Stepping out of our comfort zone to grab hold of opportunities can be difficult.
Sometimes we are not aware of reasons to do so. However, most of the time, our frame of mind is holding us back. Understanding the shifts in thinking can help us step outside of our comfort zone and move into a personal growth zone.
The Yerkes–Dodson Law (1907) linked anxiety to performance. In response to anxiety-provoking stimuli, the options are either fight (meet the challenge), flight (run away/hide), or freeze (become paralyzed).
When we have too little stimuli, we remain in our comfort zone, where there isn't much incentive to reach new heights of performance. When exposed to too many stimuli, we enter a 'panic zone', where we run away/hide or become paralyzed. Just enough puts us in the Goldilocks zone.
Fear is a necessary step to the learning and growth zones. It takes courage to step from the comfort zone into the fear zone and can be anxiety-provoking. But persevere long enough, and you enter the learning zone. A new comfort zone is created after a learning zone, expanding one's ability to reach further.
Moving into the growth zone becomes harder without some level of self-awareness.
Moving from the comfort zone to a growth zone will have peaks, troughs, and plateaus. Understanding the steps can help to tolerate uncertainty.
Aside from increasing performance, less-direct benefits include:
"You can only grow if you are willing to feel awkward and uncomfortable when you try something new."
"One can choose to go back toward safety or forward toward growth. Growth must be chosen again and again; fear must be overcome again and again."
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