Here’s a new idea for you guys out there that is a really effective way at maximizing your life and expanding your horizons. I call it the comfort zone diary, and it’s excellent for personal growth which – as we know – is the precursor for life growth. Enjoy.
What Is the Comfort Zone?
You know what the comfort zone is. It’s a warm, cozy place. It’s safe and familiar. You’ve been there, done that. You know what to expect. You feel at home. There’s no nerves and you can stay there forever. There’s just one catch though:
NOTHING GROWS THERE.
And growth is essential for life. But let’s not forget that life is not simply to be alive. You’ve got to EXPAND that comfort zone further and further. You may
live be alive just fine in your little comfort zone – like everyone else – but live to the fullest you will never do. Living the life of your dreams you will never taste. You see,
The problem isn’t the comfort zone–It’s having a small comfort zone.
For that reason: You want to expand your comfort zone to the point in which you feel comfortable in any situation, anywhere. You want to become the dictator of your own reality. The world will become your playground when you are unchained from the binds of your self imposed limitations fueled by fear. Now that’s living. Full of potential and possibility. FREE.
To do that, we must learn to push past these barriers to reach the limits we are capable of reaching and live life on our own terms – not by the terms imposed by our fears. We want to expand that comfort zone. But where does it all originate?
Where does the comfort zone come from?
These bars that keep us trapped in our comfort zones are forged from
- past experiences (maybe you failed in the past and don’t want to fail again; your past doesn’t determine your future)
- limiting beliefs (are your beliefs well-grounded? or just fluff or limited perspectives based on your past?)
- innate subconscious aversion (typically biological and self-preserving in nature, i.e fear of heights, pain, etc.)
and held in place by one thing – FEAR. That’s right. The comfort zone is self-contained by fear. Fear of risk and uncertainty. Fear of failure. Fear of rejection. Fear of what might happen. Fear of what people will think. It’s all just fear.
But how do you get past this fear? Given that most of these fears are unfounded or outdated in our modern world, the answer lies in taking small steps to stretch those limits further and further to build your comfort level and confidence out there facing the world. When you do, your zone will grow larger to where you feel in your element and at calm within situations that send most home quivering. You want to eradicate fear from all areas, little by little. That means:
- Taking risks
- Facing rejection
- Diving into social pressure
- Dealing with uncertainty
- Trying new things
- Challenging your beliefs
- Handling the fear
- Confronting the discomfort
In other words, what most of the world isn’t doing. The comfort zone diary is a great tool to do just that.
The Comfort Zone Diary
On your phone, in a physical notebook (do people still utilize those? Handwriting is a lost art), on your computer, or in a cloud document accessible anytime, anywhere across multiple platforms and devices, create your own comfort zone diary.
Essentially, what you’ll be doing is documenting the things that you’ve done that have put you outside of your comfort zone. These entries will later serve as a valuable tool to your personal growth. You will see that your fears aren’t so scary, your limits aren’t what you thought they were, and you are stronger than you had imagined. Once you pile these up over time in your comfort zone diary, they’ll fuel a helluva lot of confidence and personal strength.
This can be as simple as you want or as detailed as you need. Here are a few things to consider:
- What you did
- How you felt
- What you did to overcome
- What the result was
You don’t need to write a term paper for each entry (that’ll turn you off from wanting to do it and make analyzing it later a tricky task), but it should have enough meat on its bones to dig into it later on and extract valuable lessons and confidence boosts.
How do you find fuel to feed into your diary? I’m glad you asked…
Seek Out the Discomfort
Of course, all of this has to be bolstered by the simple fact that you are making it a habit to venture OUT of your comfort zone in the first place. How else are you going to add entries to the comfort zone diary?
Life many times will put the ball in your court unsolicited to spur your individual growth by the hands of destiny, but there’s also a strong component of some good ‘ol fashioned personal initiative at work here. If you stay shut off from the world like a hermit, it’s going to be pretty difficult to make that comfort zone grow.
My recommendation is to set mini goals for yourself. Say, for example:
I’m going to add 3 things to my comfort zone diary this week.
Mark them down and take pleasure in every entry. Celebrate your successes. Treat yourself. If you can’t do 3* a week, then do 2. If you can’t do 2, then do 1. But make it more than 0. Make it a game. Look forward to it.
That doesn’t mean you have to go skydiving every day, although that’ll certainly stretch your comfort zone. You can find ways to expand your comfort zone in the small, day to day things. Don’t worry so much about making huge leaps daily. Every little bit counts towards your account, and it’ll build lots of compound interest over time that’s reflected in your character.
***You can repeat things in your comfort zone diary. The first time you do it won’t erase that fear. It often-times takes multiple occasions.
Daily Examples of Breaking Through the Comfort Zone
Expanding your comfort zone is a simple daily practice. Try these on for size:
- Approach the stunner at Starbucks
- Ask for their number
- Go to a crowded place full of strangers all alone
- Go to places you’ve never been before with no idea what to expect
- Go out looking purposely odd by common standards
- Any of these I’ve written about here
These can be anything from riding rollercoasters to killing spiders. Speaking in public to making an uncomfortable phone call. If it involves pushing past that uncomfortable feeling, it’s good to go.
For example, while reading any of those, did you feel your heart pick up the pace? Did you feel your breathing get heavier? This is very good.
Take consciousness in these moments. Clear your mind, and let that feeling fester there. Recognize that feeling. Welcome it. Understand it. Why is it there? What does it feel like? Don’t fear it. Learn to love that adrenaline. You’re alive. When you feel your palms sweating, heart beating, and prickles of anxiety flooding your brain, that’s your mind letting you know that you’re getting to the edge of your comfort zone.
You’re only one step away from making it grow. What separates you from a bigger comfort zone is ACTION.
How To Take the Plunge
As if it were that simple right? Just do it! Record it! Boom! Easier said than done, huh.
Being able to venture outside of your comfort zone is going to come down to primarily 3 things: Motivation, Know-How, and Personal Experience.
Let’s hit these more in detail:
is the biggest push to escape the comfort zone. Consider this: If your family was trapped inside a burning building with no one else around, would you run in to try to save them? DUH.
Doing something like that is quite beyond the realm of the common comfort zone [unless you’re a firefighter 😉 just showing you that the comfort zone is malleable], but you wouldn’t even hesitate to do it. That’s the power of motivation.
This motivation can come from many areas, and it’s highly individual. But I invite you to find yours. My top 3 are:
Dreams, goals, and vision
What inspires you and lights that fire? These are powerful motivators. If you need to make cold calls and put yourself out there to get leads for your dream business, that’s what you’re going to do. If you need to drop everything and move for your career, that’s what you’re going to do. If you’re out of shape and want a great body, you’re going to go to the gym despite feeling out of place and stared at. Obstacles and fear disappears when the desire is great. Just like the fire example above. You act because there is no other option. If you haven’t found that vision for your life, what are you waiting for?!
A Lust for Life
The simple fact of being alive is enough to make you want to go and experience new things and step out of your comfort zone. There is so much out there to see and do. Don’t let it pass you by because of that little voice in your head! Live it to the fullest. Trust in life and trust in yourself. Step up to the plate and swing batter batter. Remember that by expanding your comfort zone, you will gain power and strength. You will be one step closer to ultimate freedom.
Consciousness of Death
Let’s not get morbid here, but do me a favor and go drive by a cemetery. You’re not going to be here forever. Make sure that while you’re here alive, you’re actually living. Time is ticking.
You get one life. Go live it.
When you have the right motivation, you will dive in despite these next two. See more below.
As has been discussed, escaping the comfort zone is to escape fear. Being as that fear comes from fear of uncertainty, risk, and so forth, figuring out how to do whatever you want to attempt the best way can do a lot to assuage those fears and make you more apt to go out and do them! Everyone fears the unknown, so make it KNOWN.
Do your research, look at others who have done the same, and then model yourself after what they do and what they’ve learned. Then you will have more trust in what you’re doing.
If you were afraid of water and told to dive in the pool without knowing how to swim, of course you’d freak. But if you knew how to swim, knew there was a lifeguard, and knew you could touch the bottom of the pool, all of a sudden you’d feel much more willing to jump in.
The same goes for taking business risks, social pressure, and any of the other common comfort zone bars out there.
Whether you act from being forced to, motivation, know-how, or any combination thereof, eventually you will gain personal experience. Sometimes all it takes is for you to jump in and see firsthand that everything will be okay for you to really realize that those barriers were just illusions.
Even if you fail, you’ll see that you learned and picked yourself back up. Everything will be fine.
This will add up over time, and when you look back, you’ll see just how much you’ve done and how it’s contributed to expanding your comfort zone.
That’s the main power of the comfort zone diary. Using it as a log to look back on.
The act of recording the entries can be very eye-opening and beneficial in and of itself, but the real strength from this practice comes from using it as a tool to look back on. Whenever you’re feeling that fear of making a move and expanding your comfort zone, look back through your comfort zone diary.
- Gain strength from your past successes.
- Gain wisdom from your past failures.
- Gain confidence from knowing you’ve walked through that fire before, and you’re still here.
When you look back at all the things you’ve gone for despite that discomfort, it’ll show you once more that you CAN do it. You’ve felt this feeling before. You’ve gone for it anyways. You’ve overcome.
Go for it.
Adaptable to Other Areas
To round this out, I’d like to finish by saying that the general concept of journaling or keeping a diary is extremely beneficial from an overall life standpoint and is applicable to several different areas as a tool for growth.
You can use journaling for personal reflection, record of problems you’ve dealt with, other mini goals you have to track progress (approach logs, gym logs, etc.), and anything else you can think of. The sky is the limit here.
Now Go Start Your Own Comfort Zone Diary
There you have it. We’ve discussed the comfort zone, what it is, and how to overcome it – as well as doing some comfort zone journaling – (diarying?) as a tool to progress, reflect, and gain strength.
Like the idea of a comfort zone diary? Put it into play and let me know what you think. It’s a fantastic tool.
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