing in the way of your success except yourself.
You become so disciplined in the way you think and live out your life that things begin to happen faster than before, and the magic of momentum begins to make your goals a reality faster.
Getting it done
The amazing thing is, I spent a lot of years living in the comfort zone. Life was average. I was frustrated and I blamed others. Then I realised that if I wanted what I want in this life, it was purely up to me. No one else. So I took a small step and started spending 4-5 years living in the fear zone. I started on the path and I didn’t care how long it would take.
It was up to me.
I soon got over the fear with persistence and learning that fear is inevitable and failure was expected. I trusted that this was the correct path to get to where I needed to be no matter how long and the fear was simply the brain doing whatever it can to protect you from danger. It was all part of the process and overcoming my mindset was the process.
It’s not until I took small incremental risks, that I began enjoying fear because it was a sign I was growing and my mindset was improving. I soon became addicted to learning and challenging my comfort zone.
You can’t let your current situation determine your future destination.
You just need to become dedicated to moving through the steps.
Self-investment is the best investment.
The difference between a successful person and non-successful person is not that they enjoy the annoying jobs. They just get on with it because they know it has to be done.
Success, no matter what your path all begins from a willingness to change and embrace being uncomfortable.
If you realised how powerful your thoughts are, you would never think a negative thought again.
You attract what you fear.
You also attract what you dream, so be extremely careful of what you let into your mind.