By Gbenga Adebambo
“Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.” —Neale Walsch
Leadership guru and one of the most sought after personal development coaches, John C. Maxwell once said, “To succeed in life, we must stay within our strength zone but continually move outside our comfort zone”. Most times in life, we don’t know what we are capable of until we try. The fear of the unknown has kept many settling for less in life. We all often neglect the fact that the best things in life are waiting for us at the exit ramp of our comfort zone. Great people have the long-range skill of getting comfortable with being discomfortable! Brian Tracy said, “Move out of your comfort zone. You can only grow if you are willing to feel awkward and uncomfortable when you try something new”.
It’s almost impossible to grow and learn while stuck inside your comfort zone. When life becomes routine, you lose a part of yourself that is so creative. Routine is a part of your comfort zone. It may be satisfying you for now, but meanwhile you’re losing your ability to open up your true self and share your gifts with the world. The unknown is where dreams are made. The unknown is a magical place where dreams come true and life happens. Debasish Mridha said, “Comfort controls us. Fear scares us. To grow you have to overcome fear and go out of your comfort zone to be what you always wanted to be”.
We’re biologically hardwired to avoid situations that cause us pain, hurt, or discomfort, but the truth is that most times, these are the situations that really lead us to a ‘higher self’. Rick Joyner said, “If our life is always easy, it’s because we are called to a lesser purpose”. We would never be all that we are to become if we avoid all the risks and discomforts outside our comfort zone. If you stay in your comfort-zone, you won’t be able to see what the world has to offer you. Manoj Arora said, “Coming out of your comfort zone is tough in the beginning, chaotic in the middle, and awesome in the end…because in the end, it shows you a whole new world.”
Viktor Frankl’s “Man’s Search for Meaning,” Viktor E. Frankl was a Jewish psychologist who was imprisoned in a Nazi concentration camp throughout World War II. His book, “Man’s Search for Meaning”, in which he writes of his time in the camp, is a marvel of non-fiction and psychology. Frankl makes the argument that the true difference between the survivors and those who died in the camp was that the survivors most times had a purpose or goal that they were stretching towards achieving. Life is always more exciting and challenging when we have a purpose to strive towards, as Frankl suggests.
The secret to success lies in the very thing you’re avoiding. Be deliberate about doing things that push your limits magnificently. Difficulty helps us to grow. If you want long-term success, stop avoiding what’s hard, but embrace it now. Seth Godin “Discomfort brings engagement and change. Discomfort means you’re doing something others are unlikely to do, because they’re hiding out in the comfortable zone.” When you are challenged, you are asked to become more than you were. That means creating new perspectives, acquiring new skills and pushing boundaries. In other words, you have to expand your understanding in order to be able to overcome the obstacles facing you.
Man is at his best when aiming for things that are outside his comfort zone. Yes. If you want to get better as a person and experience new/unique things in life, you probably should try to venture outside your comfort zone. The stretch zone is where you ideally want to be for a good portion of your life. It is just outside your comfort zone where you get exposed to new experiences, where you go beyond your previous capabilities, and where you start feeling thrilled about life experiences. If you have goals in life, they should be in the stretch zone so that when you accomplish those objectives you will feel proud for doing so. You don’t want a goal in the comfort zone because the goal won’t be too difficult and won’t probably put a demand on your creativity. Abraham Maslow said, “If you plan on being anything less than you are capable of being, you will probably be unhappy all the days of your life”.
Shannon L. Alder said, “Life always begins with one step outside of your comfort zone”. By not taking risks, you never really discover your true self. Living in your comfort zone is all about doing what is safe and easy: you know the outcome. If you’re afraid to take some risks and do something that scares you, you can never really understand who you truly are. We find out a lot about ourselves when we take risks. We find out what we’re made of. When you can connect to your true self, you open doors to change, growth, progress, love, and understanding that cannot be found inside your comfort zone.
Stop living in your weak zone; live in your strength zone! It’s the place of your greatest contribution. It’s where you learn what works for you. It’s where you discover your unique personality traits. Staying in your strength zone makes you confident. Being confident in your own strength is essential if you want to be successful. Maya Angelou said, “You can only become truly accomplished at something you love. Don’t make money your goal. Instead, pursue the things you love doing, and then do them so well that people can’t take their eyes of you”. I will be listing out five key strength zones we must never trivialize:
STAY IN YOUR PASSION: Bill Gates’ parent wanted him to become a lawyer despite his overwhelming interest and passion in the computer. Guess what happened, he dropped out! The easiest way to find your place in life is to simply find your passion. John C. Maxwell said, “People don’t need to follow the common path to be successful. They need to follow their passion.” The secret of fulfillment in life is in following your passion. Most people are playing to the gallery of people’s applause and not their inner satisfaction. You only live once, but if you do it right, once is enough, so find your passion and live your life.
STAY IN YOUR GIFT AND TALENT: Myles Munroe once said, “When you discover your gift, you find your area of authority”. You will only shine in the area of your gifting. Until you discover and nurture your gift, you will continue to travel another man’s journey. Johann Von Goethe said, “The person born with a talent they are meant to use will find their greatest happiness in using it”.
STAY IN YOUR DREAM: Denis Waitley said,“A dream is your creative vision for your life in the future. You must break out of your current comfort zone and become comfortable with the unfamiliar and the unknown”. Dreams get you into the future and add excitement to the present. The biggest adventure you can take is to live the life of your dreams. Rodney White said, “It costs nothing to dream, and everything not to”. Build your own dreams, or someone else will hire you to build theirs. Go confidently in the direction of your dreams, live the life you’ve imagined. Les Brown said, “Too many of us are not living our dreams because we are living our fears”.
STAY IN YOUR VISION: Mark Zuckerberg had a vision of connecting and impacting people on a social platform and Facebook was born. He who does not look ahead, always remain behind. Where there is no faith in the future, there is no power in the present. The future belongs to those who see possibilities before they become obvious. A visionless man is a vulnerable man; our vision preserves us and provide us with the strength to face the future. You can’t feature in a future that you can’t picture!
STAY IN YOUR ‘ABILITY’: You’ve got to have confidence in your ability, and then be tough enough to follow through. Zig Ziglar said, “Success is the maximum utilization of the ability that we have”. We all have ability, the difference is how we use it. There is no disability in life, we are all differently abled!
Zig Ziglar said, “You cannot become what you need to be by remaining what you are”. Step outside of your comfort zone and go beyond the boundaries that you and others have set for yourself. As you move outside of your comfort zone, what was once the unknown and frightening becomes your new ‘normal’. Learning to stretch outside your comfort zone is critical for learning and growing, advancing in your job and career, and achieving your personal and professional goals. Your comfort zone is not a place that you want to remain in. Dare, discover, be all that you can be. If you’re not outside your comfort zone, you’re not learning anything. Dhaval Gaudier said, “The only thing that is stopping you from where you are to where you want to go is your comfort zone”. Nothing profound ever happens in your life when you remain in your comfort zone; nothing good ever grew in a comfort zone!
QUOTE OF THE WEEK: “There is no passion to be found playing small – in settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living”- Nelson Mandela