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Your Comfort Zone and Achieving Success

Updated on January 9, 2018

What is Your Comfort Zone

Comfort Zones

Success is a recipe of many factors. One ingredient is the ability to accept and make changes, to take on new challenges, and the skill of dealing with discomfort, all of which are part of your comfort zone. Learning to feel comfortable with discomfort will help you master almost anything.

Our comfort zone is not good and not bad. It is our natural state, a mental homeostasis. When we leave it we face possible anxiety and risk. This can bring about positive or negative results. The best place to be when we leave our comfort zone is to be in a place where we have the least anxiety and stress so we can process the benefits of stepping out of our comfort zone.

Our regular routines, that which is familiar, our habits, and our patterns are part of our comfort zone. Stepping out of our comfort zone, making changes, tackling the unfamiliar is scary. We have comfort zones because it minimizes our exposure to risk and stress. Our comfort zone give us a feeling of security and confidence. This gives us less anxiety, reduced tension, and a feeling of contentment. Stepping out of our comfort zone can make us feel overwhelmed, and affect our performance and productivity.

Comfort Zones and Pushing Boundaries

In 1908, two psychologists, Robert Yerkes and John Dodson conducted and experiment to better understand what a comfort zone is. They explained that having a comfort zone allows for a steady level of performance. Yerkes and Dodson believed, in order to maximize performance, we needed to have a slightly raised level of anxiety, they called “optimal anxiety”.

Their studies found we need to be slightly out of our comfort zone. If we were are too far away from our comfort zone, we have too much anxiety, and when we are too stressed, it reduces our productivity, and lowers our performance. When we challenge ourselves, and push ourselves to the next level, the results can surprise us. However, too much challenge, pushing too hard, too much change at once can cause negative results. This makes us feel as though it is unsafe to step out of our comfort zone. It is human nature to avoid anxiety and discomfort. If it doesn’t feel good, we don’t want to do it. Comfort zones are completely personal.

What feels like risk and causes anxiety in one person is not necessarily the same for another person. While staying in our comfort zone feels more secure, and necessary, it also can be holding us back form the success we are trying to achieve. It can feel uncomfortable enough to step out of our comfort zone, that it causes us to procrastinate and avoid what we need to do next.

Success and Our Comfort Zone

Success is derived in part, from the skills we learn to master. Stepping out of our comfort zone is one of the skills. Stepping out of our comfort zone means getting used to something new and uncomfortable. We dislike things that make us uncomfortable.

We fear change, it feels worse than it really is, and so getting used to something new isn’t always as hard as we think it is. In reality, a little discomfort isn’t so bad. Sometimes, it is fairly simple. When we have to make a change, we resist because we don’t like things that make us uncomfortable, and as a result, we sometimes create an environment that is deeply uncomfortable for ourselves.

Change can result in feeling good, and actually bring us greater pleasure than we imagined. With a little training and a little willingness to allow change, you can get pretty good at mastering your fear of discomfort.

Stress causes us to take on bad habits like drinking too much, overeating, shopping, smoking, and a myriad of other habits that we try to do to get rid of the discomfort and stress. The thought of change can put fear in most anyone. These thoughts, fears, anxiety, and general feeling of discomfort, come from unfounded, and unproven feelings often coming from the feeling we are not good enough. However, when we look at what this stressful feeling is, when we face it directly, when we question this, the feeling often goes away and we learn to adjust to the new, accepting the unfamiliar, and learning to make it familiar. The risk of getting out of our comfort zone is worthwhile. It actually is a must to achieve success, even if at first you fail. The benefits of stepping out of our comfort zone:

  • Uncover talents, skills and strengths

  • Discover a new passion

  • Get out of a rut

  • Learn something new

  • Makes things interesting again

  • Stop holding yourself back

  • Self growth

  • Gain confidence

  • Settle for more than mediocre

  • Get inspired

  • You can do great things

  • Be more productive

  • Achieve greatness

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Step Outside Your Comfort Zone and Your Fears

Stepping Out of Our Comfort Zone

Usually the hardest part of stepping out of our comfort zone is the first step. We don’t want to fail, or hate the change, but progress leads to new committments, and settling the what ifs. Stepping out of your comfort zone has intimidating risks, but it can also give a renewed outlook on the things you do, and show your creativity. New challenges are better than playing it safe.

While staying in our comfort zone gives us emotional and psychological security, stepping out of our comfort zone is essential to transition and transformation. Living a life of no change, no challenges, and no risks also reduces life satisfactions.

Stepping out of our comfort zone makes us question ourselves, worry about failure, and face challenges, and it can be disorienting. Sometimes the change can cause you to question yourself. Stepping out of our comfort zone can cause small and big life transitions. These changes can cause a feeling of being lost, dealing with the unfamiliar, and overwhelmed. Fear that the change may not work out, keeps many people stuck. By the same means, who we are, what we can do, our true potential exists beyond the bubble we create for ourselves. What we believe to be a safety net stops us from experiencing more. We have untapped knowledge and resources that deserve exploring.

We have no idea what we can do until we have to do it. So when we take risks we grow from the experience. Even if we fail, we don’t fail. We gain and learn and can use it for future gains. Everything we do in life adds to our experiences. When we expand on our skills and our self knowledge, our comfort zone gets bigger. Success can only come about with change. When we take things to new levels we have transformed ourselves for the better.

We have no idea what we can do until we have to do it.

The Benefits Breaking Out of Your Comfort Zone

While the unknown can be daunting, stepping out of our comfort zone usually has more benefits than staying with the status quo. One way to take the first step is to think of the change in small ways, instead of looking at the whole picture, which may be too big to comprehend and accept. Each step can be a small step, where there is some familiarity, and it is not too emotionally challenging. Habit and change from the routine make things different, but these differences can help you channel your energy towards something very worthwhile and meaningful for yourself. When it seems most scary, tap into your prior experiences when things were new and unfamiliar and empower yourself to be your very best.

Staying in our comfort zone can reduce our amibiton, interfere with our productivity, and stop us from learning new things. We can get complacent, and bored, and feel trapped. We avoid doing new things, and lose ourselves. When we push our personal boundaries, we become more fulfilled. Taking risks in a controlled way, and challenging ourselves beyond what we would normally do will prepare us for changes we may be forced to make. Step out of your comfort zone once, and you will be able to do it again. Learning to be uncomfortable with discomfort will take you further and make you a more well adjusted person, more inspired, more educated, and more interesting. You will learn to brainstorm and take on new challenges with greater energy.

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Are Your Trapped Inside A Bubble - Your Comfort Zone

Getting Out of Your Comfort Zone

The way to break out of your comfort zone is to do it in the right balance. Don’t take on too much. Everyone’s comfort zone is different, and by expanding your horizons, but not too much, you can achieve your best. Even if things don’t work out as you imagined, step by step, they will lead you to making a change for the better. It is important to take your time to interpret what you observe, and what you feel. It takes courage to step out of your comfort zone. Do it in small steps. Do it slow, it makes it easier to do. Identify your fears. Connect with what inspires you. Realize you are missing out if you don’t break out of your comfort zone. Do little things differently, broaden your perspectives, make your experiences count. When you make changes, or learn something new, your brain gets a boost. It is difficult to try new things, that is what makes stepping out of your comfort zone difficult.

Success and Your Comfort Zone

We settle into a comfort zone from the habits we have formed and breaking habits is no easy task.

Comfort zones are a good place. It feels like home, it gives us security. It is too difficult to stay completely away from our comfort zone. Try new things, and come back to your comfort zone to process what you have experienced.

Hedonistic adaptation is our natural tendency to be enamored by new things and then get used to them so they become ordianry. New can become old. So diversify and embrace new challenges and broaden your horizons in new and different ways.

When you step out of your comfort zone, your new experiences can be applied to your day to day activities. Make a habit of trying something new and different when you find you are bored. Experiences don’t have to huge. You want to learn what you can really do. You want to tap into your potential and allow your capabilities to teach you new things. Become inspired, creative, productive, and motivated to step out of your comfort zone every once in a while.

Success and satisfaction awaits you just outside your comfort zone. Look inside yourself, see who you really are, and let your motivations guide you beyond your status quo, beyond what you know is safe, and beyond perhaps something greater than you ever dreamed.


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    • toknowinfo profile image

      toknowinfo 10 days ago

      Hi Maria, I am so glad you found this article to be relevant to the things you have had to do. Change is never easy and I am glad the change was good for you. Just so you know, public speaking is the number one fear people have. The more you do it, the easier it gets to do. Wishing you much success and happiness

    • toknowinfo profile image

      toknowinfo 10 days ago

      Hi Maria, I am so glad you found this article to be relevant to the things you have had to do. Change is never easy and I am glad the change was good for you. Just so you know, public speaking is the number one fear people have. The more you do it, the easier it gets to do. Wishing you much success and happiness

    • Maria Cecilia profile image

      Maria Cecilia 10 days ago from Philippines

      I think this is a great article. My work of more than 20 years became my comfort zone but the income I got from it was no longer enough for me. I decided to leave my work and transferred to the completely different job that I used to know, but I am happy, that I decided to change career.

      I also thought that speaking in front of an audience was my Waterloo, though deep inside I really wish I can do it, my former boss pushed me to do it. I did it twice and one of the bosses I did more than great and the audience was alive because of me. So you are right, going out from our comfort zone can make big changes...

    • toknowinfo profile image

      toknowinfo 12 days ago

      Hi Heidi,

      Thanks for stopping by and commenting. A comfort zone is so necessary. It gives us safety and security. When it confines us, then it is time to venture, even the smallest step. But too much, like you said will cause anxiety. Like everything else, when done in moderation, great things can happen

    • heidithorne profile image

      Heidi Thorne 12 days ago from Chicago Area

      While it's true that a comfort zone can be confining, I think it's unwise to step too far from it when venturing beyond. Glad you emphasized that. Taking too big a leap outside it can cause even more anxiety.

      Great topic for the New Year. Cheers!