When I was a kid, my brothers and I played hide-and-seek for hours and hours. I had one favorite hiding place that was very cozy, and for a long time, nobody could find me there. But then, the inevitable happened. My brother discovered my hiding place—with me in it.
Apparently I thought he had a poor memory, because I went back to that cozy hiding place a few weeks later, during another hide-and-seek game. My brother quickly figured out where I’d stashed myself, and dragged me from that place.
“Why’d you go back there when you knew I’d find you?” he asked.
“Because it’s my favorite hiding place,” I said.
So it goes with comfort zones. We tend to stay in them too long, even well beyond when they’ve served their purpose. Most of us are always in some sort of comfort zone. Often, we only leave one because we’re stepping into another one that offers greater rewards.
Comfort zones need to be assessed constantly with a sort of cost-benefit analysis. If a comfort zone costs you more than it serves your bigger game, then you need to leave it behind.
Do you tend to create and cling to comfort zones to avoid risk when you fear the unknown?
Are you in a job – or a relationship – that has gone sour but you’re so comfortable and leaving is scary?
If this sounds like you, you’re certainly not alone.
But here’s the deal… avoiding risk isn’t really the best strategy if you want to create a great life. Taking well-considered risks can be a very good move, as most successful people will tell you. Being comfortable isn’t really where you want to be. Creating chaos and feeling unsettled can lead to breakthroughs and greater opportunities (really!).
Yet, most of us tend to seek comfort physically and emotionally. The problem is that we aren’t always adept at evaluating whether being comfortable is where we really need to be. Sometimes—and more often than we may want to admit—discomfort, especially in the form of change, is what leads us from bad to good and from good to great.
Thomas Edison said, “We shall have no better conditions in the future if we are satisfied with all those which we have at present.”
Being aware and alert to the nature of your comfort zone(s) is critical if you want to play bigger in life. If you settle into a life or career without weighing the benefits and the detriments, then you run the risk of going on cruise control – or out of control altogether.
What comfort zone are you in? Does it serve you? I’d love to hear your thoughts.
More to come-