comfort zone myth

“you have to push yourself, you need to test yourself, get out of your comfort zone.” how many times have you heard that? what does that even really mean?

it means to put yourself at risk, to make yourself feel uncomfortable, to put yourself in a place where you feel less than confident, less than competent. but for WHAT exactly?

when is the last time putting yourself at risk constantly has led to something extraordinary?

we all know what happens when you HAVE to do something that makes you feel uncomfortable and stressed every time. we quit. it’s in our nature, right?

expand your comfort zone by working WITHIN it

instead of trying to break out of your comfort zone, doing the just opposite produces excellent results – no matter what it is you’re trying to accomplish.

take anyone at the top of their game.

Usain Bolt, for example. at the time of this writing, he’s known as the fastest human being on the planet. did he ever get out of his comfort zone? no!

if, as a college kid, he’d gone straight into the Olympics, not only would he have lost to more experienced runners, he’d likely fail over and over again. i know that, you know that, and he knew it too. it’s common sense.

so what did he do instead?

from an early age, he realized he could run pretty dang fast. someone introduced him to a running coach, whose only advice was to “practice.”

so he did. first weekly, then every day until he was able to gradually improve his speed.  

as he got faster, his confidence grew. his coach pushed him to enter his first race. he won – and his self-confidence continued to rise. he pushed himself by practicing more often and with more intensity. he just kept on winning, charlie sheen style. 

he kept on practicing, but focusing himself through self-discipline. he competed and won National and State races, and ultimately popped up on the International circuit. he continued training, got quicker, and his confidence continued to spike. he knew he was good at what he was doing. he’d been validated time and time again.

of course when the Olympics rolls around, he stuns the world with his crazy speed.

and you know the rest of the story.

Usain didn’t get out of his “comfort zone” once. he never put himself in danger or in a vulnerable position. what’s the point of that?

all he achieved was within his comfort zone, which grew in proportion to his growth in both confidence and competence. this was nurtured through constant practice, support, and the right environment.

practice, practice, practice

this actually works!

go ahead – think of anyone who is an experienced, acknowledged expert in their field. none of these people needed to put themselves in danger to get to where they are today.

what they did do was unapologetically improve on what they were good at, focusing and disciplining themselves to be an authority figure wherever they are. it’s more beneficial to master one art than be somewhat average at a bunch of little things.

you know yourself better than anyone. you know what your strengths are, so allow your intuition to guide your direction. just because someone says something doesn’t make it true, and definitely doesn’t make it true for you! continue to focus, hone your craft, and get yourself an accountabilibuddy if you really want to push yourself to that next notch.

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