Life is not bad: Why leaving your comfort zone is not necessary

The concept of “comfort zone” is extremely vague. What are the authors of the discomforting appeal guided by when proposing to get out of it? Many of them simply confuse the comfort zone with a familiar and safe environment. What is there, beyond the horizon of comfort? And is a breakthrough worth the incredible effort?

Paradoxically, the call to “get out of your comfort zone” is perceived precisely by people who are in the deepest discomfort and want to get rid of it. In fact, if a person feels good, then why and where should he go out? In this case, it would be correct to call: “Get out of your discomfort zone, begin to realize your patterns that do not give the desired result.”


The very idea that all good things are outside the comfort zone seems absurd by definition. Going beyond comfort, a person begins to experience stress and spend much more energy on maintaining existence, and here he is no longer up to new achievements and solving creative problems. His main task is to survive. Those who call for leaving your comfort zone never warn about the consequences, and the price may be life itself. However, people leave their comfort zone only when there is a need and, as a rule, a big one.

A person in his comfort zone may feel bad

“Don’t leave the room, don’t make a mistake” - this famous poem by Joseph Brodsky probably best explains the situation when a person’s comfort zone becomes an insidious trap.

Satisfaction with your life and comfort zone are not at all equivalent concepts. A homeless person is comfortable in a city dump and uncomfortable in a Hilton hotel. But this does not mean that he feels like a happy person at the landfill. He might have left there, but he had neither the strength, nor the desire, nor the opportunity for this. In this state of affairs, the only option is to turn what surrounds you, where you now live, into a comfort zone. That is, to adapt, to grow into those circumstances of life that you cannot (or it seems to you that you cannot) exchange for others that allow you to develop more fully as an individual. Even seemingly quite prosperous people can find themselves in such a trap. A young man who wanted to study to become an artist, but then, at the insistence of his parents, became an economist, will skillfully prepare accounting reports in a prestigious company for a good salary from year to year. But in this comfort zone he is unlikely to be happy. In any case, until the memory of his former love for painting is completely erased from his heart.


Often a person remains in his familiar environment because he feels danger, and pushing him out with ardent calls can result in him falling into the abyss. Many processes during training remind me of the famous expression: “Let's break through!” - the rams shouted, standing over the abyss.” For Rams, a breakthrough is more important than a result. They cannot appreciate the consequences. A sharp departure from the boundaries of your comfort zone is fraught with serious consequences.

It is more correct to talk not about leaving your comfort zone, but about expanding it. There can be many ways to expand your comfort zone, but you need to do it wisely. For example, you didn’t know English before and therefore felt uncomfortable on the trip. You learned it and expanded your comfort zone.

Calls like “Get out of your comfort zone and go where miracles happen” lead to risky behavior and can lead straight to a real zone of strict containment.

The idea that we too often give up the chance to achieve our dreams for fear of losing what we have is also problematic. After all, there is definitely something behind our fear of choice. We are afraid not of a new choice as such, but of the possible loss associated with it. By settling on one option, we are forced to reject others, perhaps much more valuable to us.


Many people confuse the concepts of “comfort zone” and “habit zone”. Not realizing that they are living in hell, they are afraid to change the “habitual hell” to the “horror of the unknown.” A feeling of imaginary security prevents you from going beyond the usual. The task, like in checkers, is to get out of the frame and into kings. If you are not a player of these divine checkers, then someone else will play you. But at the same time, personal development is not always an uncomfortable process. On the contrary, if you are doing something that interests you, such as drawing, you are in a state of flow. This is a comfortable process that develops. Discomfort often indicates that you are not doing what you want, rather than personal growth.

Life is not bad: Why leaving your comfort zone is not necessary

Alexandra Savina

“Real life begins outside your comfort zone” is a common phrase. Articles and inspiring essays are regularly dedicated to her - people share stories of how, leaving what they were used to, they got out of the routine and were finally able to find something that was truly interesting to them. Those who decide to leave their usual way of life are promised that it will become easier - fears will recede, and new opportunities will come in their place: “Staying in the comfort zone is like wearing blinders. You will tell yourself that what is important to you is already in your life. You will continue to convince yourself that you don't like something that you simply haven't tried. That it's just not for you. With each such thought, you build higher and higher walls between yourself and everything that brings you discomfort.” The famous TEDx lecture on the benefits of getting out of your comfort zone has received one million and three hundred thousand views. Its author Yubin Zhang studied at the University of Hong Kong, Oxford University and Stanford - a person with such a track record would be believable.

It would seem that excellent advice is not to give in to doubts and boldly try new things. Nevertheless

about what awaits you when you leave your comfort zone (actually, discomfort and no joy), no less than inspiring stories. A beautiful formulation does not always hide a success story - the habit of moving forward without regard for one’s own condition can, on the contrary, lead to disappointment and burnout. Let's figure out why the idea of ​​moving forward at any cost is so popular today - and whether everyone really needs such an approach.

The idea that discomfort helps achieve good results is a relatively recent one. One of the most famous theories that are mentioned in connection with the results that stress brings is the Yerkes-Dodson law. Robert Yerkes and John Dodson in 1908 conducted experiments on mice, which they tried to teach to go through a maze under different lighting conditions. When the mice made the wrong choice, they were shocked. Small electric shocks improved the results of the mice, but increasing the strength of the discharge, from the point of view of scientists, only made sense up to a certain limit - as soon as they became too strong, the productivity of the animals dropped sharply. The Yerkes-Dodson law is usually used when talking about motivation, but is often remembered when talking about stress: a little anxiety and discomfort, similar to what happened in experiments with mice, should help achieve better results than rest. That is why among the recommendations on how to improve productivity, you can find tips on stress management: “Try to find productive ways to increase your stress level - take on more complex tasks and responsibilities. The idea of ​​increasing stress may seem counterintuitive, but remember that research shows that increasing arousal up to a point increases attention and interest.”

The idea of ​​leaving your comfort zone is also reinforced by the modern labor market. What is popular today will not necessarily be in demand tomorrow: professions are rapidly emerging and dying, and doing one thing throughout your life simply does not make sense. Logically, this requires flexibility and the ability to adapt to constantly changing circumstances. “Professions increasingly require a combination of skills—for example, a combination of marketing and analytics skills, or programming and business problem solving. The only way to gain all these different skills is to step out of your comfort zone,” experts say.

True, not everyone agrees with the idea of ​​mild stress to increase productivity, nor with drawing clear parallels between the experiments of Yerkes and Dodson and human motivation. WHO says that a modern worker cannot avoid anxiety - at a level that is comfortable for the worker, it helps to develop, learn new things, maintain attention and motivation. But the same WHO emphasizes the danger of high work-related stress - it can affect health and productivity. How to determine what level of stress is beneficial is a complex question.

To understand exactly what your “comfort zone” is and where it ends, requires great attention to yourself and your own feelings. It’s one thing to not let fears control your life and hold yourself back from what you sincerely want, and quite another to try to change yourself for the sake of what you don’t really need. Andy Molinsky, a professor who studies organizational behavior and the author of a coaching technique for those who want to get out of their comfort zone, advises thinking carefully about whether this is really necessary and interesting for you. Molinsky argues that there are many unusual and unfamiliar situations and actions in the world - but not all of them have meaning for us. For example, the ability to speak in public (a major step out of the comfort zone for any introvert) may never be useful to you. Just like, for example, snowboarding down a mountain - if you are not interested, but scared, it is unlikely that it will turn out to be a pleasant and positive experience. Trying something new is not the same as hoping that you can become a different person.

The fear of leaving your comfort zone may also hide a lack of necessary knowledge and skills. Of course, being one hundred percent prepared for a new situation is difficult - but if you feel that it is not impostor syndrome, and now is simply too early to try something new, it is probably worth holding off. In addition, the idea of ​​“fake it till you make it,” that is, “pretend that you can do everything until you really succeed,” may not work. For example, a 2021 study by Harvard and Columbia researchers found that in situations where we are inauthentic (such as pretending we can do more than we actually can), we may feel like we are doing something immoral.

Three years ago, Google conducted a large internal study on what helps teams work more efficiently. One of the important factors turned out to be “psychological safety of the team” - it is described as “the conviction of team members that it is safe to take risks.” On the one hand, it looks like leaving your comfort zone, on the other hand, it is not the same. “Psychological safety of the team” implies that we make a bold and “unsafe” decision, but can count on the support of colleagues - that is, in a sense, we remain in the comfort zone.

Andy Molinsky believes that there are several types of situations related to our comfort. The first is that same comfort zone where everything is clear and familiar. He calls the second zone the “stretch” zone - here we are excited because we are doing something new, but this excitement does not interfere with work and productivity. Finally, he calls the third zone the panic zone - when the emotional costs exceed the possible result. Molinsky advises action in the second: if you don’t have enough strength and energy to accomplish what you plan, leaving your comfort zone is simply not worth it.

PHOTOS: saphatthachat – (1,


Those who believe that to be happy you just need to turn off your head are apparently not friends with it. “Turn off your head from a young age and you will find eternal happiness,” its sellers say. They believe that in order to realize desires, you need to learn to free up space in your head by getting rid of unnecessary thoughts. They don’t understand that “extra thoughts” are just markers, like footprints in the sand. If you get rid of the footprints in the sand, you will not get rid of the person who left them. The metaphor of one’s own head for sellers of unknown happiness is a trash heap from which one can throw out everything that has accumulated there. Probably such people perceive the mind as a hindrance, and one can only sympathize with them.

In everyday life, those who turn off their thoughts with the help of fanatical hobbies, alcohol and drugs actually become dependent on these methods. This is the happiness of slaves who are subordinate to their “master”, surrendering to him with all passion and considering this true freedom.

What to do: turn off your mind or follow it? In different situations - in different ways. Only “developed” natures, living in the trinity of mind, feelings and bodily sensations, can boast of a harmonious solution to this problem. At different stages, the mind, feelings, and bodily sensations can play the first fiddle, or they can recede into the background. To solve some problems, the mind is preferable, to solve others, feelings, but in general it is better to live with the mind in accordance with your feelings.

Feelings can be no less dangerous than thoughts, especially when they overwhelm us. I think the advice “Never make important decisions when you're excited” is very reasonable. In this case, the picture of the world is distorted: it seems to you that the sea is knee-deep. And you can make risky actions and purchases, which sellers often use, especially sellers of trainings and religious cults, sects.

Why is it so dangerous to be guided by feelings? Often you are manipulated using your feelings. One of the most common ways is to impose a feeling of guilt or a sense of duty. So, for example, some sellers first give you a gift, and then cheat you into buying completely unnecessary things, or people instill a feeling of guilt, and then demand that you atone for it for the rest of your adult life.

Knowing your Path

In modern society, it is believed that the path to success lies through sacrifice: something must shake a person so much that he discovers the path of spirituality.
But this only happens to those who begin to “fall asleep” and not fail to realize their potential. For such people, life, as a rule, provides an extreme wake-up call. A person must work, take care of himself, and study. Lessons may not necessarily take the form of lectures. There may be lessons learned through certain interactions. Life is the best Teacher. A person gains complete health and high creative activity only on the Path to his spirit. The path forms the highest form of consciousness - Co-Knowledge. A person finds his Path when he begins to comprehend the experience of his ancestors and works to reveal mastery in the assigned or chosen task.

Any Path begins with the first step - awareness of the need to know oneself and the Truth.

In this Path, a person is renewed, and there is no limit to this renewal - after all, the world around him changes along with him.

Step two

– acceptance of the fact that changes in life occur continuously. And so that they don’t change your life for the worse, you need to become their organizer yourself - you need to give up the habit of “swimming with the flow,” since the flow also tends to change, and not always in the right direction.

Step three

– to realize that along with responsibility for your life, you need to take responsibility for those around you, because it is very difficult to follow the Path alone. So a person has no right to conceal, conceal, or conceal his new knowledge, because the will for total change is “spread out” throughout society, and only by uniting can people build a single powerful will to move to a qualitatively new level.

A person is responsible both for interaction with the world and for the result.

He who has his own way should not interfere with another - he has his own way. The Causality methodology makes it possible to see the beginning of the path, but everyone decides for themselves whether to follow it or not. When following the path, a person must set himself three tasks: awakening the spirit, creativity, transformation.

Stages of the Path

  • The first stage is business.
    When you learn to do your job perfectly, society will advance you further.
  • The second stage is faith.
  • The third stage is cognition.
  • The fourth stage is when a person becomes a creator.

People often ask, “What is their path?”
The answer is very simple: what you do in society, you must do masterfully. If a person has achieved perfection in his work, faith is revealed to him as the acceptance of higher grace, as a desire for the highest. The next stage is the stage of cognition. And when cognition is complete, the next stage opens. It's called Co-Creativity. The correctness of the path is monitored by joy and a feeling of grace, which, given the imperfection of a person, arises episodically, at the moments of his contact with reality.


Two common myths, one about leaving your comfort zone and the other about turning off your head, only lead to psychological confusion. They are beautiful and uplifting, and even more dangerous, but they are easily sold and bought with pleasure. How many who left their comfort zone and slammed the door regretted it? To do this, of course, they had to turn off their heads... and trust that “garden head” of the great teacher who knows the answers to all their innermost questions. The temptation is great. But except ourselves, no one can answer our questions. And those who believe that they can simply take power over us. Learn to control yourself, at least over your head.

comfort zone publisher's column psychological attitudes feelings emotions

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