I think a lot of people don’t understand the concept of the “comfort zone”. I was wrong about it, I thought the only way to get out of my comfort zone was to travel, party a lot or become a confident guy. Truth is there’s much more to it and I wanted to use this post to explain how comfort and discomfort shape our lives.
Let’s start by defining what I understand by “comfort zone”. In my opinion, the comfort zone is the set of all the activities that you perform comfortably and feeling confident. On the other hand, the “discomfort zone” is the set of those activities that causes you friction or discomfort. Each person has their own comfort and discomfort zones, as not everyone feels confident in the same situations.
In order to make this post more dynamic, I want you to take a moment and list some activities inside your comfort and discomfort zones.
Did you write the list? Probably not, if you did, congrats, keep reading below. If you still haven’t, I’ll give you another chance, write down that list.
I hope by this point you have your list written down, if you don’t, ask yourself why, what stopped you from doing it?
Let’s analyze what just happened. You were reading comfortably until, out of the sudden, I broke the comfort by introducing an exercise. Probably, you didn’t feel like doing it, so you started listening to your brain create excuses to keep you in a comfortable position. Milliseconds later, your brain created the perfect excuse, and you moved on. It might sound convoluted, but I hope this makes sense; after all, you felt it for yourself.
In this example, the task you decided to neglect, was something trivial, but ask yourself, what would have happened if you were presented with something important that you didn’t feel like doing? The answer is that you would probably respond as I explained. It sucks that our brain creates excuses to keep us to be lazy and comfy all the time, but, why does this happen?
Although I’m not proficient in psychology, the comfort zone sounds like a mechanism developed long time ago to help us survive in the hostile world we used to lived in. This mechanism promotes doing things and visiting places we’d experienced before to prevent us from having to fight constantly with novel and uncomfortable situations. It might have been a great mechanism for those times, but in today’s society it’s limiting us.
Nowadays, everything in society is shaped to be comfortable and feel nice, think about food deliveries or Amazon with next-day-shipping. Those services are very convenient, but they have the hidden cost of making us used to this comfort. Although comfort is good, getting used to it is not, as humans, we need to be ready to fight uncertain and uncomfortable situation because that’s how life is. Discomfort is everywhere, and we need to learn how to overcome it.
Think of discomfort as the price you have to pay to become better, sure it sucks, but eating that frog would make you stronger. Do you remember the first time you kissed someone? Or the first time you boarded on a plane. On those times, you probably felt very nervous and shaky, but despite that, you did what you had to and grew more confident.
Every day, we faced a lot of discomfort, tasks we don’t want to do, conversations we don’t feel like having, feelings we struggle to express… Most times, we naturally fall into creating an excuse and looking the other way. Despite this being the “default”, doing so would lead you nowhere, neglecting important stuff is not something you should be proud of.
The thing that I want you to take from this article is that when something needs to be done, you should cut the bullshit and get through it, no excuses.
To conclude the article, I’d like to share some ways to get used to discomfort and toughen you up.
- Take cold showers, really, I know it sound cliché, but it’s an amazing way of getting you used to discomfort. Cold water feels like shit in the morning to all of us, the challenge is to accept it and just do it.
- Remind yourself that you’re the only person able to do it. No one is going to do your job and look after you, only you can do that. With that in mind, what’s the point in neglecting yourself?
- Remember, only when you push your boundaries, you make them bigger. Challenge yourself to do things you want to, put yourself out there in the unknown and learn to feel comfortable with that amount of pressure.
- Previously, I wrote an article about how the only way to progress in life is to practice and take action. You might want to read that.
This is one of the greatest lessons that I’ve learned in 2022 and I hope it helps you too. Would you dare to fight for what you want despite the discomfort, or are you going to spend 2023 locked in your comfort zone? The choice is yours, choose wisely.
Thanks for reading.