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Your comfort zone is not the enemy as long as you don’t let yourself stagnate in it. The moment you do, your comfort zone is going to trap you inside.
You’ll start putting more value in your comfort over risk-taking and goal-chasing. Where would that leave you in the long run? That’s right. You’ll still be stuck in your comfort zone. You’d be as you were years ago. Still doing the same mundane things, day in and day out.
You may tell yourself you’re happy and comfortable with what you have in your life. But deep inside, you know that’s not true. The dreams which have consumed you in the past are all gone, suffocated by your comfort zone.
If you don’t want to end up like this, then you need to start taking measures right now. Here are 5 easy techniques you can use to get out of your comfort zone:
Say ‘Yes’ More Often
In this context, saying ‘yes’ means being open to new opportunities, new ideas, new perspectives, and new challenges. It means saying ‘yes’ to things that will ultimately bring you out of your comfort zone and help you reach your dreams.
When you say ‘yes’ to new experiences, you may feel intimidated at first. But sooner or later, it’s going to get your adrenaline going. When you succeed and conquer these new challenges, you’ll feel a high like no other. It’s something you will never experience while you’re trapped inside your comfort zone.
When you take the bulls by the horn, and you succeed, you gain a lot of self-respect and self-confidence. You begin to see yourself in a different light. You’re not such a failure after all. And you begin to see the future in a more positive and more hopeful light.
Now, learning to say ‘yes’ doesn’t mean agreeing to everything and everyone that comes your way. The word ‘no’ is equally important as ‘yes,’ and you should know when to use both words properly.
When you say ‘yes’ to people and things who aren’t going to help you grow, then you’re not helping yourself. Saying ‘yes’ to people who want to take advantage of you is a recipe for disaster. Agreeing to do things that go beyond your moral boundaries and your values will only make you hate yourself. You’ll lose self-respect and your self-esteem.
Before you say ‘yes’ to anything, check first if it falls within your boundaries. If it does, then ask yourself how you’re going to benefit from the experience. Will you be more productive? Will you gain new skills? What will you stand to gain? You may be uncomfortable with trying out new things, but as long as you don’t violate any rules and you don’t hurt other people, then you should go for it.
Don’t be afraid to say ‘yes’ to trying new things. Don’t be afraid to say ‘yes’ even if you’ve failed before (perhaps you can do things a bit differently this time and try to avoid doing the things that lead you to your past failures). Don’t be afraid to say ‘yes’ to redeeming your past failures and salvaging your dreams.
Take Baby Steps
Stepping out of your comfort zone can be a daunting task, especially if you haven’t attempted to step out in many, many years. However, it’s not too late. For as long as you’ve got life in you and the strength and energy to pursue your dreams, you can still make a go for it.
Taking baby steps mean not rushing into trying new things. You don’t want to do everything all at once. For most people, rushing into things is a scary concept. Some people can stomach the thought of doing that, but the majority will be scared.
So, to make it easier, you can take small steps out of your comfort zone. It’s like taking one foot out the door first and looking around. When everything looks clear and you feel safe, you take another step forward. You can do the entire process of furtively looking around, making sure no one’s going to come at you to tackle you to the ground, for as long as you need to.
We all do things differently – some like to rush, some like to take it slow. Whatever floats your boat as long as it gets you out of your comfort zone.
Small victories count. It doesn’t matter how small you think it is, but as long as you’re making progress, then you’re doing great. It’s what all of us did when we were babies – we first learned to crawl on our bellies, then on our hands and knees, before finally attempting to stand up and learning to walk on our tiny feet.
You may not remember the number of times you’ve fallen. But I’m sure you can imagine your parents cheering you on from the sidelines, happy with every little progress you made. And you imagine yourself smiling at them and clapping your chubby little hands, looking mighty proud of yourself.
You’ve come a long, long way since then. But here you are again taking baby steps. This time you’re doing it for your goals and for your dreams in life. You may no longer have the luxury of having your parents on your side, but you can still do it. Cheer for yourself and celebrate each and every milestone you tick off your list.
Meet New People
In many ways, your comfort zone is your prison. You do the same things with the same crowd, with the same people. You become so comfortable with the status quo that the thought of meeting and getting to know new people frightens you.
What if they don’t like you? What if they hate you? What if they talk about you behind your back? Negative thoughts about how other people are going to react to you are always on your mind. You don’t want to look like a fool in front of strangers, so you keep to yourself.
While it’s true you can’t predict how people will perceive you, you don’t have to be a hostage to other’s opinion of you. You can’t control their thoughts or their emotions. We’re all free to choose who we’re going to like.