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Last Updated on December 1, 2020

6 Reasons Why Your Comfort Zone Is Holding You Back In Life

6 Reasons Why Your Comfort Zone Is Holding You Back In Life

If you’re not where you want to be in your life, it may be because you’re stuck inside of your own comfort zone.

It’s easy to do what you’re used to doing and stay within the confines of least resistance, but if you want to make progress in your life, you need to break free from what holds you back. Here are 6 reasons why your comfort zone may be holding you back in life and what you can do to change that.

1. Without Risks, You Won’t Discover Your True Self

Living in your comfort zone is all about doing what is safe and easy: you know the outcome. If you’re afraid to take some risks and do something that scares you, you can never really understand who you truly are. We often learn the most about ourselves when we walk openly into challenges and learn how to overcome them. Despite feeling fear and doubt, we do something anyway and prove to ourselves just what kind of person we are.

We find out a lot about ourselves when we take risks. We discover what makes us tick and begin to see that part of ourselves deep inside, our true self, the one that holds the wisdom and power most of us are unaware of. When you can connect to your true self, you open doors to change, growth, progress, love, and understanding that cannot be found inside your comfort zone.

2. You Can’t Learn Much in Your Comfort Zone

You can’t grow as a human being by following the path that’s already lit. As AJ Leon says,

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“Don’t follow well lit paths; grab a machete and hack down your own.”

You learn more about yourself taking the road less traveled. You see and experience things you may never have if you’d stayed with what was comfortable.

Science has confirmed that once you know the best way of doing something and get into repetition mode, your brain’s learning centers essentially shut down[1].

With knowledge and growth comes an increased ability to do things in your life you never dreamed possible. All you have to do is start hacking.

For example, imagine you always go on vacation to the same city. You know the street names, which restaurants serve the best food, and you may even have some contacts you always get in touch with while there. This is your comfort zone.

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Perhaps during your next vacation you decide to not only go to a different city but to an entirely different country. What will you have to learn before you go? You may need to learn some basic words in a new language and check out maps of the city to get oriented before landing.

Once you get there, your mind will have to take in the various aspects of the new culture, people, and architecture. This vacation will force you to learn something new both about yourself and the world around you.

By stepping outside of your comfort zone, your horizons extend beyond what you’ve always known. This leads to new perspectives and perhaps a newfound sense of motivation to do something new each time you have the chance.

3. You May Postpone Your Goals

A scenario that I’ve seen happen time and time again is one where you are faced with a difficult situation in your life, and instead of facing it head on and overcoming it, you take a step back into your comfort zone. This is a major red flag when it comes to your goals in life and not being able to achieve them.

Your life goals are important. When difficulties come up—and they will—you need to be brave enough to keep moving forward. It’s easy to just jump back into your routine, but postponing your goals now will make them more difficult to achieve later on. Find the courage to push through the hard things and you’ll be glad you did later on.

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You can read more on achieving your goals here.

4. Routines Make You Lazy

Comfort feels all cozy and warm when you’re in it, but it’s also a double-edged sword. You stay comfortable for too long and begin to get bored, lazy, and content. And then you’re just primed to be another walking, talking zombie: just another spoke on the wheel with no meaning other than maintaining the status quo.

Routine is a part of your comfort zone. It may be satisfying you for now, but meanwhile you’re losing your ability to open up your true self and share your gifts with the world. When you lose that, you lose the ability to create anything meaningful for your life. That not only hurts your life, but those around you, including the rest of the world, which is being neglected by another wasted opportunity to show your true greatness[2].

Quick Guide on how to leave the comfort zone at work | People HR Solutions

    5. You May Lose What Makes You Unique

    Life is so much more fulfilling when you are constantly learning, growing, connecting, and making dents in the universe by releasing your greatness to the world. When you stay in your comfort zone, all of that disappears. You become lost in the crowd, another krill in a swarm, headed in one direction.

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    Break out of that comfort zone and you will start to be noticed. You’ll no longer be a follower; you’ll become a leader. You have the ability to set an example and pull other lost souls out as well.

    When you start to become noticed, you start to move forward in your life. Greater opportunities present themselves, other people will look up to you, and the world will be a better place with you out there making waves.

    6. You’ll Never Discover New Dreams

    The unknown is a magical place where dreams come true and life happens. Your comfort zone is a predictable place where dreams die and life stalls. It’s pretty simple when you think about it.

    Stay within your comfort zone and keep hoping, wishing, and dreaming of a better life, or take a step into the unknown and create your own version of how you want your life to look.

    Once you move away from what you already know, your mind has a chance to look at all the possibilities waiting for it, and you’ll be free to pick and choose your new dreams. This may mean temporary discomfort as you leave an unfulfilling job, relationship, or city, but out of that discomfort will grow new opportunities that you can build your dreams on.

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    More on How to Step out of Your Comfort Zone

    Featured photo credit: Dillon Shook via unsplash.com

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    More by this author

    Justin Harmon

    Justin helps people break free from the status quo and start living a life of personal freedom, fulfillment, and purpose.

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    Last Updated on June 4, 2021

    10 Famous Failures to Success Stories That Will Inspire You to Carry On

    10 Famous Failures to Success Stories That Will Inspire You to Carry On

    Failure occurs everyday, in school, jobs, housework, and within families. It is unavoidable, irritating and causes pessimism.

    While the thought of flinging your hands in the air and walking away is all too appealing, take a second to connect with the people who have been there and survived.

    Failure is simply the opportunity to begin again, this time more intelligently. — Henry Ford

    Here are 10 famous failures to success stories around the world that will inspire you to keep going and achieve greatness:

      1. J.K. Rowling

        During a Harvard commencement speech, Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling outlined the importance and value of failure.[1]

        Why? Simply because she was once a failure too.

        A few short years after her graduation from college, her worst nightmares were realized. In her words,

        “I had failed on an epic scale. An exceptionally short-lived marriage had imploded, and I was jobless, a lone parent, and as poor as it is possible to be in modern Britain, without being homeless. The fears that my parents had had for me, and that I had had for myself, had both come to pass, and by every usual standard, I was the biggest failure I knew.”

        Coming out of this failure stronger and more determined was the key to her success.

        2. Steve Jobs

          The now revolutionary Apple started off with two men in a garage. Years later we all know it as a $2 billion company with over 4000 employees.

          Yet, almost unbelievably, Steve Jobs was fired from the very company he began.

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          The dismissal made him realize that his passion for his work exceeded the disappointment of failure. Further ventures such as NeXT and Pixar eventually led Jobs back to the CEO position at AppleJobs said in 2005:

          “I didn’t see it then, but it turned out that getting fired from Apple was the best thing that could have ever happened to me.”

          Lost your job today? Keep kicking and you could be just like this guy!

          3. Bill Gates
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            Bill Gates was a Harvard dropout. He co-owned a business called Traf-O-Data, which was a true failure.[2]

            However, skill and a passion for computer programming turned this failure into the pioneer of famous software company Microsoft, and the then 31-year-old into the world’s youngest self-made billionaire.

            In his own words:

            “It’s fine to celebrate success but it is more important to heed the lessons of failure.”

            This isn’t to say that dropping out of Harvard will make you into a billionaire, but maybe that shiny degree isn’t worth as much as the drive and passion to succeed.

            If you haven’t found your passion like Bill Gates, this will help you:

            How to Get Motivated and Be Happy Every Day When You Wake Up

            4. Albert Einstein

              The word ‘Einstein’ is associated with intelligence and synonymous with genius. Yet it is a famous fact that the pioneer of the theory of general relativity, Albert Einstein himself, could not speak fluently until the age of nine. His rebellious nature led to expulsion from school, and he was refused admittance to the Zurich Polytechnic School.

              His earlier setbacks did not stop him from winning the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1921. After all, he believed that:

              “Success is failure in progress.”

              To this day, his research has influenced various aspects of life including culture, religion, art, and even late night TV.

              Just because you haven’t achieved anything great yet, doesn’t mean you can’t be an Einstein yourself.

              5. Abraham Lincoln

                Failing in business in 1831, suffering a nervous breakdown in 1836, defeated in his run for president in 1856, Abraham Lincoln was no stranger to rejection and failure. Rather than taking these signs as a motivation for surrender, he refused to stop trying his best.

                In this great man’s words:

                “My great concern is not whether you have failed, but whether you are content with your failure.”

                Lincoln was elected in 1861 as the 16th President of the United States of America.

                The amount of rejection you receive is not a defining factor. Success is still within your reach.

                6. Michael Jordan

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                  “I’ve missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I’ve been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.”

                  This quote by retired basketball legend Michael Jordan in a Nike advertisement speaks for itself.

                  It would be an easy misconception that Jordan’s basketball skills revolve around natural talent. In fact, in his earlier years,  basketball coaches had trouble looking past the fact that Jordan didn’t reach the minimum height. It was years of effort, practice, and failure that made the star we know today.

                  Michael Jordan’s success all came down to his Intrinsic Motivation, one of the most invincible types of motivation that drives people to succeed.

                  7. Steven Spielberg

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                    Regarded as one of the most influential filmmakers of all time, Steven Spielberg is a familiar household name. It is surprising to realize therefore that the genius behind Jaws and E.T. had poor grades in high school, getting him rejected from the University of Southern California three times.

                    While he was in college, he caught the eye of executives at Universal, who signed him as a television director in 1969. This meant that he would not finish his college degree for another 33 years.

                    Perseverance and acceptance of failure is the key to success, after all.

                    “Even though I get older, what I do never gets old, and that’s what I think keeps me hungry.”

                    Bad grades in high school aside, there is no questioning the genius involved.

                    To date, Spielberg has directed 51 films and has been awarded three Oscars.

                    8. Walt Disney

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                      Mickey Mouse creator Walt Disney dropped out of school at a young age in a failed attempt at joining the army.[3] One of his earlier ventures, Laugh-o-Gram Studios, went bankrupt due to his lack of ability to run a successful business. He was once fired from a Missouri newspaper for “not being creative enough.”

                      Yet today, The genius behind Disney studios is responsible for generations of childhood memories and dreams. From Snow White to Frozen, Disney will continue to entertain the world for generations to come.

                      The logic behind this is simple:

                      “We don’t look backwards for very long. We keep moving forward, opening up new doors, and doing new things, because we’re curious… and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths.”

                      9. Vincent Van Gogh

                        During his lifetime, Vincent Van Gogh suffered mental illness, failed relationships, and committed suicide at the age of 37.

                        He only ever sold one painting in his life, pinning him a failure as an artist. However that did not put a damper on his enthusiasm and passion for art.

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                        He would never know that years and years after his death he would become known as a key figure in the world of post-impressionism, and ultimately, one of the greatest artist that ever lived.

                        He would never know that he became a hot topic in art classes and his image was going to be used in TV, books and other forms of popular culture.

                        In the words of this great, but tragic man:

                        “If you hear a voice within you say ‘you cannot paint,’ then by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced.”

                        10. Stephen King

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                          As a paranoid, troubled child, tormented by nightmares and raised in poverty, it is no surprise that Stephen King grew up to the title: “Master of Horror”.[4]

                          An addiction to drugs and alcohol were his mechanisms to cope with the unhappiness he felt with his life. The frustration he felt towards multiple rejections by publishers in combination with illicit substances caused him to mentally contemplate violence towards his own children.

                          These intense emotions were those that he focused onto his writing. And that’s why he said:

                          “We make up horros to help us cope with the real ones.”

                          Writing became his new coping mechanism, and this is how the master author we know today grew to success.

                          Fail More Often in Order to Succeed

                          Like Albert Einstein said, failure really is just success in progress. If you’d rather not to fail, you will probably never succeed.

                          Success comes from moments of frustrations when you’ll be most uncomfortable with. But after you’ve gone through all those bitter times, you’ll become stronger and you’ll get closer to success.

                          If you feel like a failure and think that you’ve failed all too many times, it’s not too late to change things up! Here’s how to turn your limitations into your opportunities:

                          Don’t be afraid to fail. In fact, start failing, and start failing often; that’s how you will succeed.

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                          Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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