Why We Don’t Step Outside Our Comfort Zone

Turtle swimming in clear blue waters

By Sam Makhoul

Stepping out of your comfort zone is a confronting experience. And for many people, it sparks a feeling of anxiousness, fear and worry.

So, what are the key contributors that are holding us back and keeping us feeling safe in an area of life that we feel most comfortable? Well, we investigate.

Is It Fear Of Getting Hurt Or Is It Laziness?

Close up of a ladies brown eyes looking out in fear of leaving her comfort zone

Being adventurous does lead us into unknown territory where we may feel lost and in many cases, it is out of your comfort zone. We get it, but we also fear getting hurt physically and emotionally.

Physically, we may fear getting injured or sick from trying new exercise or a new sport. We tell ourselves, “maybe I am not ready. I feel run down. I may get sick or too tired. I may get injured. My knees, shoulder, ankles or whatever may get worse.”

Emotionally, we may fear getting rejected when we initiate intimacy with our partner or make new friends, or suggest a new idea at work, or help someone we don’t know. Or we may fear failing at a new business, a new course or a new job or a new investment.

Don’t get us wrong, we are not suggesting you do anything without research and assessment. Being fearless does not mean being reckless, but it is your duty to at least make the effort and conduct the risk analysis.

Risk Analysis:

Person walking across a cliff with a rope as he leaves his comfort zone

So, there are essentially two obstacles. Not just fear but LAO taking the time and effort to conduct a risk analysis.

Most people who do not take action blame it on fear, when in reality they are just too lazy to make the assessment. So the question is, which one is letting you down – fear or lack of risk analysis, or both?

For example, when it comes to initiating relationships, ask yourself:

  • “What’s the worst that can happen if that person rejects me?”

Often the answer is “not much”.  Meaning, it is simply fear stopping you from taking action even though you know there are plenty of other people on this planet.

On the other hand, when it comes to trying a new exercise, getting injured is a real risk, but the assessment needs to include risk mitigation. Ask yourself:

  • “How can I ease into exercise?”
  • “How do I warm up before exercise?”
  • “How do I stop before my form is compromised due to fatigue?”

Or it could be enrolling into a new course at uni. The risk is you lose interest in the course or you find out the course is not right for you.

So, the ultimate risk is losing money and more importantly, losing time. The gain is the knowledge you can leverage to invest in your future earning potential. How do you mitigate the risk here?

Or it could be a new job. The risk is you lose an existing job where you have gained respect and trust. The gain is you get a better job with greater opportunity for growth and earnings. How do you mitigate this risk?

In all cases, you need to answer that question for yourself because only you know the nuances and consequences in your life. Below we outline a process to help you.

Get Rich Or Die Trying?

Lady in bed under the blankets

Change ultimately requires not just fearlessness but constant risk assessment. If you are too lazy to make that assessment daily, you may be in a stage in your life where you don’t feel like any change is warranted or necessary.

Consider this, however: most people are in one of three states.

  1. High State: Life is great! They wake up every day with purpose and passion.
  2. Low State: Life is terrible, and they are not excited about getting up in the morning.
  3. Numb State: They are neither happy nor sad, but stuck somewhere in the middle where it is not bad enough to change anything.

We are not judging here. Merely making an observation that the numb state often precedes the low state.

We’ve been in all three states and the one thing that we know for certain is that we have only ever achieved something in life when we have gone out on a limb, got hurt, dusted myself off and tried something new every day. But only when we have learned from it.

Every fail is an opportunity for growth. Yes, it’s a cliché, but ever so remarkable.

It All Starts With New Learnings:

Woman walking a flower field in happiness after learning how to leave her comfort zone

The path to overcoming fear and conducting risk analysis starts with learning. Most people dive into new things recklessly because they are pumped up on motivation.

The antidote to that starts with new learnings. You need to learn before and after you step outside your comfort zone.

  • Before: information allows you to make the right decision through proper analysis.
  • After: if it was the wrong decision, you have to ask “what did I learn from this?”

In both cases, you are gathering information for future risk assessment. Ever heard of millionaires and billionaires who have been bankrupt a few times?

Why are there are so many? Because the ultimate learnings come from failures and experiences.

This is the zone where you should live your life. We are not saying it’s easy, but it’s definitely not numb.

There are steps we follow daily before trying something new:

Step 1: Learn – podcasts, books, people, fails.
Step 2: Decide – risk analysis.
Step 3: Act – take action with no attachment to the outcome.
Step 4: Review and Reflect – pivot.
Step 5 Repeat – this takes courage.