Here’s our comfort zone:
I know what I’m doing.
I look cool.
I don’t have to do anything really icky.
Here’s our discomfort zone:
I don’t know what the hell I’m doing.
I look like an idiot.
Ewww, that’s icky.
That’s really all it boils down to.
And yet, so many well-meaning, self-help people exhort us to, “Get out of your comfort zone”. Yeah, right – inside our noggin it’s impossible to not hear their words as “Quick! Fail, and look like an idiot doing something that sucks!”
No wonder we struggle with comfort zones.
Now, you long time readers will remember that I don’t advocate “getting out of your comfort zone” because I think sometimes having a comfort zone means you are staying in your integrity. I wrote about it back in 2010. See, I think you have a comfort zone for a reason and it’s ok to stay put in it – but that doesn’t mean you can’t enlarge your comfort zone and make it roomier.
How do you enlarge your comfort zone? Well, you start by looking at uncomfortable things and ask why they cause your skin to crawl – really look long and hard, and understand what’s causing the perfect storm of fear rising up in your throat.
It might be that you’re afraid that if you do something uncomfortable, you’ll look like the aforementioned idiot – so here’s an idea: Maybe you practice your twerking in the privacy of your own home before you debut on national TV.
OK, you need another example, don’t you? Let me bring up two things which are in many people’s discomfort zones:
Having difficult conversations about money; and,
Eating stewed, fermented eels.
One of these things can be mastered so your life becomes easier and much fuller, rich and flowing.
The other one is just icky.
And let me tell you this – you don’t need to enlarge your comfort zone to include things that are truly icky. Anyone who suggests that does not have your best interests at heart.
But maybe you can spread a little and learn how to do something you don’t know how to do right now. Maybe you can grow into a way of doing something differently which will be important to your overall life, your sense of accomplishment and general happiness.
Like looking someone straight in the eye and asking for the money that’s due you. Doing that will make a difference in your life and the lives of those you love.
If you ask me, that’s worth taking a hard look at your (dis)comfort zone, and getting as comfortable as you can with what’s in there.
Grow, learn, enlarge. It’s all you have to do to make the hard things easier.