Leaving -Expanding and Challenging Your Comfort Zone


 

 

    

Expand and Challenge the Comfort Zone

Nurturing Hope

The will to Live
Living and Dying

Chapter 3 Emotional Health and Cancer

  Motivation and goals


      


My Comfort Zone
Author Unknown

I used to have a comfort zone where I knew I wouldn't fail. The same four walls and busywork were really more like jail. I longed so much to do the things I'd never done before, but stayed inside my comfort zone and paced the same old floor.

I said it didn't matter that I wasn't doing much.
I said I didn't care for things like commission checks and such. I claimed to be so busy with the things inside the zone, but deep inside I longed for something special of my own.

I couldn't let my life go by just watching others win.
I held my breath; I stepped outside and let the change begin. I took a step and with new strength I'd never felt before, I kissed my comfort zone goodbye and closed and locked the door.

If you're in a comfort zone, afraid to venture out,
Remember that all winners were at one time filled with doubt. A step or two and words of praise can make your dreams come true. Reach for your future with a smile; success is there for you!



There is a lot of writing about the comfort zone and how to get out of it. I believe that everybody is in his or her own comfort zone, without exception from the rule. We all enjoy comfort. We enjoy the feeling of comfort. There is nothing wrong of being in the zone, unless you feel it districts your life or blocks you to do what your really want to do. Only a few people manage to jump directly and totally out of their comfort zone and manage to remain there.

What does it actually mean to get out of your comfort zone’? Do you belief that it means, that you just need to work harder and stretch yourself more and do everything possible to fulfill your potential? Are you convincing yourself that remaining in the zone is more dangerous then getting out (and feel bad if you don't mange it)? This is the path presented usually by the experts and  motivational speakers. 

It is my observation that only a small percentage of people are actually implementing any changes in their lives after hearing or watching an inspiring speech. The matter is that you need to be ready for the change and most important look at the roots of your difficulties or resistance to leave the discomfort of your zone. 

     

Most experts who say you have to expand your comfort zone before you can grow. The problem is that most of them believe that growth can only be achieved by pushing yourself and facing your fears. No pain, no gain. The experts offering this approach like to point out that babies learn to walk by first falling down, then getting back up and falling down again, and getting back up again until they "get it." 

The difference between babies and adults is that they don't beat themselves up when they fall down. Babies don't criticize themselves when they fall down because they haven't been trained - yet -in the fine art of self dis-empowerment through negative thinking.

 

The problem with the "just do it" approach is that whenever you have to force yourself, or be coerced into doing something - you are not ready to do it. Instead of enhancing your skills and accountability, you are actually creating greater resistance. Do not struggle. Don’t try to fight it directly. Struggling and fighting only makes it worse.

For a conscious creator, personal growth is about getting rid of the fear first by letting go of self judgment, self doubt, and limiting beliefs before you look for ways to flex your muscles. ( let go of limiting beliefs your inner critic facing /releasing fear

When you feel good about yourself, it's a lot easier to step outside of your comfort zone. That's how you grow without becoming bitter, resentful, and overly competitive. Build your confidence and self respect first, then take appropriate risks.

When you feel good about yourself, you will be inspired to take action. An inspiration to do something differently than you've done before is the natural result of shifting your energy. When you are inspired, you release resistance and the potential for resentment.


         


 What does a comfortable zone mean to you?

 What does your comfort zone do for your life?


For me it means

  • What is acceptable to me 
  • Where I feel home 
  • Where I can feel content 
  • Somewhere which is pleasant and inviting 
  • Somewhere habitable and relaxing 
  • Where I feel snug, cozy and warm

Having your own space, your own zone, or our own area - within which you can feel safe and comfortable

  • It can alleviate many a situation 
  • It can assist and support you 
  • It can soothe your passage through life 
  • It can cheer you when life is threatening 
  • It can encourage you when you need relieve or reassurance 
  • It can bring solace to your life 
  • It can soothe and succor you 
  • It can strengthen us and our resolve 
  • It can gladden our heart 
  • It can be our comforter

 In the zone . . .


In the zone is commonly used to signify that we are in the 'flow', when we are immersed in something. And more - we recognize that we are energized and focused, involved in our venture and giving it our all. And it is going well and we are going well with it.

Equally, we could use the term for when we are in our comfortable zone. We are living where we feel most comfortable. We are working and living well. We are performing well. Things are going well.

We are comfortable with ourselves and the things we are doing. We see life in a positive and uplifting way. This gives us encouragement and the confidence to proceed with life in the way we would like.


Our comfort zone equals our joy zone, our love zone, our fulfillment zone, our spiritual connection zone, you name it.


If you want more of anything in your life, the place to start is with your comfort zone. By expanding your comfort zone you will get more of what you want.

Now it sounds easy enough, but most of us have built up some pretty sturdy walls around our comfort zone. Pushing them out or breaking them down requires conscious, concerted effort. And I have found that it’s easier to expand the comfort zone in small, steady, steps than in great big leaps. But in order to do that, you need to intentionally take expansive action on a daily basis.

Personal growth seems to be intrinsically tied to the idea of expanding ones comfort zone through regularly pushing ourselves into new situations and experiences.

        

If you want to do something new everyday that’s brilliant. But don’t do it to expand your comfort zone, that’s a flawed concept. Do it because you want to grow your curiosity, learn new things, understand yourself better and ultimately learn to cope with all the anxieties that accompany a new situation or experience.

Believe that if you are managing your comfort zone the right way and are able to spend most of your time in your comfort zone – it enables you to do your best – are we not at our best when we are in our comfort zone? 

But what of the comfort zone itself? It shouldn’t be ignored, instead it should be treated in a different way. The comfort zone covers those actions, areas, environments, tasks, tastes in food, music etc that you are comfortable with, that define who you are. It doesn’t form overnight and the idea that doing something new once will actually make a single dent on that comfort zone is naive.


         


Effectively, your comfort zone is your base of operations, your place of strength. You want to culture it, feed it and make it a fortress by learning to know what you like and dislike, what makes you happy and what doesn’t.

If you foster a strong comfort zone, you can venture out into the wildest unknowns and do completely different things, because at the end of the day you know you have a strong comfort zone to come back to.

The point is of course that to grow as a person both personally and professionally – we need to expand our comfort zone – enabling us self to take on new challenges.

Personally I am at my best when I am in my comfort zone. I am no good when I constant need to challenge that state of mind. But I do need to constant expand my comfort zone.



Your comfort zone is whatever you're most familiar with. It includes your family, friends, house, income level, job, spouse, or lover. 

In order to expand our potential and succeed in life we must expand our comfort zone into unfamiliar territory and this is also important for our healing from any illness. We get cozy in our comfort zone, putting our feet up on life. But as the dust settles and begins to pile up around us, comfort turns sour.


Outside the Comfort Zone are the things we don't wont to do. By putting off what scares us and brings up fear only creates more obstacles in our lives. 


         


Any comfort zone exists in order to maintain the status quo. That is, you keep it up so that different areas of your life remain under control, that nothing changes, and that you feel secure. As you leave your emotional comfort zone, you start getting twinges of fear because you are entering unknown territory where you run risks, most particularly of becoming vulnerable and getting hurt.

What is actually happening is that by braving out into the unknown territory, by feeling the trepidation and fear, you are granted an invaluable opportunity to discover new facets of yourself, to enrich yourself, and to stretch and grow beyond your present limits.

For many, the comfort zone may not be all that comfortable. Perhaps a more accurate description might be “the less uncomfortable zone” or even “the avoidance zone.” I say that because if we were truly comfortable in a situation, why would we ever feel a need for change?

        

The two most powerful forces for leaving our comfort zone and for change are moving away from pain and moving toward joy, pleasure and well being. When some situation in life makes us uncomfortable, why not harness that energy and use it as a springboard for positive action.

Do we see our circumstances as positive, or negative? Do we see insurmountable obstacles, or new and exciting opportunities? Do we welcome the chance to grow, or do we just want to avoid anything that requires effort? Your answers to those questions will form the framework of your life.

Discomfort is a signal that some area of life needs our attention. If we complain about it, or try to hide from it, the discomfort increases. If we analyze the situation, and then take decisive action, the discomfort motivates us to move away from pain, and toward pleasure. Discomfort is a source of energy that we can use in a positive way.


         


When we link change to discomfort, we begin to see avoiding change as the preferred choice. In comparison with upsetting our routine and changing our established patterns, doing nothing becomes our comfort zone.

Sometimes, the very thought of making changes in our life can represent discomfort, even pain. This is because it requires us to make an effort in a new direction. It is very easy to become a creature of habit and to adapt to a set daily routine.  Such patterns can be constructive or destructive. 

Our strongest emotional motivator is the desire to move away from pain and discomfort. As soon as we link something to pain, our emotional response is “don’t go there.” By comparison, moving in the opposite direction feels much more comfortable.

It's somewhat ironic that living in a healthy way causes anxiety because it's new, and living in the old unhealthy or even abusive way is comforting. However, it makes sense when you think of it in terms of familiarity versus new territory (old and comfortable versus new and scary).



Changing your emotional anchors!


What if we could reverse our pain and pleasure anchors? What if we could view our current situation as more uncomfortable than disrupting our set routine? Then we would be motivated to move toward change instead of avoiding it. Our whole emotional perspective would shift.

This is exactly how many people finally manage to make significant changes in their lives. They reach a tipping point where their current reality becomes so uncomfortable, or even painful, that they are sufficiently motivated to take action.


        


Lets have a look at the three types of comfort zones; the physical, mental and emotional ones.


The physical comfort zone is the easiest and most obvious to spot and deal with. The other two, the mental and the emotional comfort zones are subtler and not so obvious at first. They tend to “happens upon us” as part of our self-protection, in trying to avoid pain and hurt that we have experienced in our past. We very rarely decide what defines their parameters, it is decided for us!


Ask yourself the following questions:


  • Do you know what your comfort zones are?
  • Have you declared them to yourself?
  • Did you consciously agree to have them?
  • Do your comfort zones free you up or limit you?
  • What price are you willing to pay to be mentally and emotionally comfortable?
  • Do you realize that by avoiding new challenges you create a zone of comfort, which eventually closes up and controls you?
  • Do you realize that you can become fixed and limited by the parameters of your comfort zone?

Often times we tend to blame things outside of ourselves for preventing us from being at our best, when in actuality it is our comfort zones that hinder us. These questions will help you examine what actually stands in your way. We seek for comfort and often find it in doing the same things over and over again, in a routine which guarantees that we don’t fail. There is nothing wrong with that as long as it doesn’t control you.

Where a comfort zone controls us is when we unconsciously shrink the big picture to be able to control circumstances and keep them at a level that we think we can handle. In other words we minimize the truth to fit us rather then expanding our mind to fit the truth.

The big picture is unknown; our small picture is known and manageable- humans tend to fear the unknown and therefore often avoid it.

The big picture only ever gets revealed through challenging our tolerances. For example, for a quiet a person that tends to accept what other people say without question, breaking through the comfort zone would be to ask questions. 

Very often comfort zones come with an expensive, hidden price tag, a price of staying stuck and losing hope. Comfort zones also affect the quality of decision-making. People tend to make decisions that are comfortable to their current present mindset but are counterproductive in the long term. In other words comfort in the short term may well be stress in the long term.


         


Here are some useful points to keep in mind:


Your ability to give yourself a fresh start in anything depends on the following:

  • Your willingness to struggle to not have rigid views.
  • Your willingness to be open to new ideas
  • Your willingness to accept and not dismiss other views that do not agree with your own.
  • Your willingness to not identify with what you think you know
  • Your willingness to reexamine your decisions by constantly updating
  • Your willingness to tolerate unknown and uncomfortable circumstances without complaining.

To do that you need to LOVE your future possibility, at least as much as you love your current circumstance.
So you need to first be aware of your many comfort zones and to see to what degree they limit you. Your willingness to examine that is important in your quest for real freedom.


Physical Comfort Zone


The physical comfort zone is the easiest to detect. It is defined by our LIKES and DISLIKES.Here are some further examples for physical comfort zone:

  • The food we eat, when we eat, how we eat etc (ex: It’s time for lunch, because we always eat lunch at 12- hungry or not- have you seen people sometimes when they are deprived of their lunch at the usual hour?)
  • The clothes we wear
  • The place we live in and how we decorate it
  • The cars we drive
  • The brand of tooth paste we use
  • The exact cup of coffee we have
  • The amount of sleep we think we need
  • The television show we watch at any cost

And…you can continue this list on and on and on.
Upon examination, you’ll find that mostly we have pre-decided and pre-judged what belongs inside our physical comfort zone and what doesn’t. Over time, through unchallenged repetition, these become habits, and with we are not alert, can control us.


         


Mental/Emotional Comfort Zones

 The most powerful mechanism that is keeping you in your comfort zone is your "emotional brain". It is keeping you there for your own survival. At least from it’s perspective. It is keeping you there for your own survival. At least from it’s perspective.

But also your mental / your rational brain wants you to remain in your comfort zone. Why? Because it can handle, is afraid, of the unknown. The"mental brain" then takes over and controls the emotional one.

The “meat of the matter” in this comfort zone  is to be aware of the effect that mental and emotional comfort zones have on our future possibilities. These are subtle, not so obvious, as our physical comfort zone, but they are there, unchallenged, quietly controlling our lives.

Mental comfort zone can be defined by what and how a person thinks about life matters.

Emotional comfort zone could be thought of as the range and level of emotions humans have or allow themselves to have about life issues. The reason why these comfort zones are more dangerous is because they affect us unconsciously. Your emotions can be so strong and powerful and will take control over you so hat you cannot do anything! When you don’t know what controls you, it controls you more!


        


Whether we avoid something because it scares us or bores us, or because we think it will force a change we’re not ready for, putting it off only creates obstacles for us. On the other hand, facing the task at hand, no matter how onerous, creates flow in our lives and allows us to grow. The relief is palpable when we stand on the other side knowing that we did something even though it was hard or we didn't want to do it. On the other hand, when we cling to our comfort zone, never addressing the things we don't want to face, we cut ourselves off from flow and growth.

That is why it is so important to bring things out from their hiding, especially if you are a person that truly seeks to be free.


Why wait?


There is no reason to avoid changing until your current reality reaches a tipping point. We can assign pain or pleasure links to anything we want. The more you can link pleasure to the concept of change, the more motivated you will be to take action.

If you assign enough discomfort to your current reality you will automatically move in another direction. Remember, everything in life is perception. Control your emotional anchors and you will never lack motivation. Become the master of your perception and you become the master of your reality.


        

          Do it in small steps.


It allows you to stretch your comfort zone and slowly making it less uncomfortable and frightening.

It’s important to consider the size of the steps you take in this process. Some experts advise big steps, but unfortunately this has been proven counterproductive. You get highly motivated and very enthusiastic, but after a short time the motivation turns into frustration and resignation – I can’t do anything about it, I have tried it but it just isn’t working out. Nobody pays attention to the padded wall.

Let’s say you want to be less nervous and awkward in social situations. To solve that you can take small steps. Steps like first just saying hi to people. And being more involved in conversations at work or in school to exercise your conversation muscles. After a while those things will feel more comfortable. And so you can expand your comfort zone a little bit more.

And so you gradually desensitize yourself to social situations or whatever you are uncomfortable with. You make it the new “normal” for you.


Acknowledge your fears


          


At the root of all hesitation to change, fear. Fears are natural. They are also rooted in basic physical and emotional needs. That often makes them easy to overlook, easy to dismiss. Acknowledge and understand your fears one by one before taking steps to address them - don’t tackle them all at once. facing and releasing fear



Consistency


Once you have taken a small step outside a certain area of your comfort zone, it’s important you never go back into your old one. Stay consistent, no matter how unnatural you feel; you have to follow this rule until you know and feel comfortable with everything.


Check Routines and Chuck Some


There’s value in routine. But like anything valuable, routines ought to be subject to occasional evaluation.      

Routines show up in the strangest of circumstances. Even our current existence is subject to routines -  and ruts. Anything you do over and over again can and does become routine after a while. At that point, it’s time to actively consider your routines and whether or not they need to be swapped for something different.

Even the most successful habits eventually lose their usefulness as events change the world and fresh responses are called for. Yet we cling on to them long after their benefit has gone. Past strategies are bound to fail sometime. Letting them become automatic habits that take the controls is a sure road to self-inflicted harm. 


        


What’s the Worst That Can Happen? 


If you are staring down a fear and you know the risk you need to take to face it, ask yourself: “What’s the worst that can happen?” When you consider the worst case scenario, you may just realize that the consequences of failure really aren’t that bad.


Expand the Boundaries of Comfort

Expand the collection of life experiences with which you are comfortable.


Fire Up Your Curiosity


So you are jazzed about jumping outside of your comfort zone, but you are only seeing the same old stuff? How to find more pockets of productive discomfort? Light the fires of curiosity. If you allow your curiosity to guide you, you will always find something new…even in your own backyard. And chances are you will never be bored.


Focus on the positive past.


Realise it can be fun to get out of your comfort zone despite what your mind and feelings might be telling you before you get started. Think back to the previous times when you have broken out of your comfort zone. Focus on the positive memories, when you got out there, when you took a chance. And you will probably remember that it wasn’t so bad, it was actually fun and exciting and something new to you.

A lot of times we automatically play back negative experiences – or negative interpretations of events – in our minds before we are about to do something. And we forget about the positive memories and our previous, positive achievements. Avoid that trap. Let the good memories flow through your mind instead.


          


Passion of Life 


Your passion in life is what makes you come alive. It is what keeps you going.it is your inner fire. Your passion feeds your soul energy. Your passion produces feelings of infinite possibilities and unlimited abundance inside your body. Your passion is your connecting link to the divine.

Passion for life does not wear out…it fades from lack of use, from feeding it. If you have ever felt older than your years…a little tired, worn out, as though life is passing you by, you’re not alone. Express it well and the world will stand up and take notice of your passion and reward you accordingly... Expressing passion is usually an ordinary activity (cooking, cleaning, singing, writing, etc.) expressed extraordinarily well.

Passion is a central power of the soul. Finding our passion means connecting all the parts of our being and feeling the special energy that can transform our life.   

Passion and purpose go hand in hand. When you discover your purpose, you will normally find it’s something you’re tremendously passionate about.

True passion is a wellspring of energy that drives our life, and aligns it with our ultimate purpose.

At various stages of life we hit plateaus and then the choice is ours: coast downhill or climb to a new peak. The choice involves expansion or contraction, feeling alive or shriveling up inside. If we make the effort and muster the courage to move forward in some dimension of life, we feel renewed. Energy and passion climb, and we feel fully engaged. But avoid all things new, and we get stuck in a rut of the known – smack in the middle of our comfort zone.

Motivation and goals

Life Purpose Assessment : the will to live


   

 


 

 Next page: Nurturing Hope

        → Chapter 3 - Emotional Health and Cancer: Emotional Health and Cancer

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