Our greatest growth in life comes from pushing through our present comfort zone. This process starts at birth. A baby feels safe, warm and secure in its mother’s womb. However, to stay there much longer than the gestation period would mean certain death for both the mother and child. Life began for all of us as we left the comfort and security of the womb and faced the strange and unfamiliar world outside. Our first breath is often a painful experience, a cry of protest at temporary discomfort. Yet without this experience, our life would be fleetingly short.
Each milestone of growth and accomplishment for a young child involves leaving an existing comfort zone. The first crawl, the first step, many new, first experiences all push from the familiar into the unknown. For the child the process of pushing through their area of comfort leads to increasing independence and the formation of their unique personality and character.
This foundational principle continues into adult life. In order to enrich our life, it is necessary to step out of our present comfort zone. Personal growth occurs when a person moves out of their area of comfort and into the unknown and challenge of a fresh experience. There is a stage of risk and discomfort before any significant growth in our life. For each of us there comes a point where we hold back and resist. It becomes easier to remain static and comfortable than to keep moving forward.
What holds us back?
Whenever we consider taking on a new project, or venture, or want to put ourselves out there, we feel fear. Fear is natural, and is to be expected. It is our body’s way of letting us know we are moving out of our comfort zone. Fear can alert us to possible threats and dangers. However unlike our cave men predecessors, many of the threats today are not life threatening. Fear can warn you and enable you to be more aware and cautious, but need not stop you progressing. If you want to move forward on the journey towards where you want to be, you will have to confront your fears. Unfortunately many people allow fear to stop them, and don’t achieve their goals and aspirations.
Fear does not feel comfortable, and many people want to avoid it at all costs. Everyone experiences fear. People who want to be successful feel the fear and do it anyway! Fear is part of the package. Yes, there is always a risk of failure, but that needs to balanced with the old adage “Nothing Ventured, Nothing Gained”. A child’s risk of falling when taking those first faltering steps is high. Yet, what a transformation to a child’s life once they have mastered the skill of walking! Limitless possibilities are opened up in the child’s life. The falls and tumbles are soon forgotten overshadowed by the new adventures and experiences.
Pushing through to leave your comfort zone is hard work. Nature demonstrates that graphically for us. The chick pecking it’s way out of the shell, the butterfly struggling from it’s cocoon, illustrate how that struggle is necessary in order to bring life, growth and success.
The good news is that once we have faced our fears and done it anyway, we have moved forward to a new place. Every time we push through and live out of our comfort zone we will never be the same. Growth happens!
Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. US Supreme Court Justice, once said “Man’s mind, once stretched by a new idea, never regains its original dimensions. ”
I believe this is true of not only our mind, but also of who we are as unique people. Life moves into a new dimension through each experience we go through in life.
However there is also the possibility that once we have pushed through our comfort zone into a new place of growth, we rest too long there, and create a different comfort zone!
Let’s keep pushing through and moving forward towards growing our uniqueness and living our life fully.
Barbara White, of Beyond Better Development, speaks and writes with passion to inspire and empower people in their journey of personal growth towards the excellence in life that they aspire to.
This article was written for her newsletter Growing Beyond Better. If you would like to receive Growing Beyond Better regularly, you can subscribe for this free newsletter at Barbara's website http://www.livingbeyondbetter.com