‘Stepping out of your comfort zone’ is, I’m sure, not a new concept for most of you. Tbh, I’m a little bit sick of hearing about it because for many of you, it has no meaning attached to it… yet. Being a teenager, your comfort zone is always a hot topic your teachers and other adults are talking to you about, myself included. But what does it really mean, and why do you keep hearing about it? Hopefully after reading this, you will have a different and refreshing view of what it means to step outside of your comfort zone.
How I like to describe a ‘comfort zone’
Before we begin, I think it’s important we are all on the same page. Your comfort zone is a place inside you where you feel safe. It is when you have no unsettling thoughts, your mind is at rest and you feel calm and content. It doesn’t matter where you are physically, because your comfort zone is a mental state. You can have these feelings and thoughts of being in your comfort zone when you are with friends, at home, at school or on the moon. It is where you are not facing any perceived challenges, or caught up worrying about the future or reliving the past. And it is different place for everyone!
Stepping outside of your comfort zone feels like…
Stepping out of your comfort zone feels uncomfortable (obvs.) and can feel stressful, but hopefully by now you know that stress is not a bad thing. You might have have a racing heart, feel sick in the stomach or feel hot and sweaty, which is our body’s way of telling us that it has our back, and is preparing us for a challenge. Thanks racing heart, I now have more blood and oxygen going to my muscles and my brain, helping me to think better and preparing my arms and legs for movement!
Outside of your comfort zone is where the magic happens… and chances are you’ve been out of it millions of times without even knowing it.
Let me ask you a question… if you never tried anything new, you never did anything outside of your comfort zone, everything you did was familiar to you and you constantly did things that you have always done… would you learn anything new? Would you become a better person and reach your potential? Would you have any friends? The answer to that is a big fat NO, because you wouldn’t have had the balls to step out of your comfort zone to go and meet any.
Ever since we were born we have been stepping outside of our comfort zones, because that magical place is where we do our best learning.
We were born like a clean slate. Your favourite food atm? You had once never tried it, and stepped outside of your comfort zone when you ate it for the first time. Your best friend? You once had to speak to them for the first time, #o.u.t.s.i.d.e o.f y.o.u.r c.o.m.f.o.r.t z.o.n.e.
As we get older, we start to shut ourselves off and build up walls to protect ourselves from facing anything we perceive as a challenge. Introducing, the comfort zone. Because it’s such a lovely place we have created for ourselves, we can sometimes forget to step out of it.
Every single living thing has it’s own unique set of challenges
Let me tell you, as humans we have our challenges. But we are not alone. EVERY SINGLE LIVING THING has their own unique set of them. Whether you are a frog, mouse, mosquito or human, we are all born with challenges we have to face. We don’t have to worry about being squashed and killed like a mosquito, or how we’re going to hide from a ginormous snake that’s going to eat us like a frog. We are human, and a lot of our challenges are things like meeting deadlines, thinking about which group I’ll be in on school camp, or whether I’ll be picked for the sports team or not. I won’t lie, human challenges are tough and extremely unique from person to person.
It is a mistake to think that challenges mean something is going ‘wrong’. Life is not meant to be comfortable.
To think that we are meant to feel good and be in our comfort zones all of the time is a delusion. A horrible delusion that can make us feel like something is going ‘wrong’ when we are challenged. But the truth is, we are meant to be challenged. All life forms are.
The world is not designed to make comfort zones for all of us.
And wouldn’t it be a horrible place if it did? We’d all be the same, we’d all eat the same food because no one has the energy to try cook something new, and we certainly wouldn’t have any friends because who would in their right minds have the confidence to talk to someone new? iPhones would never have been invented because Steve Jobs wouldn’t have stepped outside of his comfort zone to create them. Our creativity would be gone.
Being outside of your comfort zone and being faced with unique challenges, gives us new energy to become better people.
That’s enough on comfort zones. Just get out of it every now and then, ok? It’s good for you.
When you are in your comfort zone, how do you feel?
Give me an example of when you were outside of your comfort zone and were challenged?
Have you ever been reluctant to step out of your comfort zone, to then afterwards think, thank goodness I did that?