Comfort….. a state of physical ease and freedom from pain or constraint.
Zone…. this has many definitions but the one that may be suitable here is a region or area set off as distinct from surrounding or adjoining parts.
Welcome to todays word dialog and discussion boys and girls. Today we are talking about that invisible boundary in our life often referred to as our comfort zone.
If we combine our above definitions for the purpose of this post we could say our comfort zone is a area or distinct part of our life where we maintain a state of physical ease and discomfort. It is a zone where we can comfortably abide in our daily lives and activities without feeling pain or constraint.
I hope that’s a good working definition for this post…
I did find an example that calls it like this: A comfort zone is a psychological state in which things feel familiar to a person and they are at ease and in control of their environment, experiencing low levels of anxiety and stress. In this zone, a steady level of performance is possible.
So with those thoughts firmly in hand let’s begin our discussion of this invisible place we all know and have in our lives.
Don’t get me wrong. There are lots of ways I love my comfort zone.
Normal daily life activities that can be boring, yet are also comforting and familiar.
The consistency of daily tasks that need done.
The routine and rhythm of daily life. The things we know and understand need to be done.
All those things that make up life, when they are rolling along , keep us in that zone, right?
Let some rough times and bumps come along and we get jostled out of it. we don’t like it. We want that soothing and comfortable place back.
That level of our comfort zone is security and safety and we all need that.
As we move through our lives we have things like jobs, education, skills, hobbies and other activities we do that challenge us and if we’re willing to learn and grow we can be pressed out of our comfort zone.
Remember, that state of physical ease I mentioned a bit ago? If we are going to grow and become more we must be willing to be pressed out of that zone of ease.
That idea was strong in my mind yesterday morning as I geared up to get on my bike. As I clicked and locked my cycling shoes into place it gave me that “all business” feeling. It’s knowing and understanding what I was about to do, slipping into my mental mindset as much as I was slipping into my cycling shoes.
Out on the road, as the miles went by, I made intentional choices in things I did. To push a little more, to turn those pedals a little faster, to know and understand that I needed to get to the point where I started to feel it, where the work felt harder, to more effort.
You see in running or cycling or really anything physical I have my own comfort zone. These are areas I can operate in easily. I know what it takes to maintain that level and it’s not really “hard”.
On the other hand I also know that if I want to continue to grow, get faster, stronger and more powerful at what I do I have to be willing to get out of my comfort zone, that area of ease. I need to get into that place that makes me work harder, that makes my lungs burn and keeps my heart rate in the red zone for awhile. I need to get comfortable being uncomfortable if I want growth and improvement as an athlete.
Pushing outside our comfort zone isn’t always easy, and really, it shouldn’t be. And the weird thing about pushing out of our comfort zone, you begin to get comfortable eventually in that new place that once seemed hard and then, well, you gotta push out of it again.
I’ve talked before about the mental aspect of our comfort zone. Your mind is a very formidable opponent and you need to be able to overcome the self defeating thoughts it can churn out. And believe me, when you are pushing yourself and your body is in a place that it’s not used to, those thoughts can come.
Your mental muscle needs to be as strong as your body, if not more so I believe. when you push out of your zone of “ease and lack of pain.”
I’ve learned so much as an athlete what it means to get out of my comfort zone. I’ve done more than I would’ve ever *intellectually* thought I could do.
Of course this applies to anything in our lives that challenges us. I’ve taught myself new things that seemed a bit out of my range. Sometimes it’s kinda that “sink or swim” mentality in doing stuff.
I’m not sure, but maybe being a bit fearless sometimes helps too haha
Our comfort zone can cripple our dreams..
Anytime we prefer to stay within our comfort zone, we risk not growing . We risk not learning new things or taking on new adventures. We potentially let our dreams go if we can’t or are unwillingly to get out of our level of comfort and ease and sameness that we know.
Any of my major athletic events I took on, initially scared me. Not in the sense of being frightened but more that healthy respectful fear of knowing I was going up against something I had no previous experience in. It does seem daunting when I’m considering a 50k race ( 31.7 miles) or a multi sport event as in the duathlon I did last year.
What scared me more was backing off because then I’d always wonder if I could’ve done it or if I had what it took. Or worse yet, hating myself for not having the strength to stand up and do it, for quitting before I started.
All of those things seemed worse than just jumping off the deep end and doing it.
And I did. I’ll never be the fastest or most impressive runner or cyclist or monkey juggler.
What will set me apart is that I didn’t make excuses, I was willing to get uncomfortable and in doing so, I accomplished things I never thought I’d do.
There is nothing.. that feels better… nothing.
What about you?
Are you more comfortable staying in your comfort zone? Are you comfortable staying where you feel safe?
Maybe you are a risk taker and know what it takes to reach new goals or see dreams realized and you know getting out of your comfort zone is how it happens.
No matter what goals or dreams you have, there will be continual times you are pressing out of your comfort zone, and then you’ll be pressing out of it again.
It’s an ongoing cycle if we want continued growth and want to achieve our goals and dreams.
Don’t be afraid of leaving your comfort zone behind, there’s only new adventures in front of you and those can be exciting places to go to.
Tell me, are there specific times you’ve left your comfort zone? What did you accomplish doing so? How did that change future new ideas/ adventures you encountered?