Getting comfortable with discomfort

Comfort zones are happy places. The clue’s in the name, right? It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out why we love them so much. They’re almost Utopian, anxiety-free, stress-less. An environment in which you can chill, be yourself, feel free. A space of mental security.

In my own comfort zone, it’s not often that I make decisions for myself. I sit on the fence, more than satisfied and enjoying the view. But as a friend once said to me, “sitting on the fence is all well and good, but after a while your bum starts to hurt.”

Author and Columnist Margie Warrell puts this as a necessity to “get comfortable with discomfort” if we wish to live happily and achieve any glimmer of success. This excerpt from her Forbes’ article is particularly striking:

“Ten years from now there will be people who have achieved extraordinary success. While we don’t know who they will be, one thing is sure — they won’t be people who have stayed inside their comfort zone.

Rather, they will be people who have continued to stretch themselves, even when things are going smoothly, and who have been willing to risk failure or looking foolish, knowing that the biggest risk they take is not taking any risks at all.

In our ever more cautious and competitive world… being willing to give up the familiarity of the known and embrace the discomfort that comes from being outside your comfort zone is increasingly crucial to your success in work and life.” – Margie Warrell

Sometimes we forget that it’s outside our comfort zones that the magic happens. That’s where the risk-taking goes on, the spontaneity, the excitement. The doing more, seeing more, saying more. Where the adrenaline kicks in from the buzz of those butterflies that flap around nervously inside your stomach. The overwhelming sense of relief in the concluding moments of your worst nightmare, and clocking on that you’re actually okay. You survived whatever it was you were so afraid of.

Even though I’ve stepped out of my comfort zone more this past two months than I probably have in my whole life, I reckon I can push myself a bit more. At least once a day is the challenge. I’m actually going to jump off my fence and make decisions! And stop being scared to talk on the phone. And stop being such a wuss, about everything.

A comfort zone is a beautiful place, but nothing ever grows there. Maybe it’s time to plant seeds somewhere new.

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