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Kicking Comfort to the Curb: The Key to Growth

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Tuesday, February 06, 2024

We all have it in us to achieve greatness in our personal and professional lives. All we have to do is step away from what’s comfortable and chase our dreams.

Consider how some of the world’s most precious gems are made. Diamonds and pearls are borne under pressure and agitation–it’s like the world symbolically shows us the secrets of success.

Follow us as we show you the growth mindset guide on improving your life and kicking comfort to the curb.

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Why Step Out of Your Comfort Zone?

Stepping out of your comfort zone automatically sends you into what psychologists call the fear zone. As long as you aren’t experiencing chronic, debilitating panic, you have nothing to fear in the fear zone. You’ll soon enter the learning zone where you’ll take in information and experience a mind-shift to a can-do attitude. The next phase is the growth zone.

Besides personal growth, there are many benefits to pushing yourself instead of remaining comfortable. Check out the advantages that await those who walk away from comfort.

Self-actualization – Remember Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs? The top of his pyramid was self-actualization (achieving one’s full potential). Those who reach that stage enjoy a life of meaning and purpose, doing the things they were born to do. It isn’t meant for only high-earners or ‘naturally gifted’ people–read more about that myth here. Self-actualization can happen for anyone at any ability or income level.

Business Success – Stretching beyond comfort can help you professionally, too. You’ll stand out among your competitors or co-workers.

Strength and Resilience – Life throws curve balls no one can hide from. When you get comfortable being uncomfortable, you build strength and resilience so that you bend but don’t break when life has low or difficult seasons. More importantly, you discover the fighter within and new abilities you never knew existed.

Creativity – Constantly trying things out of your norm can help you learn new and innovative problem-solving methods.

Confidence – As you meet new challenges, you learn how capable you are. As a result, your confidence soars.

​Friends and Experiences – Pushing your limits, trying new things, and getting uncomfortable will lead to extraordinary adventures. Along the way, you’ll bond with new people.

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How to Step Away From Comfort

How do you break up with comfort when it’s so, uh, comfortable?

​Follow the steps below to make a habit of giving comfort the boot.

  • Cultivate Curiosity
    Keep asking questions. More importantly, ask the right kinds of questions that favor success, like “How can I make this work?” Fear is a belief in the wrong ‘what if.’ “What if I don’t succeed?” No. What if you do?

  • Self-Reflect
    Pause and meditate or journal about your worries, strengths, and values. You can determine if your fears are realistic and create a worst-case scenario plan if they are. Once you recognize your values and strengths, you can say yes to what aligns with them.

  • Purposefully Change Your Habits and Routines
    Nothing changes if nothing changes. Recognize when you’re too comfortable and mindfully make small shifts to get over a slump or prove to yourself that you are capable. Eat at a new restaurant, for instance, or take a new route to work.

  • ​Shift From a Fixed Mindset to a Growth Mindset
    A fixed mindset says that you were born with particular abilities, and if you aren’t currently good at something, then you never will be. A growth mindset recognizes that there’s a learning curve to everything and you can become good at anything you practice.

  • ​Think of Stress Differently
    Stress is only as bad as your brain believes it is. Your body physically responds the same as if you’re excited. Do you need a prerogative shift? Listen to this TED talk about making stress your friend.

  • Keep Learning
    ​Read. Listen. Dig into things that challenge your beliefs and give you different perspectives.

  • ​​Set Small Goals
    ​Recognize that progress isn’t a perfect upward-sloping line. Take baby steps that add up to big achievements over time.

  • Talk Kindly to Yourself
    You don’t become successful by beating yourself up for mistakes. Learn to speak positively about and to yourself.

  • Find Your People
    We’re hardwired for connection. Find those people you aim to emulate or those who are like-minded (or completely different) who will support and motivate you. Find a mentor or coach (authors can make great tutors).​
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Why Stress is Better Than The Comfort Zone

Our brains seek comfort. And it makes sense when we think back to the caveman days of our great ancestors. Comfort means a lack of danger; a lack of danger improves our odds of living.

In today’s world, though, our stress-reducing, ‘treat yourself’ mentality ends up stagnating our personal and professional lives. That’s because stress isn’t the culprit we’ve learned it is.

Stress is actually a helpful, swift kick in the seat when we need it, especially when we hit the Goldilocks range of stress where it isn’t so low that we are unmotivated but not so high that we feel overwhelmed.

Comfort can thwart progress. We must overcome wanting to be comfortable to achieve the life we were born for. Many benefits await us when we step out of our comfort zones, push ourselves, and set new limits.

​Whether life feels stuck on repeat like Bill Murray’s character in “Groundhog Day” or predictably on auto-pilot, we hope we’ve convinced you to step away from your comfort zone. Not only will you enjoy a more meaningful and exciting life, but you’ll also push past plateaus to achieve remarkable accomplishments.

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