Los Angeles, CA

5 Ways You’re Letting Your Comfort Zone Ruin Your Life

Dayana Sabatin

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I’ve never been one for change. I didn’t like it. It felt uncomfortable, like going to the dentist. It made me sick just thinking about it.

However, with change, growth usually isn’t too far behind. Change allows you to expand, learn, see and experience new things you otherwise wouldn’t. Without it, you really can’t achieve anything worthwhile in life.

And yet, the majority of people still fear it. They hide from it, try to do whatever they possibly can to stay within the confines of their comfort zones — oblivious to the world moving on around them.

When I decided to pack up my life in Seattle and move to Los Angeles — alone with no friends or job prospects, I knew I was taking a huge risk. I didn’t know where it would take me, but I knew I had to do it. Sometimes I wonder, what if I hadn’t done that? What if I let fear hold me back? or the opinions of others? What would my life look like?

I definitely wouldn’t be a writer. I’d be sitting in a cubicle counting down the minutes till I could go home. Or I’d probably be stuck in traffic during my hour-long commute. The idea that I almost let my comfort zone ruin my life and hold me back from the adventures I’ve experienced within the last few years is insane to think about.

With that being said, if you feel like you’ve been living within your comfort zone, here are a few examples of how it’s harming your life and why you need to get out of it.

Your Knowledge is Limited

Studies show that once the human brain knows how to do something, it becomes an automated task.

For example, if you have a 9–5 and your role is extremely repetitive, you don’t really come home feeling like you’ve learned or gained anything. When I worked at Yahoo, I did a lot of data analysis, and it was the epitome of repetition. I could do it with my eyes closed. I felt like instead of growing, I was plateauing. I had to listen to podcasts or audiobooks to stimulate myself; otherwise, I’d start snoozing.

If you prioritize knowledge and growth, you’ll find your life is full of abilities you didn’t know you had. However, in order to unlock these skills, you need to step out of your comfort zone.

Imagine going on the same exact vacation and eating at the same restaurants; you love it because you feel comfortable there. And while you might also enjoy yourself, you don’t learn nor gain any new experiences because you’ve already done it multiple times.

When you try something new, you’ll feel inspired and motivated to learn new things. You’ll have experiences that open your eyes to new perspectives. The newness of it all will breed knowledge about you and the world around you.

You’ll Struggle to Discover Your Authentic Self

You stay in your comfort zone because it feels safe and familiar. Your future feels predictable, and there’s no risk. It sounds great, but without going through challenges or taking any risks, you’ll never be able to understand yourself on a deeper level.

When you choose to take on challenges and overcome them, you’re actively choosing to engage in a new learning experience where the subject matter is you. You gain a better understanding of who you are and what you want out of life. You learn about your strengths and weaknesses.

Moving to Los Angeles was one of the biggest risks I’ve ever taken because of what I left behind, a great paying job, stability, security, family, and the comfort of knowing the city I was living in. However, it was also the best decision I ever made.

I pushed my boundaries; I challenged myself in ways I never had before. I discovered what I was capable of — starting anew in a brand new state isn’t as easy as it seems.

As you embark on your journey of self-discovery, little by little, you’ll start discovering your true and authentic self. You’ll become stronger, more clever, and you’ll have a power within you that you didn’t even know there.

You’ll Sacrifice Your Dreams

The majority of people who live within their comfort zone want something more. They dream about a different life, but when faced with difficulties, they take a step back.

You’ve probably experienced this too. When faced with adversity, you stay within your comfort zone; even though this option is easier, if you keep postponing your goals, it’ll only make it harder for you to achieve them later on in life. If you truly want to make your dreams come true, you need to take initiative and step out of the comfort zone you’ve created for yourself.

I used to have a friend who has wanted to start a YouTube channel for years. Every day she would tell herself she would start it the following day, she would finally buy the camera, press the button, film the video, etc., and every day she would come up with excuses as to why she didn’t do it.

At the end of the day, it all boiled down to fear and insecurity. The comfort of her mediocre life was too strong, and she was afraid to risk it. It might seem minor now, but the more dreams you sacrifice, the less likely you’ll achieve any of the ones you have.

Every dream you have is important and achievable if you apply yourself. There will always be obstacles, but the only way to succeed is to get through them.

Your Routine Makes You Lazy and Unmotivated

When you think of comfort, you imagine a cozy and fluffy blanket with a mug of tea and your favorite TV show.

I once heard that comfort is a double-edged sword. It almost always results in contentment and laziness. While having some sort of routine can add to your life, some of them can hold you back from discovering your fullest potential.

You get into a routine of doing the bare-minimum and rewarding yourself for it. You get into a routine of saying, I’ll get to it tomorrow, and you never end up doing it.

You get into a routine of mediocrity, and you think it’s okay for a little while, and then you think a few more months — years won’t hurt. It feels good to be comfortable initially. However, it often just leads to wasted potential and opportunities.

You Lose Your Individuality

When you live your entire life in your comfort zone, you become lost in the crowd. You blend in with the rest of the sheep.

When you break away from the rest of the crowd and what they’re doing, it feels uncomfortable, but usually, that’s when you find fulfillment and purpose.

I lost my individuality at one point, mostly because I was struggling to discover who I really was as a person. I allowed myself to get caught up with what everyone else was doing instead of doing what I knew I was mean to do.

Seeing people living a comfortable life doing whatever it is they’re doing is extremely enticing when you feel lost, so you think to yourself, maybe I can do it too, and so you go for it all the while forgetting that you’re not meant to be like the rest of them.

You can’t make a difference in the world doing what others are doing. Instead of being another follower, embrace your individuality and carve your own path.

Don’t let yourself become someone who traps themselves within the confines of their comfort zone and lets their fears dictate their lives. These people condemn themselves to a life full of frustration and regret. Don’t let that be you.

Although it feels scary to venture outside of your comfort zone, you need to take the first step and push yourself.

If you practice pursuing the boundaries of your comfort zone, you’ll soon become comfortable with the unfamiliar. Then, you can jump into new experiences, explore more of the world, and gain a better understanding of yourself.

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Freelance writer sharing thoughts on self-improvement, productivity, and success.

Santa Monica, CA
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