There’s a weird phenomenon I’ve noticed all throughout my life where the more I subject myself to discomfort the happier I am, I think this phenomenon became increasingly apparent to me in first year of university, where I wanted to make the best impression possible, you know typical freshman behavior, it’s a new school, new network of people, new city so, I really felt a need to reinvent who I was as a human being, especially on a kind of social skills basis.
So, in order to do that, I was forcing myself outside of my comfort zone so frequently it’s as if it was some sort of game, it’s like I was able to peel back a layer of reality and see some sort of one-to-one relationship between subjecting myself to discomfort and upgrading who I was as a human being now that I’m in my old age I don’t necessarily think that is a one-to-one relationship more on that later, but I was definitely onto something because I felt incredible, I was energetic optimistic I remember waking up in the morning not being tired, because I was ready to tackle the day with energy and although this euphoria didn’t last forever, I never forgot how I felt and I remember the importance of viewing the comfort zone and the effect it has on your overall well-being and the way you live your life.
So, in this article we’re going to talk about a few things about the comfort zone, and how if you can gain a better understanding of how the comfort zone works, you can start living life on your terms instead of its terms because it has a lot more control over the way you live your life, then you might think.
So, here are some things about the comfort zone and hopefully you can apply them to your life as well ,so everything you’re physically capable of doing in this world falls into one of two categories inside the comfort zone or outside the comfort zone.
The things that are inside the comfort zone are easy for you to do comfortable, they take little or no effort to do and there’s pretty much no mental resistance in the way of doing that thing, like driving, for a lot of people driving is completely in the comfort, you know you drive to work, you drive to your house, you drive to the store to pretend to buy vitamins, since driving is so easy at one point or another, your brain went and subconsciously placed it inside the comfort zone so, you don’t really think about doing it before you do it, it’s just something you do, okay.
How about going for a run, a lot harder isn’t it it’s more physically strenuous requires, more preparation, it makes you lose your breath or sweat, and if you haven’t ran for a while you’ll probably be really sore the next day, and because you know running is physically strenuous and hard to do, your brain at one point or another when placed it outside the comfort zone.
The further outside the comfort zone something is the more mental resistance, there is in the way of doing that thing, but here’s where things get kind of interesting, running is good for you after a week of running every day, you can find that your mental energy increases your outlook on life is better and more optimistic, and after a week of driving you kind of feel nothing, it’s just driving, so there really isn’t a clear-cut relationship between things that are inside the comfort zone, outside the comfort zone and the value that these things have on your life.
In fact the comfort zone is terrible at telling you what’s good for you, and what’s bad for you, what activities you should adopt into your life, and what activities you should avoid.
So let’s take walking for example, walking is probably inside your comfort zone, and running is outside of it, but it doesn’t mean that walking is bad for you, in the same way stabbing yourself in the leg with a pencil is probably outside of your comfort zone but doesn’t mean it’s good for you, so there really isn’t a clear-cut relationship between things that are inside the comfort zone, outside the comfort zone, and the value that these things have on your life, all the comfort zone is concerned with, is keeping you inside of it, and the way it does that is not only does it make sure that things outside of it are really uncomfortable and hard to do, it’s also always shrinking if you don’t do anything about it, unless you venture at least a little bit beyond the borders of the comfort zone, it will get smaller and harder to escape, and this is something that most people have experienced in their lives whether they are aware of it or not.
In my life this happens all the time, like when halo 5 came out a few years ago, I spent so much time just playing it for hours and hours every day, eating Doritos sweet chili heat and drinking Mountain Dew like a real gamer, and after days of doing this binging a video game and not doing anything outside of my comfort zone things, that were previously just on the edge of my comfort zone, like going to the gym, the comfort zone shrank to a point where going to the gym was now extremely difficult and very hard to bring myself to do.
You may have also experienced this type of thing where maybe you’re on vacation and it’s sort of one of those sit around and don’t really do much vacations, you’re kind of on your phone a lot on a couch maybe the weather is really nice and you start to become soft, you know, you don’t really want to do many interesting things or very hard things or anything that will take much effort, you kind of just become a blob, you feel pathetic.
So what have we learned, we’ve learned that in order to keep the comfort zone from shrinking, we have to do things that are outside of the comfort zone to keep the comfort zone large, but we also learned that the comfort zone in general is a pretty terrible guide for telling us what to do with their life, what activities are useful to us, and what activities don’t really do anything.
So basically we need a solution to this problem, we need a more reliable guide for making decisions, and I think you can’t go wrong with making values based decisions, your values figure out :
What kind of person you want to be.
What kind of traits you want to adopt.
What kind of skills you want to learn.
And make your decisions based off of that, and using the knowledge of the comfort zone be aware that any potential discomfort in the way of doing, the thing that you want to do isn’t a real obstacle, it’s all just in your head, if you live life this way the comfort zone can also work in your favor,
because as you start living this new lifestyle that may have at first been unnatural to you, the longer you live that way, the comfort zone is expanding to meet you. So living the way you want to live will become increasingly natural and dare I say comfortable.
So to bring this whole thing back to my freshman year, it’s becoming clear to me that the reason I felt so good wasn’t necessarily, because I was just uncomfortable all the time, the reason I felt so good was because I was living the life that I wanted to live and I disregarded discomfort altogether, and when you no longer let discomfort have a say in how you make any of your decisions, the potential for what you can do with your life expands dramatically.