Why The Comfort Zone Is Not Comfortable At All: 5 Easy Ways To Enter The Unexpected

The comfort zone is named that for a reason. Taking risks and jumping out of that comfortability is the starting point.
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The comfort zone is a safe space for everyone. It is a place where we feel comfortable and experience little stress and anxiety.

The comfort zone is defined as a psychological state of familiarity where an individual is in control of their environment. 

Having that feeling brings us safety. Being in control of the surrounding environment allows for an individual to anticipate what happens next. Little surprises arise in the comfort zone and for that reason, it is dangerous.

Life is a rollercoaster of ups and downs and lefts to rights. No one knows what their life is going to be like and it is not something that can easily be controlled. Sometimes the best option is to make a radical choice to mix things up. Go to a new place, see new things, or take a risk. The comfort zone does not allow for any of that, which is exactly why it is comfortable.

Staying in the comfort zone hinders you from taking risks. It's easy to sit back and do what you have always done. That is comfortable. It's controllable and makes no attempt at surprising you. It's convenient, but should it really be described as comfortable?

On the surface, yes, but if you think about it more it really shouldn't. The place where no risks are taken is the safest place on Earth. Nothing unexpected will happen and everything can be anticipated, which doesn't reflect life at all. 

Life isn't so simple that you can come up with a perfect plan and follow it exactly. Something will happen whether that be a new person coming into your life, a new job opportunity, or even a new way of thinking. An obstacle to that clear-cut path will present itself and two roads will then appear. One will be a detour to get back on your path to the original destination. The other will be a completely new path where you have no idea where you are going. That is the choice to stay in the comfort zone or to move out of it. 

While I agree that remaining in the comfort zone is safer, will it be necessarily better? Is the more comfortable choice really the best option? Here's a story that I think might help you make up your mind.

Image Source: Post Press

Coming to a Crossroads 

I was in my senior year of High School. It was time to apply to college, and after some convincing by my stepmother, I applied early decision to Miami University.

Within a few months, I heard back with an acceptance letter. As excited as I was, my heart sank. I knew that because of the choice I made I had to attend that school.

To give you context, in my younger days I was very shy and introverted. I stayed well within my comfort zone at all times. I was a safe kid and I was comfortable being that way. So as you probably suspect, I was very afraid to attend a university outside of the state I lived in. Needless to say, once the time came to move I was not too excited. 

After the move, I said goodbye to my family. I stood alone in front of my dorm, 4 hours away from home and the feelings hit me like a train. I went back up to my dorm with a fake smile and introduced myself to my roommate. After that, I never looked back. 

I can now look back on my college experience with a smile, but that is only possible because of how I took a leap of faith. Thinking back on it now, I knew that I needed a change, but I also knew myself. I knew that I would not be strong enough to make the decision to go out of state if I had the choice to pick either Miami University or Michigan State University. I knew that I'd pick the latter if push came to shove. So I backed myself into a corner by applying early decision and once I was accepted, I had to move forward.

I remember thinking, during the first week, that I could either stay in my room or get out. I decided to put myself out there and make as many friends as I could. Once I did that I began to thrive.

I needed the feeling of fight or flight. In my case, it was more thrive or fail, but I simply chose the more appealing option. 

Image Source: Entrepreneur

1. Force Yourself Into a Corner

Like I did to myself, forcing yourself into a corner is an effective strategy to exit the comfort zone. Two options are presented. Either to sink or swim? The answer is an obvious one.

To accomplish this, it is best to make a decision that you can't back out from. Taking the phrase literally, do not give yourself an escape. Force yourself into a situation where you have to step up and out of your comfort zone. This will give you an opportunity to grow and become more comfortable with the uncomfortable. 

2. Be On Your Own

It's much easier to be in a group. Knowing that you are with other people makes you feel comfortable. To step out of your comfort zone try it alone. 

Being by yourself allows for no safety net. If you go to a work environment, wedding, or party on your own it forces you to get to know new people. Successfully taking you out of your comfort zone and facing an obstacle on your own. That will give you the confidence to continue to take risks.

3. Try Something New

Everyone gets set in their ways. I know I've been guilty of doing this. Routines are important, but variety is just as vital. New experiences create new situations. 

Try a workout class, learn a new recipe, play a new sport, the options are endless. It doesn't matter what it is, the important thing is to do something you've never done. This allows for you to start from the beginning and learn. The ability to engage with new activities and throw yourself into them creates the chance to grow.

4. Engage With The Environment

It is easy to keep your head down. To move through the crowds without any interaction. Instead, hold your head out high and engage. Wherever you are it is possible to engage with your surroundings. Whether it's a coffee shop, a park, or even walking down the street, try to engage with your environment. It is much more rewarding to strike up a conversation with a stranger for five minutes than rushing off to your next destination.

Doing this allows for random interactions that have the chance to turn into something. Creating new friends, chances to go to new places, and opportunities to learn something new. The possibilities are endless, but this will only happen if you try to engage with your environment. 

5. Get Out

This idea is similar to the ultimatum I gave myself. To either stay in my dorm or get out as much as possible. While staying in is comfortable it doesn't allow for many chances to meet new people, see new things, and experience something new. It's typical and usually, nothing out of the ordinary would happen. So, try to get out.

Go to a bar, walk around the city, or grab some coffee. Doing those things bring you to a new environment and you never know what will happen. Even though that can be scary, it is also just as exciting. Take a chance and get out, the comfort zone of your home will always be there.

All in all, I needed to escape the comfort zone to grow and become who I am today. I can't make a promise that the same will happen to you, but I can say that staying in your comfort zone won't allow for as many new experiences to occur. So try it. Step out of the comfort of your home and see what the world has to offer. I think you will be pleasantly surprised once you do. 

Hello everyone! My name is Ethan Oilar and I love to write. If you happen to read my articles and enjoy them I would love to hear about it!

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