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You probably would’ve heard about comfort zone a thousand times before coming to this Article. So had I. Yet there wasn’t any real fuss about it, in my life, until recently.

In one of the recent editions of “Self-Improvement Sunday” (the weekly newsletter that I send), I talked about the ability to adjust well. With so much happening around us, the ability to adapt quickly and efficiently can draw several opportunities. Opportunities, that if utilized well, can steer us to exponential growth.

However, no greatness can ever be manifested from the couch or the bed. With as much fun as it seems, watching Dark Desires on Netflix or texting your lover till morning; won’t take you anywhere in life (except the couch or the bed).

Reaching newer levels of growth and position in life, mentally, physically, and financially, requires a high degree of effort and creativity that can only be procured by stepping outside the comfort zone.

What is Comfort Zone, and How do I know I am in it?

Comfort Zone could range from our regular and mundane patterns of living and behavior to extremely pivotal life-based decisions. For instance, the choice of food we mostly order, the kind of clothes we generally wear, the type of people we prefer to hang out with, even our way of keeping stuff around the house, all have inherent comfort associated with them.

Our preferences define our zone of comfort that we have built around ourselves. And a mere conscious realization about their existence brings us closer to breaking down our mental walls.

What is comfort zone - Aashish Vats

Make no mistake. Comfort is lusciously sweet. It’s like buttery-sweet pasta in an infinitely more delectable mode1)In case you didn’t know, Pasta is the most popular food in the world. Not only it is the most consumed food on the planet, but very easily accessible. Hence, I felt disposed to make the collation.. (You know that one meal where every bite is mouthwatering and totally dissolves on the taste buds while it feels like the Bahamas. Ahh… yess, the little pleasures of life.) Therefore, as humans, we all are greedy for comfort.  

The most subtle identification of our comfort zone is reflected in our inclination to predict and control every circumstantial aspect of our life. We want every spin of coin and every roll of dice to cast in our favor. We hope everyone would behave according to us. In a nutshell, we try to control our lives when we clearly can’t. And neither should we.

Spoiler Alert

If we try to change or control the variety of situations that may pop up in our life, we’ll end up restricting ourselves. Our existence and experience will then become a slave of our imaginations and desires. And we’ll only feel comfortable in chasing those set definitions. 

Remember, sometimes not getting what you want is a wonderful stroke of luck.

From my personal experience, one can never fully perform or express himself till he learns to intuitively appreciate change. Things are never meant to befall exactly the way we hope. However, we can still influence our thought process to be dynamic, mindful, and fearless.

I have been an introvert whole my life. In fact, I can still vividly remember eating my lunch alone while being on a school picnic along with the other 250 kids. And from being a definite self-absorbed and unsociable person, I turned myself around. I turned around to become a potential dickhead who could easily ask out girls at concerts, movies, metro, parks, and even in libraries.

Therefore, for the sake of this article (and my sanity), I took this responsibility upon myself to share some healthy working tips to push oneself outside the zone of comfort. They are all personally tried and tested and have delivered proven results over time.

#1) Depose the law of Assumed Continuance

You and me, and everyone else, we all have an inherent functionality deep-rooted in our thinking. As the great planners that we think we are, we instinctively outline our life on a long-term basis. Our plans and life goals are laid out for years to come based upon our faith that our life will continue.

No matter if you’re a nihilist or atheist, we all have faith that our life will continue. (It’s impossible to live without any degree of faith. But that’s an argument for another time.) This faith is reflected in our behavior, our planning, and even our accounting concepts2)Check out: The Going Concern Concept of Accounting. And faith is, by nature, comforting.

But we never really know about our date with death.

We instinctively plan about doing something for a longer duration. For instance, whenever we get motivated to study, we always think about multiple sessions in terms of weeks and months of hard work. But by the time we get to the second or third session, the motivation is lost. The same goes for gyms.

We exhibit the law of assumed continuance almost everywhere in daily life. It gives us a sense of importance and meaning. And to relinquish that meaning and importance is difficult and discomforting.

Whenever I feel stressed or anxious about anything, for instance, if things are not working out, or if the results aren’t as expected, my initial thought is to breakdown the whole situation till I can figure out what needs to be done immediately, and what are the things that I should save for later.

It doesn’t mean I don’t plan at all. But the basic idea behind planning is to have a sense of direction instead of trying to exactly replicate it to the fine prints. All actions are bound to deviate a little from the way they were originally planned due to the vast number of factors that aren’t entirely in our control.

After all, it is the ability to shift from years to months, months to weeks, weeks to days, days to hours, hours to minutes, and similarly minutes to seconds that is the essence of meditation. And once you get good at practicing meditation without closing your eyes, that is when life gets back to being a joyful endeavor3)Don’t confuse yourself here. I am not referring to any spiritual connotation, but just the practical context..

Try it now. Move your plans from years to seconds and experience the bliss of living. And do send me a card once you feel each of your problems is worthless and life is beautiful as it is.

#2) Consciousness is an all-important Key

When you get good with the first, the second becomes pretty natural.

If you are new to this website, then you must know that my first book – The Inevitable end of all Suffering – is in the pipeline and would be launched soon. In the book, I have taken up the topics of consciousness, subconsciousness, and the ability to focus for longer durations and discussed them at length.

For this purpose, I had to do a shitload of study and research. I read tons of books and eventually realized that we live most of our life in a subconscious state. Not that it’s bad, however, it deprives us of the ability to engage things on their merit.

Subconscious feels comfortable because we react in preset ways. We compare and classify things based upon predetermined, un-evolving, and biased values, and end up creating a zone of comfort around them. It is much easier than consciously evaluating everything, questioning our own values, and entertaining the possibility of being wrong.

How to get out of Comfort Zone - Aashish Vats

To be able to successfully step outside the comfort zone, first, we need to consciously accept and admit that we are mostly living in the comfort zone. Only then can we begin the process of trying anything else and new.

I have recently moved to a new city, and the degree of change inhabited in my lifestyle sometimes clobber me. As my subconscious reaction, often immediately, I cogitate moving back to old ways. However, conscious acceptance of reality and the ability to depose assumed continuance remind me that moving on and change is all part of life. Infact, it’s the essence of breaking the bubble of the comfort zone.

#3) Embrace the fear and act despite it

Everybody is afraid of something or the other. Fear has engulfed and induced all of us to work well below the thresholds of our potential.

Want to start a new business? But you carry the fear of loss and failure.

Want to pursue dancing as a career option? But you fear being judged.

Want to write that book you always wished to write? But you fear insecurity in your career.

Most of us succumb to our fears, often immediately. Others fight it for a while before giving up. However, people who wish to be extra-ordinary, people who aim greatness, people who chase their dreams with passion and madness, do not yield. They fight, they smile, and they fight again. They just don’t accept defeat.

If you wish to do something that nobody has ever done before, then be prepared to do something that nobody has ever dared to do before. Fear will always be there. The trick is to embrace it and then act despite it. You’ll find the courage to do so once you’re mentally prepared to step out of your comfort zone.

Years ago, I came across this beautiful quote (In the image below). Whenever I reach a point where I can feel myself breaking into fear, I always remind this quote to myself.

Roughly translated in English, it means – “once you have set your mind to fly high, then there is no point in measuring the height of the sky.”

#4) Do not aim 100%. Target only 5%.

Sometimes we come across new challenges/opportunities, but we immediately discard them due to a lack of or no experience. When you find yourself in a similar situation next time, whether it is about learning a new sport, or trying a different style of cooking, or reading something that you don’t usually prefer; don’t outrightly reject it.

However, instead of trying to learn it entirely, target only 5% progress at a time. You wouldn’t feel as much discomforting as otherwise. Build small but build strong.

#5) List down 3 things you don’t like and then do them anyway.

We all know more than a few things that make us twitch our bellies and make us vomit in our own mouth. Things that we inherently hate and spell out a bunch of four-letter (f*ck) words to describe. Things that we never want to engage with. For me, they are – watching horror movies, observing people shit themselves on social media4)Here, I am mostly referring to TikTok, and ironing my clothes.

Things that we don’t like are psychologically discomforting and challenging. Nevertheless, in a backward way, doing such things can be highly rewarding.

Watching horror movies can at times be interesting and super funny5)Don’t ask. Observing people on social media helps us to understand how different people think and feel. And well-ironed clothes are essential to keep your corporate job.

You must understand that the ability to learn well is not only more valuable than ever before, but the value compounds over time. The things that you learn, the lessons that you understand, the mistakes that you correct today will not only improve your ability to learn vital and valuable lessons tomorrow but will also help you to learn faster. And alike the value of money, the value of effort compounds over time.

Therefore, a habit that may not seem much valuable today can turn out to be significantly fruitful in the future. And hence, it is essential to develop a consistent habit of breaking out of the comfort zone.


Footnotes:-

In case you didn’t know, Pasta is the most popular food in the world. Not only it is the most consumed food on the planet, but very easily accessible. Hence, I felt disposed to make the collation.
Check out: The Going Concern Concept of Accounting
Don’t confuse yourself here. I am not referring to any spiritual connotation, but just the practical context.
Here, I am mostly referring to TikTok
Don’t ask