We all know that stepping out of our comfort zones is the only way to achieve greater success and to live a better life. This is because if you keep doing the same old thing, you will be getting the same old results. Nothing is going to change unless you take the first step, venture out of your comfort zone, and do things differently.
Think of your comfort zone as your limit. You will remain within your limit as long as you choose to stay within your comfort zone. Yes, you do feel comfortable while you’re in it, but it doesn’t going to get you something else.
And if you want to improve, get better results, and achieve greater success in life, you must break your limit and step out of your comfort zone.
Albert Einstein has a powerful quote, he said:
“Insanity: Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”
Yes, if you keep on doing the same thing and remains within your comfort zone, it is impossible to produce different results.
If you want a different and better result, you need to do things differently. And to do that, you must get yourself out of your comfort zone.
There are 2 main issues most people face when it comes to leaving their comfort zone and improving themselves:
1. They are unaware of it.
Most of the time people aren’t aware that they are doing things and making decisions according to their usual (comfort) beliefs.
When they order something to eat in a restaurant, most of the time, they are going to stick back to their old choices and order a taste that they are familiar with.
2. They don’t know how to get out of their comfort zone.
If you’re reading this article right now, it proves that I’m right because you want to learn how to get out of your comfort zone. That’s why you’re reading this article right now, isn’t it?
If you understand the importance of doing things differently and you want to get out of your safe cocoon, but you have no idea where to start, take this article as the first step. Read this article and understand how it works. And then follow the suggestions and apply some of the ideas into your life.
Good Things that Can Happen When You Step Out of Your Comfort Zone
Before we talk about the ways how to get yourself out of your comfort zone, we must discuss the importance of doing so.
You want to understand the “why” before you learn the “how”. When you know the good things and benefits of venturing out your normal limit, you will be more convinced to take action and apply the methods, right?
There are a few reasons why we should keep on growing ourselves and never limit ourselves within our comfort zone:
1. Increase in productivity
In 1908, psychologists Robert M. Yerkes and John D. Dodson explained in their studies that relative comfort created a steady level of performance. And this relative comfort can be achieved in a state of relative anxiety, which is commonly known as “optimal anxiety”.
Optimal anxiety is a state where our stress levels are slightly higher than normal. In this state, we’re likely to perform better results and become more productive.
However, when the stress is too much, our productivity decreases and our performance drop. This is because we will be constantly distracted by the stress and feels the pressure.
The concept of optimal anxiety works similar to the Goldilocks’ Rule, where the rule states that we need just the ‘right amount’ to perform better. When a task is too easy, you don’t feel motivated to do it; when the task is too difficult, you don’t want to do it because you won’t enjoy doing it. The task needs to be “just right” in order for you to work on it.
Therefore, venturing out of your comfort zone puts you in a state where you experience a slightly higher stress level that increases your productivity and performance.
2. Your creativity improves
It is common sense that when we grow our comfort zone, we gain better creativity because we expose ourselves to different things. Doing something different and trying out new things allow us to experience, learn, and improves knowledge.
Stepping out of your comfort zone somehow opens up the door to new ideas and able to educate us in its own way.
This article from LifeHacker says it well:
“Trying new things can make us reflect on our old ideas and where they clash with our new knowledge, and inspire us to learn more and challenge confirmation bias, our tendencies to only seek out information we already agree with. Even in the short term, a positively uncomfortable experience can help us brainstorm, see old problems in a new light, and tackle the challenges we face with new energy.”
This is why when you’re stuck and don’t know what to do, you should do something different and stop wandering yourself in the problem. When you get yourself out of the picture, you’re able to see new angles to the problem and find a better solution.
3. You level up
The way I see it, this is the most important benefit and the reason why we should step out of our comfort zone.
Without going out of our comfort zone, there is no way we can grow and level up. This is important because when we grow, we become bigger, and we’re able to handle, make better decisions, and produce better results in everything we do.
Imagine when you’re playing games. When your character is at level 3 and you face the boss at level 5, it will be a difficult fight to you. As you venture along the journey, grow, improve, and level up your character to level 9, the level 5 boss will be a small fry to you.
It works the same in every area of life.
When your blog is new, things seem difficult and challenging, but as your blog grows, people started to notice you, suddenly, requesting for a guest post on other people’s blog become easier as compared to when you first started out.
This is why you must venture out of your comfort zone. Not just that the best reward is outside of your comfort zone, but you must grow and level up in order to achieve greater success.
How to Step Out of Your Comfort Zone
If you want to achieve remarkable success and reach greater heights in life, you definitely must venture out of your comfort zone. Like what I mentioned before, if you continue to do the same thing in the same way, you will be getting the same old results.
The only way to get a different result is to do different things. And this requires you to get out and grow your comfort zone.
My friend, you don’t have to over-stretch yourself and put too much stress on yourself. You can always start small and then grow from there.
When you’re playing games, it is true that fighting difficult boss gets you the most experience points, but it can be too difficult and lose the fight. The best way is still doing it one step at a time.
Remember the idea of optimal anxiety and the Goldilocks’ Rule? Don’t overdo it, just go slow and grow yourself steadily. Somehow, your comfort zone will expand and things that are difficult and scare will become a piece of cake to you.
And here are some ways to help you step out and expand your comfort zone…
1. Commute using a different route or way
One of the easiest ways to expand your comfort zone is to commute using a different route. Yes, you’re doing something that you’re not usually doing, and this actually trains and makes your mind a little uncomfortable.
Taking the road less traveled and that’s where it makes all the difference.
Never underestimate the power of commuting using a different route or a different way. If you usually drive to the car, from time to time, you may want to try out a different method, like taking a sub or a cab or even taking the public bus.
When you travel in a different way or route, you will see different things that in a small way, increase your view of the world.
2. Try out a new restaurant and dish
Now, this idea is the same as commuting using a different route. Whenever you get to the restaurant, try a new dish that you have never tried before.
Don’t always order the chicken, sometimes, you want to try out the salmon or the beef.
Life is supposed to be colorful, and you can always make your world colorful by trying out new dishes regularly.
Imagine if you have to eat the same meal every single day, how does that make you feel?
Thus, try out different dishes. This small act of courage can train your mind to think out of the box and give you the courage you need to make a bigger decision in life.
3. Read a new book
This is easy to understand, reading improves the way we think, especially a new book.
When you read, what actually happens is that you are experiencing the author’s life. Your brain constructs the words into images and allows you to visualize and think better.
Read this article if you want to know the benefits of reading:
Oprah Winfrey puts it well, she once said:
“Books were my pass to personal freedom. I learned to read at age three, and soon discovered there was a whole world to conquer that went beyond our farm in Mississippi.”
Yes, books allow you to see a new world. If you have never been to a place, reading about it gives you a glimpse of it. If you have tasted success and you want to achieve it, read about it and it will give you the perspective.
Of course, choose to read only books that help. Don’t waste time on unnecessary or wrong info that will get you to the wrong place.
If you want to know what the attraction in Hokkaido is, reading a guide about Hawaii is not going to help. You must read the right material in order to gain the right knowledge.
This is why reading is absolutely vital in expanding your comfort zone. It all starts with your mind. The moment you change the way you think, your life will change.
Check out these books that I strongly recommend you read.
4. Talk to a stranger
When I say talk, I’m not referring to a greeting or the hi-and-bye kind of conversation. When you talk to someone you are not close with, you get to learn his thinking and how he perceives everything.
Imagine if you are able to talk and have a conversation with extraordinary people like Thomas Edison, Gandhi, Steve Jobs, Elon Musk, Richard Branson, Robin Sharma, Mark Cuban, Gary Vaynerchuck, and more, do you think the conversation can change the way you think?
There’s no guarantee, but there is a high possibility you will learn something amazing from these remarkable people, right?
This is why talking a stranger is important in getting you out of your comfort zone.
In fact, not only that you’re going to learn about the way other people think, you’re also going to learn how to muster up all the courage to speak and to find topics to converse.
This is even more important when it comes to stepping out of your comfort zone.
Some people are afraid and lack the courage to speak to strangers. They have been so used to only talk to people they familiar with or to talk via instant messaging, but when it comes to face-to-face conversation, they lack the skill.
Therefore, talking to someone you’re not familiar with definitely builds your courage and train you to step away from your comfort zone.
5. Travel to a new country
I like the idea of traveling to a new country that you have never been before. In fact, I try to make it one of my commitments to travel overseas at least twice a year.
This year, I’m going to Khao Yai in Thailand and to visit the beautiful scenery in Sichuan, China. How about you?
My friend, you don’t need to have a lot of money to travel overseas, you just need to have a plan with a budget that you can accept. There are many ways you can travel. And if you’re tight on budget, you can travel locally or plan a budget trip.
Travel to a new place is good in expanding your comfort zone because you’re going to see something new and stay out of your usual habits.
When you stay in a hotel, you don’t sleep like you sleep on your comfortable bed at home and you don’t use the bathroom like in your home, thus, this forces you to experience a little uncomfortable.
This is why traveling can be such a great way to get yourself out of your comfort zone.
6. Overcoming your fear
What do you afraid and fear of? Try to overcome that. If you want to build an e-commerce website but you have no idea how to set up a website because you’re not a technical person, learn to overcome it.
Do not let the fear of technicality stops you from moving forward. You can watch YouTube videos and learn from other websites how they do it. There are many tutorials out there waiting for you to discover.
If you are afraid of swimming, sign up a class and learn how to swim. If you worry that you’re not going to have enough money to pay the bill by the end of the month, do something right now to overcome the fear.
Fear can stop you. However, if you conquer your fear, you will expand your comfort zone to a new level. Once you overcome your fear, you become someone better, with more experience, and more importantly, that fear can never stop you anymore.
Like I mentioned before, you level up by overcoming obstacles in your journey. And as you improve, learn, and level up, so with your comfort zone.
When you do something that scares you, you can rest assure that the death of fear will be certain.
7. Create challenges for yourself
Another great way to expand your comfort zone is to create challenges to push yourself in areas that you want to improve. Here are some examples:
- The next time you see a pretty girl, have the courage and challenge yourself to talk to her.
- Next time you dine in a restaurant or a coffee house, ask for a 5% or 10% discount.
- When a stranger looks at you, make an eye contact with him or her until he looks away.
- If you have never published a 5,000 words article on your blog, challenge yourself to do so, and don’t forget to give yourself a deadline.
- You can also create a challenge to read a short book in one sitting.
There are many ways you can challenge yourself to become a better person. This is especially important in the area where you want to see tremendous success.
For instance, if you want to grow your blog, you can challenge yourself by submitting guest articles to authority bloggers in your niche. Send emails to at least 10 other bloggers who you want your guest articles to be featured and see what happen.
Keep challenging yourself, keep moving forward, and keep expanding your comfort zone.
8. Learn from your failure and mistake
Do you know that the moment when you make mistakes or experience failures is the best moment to learn something new and expand your comfort zone?
Most people are so afraid to make mistakes and they allow their fears to stop them from taking action. Tell yourself that it is alright to fail and to make mistakes because this is when you learn the most and improve to become a better person.
Try to study successful people like Jeff Bezos and Steve Jobs, read their biographies, and you will understand that they are not perfect and they make a lot of mistakes.
Jobs was fired from his own board of director from the company that he started. He made many mistakes and failed many times, but he also learned a lot from these events too.
Hence, try new things and be daring to take bold action. If you fail, don’t worry, just treat it as a lesson. And this is how you can step out of your comfort zone.
9. Be consciously aware of how you talk to yourself
Another powerful way to expand your comfort zone is through self-talk. We talk to ourselves all the time and we are becoming aware that positive self-talk or affirmations can be a powerful tool to increase our confidence and build a strong character.
You can train to talk to yourself in an encouraging way that boosts your confidence and overcome your limits.
When something seems difficult or impossible to accomplish, it is because your mind makes it so. Thus, you must first conquer your limiting thoughts before you can overcome the problem in reality.
Use positive self-talk and affirmations to boost your motivation and to make yourself believe that you can do it.
When you believe in the positive inner voices that you keep telling yourself that you can do it, things become clear, the opportunity arises, and your comfort zone can never limit you anymore.
10. Set a bold goal and go for it
Like how you challenge yourself, in order to step out of your comfort zone, you can set big and bold goals to expand your potential.
My friend, you will never know your potential until you try. So don’t worry about setting big goals or aiming for things that seem impossible to achieve.
You must trust yourself that you can do it before you even attempt. Whatever goals that you want to achieve, someone has already done so and all you need to do is to model after their success and take similar action.
When you set a goal that is beyond your limit, you are forcing yourself to get out of your comfort zone and do things differently.
11. Learn and improve yourself
This is self-explanatory. When you learn and improve, you become better. And as you level up, your comfort zone will expand.
On average, I read about 2 books a month, but from this month onward, I’m committing to reading 4 books a month, which is equivalent to reading a book per week.
To be honest, I found that reading gives me a lot of ideas of what to write and publish on this blog. I get most of my inspiration from reading books.
Of course, there are plenty of ways you can learn and improve and reading is just one of them. You can attend courses, workshops, seminars, exchange conversation with other successful people, etc.
I believe that learning and inspiration can come from anywhere and happen at any time. As the saying goes:
“when the student is ready the teacher will appear.”
12. Change your outlook and style
How you look matters. Our internal world is often reflected in our external world, and vice versa.
I believe that there are certain shirts that you like a lot and every time you wear them, you feel more confident because you look good. Thus, changing your outlook and your style can change your internal thoughts, which means, you can step out of your comfort zone by changing the way you look.
When you dressed professionally for work, other people will have a better perception of your performance. And this is not just from other people, it affects even yourself.
Like I said, when you cut a better hairstyle, dressed professionally, and you act with confidence, you can affect both others and your own perception.
This is how our outlook can change comfort zone. When you dressed professionally, you feel more confident, and suddenly your comfort zone expands and you have the drive to do what seems impossible.
Changing your outlook can be uncomfortable if you are not used to it, but you will send a powerful message to your inner self that you are worthy and have class.
13. Make a decision and commit to it
Making a decision teaches you to trust your own judgment. However, what is more important is to hold on to the decision you have made and commit to what you have decided.
When your wife asks you what to eat for dinner, don’t just reply with “I don’t know” or “anything”, instead, make a snap decision and say what is in your heart.
Sometimes, you can make a snap decision, and sometimes, you may want to spend some time to think about it.
However, do not be afraid to decide. When you choose to delay making your decision, tell others or yourself that you will come back with a decision and by when. This creates the commitment so that you will step out of your comfort zone.
14. Go slow and steady
Breaking out of your comfort zone may take some time. Thus, don’t worry even if you do it slowly. In fact, doing it slowly by taking one step at a time is much better than jumping in straight.
When you experience drastic change, highly likely, you resist it and eventually fall back to your usual form. This is why when people try to do too much at once, they suffer burnout and at the end, they fail to change.
Just like the article on LifeHacker says, “You get the same benefits whether you go in with both feet as you do if you start slow, so don’t be afraid to start slow. If you’re socially anxious, don’t assume you have to muster the courage to ask your crush on a date right away, just say hello to them and see where you can go from there. Identify your fears, and then face them step by step.”
15. Follow your impulse
Sometimes a thought can hit you to do something extraordinary, and you should just say “yes” to it.
I bet that there are times when you suddenly have the impulse and the urge to do something like having an inspiration to start a new business or to hit the gym or to buy the flight ticket, but because you’re being realistic, you stop yourself from doing it.
One way to break out of your comfort zone requires you to do different things, crazy things, and extraordinary things. And these moments come when you have the impulse and the urge.
So don’t stop yourself from doing something out of your usual pattern. Experience something new.
- When the idea of traveling overseas hits you, go ahead and buy the flight ticket.
- When you have the urge to go exercise, get change and go for it immediately.
- When you have the impulse to start an online business, do it right away, don’t think and don’t stop.
Sometimes, we have to be impulsive in order to accomplish extraordinary things. When you’re being too defensive, it is difficult to do things that will change your life for the better.
Of course, don’t be afraid to fail. Test it out, outdo yourself, and when you fail, learn from it.
You have come a long way and I hope you understand how important it is to step out of your comfort zone regularly.
So far, we have covered 15 ways how to break out of your comfort zone and expand your limit. Here’s a quick recap:
- Commute using a different route or way
- Try out a new restaurant
- Read a new book
- Talk to a stranger
- Travel to a new country
- Overcoming your fear
- Create challenges for yourself
- Learn from your failure and mistake
- Be consciously aware of how you talk to yourself
- Set a bold goal and go for it
- Learn and improve yourself
- Change your outlook and style
- Make a decision and commit to it
- Go slow and steady
- Follow your impulse
So which suggestion you like the best? Let me know in the comment section below.