WHY YOUR COMFORT ZONE IS IMPORTANT
BY DIRK STRODA
Why Your Comfort Zone Is Important
There is so much misconception and talk about 'comfort zone' and experts are telling us that growth only happens outside of it. We are being told that living in your comfort zone is living a dull life, a life of regrets and being like all the other 98% procrastinating and living in fear.
I would like to clean up with the notion that comfort is something that labels losers and average people.
For me, comfort zone is playing an important role in our lives and in our early development. Scroll back the time when you were 8-12 years old and when home was your safe place. You always knew that when you came home from school or sport that mum was home and had prepared the meal for the family and the cookies were in the oven. You knew that it was safe to be at home and go to bed at night to get up in the morning, not to worry about anything and ready to go back to school ready to tackle life with all the challenges and obstacles that were thrown at you.
Just watch the little elephant baby that runs 10 meters away from her mum exploring the 'wilderness' and then running back to her mom hiding under her massive belly before the baby runs away again and this time it's 20 meters; always knowing that exploring life (even if it represents risk) is safe when coming back is not a question.
Children aged 8-12 need the safe place where they can recharge their self-esteem and confidence, discuss their weaknesses with their parents without any judgement and repercussions.
This portraits a so called best case family scenario.
True, many households look different nowadays. The place called home is now a challenging and sometimes hostile place where one can witness family abuse and where children experience exactly the opposite of what a safe place is.
Children who grow up in an hostile environment are still looking for a safe place but can only find it outside their home when they hangout with their buddies, so called 'friends' and are highly vulnerable to individuals pretend that they are friends but misuse their needs of feeling connected and safe.
To clear things up, a comfort zone as per my definition is a safe zone.
It's not dull. It's not a place we'll regret to be in. It is a place that allows for unlimited thoughts and creating our believes and values. It's a think-pod for creating ideas, inventing things, drafting plans and creating the required momentum to bring it to market.
Don't be fooled to believe that the most successful people in today's world (the so called 1 or 2%) have not experience the comfort zone and live on the outside and explore things 24/7 and create change all the time and be excited every minute of their life.
Truth is, they have down-time. Read books. Walk in the park. Some meditate. What do you think they are looking for? Comfort or discomfort?
You will certainly get most of your life when you understand that there is a place where you cultivate your values and generate momentum with a plan in your hands (your safe place) and that there is a place where you execute this plan. You will have to fight for your place in society or in the industry you are in and you will be exhausted after a long day arguing and debating your idea with others but knowing that you will be in your safe house in 45 min where you can find a quiet spot to think about your approach and maybe decide on a different strategy with different arguments the next time.
On the other hand, we need the outside-off-comfort-zone to get stimulated and calibrated. Rejection of our ideas will lead to new and better ideas. being under fire forces us to think that we have to prepare better and become more resilient and efficient. It's the yin and yang, the hot and cold, the plus and the minus. It's this contrast that makes us wanting and looking for improvement and change.
Every time we leave our safe house we move further away into the outside-of-comfort-zone and explore the opportunities and experience the challenges to refine our craft and come up with a better plan and execution of it. Every time we know that we can come back. It's a feeling that gives comfort to tackle big and bold things.
The first 18-25 years of our lives the safe house is your parents home. Then you start creating a safe home for your own family. You will give your children the comfort to feel safe, play and grow and develop their life skills.
In today's world and per definition, comfort describes a state of physical ease and freedom from pain or constraint. More than ever do we need the space of stillness to explore our 'igikai' and our true self.
You are mature enough to label the mental place where you can explore ideas and where you find nurturement and stimulation that promotes your growth and happiness. This place can be in nature, in your shower, in your garage, in the stable with your animals, the cottage in the woods or in the corner seat by the window in your favorite coffee shop and of course at home in front of the fireplace or at the kitchen/dinner table.
Forward thinking companies have think-spots or nap-pods for their employees to promote creativity. Companies send their creative ones from the board room into the tree house; a place where they can be most creative.
It is during boredom when your mind is not pre-occupied and you come up with best ideas. It's not when you are 'busy and hustle" that you'll have your next epiphany. It's those moments when you reflect and you're free from pain and constraint; when you are at your best.
The Netflix documentary 'Athlete A' portraits what can happen when you remove young athletes from a safe place into a hostile and abusive environment: they break. In my 30+ years and being part of high level amateur and pro and National teams, I have witnessed that high level performance is possible when locker rooms, training camps and typical training environments promote a safe place before the athletes enter into the sports arenas where they execute they talents and skills. Growth requires like in nature a constant change. We may want to cultivate and preserve our safe place that prepares us to be strong enough to weather the storm outside.
Your assignment for the week is to observe yourself when you develop great ideas.
Is it at work and in stressful situations or is it in moments of relaxation and when your mind has the space to invite new ideas?
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