Dreams Don't Grow in Comfort ZonesYou can never become all that you could be unless you’re willing to give up what you currently are; unless you’re willing to give up that familiar sense of safety that comes from staying cocooned inside your comfort zone. Because here’s the thing: dreams don’t grow in comfort zones. It’s only by stretching ourselves that we can grow and evolve into what we are meant to be.

What is a comfort zone?

According to Wikipedia, a comfort zone is “a behavioural state within which a person operates in an anxiety-neutral condition.”

So what does that mean? It means that when we are in our comfort zones, we’re clinging to the familiar and not doing anything that causes us to feel any sense of risk. There’s nothing bad, nothing good, and everything is just kind of “OK”. Basically, it’s a state of stasis where nothing ever changes; it’s just a whole lot of “same-old, same-old”.

Dreams don’t grow in #ComfortZones! You've got to push your boundaries to make 'em happen! Click To Tweet

The problem with this is that this kind of state tends to lead to stagnation; if we’re not stretching ourselves – if we are not experiencing new and different things that cause us to think and innovate and act in different ways than we are used to – then we’re not growing or evolving as individuals.

A little anxiety is actually a good thing

The problem with pushing ourselves outside of our boundaries, however, is that it causes stress and anxiety. We already know that too much anxiety and stress is a bad thing. But can it ever be a good thing?

The term “comfort zone” actually goes back to a 1908 psychology experiment by Robert Yerkes and John Dodson who used mice to test the effects of anxiety on learning.

And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.” ~Anaïs Nin

They found that a state of relative comfort in the mice created a steady level of performance, but that in order to maximize their learning they needed to be in a state of relative anxiety (i.e. their stress levels needed to be a little bit higher than normal in order to reach peak performance level). On the other hand, they also found that too much anxiety caused performance levels to drop sharply.

Basically, this means that if we’re too comfortable we aren’t achieving the way we could be and if we’re too uncomfortable we’re also not achieving what we could; we need to find that happy medium where it’s just the right level of anxiety/discomfort to spur us to achieve to the best of our abilities. We need to stretch ourselves in order to grow, but we don’t want to be terrified by the prospect of change, either.

Dreams don’t grow in comfort zones

In other words, while the idea of comfort and steady performance may sound like a good combination overall, the problem with a comfort zone, and the danger in not moving out of it, is that you get stuck there. And nothing more ever happens than what’s already happened.

An addiction to your #ComfortZone could end your dream before it even begins. Click To Tweet

And if you’ve got a big dream that you want to build for yourself, your addiction to your comfort zone will spell the end of that dream before you ever get anywhere near it. The thing about dreams is that, by their very nature, they involve change; they are a desire for something different than what you are currently experiencing.

And if you want something different in your life, then you have to be willing to do something different to get it. Nothing extraordinary ever happens while you’re in your comfort zone; you have to be willing to push beyond those boundaries if you ever want to create something new for yourself.

So make it a point this week to do something different. Do something that makes you uncomfortable; something that stretches you and pushes you out of your comfort zone. Give yourself the gift of growth and give yourself an edge on building your dreams!

photo credit: pixabay.com cc (modified by me)

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