Your Comfort Zone is Actually an Unproductive Zone

by Uche Onegeria 10 Feb , 2016  

I told my good friend this today and he completed it with “…is actually your prison”. I should have stolen that for my headline but my profound ethics around stealing anyone’s lines is very firm.

So back to the topic of discussion – Wikipedia defines comfort zone below:

The comfort zone is a psychological state in which a person feels familiar, at ease, in control and experiences low anxiety and stress. In the zone a steady level of performance is possible. Bardwick defines the term as “a behavioral state where a person operates in an anxiety-neutral position.” Brown describes it as “Where our uncertainty, scarcity and vulnerability are minimized — where we believe we’ll have access to enough love, food, talent, time, admiration. Where we feel we have some control.”

Wikipedia also went on to say that “Stepping out of the comfort zone raises anxiety and generates a stress response”. However, it confirms that “this results in an enhanced level of concentration and focus”.

This is just a limited resource from 1 source, I can run around the internet, digging up texts that are synonymous to the ones above, and backing up the same claim that leaving your comfort zone enables you to be alert and perform optimally.

The Wikipedia definition above started by saying that it is a psychological state; which means that it is all in your mind. It is your mind’s prison (just like my friend emphasized). It is just like when you live a lie or a life that is not true. Living in your comfort zone is like being the fake/counterfeit you. You are literally a land filled with riches but largely unexplored. What is the use? You might as well be a piece of wood. (Just kidding). You remember that if you live close to a stinking filthy dump, with time, it ceases to affect you. That is exactly what it is like.

Source: theworryfreelife

It is an uncomfortable zone because just like a real prison cell which is a room as big as a match box, you live in it, not knowing the size of the world outside and and what is happening there while you remain locked up. It is truly sad because the world will not wait for you. We all know what happens when prisoners are released. Most of them cannot cope outside prison. In fact, because all they know is prison life, they could commit another crime to get sent back in. Even with the less than humane conditions in prison like: the risk of getting physically attacked,even raped, starved or isolated in there, they prefer to go back.
It is even worse also because unlike a true prisoner, a comfort zone occupant does not know that he is locked up and thus never strives to leave. He would just exist in there with his……limitations. Just like the story of the once-shackled elephant that when unshackled, he could only go as far as his shackles could let him. Never farther than that.

Why do people still remain in their comfort zones? Knowing all these, you might ask “Why do people still remain in their comfort zones?” That is funny because I can bet anything that you are in your comfort zone as well. I know that I am but I have taken several steps forward…on tip-toes outside mine. The trick is not to take huge leaps. Imagine what will happen to the man below if he fell? Apply wisdom and caution through it all.

Not that taking huge leaps is a bad idea but not many people are strong enough to leap outside their comfort zone and stand firm. It is always good to:
Image from
  1. First make up your mind to leave
  2. Begin the walk
  3. Look back if you need to but never go back.
  4. (If you go back), steel yourself to venture out again and then always go farther than your original point.
Being in the comfort zone has never helped anyone. A book that I read lately, The Dream Giver by Bruce Wilkinson gave many examples that I never even thought about. Even from the Bible, when the Israelites stepped outside their comfort zone (Egypt) towards the Promised Land. It was not an easy task. I know that if some of us were Moses, we would have commanded the ground to open up and swallow them all.

I mean, I am sitting here thinking that God has told them to leave and promised them a beautiful destination, he added many miracles to prove to them that he is the God that makes the impossible possible. However, a couple of steps outside their comfort zone (Egypt), they turned on Moses, each other, God himself and even themselves. Several times, they threatened to return back to Egypt and accept their status as slaves rather than forging on towards freedom. This is the power that the comfort zone can wield in our lives. Many of us do not even know this is happening to us. We make a lot of excuses about it like: “I do not go out because I am a private person”, “I did not marry my 20th girlfriend because I am not ready to get married. I just do not trust girls”, “I know my husband beats me but I know that deep down, he loves me” etc.

Do yourself a favour, take baby steps if you have to but break away from your prison. It is comfortable for a reason. It soothes your mind (remember it is psychological) but does it soothe your body, your bank account, your health, your reputation etc.?

I wish you luck while you discover your true self, who lies outside your comfort zone. And there is more – You will have an exciting time with this experience. It is also called CHANGE.

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