Humans are creatures of comfort. Our comfort zone is our natural, neutral state — a place where stress and anxiety are minimal, where we know what’s coming next and can plan accordingly.
There’s nothing wrong with being in your comfort zone, unless you get too comfortable and start holding yourself back instead of challenging yourself to learn, grow and try new things.
Reasons to step out of your comfort zone:
Challenging yourself can help you perform at your peak.
Stepping outside one’s comfort zone is an important, and almost universal, factor in personal growth. How can we expect to evolve in our lives and careers if we only stick to habit and routine? Reaching new heights involves the risk of attempting something we might not succeed at.
Trying new things can make you more creative.
Creativity is innately risky — when we share creative work, we open ourselves up to vulnerability and possible rejection. At the same time, risking failure increases the possibility of great creative achievement.
Embracing new challenges can help you age better.
Our comfort zones tend to shrink as we get older — but if we can keep expanding them, we’ll open ourselves up to greater fulfilment and improved well-being as we age.
“When demands become too great for us to handle, when the pressure overwhelms us, too much to do with too little time or support, we enter the zone of bad stress,” author Daniel Goleman writes in Psychology Today. “Just beyond the optimal zone at the top or the performance arc, there is a tipping point where the brain secretes too many stress hormones, and they start to interfere with our ability to work well, to learn, to innovate, to listen, and to plan effectively.”