Comfort Zone

Photo of dog snuggled in blankets
Photo copyright ©2019 David J Crone. All rights reserved.

“You’ve got to step out of your comfort zone!”

This statement is often used to challenge us to grow. I disagree.

Stepping out of our comfort zone is a bad idea.

When you are completely outside of your comfort zone, you are like a fish out of water. Have you ever seen what happens to a fish out of water? Right. They die.

You don’t have to completely abandon your comfort zone to grow. In fact, I would argue that if you stay inside of your comfort zone, you will grow faster.

Instead, work on making that comfort zone bigger.

Do you remember math class in school? If that was too long ago to remember, think about your kids.

Consider the progression of topics. You don’t learn basic math skills and then go directly to calculus. Each level of mathematics builds on the levels that preceded it.

Jumping from basic algebra to calculus is stepping out of your comfort zone. Going from algebra to geometry to functions to calculus is EXPANDING your comfort zone.

We learn best when we stretch our knowledge rather than forgetting all that has come before. Skipping steps, completely abandoning our comfort zone, is a path to frustration.

Have you ever learned to play an instrument? Perhaps the piano. When we learn to play the piano, we don’t start with Franz Liszt’s “La Campanella”, which is consistently ranked among the most difficult pieces to play.

No. A good piano teacher will start you out with the basics. Typically one learns to play one note at a time using one hand at a time. As you improve, new techniques are added, constantly stretching you, expanding your comfort zone.

Here’s a fun one: Arthur vs the Piano

This is the same with anything we do. Sure, there are times when we don’t get a choice. Sometimes we are thrown into the deep end of the pool before we are ready. But if we have expanded our comfort zone, we can draw on all that we have learned in other areas of our lives and apply it to the new situation, allowing us to stay afloat long enough to reach the ladder on the side of the pool.

If we are given a choice, though, it would have been much better to start in the shallow end and work our way up to it.

Stay in your comfort zone. Just make it bigger.