One of the models that we work with in NLP is that of the Conscious …
The dictionary definition of Comfort Zone is – “an environment or situation in which a person feels secure or at ease; also figuratively, an established lifestyle in which a person feels comfortable as long as there is no drastic change”.
In other words, the Comfort Zone is where we settle into a pattern of life that becomes known to us, where nothing really changes and we do the same familiar things day in, day out; year in, year out.
We may occasionally lift ourselves out of the Zone by taking a holiday yet on our return, life just settles back into the familiar.
Occasionally something may happen for us to fall out of the Zone and life isn’t so good, we may have a crisis, such as relationship problems, threat of job loss, financial worries; where we give all of our attention to the crisis, before, bit by bit clawing our way back to the safety of the Zone.
So what’s wrong with remaining in our Comfort Zone?
We all like to feel secure and at ease, don’t we? A lot of the time remaining in the Comfort Zone is about just accepting what we believe to be our ‘lot’ in life.
We give excuses and reasons as to why life cannot be any better, even if we are not totally happy.
Often negative beliefs about ourselves, such as I’m not confident/ assertive/ clever enough prevent us from achieving what we are truly capable of. Thought patterns can stagnate and we stop growing, when this happens we forget the things that we once enjoyed and we can easily begin to feel unfulfilled, without recognising why.
When we are in the Comfort Zone, we may start taking things for granted.
This can result in being totally unprepared when Change arrives.
Those who continually develop themselves are often the ones who embrace Change rather than fear it.
So how do you prevent yourself from becoming trapped in the Comfort Zone?
The secret is to keep expanding your horizons, learn new things, gain fresh experiences, do something different and recognise when you are in the Zone so that you can do something about it.
Happiness is a state, a feeling, a choice so you can have Happiness every day of the year if you wish and people can be happy for more than two weeks holiday each year.
Each person’s thoughts and experiences to keep them out of the Zone will be different and individual to them.
If you would like to learn something new or do something different and you feel there is something that holds you back which prevents you from embracing new experiences; then recognise what that feeling is and address it.
Often, breaking your final goal into smaller tasks, each of which is only slightly outside of what you feel comfortable with, will stretch you as a person and give you the confidence to progress to the next level; before you know it, you will have achieved your goal and this achievement will give you even more confidence to move onto the next new experience!
If you believe that people who set goals for themselves never feel any fear, you are very much mistaken.
If you ask anyone that you perceive as being a confident person whether they have ever doubted their abilities, most of them will tell you that they have experienced periods of self-doubt and anxiety.
Even celebrities such as Madonna and Barbara Streisand and Olympic athlete Chris Hoy have all been paralysed by fear in the past, the difference is, each of them have overcome their fear to achieve what they were capable of and you can too!
Finally, a poem by an unknown author on the subject:
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 cheques 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!