Comfort zone, I love you and I hate you

Today I'm talking about the comfort zone, and more specifically about:

  • 3 reasons to love it
  • 3 reasons to hate her
  • 3 techniques to get out of it (when needed)

But what exactly is the comfort zone?

For me it is nothing more than that place, understood both in the sense of physical space and mental space, in which we feel at ease, safe.

It generally coincides with what we know and that generates low-level feelings of anxiety and stress.

In recent years, however, "getting out of the comfort zone" has become one of the most popular advice ever, thus implying in an almost uniform way that one's comfort zone is a dangerous territory from which to escape.

I, as you will have understood from the beginning of this article, do not see it exactly like this.

The comfort zone, in fact, is primarily an element very important for our well-being, and of which we must not be ashamed at all.

We all need a substrate of certainties, a solid base of habits, actions and situations that allow our brain to travel in "autopilot" mode!

So I will tell you, first of all, what are the 3 reasons why having a "comfort zone" is not only advisable, but absolutely necessary.

Then, instead, I'll tell you about the 3 reasons why, in fact, it can become our intellectual and emotional prison.

And finally, I'll give you some final advice on how and when to get out of it.

But let's start a little from the beginning….

3 reasons to love your comfort zone

1 - The comfort zone gives you a sense of stability

We have said that many of our daily habits are part of our comfort zone.

Some are definitely revisable and we would do well, indeed, to get rid of them altogether, such as the dessert at midnight or the cigarette after coffee.

But the comfort zone is also the walk with the dog at a certain time, the story you tell your child every night before he sleeps or the hot herbal tea in the winter evening.

Things that, from the outside, may not seem particularly exciting, but that give us small, sure happiness.

And they make us feel, even on an unconscious level, that we have control over our life, that in some way it is predictable and not entirely in the hands of dark forces.

There is nothing wrong with that.

2 - The comfort zone is your safe haven

We need a safe haven.

There are moments in life in which, unfortunately, we are hit hard.

Particularly when something really painful happens to us, a bereavement, an illness or the loss of work, it is our little daily certainties that can get us back on our feet.

There is nothing like knowing that, despite everything, we have a little safe haven in which to go back to catch our breath and lick our wounds.

And, often, healing from the inevitable wounds of life starts right from starting again to do those little daily actions that are part of our normality.

3- The comfort zone as a reward

Suppose we are people determined to give their all, whether it is work, study or sport.

We are curious, we are always interested in learning something new, we use our time in an effective and constructive way, we always give our best in what we do.

Ok, perfect, cool.

But will it be a bit too much?

Let us always remember that life is competitive, but we must be the ones to set our goals and, basically, the only opponent we should always try to overcome is ourselves.

Then, if every now and then we stop for a moment to pat ourselves on the back, nothing bad happens.

So let's keep close to our comfort zone, our moments of relaxation, the little tears to the rules, the beauty of sleeping late sometimes.

Also because, after all, it is precisely these moments that can help us find the calm and concentration to be maximally productive when it is needed.

But, now, let's get to the painful notes….

The comfort zone: the 3 reasons to hate it

1. Staying in the Comfort Zone flattens your performance 

If every day you schematically repeat every action avoiding any possible change, it is very easy, especially in the professional sphere, but not only that, that you will never improve and that, on the contrary, you will end up leveling your performance down.

Always repeating everything the same, after a while it leads to boredom and boredom leads to indifference and superficiality, with an almost automatic mechanism.

As I said in an article some time ago, we are in the era of mediocrity, and the only antidote is to do things right as far as possible and in every area. 

2. Staying in your comfort zone doesn't allow you to learn new things

Have you ever heard that the majority of human beings only use 10% of their brains?

Well, from a strictly scientific point of view it seems to be a hoax (it would be more correct to say str… .ata, but I'm too polite): in fact, there are no “silent” or unused areas in the brain of human beings.

However, there is no doubt that, many times, we use them badly.

Just as it is demonstrated, this time in a scientific way, that our brain has enormous margins for improvement (see the article on growth mindset and research by neuropsychologist Carlo Dwek).

How much time do we spend "doing the usual things" (Smartphone, Netflix, commute to work with brain on standby .......) and how much, instead, to seek change, to challenge ourselves in new activities, to browse in fields that do not are they ours or simply trying to go from "good" to "excellent" in our work or in the sport we practice or in any other activity that interests us?

Outside the comfort zone there is a difficult, tiring area, but full of opportunities: the growth zone, that is the area in which one grows and improves.

3. Staying in the comfort zone is a perverse self-feeding mechanism

Having periods in your life when you are less inclined to novelty and risk is completely normal and physiological.

As I have already explained before, about why the comfort zone must also be nourished and loved, we cannot think of living constantly with the pressure at 1000.

But, if for too long we let ourselves get lazy in everyday life, if every now and then we don't give a little shock to our "body-brain system", slowly it becomes more and more difficult not to remain prisoners of our limits.

You know the story of the toad in water, the one in which you slowly raise the temperature and he doesn't realize it until it's boiled?

Here, even this story is a hoax (or str ... ata, if you prefer), but it gives a good idea.

To give you a very common example, one thing is to spend a month in sedentary suits, put on a few pounds and then leave again.

Another is not exercising for months, or even years.

At that point, starting over will seem like such a huge effort that you simply won't even think of doing it.

Because the less you change and - sad truth - the less you would change.

But now, I want to wrap up with 3 strategies that can really help you instill small changes in your life.

3 strategy to get out of your comfort zone (when needed)

1. Start with a small thing

You decide to insert a little novelty in your daily life. It doesn't have to be a sea change.

Something small is fine: for me, for example, it was the decision not to take the elevator anymore.

I have not been wondering how many calories I would have burned or what concrete change I would have obtained, but it was extremely useful to me, because every day, climbing the stairs, the thought that I have introduced something new - a change - automatically comes on me. my life.

And this small gesture already gives me a small charge of predisposition to new things.

2. Resort to deliberate practice

We talked about it a few articles ago: deliberate practice (if you missed the article read here) is the kind of exercise that allows you, in the long run, to excel at something.

In fact, it assumes that you commit yourself, in a specific area, to constantly exceeding your previous limitations.

So find something - your job, a sport, chess, whatever you want - and practice until you are truly excellent.

3. Take risks

I'm not telling you to run in your car or parachute, for heaven's sake.

But think about your life and ask yourself what relationship you have with risk. More specifically, ask yourself if you never take risks because of too much fear of making mistakes.

Because this is a typical attitude of those who have settled too much in their comfort zone, and it is also a very strong alarm bell, because it means that you prefer to stay where you are rather than risk it even the slightest failure.

But, very often, never wanting to take any risks is one of the most effective techniques for self-sabotaging an entire life.

As Will Smith says in his famous video, on the opposite side of all your worst fears, the best things in your life await you. 

By the way, here is the video in question below, I think it is the right inspiration to end this article. A greeting. Armando.

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