Your Comfort Zone Is Your Unproductive Zone

living room

Where are you comfortable?  Have you built up a routine that you don’t deviate from?  Do you ever get the feeling that your feeling of comfort comes at a cost?  It does.  The comfort that you once sought, and have now obtained, could be the main reason you are not as far along as you’d hope for.

Most articles begin with an assumed problem to solve, which is a bit presumptuous, but this concept is fairly immune from being too presumptuous because it is so ubiquitous.  So many of us have given in to some routine comforts that we would now have a struggle giving up.  This is not so much about comforts like air-conditioning in the summer, but is more about those such as eating extra every day to forget about problems, or almost needing a certain new episode of a show on TV to make up for another uneventful day.

This also includes having a social comfort zone, where you resort to spending time with people who don’t empower you much, and who you mainly just stick around to not feel lonely, or something of that nature.  This type of comfort zone is a crutch that has no long-term value.  The things that are a struggle to you now are things you won’t regret later, while the things that you do for temporary comfort today are the things that you will be disappointed about later.

Why Is Your Comfort Zone Unproductive?

Your comfort zone is unproductive because you feel less risk in it.  It shields you from reality in some regards.  Your comfort zone might involve being with certain races of people or certain language-speaking people you prefer over others, but those other races of people are still all over the place.  Therefore, staying in that comfort zone makes you start to fear interactions with those outside of it, which leads to reduced self-esteem due to worry of public relations with the “other people”, leading to less drive toward your goals.

Any sort of comfort zone based on a weakness or general desire to postpone adaptation is one that makes your goals harder to achieve.  You have numerous daily opportunities to go outside of this zone, and all you need to do is take a couple of them every so often.  This will keep you from building up aversion to one risk or another.  A comfort zone you are in for a day is not a problem, but one you are in for half a year could be having drastic effects on your productivity.

Creative Commons License photo credit: karen.tkr

29 thoughts on “Your Comfort Zone Is Your Unproductive Zone”

  1. An excellent question to pose Armen.

    The Bob Proctor quote comes to mind: “If you’re comfortable, you’re in a bad place.”

    Live in your comfort zone consistently and you’re dying. When you’re not changing, you’re dying since change is the one constant of life.

    Reside out of your comfort zone long enough and you’ll relish the feeling. Some call it Being Alive. I feared leaving my comfort zone because of the “bad things” that might happen should “everything go South.” I’ve learned that these negative ideas were merely acquired from people who were terrified to leave their comfort zones. They feared the potentially painful things which they might experience and decided not to face the pain. They impressed these ideas upon me and I became a robot who was programmed to play it safe in my comfort zone.

    Fortunately these limiting beliefs are similar to uncomfortable clothing. If you don’t like how a jacket fits you put it back on the rack. Let someone else try it on for size. You can then proceed to develop your own belief system in regards to leaving your comfort zone.

    Great insight as always Armen.
    .-= Ryan´s last blog ..7 Free Cash Gifting Ebooks For You =-.

    1. Hi Ryan.

      That quote is valid. I don’t want to be in that zone where I’m not gaining in some fashion. I might as well be a brick in that instance.

      Being alive is worth the anguish or discomfort. Any discomfort we feel today prevents us from greater discomfort at some future occasion. It is an investment of sorts.

      Your clothing example makes sense.

  2. Another good post Armen. It feels good and safe to be in our comfort zone, but being comfortable doesn’t mean being productive. It can be deceiving and also counter-intuitive. Like if a person stays in his couch all day watching TV and eating chips, they would be wasting their time. This is an extreme form of being non-productive, but I’m sure each of us have those types of situations where we feel comfortable and are also wasting time, in a more subtle way though. To become more productive, we need to be willing to branch out of our comfort zones and take risks. Not only will we learn more, but we’ll get more from it in the long run.

    1. Hi Hulbert.

      Thanks there about the post.

      You are right that we have to be willing to step outside. If I haven’t posted some of my thoughts that might anger some readers, then I should do that, or if someone hasn’t tried to sprint a whole quarter-mile without stopping, that might be what they should do. We know exactly what we have avoided in the past.

      Challenging or pushing up against others is always a good idea.

  3. Comfort zones can be stifling. It is like being put in a box and thinking nothing exists outside the box. Or thinking their is nothing of value outside the box.

    I’m trying to break down the box I’ve created for myself.

    1. Hi Martin.

      They sure are stifling. When I am in one of those boxes, I might as well not be able to see outside of it. It is a limiting situation.

      I am doing the same with any boxes I see myself in. Sometimes I let them remain though. I think that when are ready to, we will. It is good that we acknowledge when we are in that zone.

  4. No comfort zone for me. I am pushing, pushing, pushing to no end…..and the hardest one of all, the one with no comfort zone for sure, is my 4:30am wake up lately. Talk about uncomfortable. I couldn’t be sold on this topic more than anyone else. We do our BEST when we are outside our comfort zone. Bravo Armen and thank you for the reminder!

    1. Hi Farnoosh.

      That is a good thing. It is true that you push to no end, as I can see it.

      It sure is not common to find someone who wakes up at 4:30 AM. Even most plants are still resting from the lack of sunshine at that time. I know you reach outside of it often.

      I could certainly do more to reach outside of my comfort zone.

      Thanks for the kind words.

      1. 4:30am baby! And it’s all Oscar who started this trend with his 5am but my best time is 4:30am – although I must warn you, it is NOT easy! And by 10:00pm I am beat, speaking of which I had better shut down soon….way past this little bird’s bed time ;)!
        (ps: Seeing how my (many) plants are still asleep, I guess if I get a puppy, it won’t keep me company either, if I ask you? :))!

        1. Oscar sure has started a trend, along with various others like Celestine. It’s nice to one-up the day in that early waking fashion. I sure would agree that 4:30 waking would not be easy by any means. Waking up that early mainly reminds me of times where I would get up that early to get ready and then meet with friends to drive to a snowboarding location so we’d be there near opening time.

          If you got a puppy, it would likely wake up later than you as well. I bet some of those unique creatures near the bottom of the ocean are up at 4:30, so you are certainly not alone.

          1. Do NOT tempt me with puppies. I have resisted forever. I am sitting here at 5:40am, been up for over an hour and I can only hear the sound of my typing. I’d love a puppy. And yes, Oscar did write about his 5am but I didn’t know about Celes doing that too. You are next, buddy. Set that alarm and set a new trend. Go Armen! :)

            1. Puppies puppies puppies. They might call me the tempterer.

              It’s nice to not hear anything other than typing sometimes.

              I hear you about the alarm. I actually just barely beat your message for me to use it and may have already started a trend.

              Your support is Farnabulous.

  5. Hi Armen,

    I agree that staying in the comfort zone keeps us safe from taking risks, and moving out of the comfort zone is where we take more risks. And risks are what make us grow.

    But there is a certain kind of productivity that I have experienced in the comfort zone – when I am confident and know how to accomplish the tasks at hand, I can sail along quite productively. But if I stay there too long, dullness sets in.

    So maybe a balance is best – doing what we know how to do without the stress of risk-taking along with stretching ourselves by taking risks.

    Any thoughts about this?

    1. Hi Gail.

      This is a tough one for me. On the one hand, I know that I can’t reach level 12 from level 11 until I get out of my comfort zone, so there is always that aspect. On the other hand, I am much more productive in whatever level I am in once I develop a solidified comfort zone in it.

      I’d have to agree with your balance concept. I would say that time outside of our comfort zone is more of a future investment, and time in it is more of a short-term investment, if I had to label them as those two.

      I think I would be more regretful if I stayed in a comfort zone for too long than if I leaped out of it sooner.

  6. Hello Armen,

    Great insight here.
    This is true: Any sort of comfort zone based on a weakness or general desire to postpone adaptation is one that makes your goals harder to achieve. The reason this becomes difficlut is also by the influence of the people around us. May be I have the desire and will to change but may be my friend does not want this change and it reflects lot of negativity and thus no change happens.
    For a change to happen one needs to accept the change and leave the monotonous life.

    Bye for now,
    Cheryl
    .-= Cheryl Paris´s last blog ..Why I Think You Should Learn to Deal With Your Past =-.

    1. Hi Cheryl.

      Thanks about the article. That is a good point about how you might have a desire to change, but your friend might not, and so they limit any motivation you have to do so. In that case, they are an additional component of the comfort zone, so when the zone is left, it might involve distancing from them a bit.

      It sure is a monotonous life when we know we are living in a limited state. It is frustrating as well.

  7. Great post and such an important topic Armen. It is easy to become complacent with the status quo and to do things the way we always have. However, when we are really interested in accomplishing the most, we need to have breakthrough and daring ideas and that usually leads us to places we have never been before. I think we always need to be pushing ourselves to learn more and more and explore and that means we have to figure out a way to be comfortable with the unknown.

    1. Hi Sibyl.

      Thanks about the post. This is true. We have to bring in those daring ideas. If I want to reduce obesity across the United States, staying in my comfort zone might be writing a post about obesity issues and how they come from lack of knowledge related to it, and going outside of my comfort zone might be something like going door-to-door and starting a local exercise group with people who are overweight.

  8. Hi Armen,
    Great post. I like the way you explore different arenas of the comfort zone. Even a social comfort zone can be stifling if we do not pay attention. Successful achievers delight in the prospect of being in stimulating conversation or company. The key for those of us who are always expanding is to make it a habit to do so. Your comfort zone is a painful psychological barrier when it prevents you from experiencing your unlimited nature. The infinite power of creation is yours if you make a determined effort to use it.
    Blessings,
    rob

    1. Hi Rob.

      Thanks about the post. This is true. I see multiple comfort zones across the board. We get into comfort zones in each category of living, like the music we listen to, or the way we communicate with others, or so on.

      It sure is a painful psychological barrier huh. That is an important point to remember each time we try to cross it. There may be a slight bit of pain associated with crossing it, like the same amount that we would feel when getting numbed by a dentist. Once it is crossed, we are ready for something greater.

      Your point about determined effort resonates. If the effort is not made with vigor, the barrier won’t be crossed, and then stagnation will continue.

  9. Hey Armen,

    People often say that the most amount of progress is made outside of your comfort zone. In fact the key is to learn to be comfortable with being uncomfortable. I’ve found in my own experience it always has been like that. Them more we push our limits the better off we are.

    1. Hi Srinivas.

      This is true. I can easily remember times where I have been uncomfortable, and right after that discomfort, I was better off as a person. I can’t say I desired the discomfort, though.

      An example that came to mind just now of breaking out of a comfort zone would be a marketer calling 10 people that he has the phone number of, when he has normally stuck with e-mail. It would be a different level of engagement, and could become his main method of marketing, but he wouldn’t know until he made the calls.

  10. Change is good for the mind, spirit and body.

    You hit a very good point here, Armen… To exit out of the comfort zone and to open mind to new possibilities is source of greatest satisfaction! I do not say that because I read somewhere, but because I experienced it numerous times on my skin.

    Even when I came out of the comfort zone, and failed, do not regret for that. I still feel good and strong.

    So no excuses, as soon as you can (I say this to you all) get out of comfort zone and build the life you deserve!
    .-= Marko — Calm Growth´s last blog ..What is The Most Accurate View of Reality =-.

    1. Hi Marko.

      It sure is good for all those elements. When we alter something, we always see the world a different way. When we drive to a location through a different path, we think different things and see different sights.

      Yeah, it is okay and not regrettable to fail under new conditions. We always get something out of it. Going up to a random group of strangers and talking with them might feel difficult at first, but after a few times, it can become your strength.

    1. Hi Jonathan.

      Well, I would say there are multiple comfort zones in place for each person. I usually get out of one when I am tired of how it is has affected me in the past. I think that is where most of us draw the line, when we start to see what the comfort zone has brought us. It takes a real pro-active person to get out of a certain comfort zone before this point.

  11. ( this is the collective opinion from comments) Comfort zones can be stifling. It is like being put in a box and thinking nothing exists outside the box. Or thinking their is nothing of value outside the box. We do our BEST when we are outside our comfort zone.staying in the comfort zone keeps us safe from taking risks, and moving out of the comfort zone is where we take more risks. And risks are what make us grow.
    Your comfort zone is a painful psychological barrier when it prevents you from experiencing your unlimited nature. The infinite power of creation is yours if you make a determined effort to use it.
    People often say that the most amount of progress is made outside of your comfort zone. In fact the key is to learn to be comfortable with being uncomfortable.The more we push our limits the better off we are.
    To exit out of the comfort zone and to open mind to new possibilities is source of greatest satisfaction! as soon as you can get out of comfort zone and build the life you deserve!

    1. Hi Naresh.

      We only seem to make progress outside of that zone. Inside of it, we are passive, like amoebas or something. Very few seek to get outside of their comfort zone, and that is why very few rise to the top.

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