Expand your comfort zone — Part 2

We continue from where we left last week on this topic. A quick recap: we defined confort zone and went on to establish the link between expanding one’s comfort zone and achieving success in life. We also shared a personal anecdote where I had to expand my personal comfort zone when all members of my team in a competition had completed their rounds of up-sailing and I needed to do mine for the team to win.

I had never imagined myself doing dangerous games in the air. Later, I figured out that the prize was a lot more and much bigger than was apparent at the time – it was a permanent paradigm shift in my baseline comfort zone.

I asked the gentleman who was helping us with the up sailing:
“How long have you done this job?”
“25 years”,
“How many people have died under the rope in the 25 years?”
“None”,
In parallel, my five colleagues were heavily encouraging me, persuading me and even offering incentives if I stepped out of my comfort zone and completed the remaining bit to tick the box for our team to win the competition as we were already leading by a comfortable margin. In the end, when I did it, I found that by completing the first step on the cliff, I had stepped outside my comfort zone — into a world full of bliss, fun and just pure enjoyment!

I had freed myself from the self-imposed bondage of unnecessary fear of the unknown. I had earned myself freedom at no cost — and that is what stepping outside one’s comfort zone or expanding your comfort zone usually turns out to be – down to a simple free choice! — choice between failure and freedom, stagnation and success, bondage and brilliance.
Once you do step outside your comfort zone, you gain the rare opportunity to experiment new experiences as you acquire a new set of behaviours which empower you to grow into a better, stronger and more successful person. Stepping outside your comfort zone is not optional if survival is to be guaranteed or sustained. In fact, expanding your comfort zone is essential and necessary for your continued existence.

Basically, at any moment, we human beings operate in any one of three possible zones: comfort zone, growth zone and the panic zone. If the activity we undertake is in the comfort zone, it means that we are not overstretching ourselves – it means that the goal is too low for us.

The other zone is the intermediary zone, which is sometimes referred to as the growth zone – the phase in between the comfort and the panic zones. According to Marcus Taylor, the man behind the “What is my comfort zone” project, the optimum zone to work in is your ‘growth zone’, where challenges are beyond what you’ve previously done, but not so challenging that they terrify you. Basically, this is a phase in between procrastination and panic!

If you want to be successful, you need to start operating from your comfort zone and then you need to begin doing things that are slightly outside your comfort zone, in the growth zone, thereby expanding your comfort zone gradually. Once that activity lies in your expanded comfort zone, you can try tougher goals outside your expanded comfort zone, thereby further expanding your comfort zone. If you do this continuously, you will end up in a big comfort zone that is ever-expanding thereby sweeping the big achievement that could only have been dreamt about or admired in other people.
In the process, you will join the league of the super achievers — because these are people that regularly expand their comfort zone — by trying new things, by experimenting with new ideas, by going to new places they have never been to, by performing risky tasks having done good analysis of the risks. Expand your comfort zone, and you will be automatically maximising your delivery, performance, productivity and output! 

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  • jimmy

    Dr. Matthews Mtumbuka I get inspired by your articles. In expanding the comfort zone the principles you have submitted in this article are very helpful and inspiring for people who wish to grow and join a group of achievers. I am in fact tempted to give another sports experintial lesson from a game of squash which I have played for quite a number of years. What I have noted that all players adopt their comfort zones buy sticking to a few types of shots that they feel comfortable and play without much thoughts and are genrally risk free. But unfortunately every opponent that you play memorises these shots within a shot period of play. And as a player you dont progress and be ranked higher or counted as one of the best players. But once you move from the comfort zone – comfortable shots- by learnign more difficult shots – we produce surprise shots which make use win most of our games…we move to another level…
    More importantly I would like to add that growth is dynamic – we keep on shift or moving up from one comfort zone to another…and the sky becomes the limit..i have enjoyed reading your article….excellent article DR. Mtumbuka. Keep on sharing your thoughts with us.