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Last Updated on December 8, 2020

Comfort Zone: Why Is It Dangerous And How to Step Out Of It

Comfort Zone: Why Is It Dangerous And How to Step Out Of It
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Everything you ever wanted is on the other side of your comfort zone.

It’s a quote that many people have said time and time again to push people beyond their comfort zones to great effects. But more often than not, whenever examples of confidence spring up, you and I only tend to see the end results. We see the final results of people’s efforts but not the efforts themselves.

There are other aspects that are hidden from us as well. Why should you be stepping out of your comfort zone in the first place? Why is it dangerous for you to leave things as they are?

When you begin to understand why your comfort zone can be dangerous and how to step out of it, you can push yourself to new heights and potential.

What Is a Comfort Zone?

Before getting into details, you need to know what the comfort zone is in the first place[1]. As the name implies, this is a zone or position in which you feel comfortable. As long as you stay in this area, you’re not going to feel pressured, anxious, or stressed. At first glance, it’s a good position to be in on the surface.

Why Is Staying Inside of a Comfort Zone Bad for Us?

So why is it so bad for you to be staying in that zone? Well, one thing that I’ve come to learn about improving myself is that in order to improve, it’s essential that you embrace fear and change in your life.

The issue with fear and change is that, when we are comfortable, we are less inclined to make those changes and lean on our fear. In the end, your life will begin to stall and remain unchanged.

On the surface, this doesn’t seem all that bad. However, with life, change tends to find a way. Whether it’s through something large like the coronavirus to something smaller like you wanting to be a better partner or financially secure, these shifts come with risks and changes.

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And depending on how much we are in our comfort zone will determine how much we resist those changes, even in situations where those changes are very good for us.

What Holds Us Back from Stepping Out of the Comfort Zone?

As I’ve hinted at a little bit, our resistance can stem from many places. That said, the most common ones can be boiled down to three fears:

  • Fear of change
  • Fear of failure
  • Fear of the unknown

These fears are all manageable, and by learning about them, you can start to break them down in a way that works best for you. Here is what you can do for each one.

Fear of Change

As the most generalized fear of the three, this fear tends to mask the other two. You’ll be able to tell because this fear often leads to thoughts like:

  • This task is too big.
  • Why me?
  • I can’t do this alone.
  • I don’t know where to start, so I won’t do it.

As you can tell, if you have a fear of change, you’ll justify it in order to procrastinate on whatever it is that you need to be doing. You would rather keep things the way they are than put in work and take risks.

It’s a natural feeling that you’ve likely been leaning on ever since you were a child. It’s been ingrained in you. What matters now is that you work on changing it.

Fear of Failure

Going past fear of change, perhaps you remain in your comfort zone due to a fear of failure. I’m sure that many of you can relate as this particular fear can be instilled in various ways:

  • A childhood event or upbringing can cause you to internalize damaging mindsets.
  • You are a perfectionist or have perfectionist tendencies.
  • You over-inflate failures in your head, whether they are in reality big or small.
  • You are masking true confidence with false confidence when it comes to your personality and abilities.

Getting into more detail, fear of failure[2] can be described as a lack of confidence in yourself and your current abilities to complete a task or goal.

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Fear of the Unknown

The last common fear is the fear of the unknown. From a logical standpoint, this makes sense, too. Life is a mystery, and we have no idea where it’ll take us. Instead of you seeing this as a gift, you may use that as a reason to be paranoid and to be afraid whenever there is something that would disrupt your way of life.

This disruption can be something major like a job loss or a loss in the family to something smaller like your partner wanting to spend more time with you or you getting into better shape.

How you react depends on who you are, but it always comes back to you resisting change out of worry that your life could be different or, at best, better.

How to Break out of the Comfort Zone

Now that you have an understanding of the potential fears that stand in your way, you need to learn to break them down. Regardless of what fear you have, the methods to pushing yourself out of your comfort zone are relatively similar. I say relative because how people choose to act in order to succeed and strive in life varies from person to person.

There is no specific method that you need to take to push your comfort zone. What matters is that you do it in a way that makes sense for you.

1. Look at Your Habits and Challenge Them

Habits are things that you pick up from various life events. Some habits stem from family and friends, while other habits stem from your past achievements. Pay attention to the particular habits that have led you to past achievements.

These achievements can be big or small, but they remain with us so long as we exercise them. For example, consider walking. Walking was something we built a habit towards, and now we can do it without fail so long as we’re able to use both our legs.

One way that you can push out of your comfort zone is to look at your habits and begin to challenge them. If it’s a bad habit or a habit you want to break, replace it with a better one and reinforce it. For pre-existing good habits, find new and exciting ways to push yourself.

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For example, say you love working out and are in great physical shape. One way to break out of your comfort zone of your otherwise solid exercise routine is to try a different exercise or take a new class they’re offering at the gym. Or maybe you can give yourself a goal to prepare for a marathon.

In either scenario, this can present great challenges and change your life. When working out, you may not be so focused on cardio. On the other hand, if you’re breaking a habit, the challenge is starting a new one and implementing it.

2. Remind Yourself of Key Aspects of Change

Another way to break your comfort zone is to remind yourself of some key aspects of change. Change is a journey that you must take if you want to succeed. Part of that change is having lessons and learning from those lessons.

These lessons can stem from failures and successes. Some examples of these are:

  • If you want to change, you’ll need to trust yourself.
  • The process matters just as much as the results you’ll get in the end.
  • Effort in change is what matters. Even if you fail, you at least put in the effort, and that makes all the difference.

As many others have said before me, even if you fail, it’s not a complete failure unless you didn’t learn something. Learning is all a part of life, and walking away with a lesson can be just as rewarding as achieving something.

3. Experiment With Various Methods

As mentioned, there are so many ways you can step out of your comfort zone, and there is no right or wrong method. Every successful person has their own method for success and breaking out of their comfort zone. It’s key that you do the same.

While you don’t know which method is the best one for you, that’s kind of the point. Yes, it can be scary, but I’d argue it’s a reason to be excited. If one method doesn’t work, you’ve got dozens of others to get excited about and to apply in your life.

The idea that one of these methods can lead you to a new and exciting life filled with more fulfilment and satisfaction is thrilling. It’s human nature that you would want to be achieving more and getting more out of life.

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The question is what kind of methods are there? Well here are some brief examples:

Consider What’s Beyond Your Comfort Zone

When you have an idea of what the change looks like, you can be motivated to make that vision a reality. Try writing down three new things you would like to try. Tackle one of them each month. By starting small with things you are interested in, it will motivate you to step out more often.

Get Comfortable With Being Uncomfortable

Always wanting more and never settling can seem scary for those in their comfort zones, but I’d say this is how you ought to live your life. Always strive to make changes, big or small. Will the changes be uncomfortable for a time? Probably. But after some time, it will become your new normal, and you won’t even remember the discomfort that came before.

See Failure as a Mentor or Teacher

I hinted at this as lessons can stem from failure. By training yourself to see failure as a teacher before experiencing failure, the experience will be easier for you. In an instant, you reframe yourself as a student, someone who is learning the right way to being more successful.

Final Thoughts

Life begins at the end of your comfort zone. This quote makes more sense once you understand what your comfort zone really is and look at what comes when you begin to make changes in your life.

And the glorious thing about comfort zones is that it is never too late to stretch them and to break them. You can begin to make small changes in your life today and watch over time as they transform your life into something better. All you have to do is have a plan, adopt a method, and take action.

More Tips on Breaking out of Your Comfort Zone

Featured photo credit: AJ Yorio via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] Psychology Today: The Comfort Zone
[2] SELF Research Centre: Fear of Failure: Friend or Foe?

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Leon Ho

Founder & CEO of Lifehack

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Last Updated on July 21, 2021

17 Traits That Make a Successful Person Stand out from the Crowd

17 Traits That Make a Successful Person Stand out from the Crowd
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If you are like most people, you probably have big goals and dreams that you would like to succeed in — you want to be the top in your career, live a healthy lifestyle, or flourish in your relationships.

Everyone dreams of a positive future, but most people don’t realize the secret to a truly successful life:

You determine your future in the way you spend your everyday moments. If you want to be a successful person, you must consistently develop good daily habits. As Aristotle pointed out:

“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit”.

Building positive daily habits is a huge challenge, but can you imagine the amazing things you could accomplish with just a little commitment and determination?

Creating lasting, healthy habits is the real key difference between people who are successful in life and those who are unsuccessful.

You might be wondering which specific habits make the biggest difference. Not to worry, I’ve compiled a comparison list to help you get a jump start on a successful future.

1. Successful people embrace change. Unsuccessful people fear change.

Change is a constant for all of humanity, and it is important that you develop a positive relationship with it.

When unexpected or unwelcome changes arise, ask yourself how you can embrace it instead of running away. A few practical ways to reverse a change-fearing mindset include:

  • Take a moment to recognize and address any fears associated with the upcoming change.
  • Communicate with a person you trust about your negative feelings toward change.
  • Practice positive thinking, which you can read about in the next section.

2. Successful people exude joy. Unsuccessful people think, say and do negative things.

A joyful, positive disposition can seem like a distant reality in today’s cynical world, but it may be easier to achieve than you think. All you have to do is notice the good things around you and practice being thankful.

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Mindfulness and gratitude are not just buzz words – choosing a positive attitude can honestly change your life. Many studies have found that thankfulness leads to greater happiness. Furthermore, research indicates that gratitude may even have a lasting positive impact on the brain and overall mental health.[1]

3. Successful people forgive others. Unsuccessful people hold grudges.

As a human being, you have likely been offended or hurt by others plenty of times. Don’t give in to the temptation to hold a grudge. Let it go.

Note that forgiving someone does not equate to giving up your boundaries (which are very important) or even admitting that the offending party is right. You should choose to let go for your own peace of mind.

4. Successful people track progress. Unsuccessful people just criticize.

Some kinds of criticism, such as constructive criticism, are good for personal and professional development. The kind of criticism I’m talking about is the pessimistic, nagging, unhelpful variety. This is the kind of criticism in play when you are unfairly harsh to yourself or others.

Toss unfounded criticisms aside and consider tracking your “wins” or your progresses, no matter how small. Take mental notes or keep a progress journal.

If you have a solid sense of what you have achieved, you will be less tempted to be hard on yourself.

5. Successful people share information, data and ideas. Unsuccessful people hoard.

If you have useful information or generate brilliant ideas on the regular, your first instinct may be to keep it all to yourself for personal gain and solo recognition.

Instead of hoarding bright ideas, share them with your team. Your talents will be on display for the team, and the team will be able to support you and make your ideas a reality.

6. Successful people are humble. Unsuccessful people talk more than they listen.

Humility is key. The ability to listen to other people, really listen and understand, is essential to success in both work and relationships — and to listen you have to be humble.

Everyone has experienced the frustration of being in a one-sided conversation. When someone approaches you with a question or concern, put your own world aside for just a moment and give them the kindness of your full attention.

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7. Successful people take risks. Unsuccessful people take the easy way out.

The next time your heart is racing and you want to walk away, consider embracing the risk. You never know what might happen if you take a chance.

Embracing risks looks like accepting the speaking engagement even though it seems a little scary. Success takes the courageous route, not the easy route.

8. Successful people learn, improve and read every day. Unsuccessful people stop learning.

Instead of binge-watching a show tonight, save an hour before bed to read a book and expand your mind.

Unsuccessful people are afraid to be flexible – they don’t challenge themselves to learn new things. Avoid this pitfall by exposing yourself to new thoughts and ideas every day.

9. Successful people handle problems well. Unsuccessful people act before they think.

The next time you run into a problem or even an emergency, try to work through your initial panic reaction with a few deep breaths.

Instead of acting rashly, think through your next actions as quickly but as logically as you can.

Learning to handle problems thoughtfully is an absolutely essential tool in the successful person’s toolbox (that’s you!).

10. Successful people accept responsibility for their failures. Unsuccessful people blame others.

Along with a previous tip about humility, this is one of the hardest things you’ll ever learn to do – but also the most rewarding. When you’ve failed, you must fight the urge to pass the blame. Successful people are able to fail honestly and gracefully.

And, hey, don’t feel bad about failing. Some of the most successful people in the world have failed too many times to count. It’s all a part of the process.

You can check out this article for more tips on how to fail well:

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How Failure Helps You To Succeed and Grow

11. Successful people work with passion and commitment. Unsuccessful people have a sense of entitlement.

A short and sweet lesson for you:

You should never expect to achieve the things you want without working hard.

Follow your passion and stay committed to pursuing it. Work hard and stick to your habits every day. You’ll earn your reward.

12. Successful people spend time with the right people. Unsuccessful people think they already know it all.

A lot of people miss out on useful relationships and information sharing because they think they can do it all alone.

Spend time with people who inspire you, spur you to be a better person, and remind you that you can’t go it alone.

13. Successful people make to-do lists and maintain proper life balance. Unsuccessful people waste their time.

Ah, time management. Unsuccessful people never master the art of organization and planning.

Here are a few tips for you when it comes to time management:

  • Make to-do lists. Seriously, this will help you. Make time to do it every morning, evening, or whenever you are able.
  • Keep track of your time. Are you happy with the way you are currently balancing things? What changes can you make?
  • Keep a calendar full of your long-term goals (see next tip).

14. Successful people write down goals and think long term about their burning desires. Unsuccessful people get distracted every day.

Why is it so important to keep a long-term goal calendar? Here’s the deal:

The things you are passionate about today need a backbone.

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Give your passionate ideas sustainability by writing down goals and staying on task instead of succumbing to distraction.

15. Successful people compliment others. Unsuccessful people try to bring others down to their level.

There is no greater confidence than saying “no” to sudden jealous or envious feelings and choosing to sincerely admire someone’s talents instead.

Unsuccessful people live in a world driven by competition, but successful people know that building people up is far more rewarding than bringing them down.

16. Successful people want others to succeed. Unsuccessful people secretly hope they fail.

In the same vein as the point above, this tip is all about good intentions.

Care for the people around you. Encourage them toward their successes. Hoping that others fail will not help you at all.

17. Successful people know their purpose and mission. Unsuccessful people don’t know what they want to be.

The last thing that differentiates successful people from unsuccessful people is one of the most important:

Keep your mission in mind.

Don’t be swayed to and fro by passing emotions and events. Know who you are and pursue your dreams wholeheartedly.

Final thoughts

Above all, stay confident. Truly believe that you can be and are successful. Strive to prove it in your day-to-day habits and activities!

What are you waiting for? Choose one of the habits above and get started today.

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Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] Berkeley University of California: How Gratitude Changes You and Your Brain

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