If you go to just about any bookstore, or spend any amount of time online, you’ll likely see at least a few books or essays on the “Comfort Zone”, and the unfortunate implications of living in this dreaded zone.
The majority of these books and essays discuss the sinister effects of living in the “Comfort Zone”. There are, within these books and essays, various methods related to “breaking out of the comfort zone”. But — I haven’t read every book or essay on the subject so this is a generalization — I find very few of these methods satisfactory, and I believe that’s due to the question.
“How Can I Break Out Of My Comfort Zone?”
It isn’t a bad question, necessarily, but it’s not a very good one. It is too broad and, yet, too vague. There are an infinite number of answers to the question, but it’s likely that the answers suggested will be less-than-satisfactory to those engaging with the question.
Two years ago, give or take, I asked myself that same exact question. I came up with an endless number of answers, none of which were particularly satisfactory, and few of which I actually felt compelled to do.
The “Comfort Zone” is, in and of itself, not a bad thing. Being comfortable and secure — stable, if you will — is very important, especially in a world of constant movement.
But, the problem arises when personal meaning and drive has evaporated, and the life’s shades have taken on a rather murky grayish-color.
Within those situations, the question of “How can I break out of my comfort zone?” can be useful as a creative exercise, and it may lead to new ideas and assumptions, but it’s often ineffective at actually addressing the situation at hand.
As mentioned, the “Comfort Zone” is not, in and of itself, a bad thing. It is, rather, the lack of meaning and purpose that living within this metaphorical zone for too long can inspire.
It is worth pointing out, however, that the two — living in the Comfort Zone and lacking meaning/purpose — are not necessarily linked, even if there is a correlation.
Rather than asking “How can I break out of my comfort zone?”, it’s important to address the root cause and to ask an entirely different question — or, in my case, a series of different questions.
“What Inspires Me? What Excites Me? What Have I Wanted To Do That I Haven’t Done?”
When we sit down with these questions — preferably with a pen or pencil — a series of answers come forth. Many of these answers were, in my case, expected, I just hadn’t acknowledged them as such. Some of the answers were less expected, but certainly truthful.
By sitting down and asking questions that pertain to our very passions and purposes in life, we engage with inspiration and meaning directly. There is no need to ask any number of silly questions or to engage in any number of silly practices to “break out of your comfort zone”; there is only the need to acknowledge that life isn’t as meaningful as it could be, and that this situation can be remedied in a manner that, is relatively speaking, quite easy.
Right after I wrote up the list, I found a sense of inspiration and exciting flowing through me. Much of what I had written was familiar, but it was novel and exciting because I hadn’t engaged with any of those things for quite some time.
But, when you write this list, you must then take action. By choosing just one thing to focus on, if only for a few days or so, you must be willing to allow that sense of inspiration and passion to guide you.
Becoming A Professional Writer was the first thing on my list. It was exciting, but scary, because I had never written professionally before nor did I really know what to do or how to do it. And yet, I was inspired to write professionally because I loved writing, I knew that I had a little bit of skill, and, it must be said, I needed some money.
So, I did. I didn’t plan on doing it for very long, but I took the time to read and research, and then I wrote some “practice content”. It was very fun, and while I was within that state of inspiration, I found that the other aspects of my life were overflowing with inspiration, as well!
The material that I was writing — outside of my work — was better and more compelling. Wonderful people were coming into my life. I was feeling healthier. And, then, I realized that since I was earning money online, I wasn’t constrained to one particular place in the world. I could, essentially, go just about anywhere.
So, I turned my sights to Cambodia. Moving there, right outside of High School, was scary. But, I was so inspired by what I had seen and heard, that the fear and uncertainty was easy to push through. There was no need for me to forcefully “break out” of anything, because that state of inspiration dissolved the inherent gloominess that comes from lacking meaning and purpose.
That’s the thing, if you know what inspires and excites you, then do that thing. Even if it’s just for a little bit. Inspiration begets inspiration and, before you know it, you will not only be “breaking out of your comfort zone” but engaged in meaningful work that lights you up on the inside and outside.
Just spend a few minutes doing something that’s genuinely inspiring and exciting, even if it’s scary — there’s a good chance that it will be, which is part of why it’s so exciting. By the time you’re done, there’s a good chance you’ll remain in that inspired state, and this will carry over in the other facets of your life.
If you don’t know what inspires you, exactly, then try to think of things that you find beautiful. For myself, I find certain pieces of music very beautiful, as well as certain books. And, by spending time around those things and engaging with them, I often experience that same sense of inspiration, which carries over.
In the end, breaking out of your comfort zone is easy. Just go to the end, and focus on what inspires and excites you. There’s no need to “break out” of anything; merely the need to acknowledge and surrender what it is that you truly love.
Thank you so much for reading this essay! I hope that you found it compelling, meaningful, and inspiring! If you have any questions or concerns for me, or would just like to have a conversation, you can reach me at “email@example.com”.
Best Wishes & Lots Of Love