Achieving your Dreams - Widening Your Comfort Zone
Our comfort zones aren’t set in stone. It’s just an artificial mental boundary that allows us to function in our daily lives without getting anxious and without getting scared. It’s a zone where we feel in absolute control of ourselves.
To achieve our goals, it’s necessary to step out of our comfort zone. But it doesn’t mean you need to leave it forever and never look back. That’s not how comfort zones work.
Successful people still have their comfort zones. They didn’t totally abandon it when they were chasing their dreams. They still went back to their comfort zones when they felt fatigued and needed to go back to the familiar for a bit. But they didn’t allow themselves to get trapped in there.
What they actually did was, over time, they expanded their comfort zones and turned the previously unfamiliar to something familiar and comfortable.
The unfamiliar becomes familiar
The first thing you need to do to get out of your comfort zone (so you can expand it later on) is to actually take a step forward. It’s pretty common sense, you can’t get out if you don’t take the necessary action, which in this case, is taking a step.
It’s like when you first attempt to go out in an unfamiliar, chaotic place. You go to the windows, push the curtain to the side to survey the scene outside. Once you see it’s safe, you go to the door and open it. But you don’t just go right out taking big confident steps like you’ve been doing it forever. What happens instead is when you open the door, you look outside again before you step out. Then you take a little step forward. And another step and another. All the while keeping your senses tuned for any sign of danger.
The more steps you take, the more confident you become. After a hundred steps or so, you’ll realize it’s not so bad and you let your guard down a bit. After a while you get to know the neighborhood, you start befriending your neighbors, you start settling in.
Did you see what happened there? In the beginning, you were afraid to go out because you didn’t know the community. But after a while, that community became a part of your comfort zone. You left your original comfort zone (your home) and expanded it to include your new neighborhood. See, that wasn’t so scary, was it?
Fight the good fight
It’s absolutely normal to feel intimidated when you’re in unfamiliar territory. That’s just the way our DNA is wired. When faced with uncertainty, humans have a fight-or-flight response. We either stand our ground (fight), or we run away (flight).
In the course of chasing our dreams, there will be many instances when we’ll have our fight or flight response tested. To reach our ultimate destination, we’re going to have to fight more often than when we run away.
In some cases, running away may be the smart option. Especially if the obstacle in front of you is an absolute monster and you’re going to get destroyed if you don’t run. But the point is when you run away you need to come back and pick up where you left off.
You’re not supposed to abandon your journey to success.
Ultimately, however, you need to have a fighting spirit if you want to have the slightest chance at success. In most cases, you’d really need to stand your ground. You’d need to be brave enough to slay and conquer the dragons standing in your path.
Every little bit of ground you gain from your victories will become yours. You absolutely deserve every inch. And naturally, what you’ve conquered will form part of your expanded comfort zone.
Continue challenging yourself
Growth comes from challenging yourself to learn new things. When you conquer your fears, you learn something new, you learn that your fears were nothing more than a figment of your imagination.
When you take risks, whether you succeed or fail, you also learn something new. When you succeed, you determine the correct formula to success. When you fail, you learn what you should avoid doing next time.
When you feel like your life has stagnated because you’ve been in your comfort zone for far too long, then you should challenge yourself to explore and experiment. For every win and every skill, you master, your comfort zone grows and expands with you.