How to Move to Your Discomfort Zone and Achieve Personal Growth


Growth happens at the edge of your comfort zone. If you just stay within its boundaries, you’re never going to expand it. You’ll want to live in the discomfort zone: This is where you challenge yourself without pushing yourself so hard that you end up breaking.

Discomfort Zone

The comfort zone can be defined as follows:

The comfort zone is a behavioral state within which a person operates in an anxiety-neutral condition, using a limited set of behaviors to deliver a steady level of performance, usually without a sense of risk.

Judith Bardwick

On the opposite end of the scale is the discomfort zone, or what we could also call the growth zone. By taking risks and going beyond the anxiety-neutral condition, you’ll get the chance to develop yourself. Yes, it’s a little (or quite) uncomfortable, but the discomfort doesn’t kill us; it makes us stronger.

Actually, in some sense, discomfort is a good thing: it is letting you know that you’re growing. Remember when you were a child and going through intense growth spurts? Your legs felt weird and uncomfortable in the joints simply because you were growing. Think of the discomfort zone as something similar – a zone in which intense growth occurs. Hopefully, that will make it easier to stick to it.

Of course, you also don’t want to overwhelm yourself. If you reach a state of complete panic, you’ll probably be too overwhelmed to learn much from the experience. Instead, you should try to go for the sweet spot between boredom and panic.

Discomfort Zone

However, it’s tempting to think that being afraid is the same as being in a state of panic. It’s not. You’ll probably still feel quite nervous or scared at the optimal level for growth. But you’re not yet fainting or developing a trauma.

Here is an overview of the stages involved in moving from the comfort to the discomfort zone:

Discomfort Zone

Source: PositivePsychology.com ‘Leaving The Comfort Zone’ Toolkit

Moving from Comfort to Discomfort Zone

So what can you do to move from your comfort zone to the growth zone? Here are a few examples:

  1. Challenge daily patterns: Maybe you follow a strict routine or always do the same things in the same order. Try changing it up and challenging the way you live your life. It can be very small things, such as turning off your smartphone before going to bed, eat something new, or to take a different route to school or work.
  2. Learn new skills: Learning something new requires a period of being a beginner and just exploring and trying out. That may be scary, but also liberating if you surrender to being a beginner.
  3. Get creative: Creating something from scratch is challenging on many levels and usually very messy.
  4. Challenge your beliefs: Our behavior is controlled by our beliefs, so if we want to be braver, we need to challenge the beliefs that are holding us back. Furthermore, challenging our beliefs might allow us to gain new perspectives. Engage with different cultures, read books, learn about the world!

If you want to read more about how to overcome your fears, read on here! It’s a challenging journey, pirate, but the benefits of going on the journey anyway are immeasurable. So go for it! You can do it! 🔥

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