People are forever asking and wondering what they have to do in order to improve their lives, to really start getting after it and hitting their goals. What should I be doing in order to start seeing real success, and getting away from the trappings of my current situation?

Well, your current situation is, in most cases, dictated by your comfort zone. This little thing that determines whether or not your world is growing or shrinking, and whether or not you’re moving in the right direction. We’re going to look into why comfort zones are so limiting, and how you can break out of them in the long term.

Humans Get Locked into Limiting Comfort Zones

If you ever had to nail down one thing that holds people back, maybe you’d say laziness, lack of ambition, or lack of confidence. I’d agree with those three, but I think they can all be summarised and yet surpassed by the limiting effect of getting stuck in your comfort zone.

Whenever we do anything new, anything at all, we experience the novelty and uncertainty, and whether we get it right or wrong, it’s rewarding and fresh. It sparks change and development, and it’s the opposite of a comfort zone.

But then, when you’ve been doing that new thing for a few minutes, or even months, it becomes your current comfort zone. As we grow and age, our egos and self-view become more fragile and less open to the challenges of doing something hard and new.

That’s how we get trapped and locked into comfort zones. For some people, this starts happening in their teens, others, generally successful others, put it off until later in life.
And it really is a marker of success. Being open to being bad at something, learning a new skill and receiving a refresher course in humility is a sign of someone willing to avoid becoming stale and egotistical, someone who’s willing to embrace change and new things.

In short, someone who’s tenacious and driven. Then you’ve got the opposite, someone who found their comfort zone in their late teens and never left. Don’t let me keep you in suspense, the latter isn’t a huge success with enviable happiness levels.

Comfort Zones Never Stay Comfortable for Long

The big problem with comfort zones is that they never stay comfortable for long. Or rather, the comfort fades into the absolute background, and you find yourself utterly unstimulated, bored and lazy.

Intelligence, confidence, tenacity are some of the skills you’ll start to notice fading once you settle too thoroughly into a comfort zone. It’s true what they say, use it or lose it.

If you allow yourself to become too comfortable and bored, you’re going to struggle to enjoy your life and feel real happiness. That’s where a bit of struggle and strife come in.

I agree, it’s absolutely no fun being rubbish at something. Or feeling isolated and unsure of yourself. But it’s always going to be better than losing skills and drive in an overly comfortable position.

We’re Not Saying Strife and Hassle Equals Happiness

Before you get any martyr-like ideas, no, we’re not saying strife and struggle are some easy, foolproof paths to happiness and contentment.

What we are saying is that without struggle, friction and real effort, you’re going to struggle to build anything in life that really satisfies you, be that a career, personality or lifestyle.
Don’t think that butting your head against the wall doing something that’s never going to result in success is the answer either. Paying your dues doesn’t always equal getting to play the blues. You can waste your time working hard.

But that’s the beauty of challenging your comfort zone. Truly challenging your comfort zone means trying something new, and everyone will eventually find something they’re amazing at if they try enough different things, and actually work at them properly.

Productivity Doesn’t Always Work Out, Doing Nothing Never Works Out

You might think I sound like I’m being overly optimistic, don’t get me wrong. Just because you worked hard on something new for six months, that doesn’t mean you automatically deserve massive success. There’s always going to be an element of luck in whether or not you actually succeed and achieve happiness, contentment or material success.

However, if you put the effort in and you’re tenacious, you’re buying a lottery ticket to win a better life. If you don’t try, you don’t stand any chance of winning.

It’s as simple as that. Unless you keep trying and plugging away, escaping the trappings of your comfort zone and trying new things, you’re going to be forever limited into whatever your current situation is.

Escape the Comfort Zone

It’s easy to think to yourself how much you’d like to do something new, change your circumstances and chase a long-nurtured dream, but actually escaping the comfort zone and getting after it is often much easier said than done.

continue to part 2