Ex-lawyer turned relationship coach

The Trouble With Comfort Zones

Self-help gurus spread the idea that growth, success, love, and other crucial elements of life begin at the end of your comfort zone. And there’s truth to that. Certainly. But it’s also very cryptic advice.

After all, how far outside the comfort zone do you go? A bit, a lot, or halfway? And once you leave your comfort behind, what direction do you go? Is everything that scares or unsettles you worth doing?

Of course not. And most of us don’t need some smart ass with a blog to tell them. 

Everyone already knows not to put on a blindfold and run into traffic, or not to uproot their entire lives to move to Alaska and suffer crippling loneliness. Very scary, but small chance of success.

So it’s not about scaring yourself to death.

Leaving your comfort zone is largely about coping with fear. A priceless skill we all ought to cultivate. 

The trouble, however, is that almost everyone with a soapbox is telling us that the comfort zone is bad. That we ought to ‘crush’ it and reduce it to smithereens so that we have nowhere to go but onwards towards happiness and fulfillment. 

But that’s simply not true.

The comfort zone is perfectly capable of making you happy.  After all, it’s a safe place where you can relax and shift your attention to all the things that aren’t tied to survival. 

Like connecting with friends, reading books, lifting weights, making art, sharpening your skills, or contemplating what you want to do with your life.

Activities that are far more likely to lead to success than jumping out of an airplane or swan diving off a cliff. Fun. But it won’t make you a more valuable asset or friend.

That’s not to say that expanding your horizon is bad. In fact, it’s very important to occasionally leave your comforts behind. Especially if it takes you to where you want to be or if you want to get out of a rut.

Just don’t believe that staying in your comfort zone is bad for you. It’s not.

The majority of your growth will take place inside the safety of your comfort zone. Not outside. 

By Jeroen Elsing
Ex-lawyer turned relationship coach