The Comfort Zone Paradox

Comfort Zone ParadoxThe magic of life all happens outside of your comfort zone but there is also such a thing as the comfort zone paradox, both the need to be outside of it as well as the need to be safely within it.

For nearly four full days this past week, I spent the majority of my time outside of my comfort zone. Usually I would embrace and welcome this kind of thing but after awhile I started to notice the negative effects… stress, fatigue, and just a basic overall inefficiency of any action that I undertook. Meaning I started to get sloppy.

Being one who expects only the best from myself in anything I do, dropping the ball(s) as I were, only added to more frustration. More stress. More time not feeling safe.

The Comfort Zone Paradox

And this is how I discovered the actual need for being in or retreating back to one’s own comfort zone every now and again. To put it simply… you need the rest! It is no different from a weightlifter who is training. A weightlifter cannot lift EVERY DAY and keep increasing the workout’s intensity without eventually encountering a total breakdown of everything and ultimately end up losing gains and strength.

No… the weight lifter must lift while continually increasing the workload, but must ALSO REST in order to allow the body (and even the mind) to rest and recover – time for everything to heal in order to become stronger.

ComfortzoneparadoxI call it the comfort zone – confidence loop and this is how it works… Whenever you do something new to expand your experience, etc, you must be outside of your comfort zone. After a certain amount of time, you must return to your comfort zone to rest and regroup. While doing that, your comfort zone will find its new normal by moving to the right, maybe just slightly, maybe a lot, it all just depends. This way when you go back to do that new thing again, you are doing it from a more “advanced’ position, which allows you to go more in the direction of growth. Return to your comfort zone, and then do it again.

Have you ever tried to do something and the more you try or practice the impact of what you are trying to do decreases? But have you ever taken a break from something maybe for a few days, and then when you pick it back up after that break you can tell you are doing better than you were if you would have just stuck to it? That is how the comfort zone- confidence loop works as well… that break allows you to regroup, refresh, and to let things settle in.ComfortzoneloopTo expand, grow, or to develop new skills, it will require you to be outside of your comfort zone but remember, in order for those new experiences, abilities or strengths to gel and set, you must return to your comfort zone now and again to regroup. Sometimes discovering your point of total-breakdown is a good thing as it shows you your limits, but to keep going there, in the long-term, will have negative – not positive impacts overall.

Your comfort zone isn’t a bad thing per se, and as I have learned it is really quite useful and needed… but remember… just don’t live there!

Andy Wooten M.A. Counseling – A Certified Life Coach In Aspen Colorado

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Photo By Andy Wooten 28 December 2013

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