More and more I am of the opinion that comfort zones are misunderstood. I don’t mean to say that we don’t know what they are; I mean that we simply don’t understand how we come by them.
I don’t know if it’s a recent societal development (I use the term “recent” loosely) or if it is a natural human instinct, but general consensus seems to be that if it makes you uncomfortable, stay away from it. Going a bit further, the feeling of “uncomfort” stems from, I believe, fear of the unknown.
I hear people talking about getting out of their comfort zones, and that’s good. It makes me feel like they understand what they’re talking about… but I SEE people living within their comfort zones getting frustrated with routine and the mundane.
Comfort zones don’t grow on trees. Nor are they living beings which wander the earth in search of someone bored with which to pair up. You can’t wish comfort zones into existence, they don’t necessarily grow as you age, and people can’t buy them and give them as gifts to those yearning to grow.
Comfort zones are simply uncomfortable zones to which we have become accustomed. Sometime in your life you may have decided, “I’ll eat this strange cuisine that is foreign to my culture” and now it is no longer strange and you have no problem enjoying said cuisine. Someone else you know may not have come to that decision point yet and thus doesn’t know what the cuisine tastes like and therefore fears it.
Example: my family went on a cruise a few years back, and if you’ve ever been on a cruise you know that the lunches and dinners are all-you-can-eat appetizers, entrees, and desserts. Every night I would order a few things I had not tasted before, and now my seafood horizons have been greatly expanded.
Specifically, one night I decided to order escargot… also known as snails. If you’ve never had snails before, it scares you and grosses you out; it’s uncomfortable thinking about eating them. But if you’ve decided to buck comfort for the sake of growing (or perhaps adventure), you would know that they feel and taste a lot like butter-slathered stuffed mushrooms and is therefore not an uncomfortable idea.
Do you want to develop a larger comfort zone? My challenge to you would be to face your fears and decide to get uncomfortable.