Stepping Outside Your Comfort Zone

I promised that I will only blog about four topics from the book The Rules of Life. but quite unfortunately I broke the promise with this post , much like the proverbial politician. The good news is this broken promise will not jeopardize your tax money except for the ignominy and embarrassment on my part which I will gladly accept πŸ™‚ The author of the book may sue me by now for acting as his unauthorized and plagiarizing ad man πŸ™‚

I feel the urge to blog about this topic because I think there is great wisdom in the notion of opening ourselves up a little bit to explore areas in our life that we consider as “untreaded waters “. Oftentimes it isn’t so much as physically venturing into untreaded waters but even entertaining the idea of what might lie beneath those waters may conjure images that are already repulsive to our xenophobic minds which in my opinion comes dangerously close to being narrow-minded.

Here’s the excerpt from the book on Rule 29 – Stepping Outside Your Comfort Zone:

quote

“Be prepared to be a little bit brave everyday. Why? Because if you don’t you grow stagnant and moldy or curl up and wither. We all have a comfort zone where we feel safe and warm and dry. But every now and then, we need to step outside and be challenged, be frightened, be stimulated. It’s this way that we stay young and feel good about ourselves.

If we grow too attached to our comfort zone, chance are it will either start to shrink, or something will come along and dismantle it. Fate, or whatever it is that runs things, doesn’t like us to get too complacent and every now and then gives us a great big cosmic kick up the backside to wake us up. If we have practiced stretching the boundaries of our wooly cocoon occasionally, that kick won’t have too much impact – we’re ready for it – it’s much easier to cope.

But it’s more than that. Expanding your comfort zone makes you feel good about yourself. It gives you extra confidence. And the best bit is that you can do it oh so gently. You don’t have to go hang-gliding or fire-walking or have sex with a stranger just to test your comfort zone. It might be as simple as volunteering for something that you’ve never done before and that you feel slightly nervous about. It could be just talking up a new sport or hobby. Maybe it will involve joining something. It could be doing something alone that you’ve only ever done in company before or speaking up for yourself when you would usually keep quiet.

We impose a lot of restrictions on our ourselves that limit us, hold us back. We think we couldn’t do that, wouldn’t feel happy with that. Taking the challenge of expanding our comfort zone brings us out of ourselves and keeps us learning and growing. You can’t grow mold if you’re growing experience.

unquote

If I didn’t leave my first job – where would I be now ? In my case probably nowhere because my first job wasn’t particularly challenging and financially rewarding. The author’s point however isn’t so much as choices we need to make by force of circumstance, i.e. I lost my job and needed to get another one but rather, when things are swell and steady, do I just go with the flow and snuggle up in my comfort zone?

One time I was golfing with a buddy and the rain was threatening to fall and he wanted to back out. I suggested that maybe we should play in the rain as long as it is not pouring cats and dogs, much like those pros we see on TV! I said heck, let’s just try it and we were a little wet but boy had fun and from then on knew what was it like to play in the rain πŸ™‚ One time my wife and I were asked by a friend to sing duet at her parents’ 50 year anniversary party. I reluctantly agreed because I am not a terrific singer but we tried and it was a success πŸ™‚ They thought we were great! Then a friend of ours asked us to sing at her own wedding party and I said – heck no – perhaps my wife would do it but that’s stepping waaay out of my comfort zone LOL πŸ™‚ The horror of becoming a Mr. Keys Me was too much for me to take πŸ™‚

Many moons ago when I was younger I read Bertrand Russell’s controversial if not sacrilegous books – Why I Am Not A Christian and A Free Man’s Worship but did it change my convictions ? Not a bit. In fact it even made me understand many things I never knew before. If I slammed the books and tossed them into the garbage bin, I would have only known one side of the story. If you think blind date sucks without having done it – try it. Maybe you will find it interesting but if not, you had a stab at it and you what it is like and no one can fool you no longer πŸ™‚

Expanding your comfort zone makes you feel good about yourself – definitely. And I might even add that if we don’t we expand our comfort zones, we would not achieve much.

Do you agree ?

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30 Responses

  1. AGREE Mr.Keys Me este Big Bro! hehehehe..

    hayyy kadalum gid sang mga ginpang-sulat ta lately ah…feeling ko halin ka sa isa ka Recollection or Retreat hehe

    Seriously I do agree. Trying new things (as long as its safe and clean) is indeed fun and liberating. I can still remember the last time I tried something that is way out of my comfort zone. Because of that, I’m now a little bit cautious because when I uttered the words “what the heck” a year ago, it crashed and burned me.

    I’m not scared but only cautious..maybe in time πŸ™‚

  2. Verns – galing ba sa retreat? hehehe.. For sure that experience of yours only made you a lot smarter. Hopefully it wasn’t waaay out of your comfort zone πŸ™‚

  3. Ok, I am convinced! I will buy that book !

  4. Same here, I have to get a copy. That’s a great book you know. I think I’ve been telling you this each time you feature something from that book. πŸ™‚

    Anyway, it’s like saying, loosen up sometimes. Seeing another side of the story/coin/face/fence is always fascinating. It may not be to our liking, but only then we know what’s it like to be out of our comfort zone. Who knows, one may even change zones.

    *should buy the book :)*

  5. getting out of the comfort zone – read that line in an article about my cousin’s eife’s interview in the Manila Bulletin. it is quite an eye-opener article. says a lot like what you’ve posted. perhaps she must have had read the book.

    not everybody, or most everybody, are very afraid to that for many reasons. and one of them is fear of what might adversely happen. the situation also plays a big role in deciding whether or not to get out of the comfort zone (or stretch out the comfort zone). you know, possible failure, devastation, rejection, etc. sounds pessimistic. but these are some of the reasons.

  6. erratum:

    *my cousin’s wife’s interview

    *not everybody can do that, or most everybody are very afraid to do that

  7. I totally agree. Sooner or later, our comfort zone will not be enough for us coz as time goes by, we become bigger, as big as fatman Manuel.

    This reminded me of the story of the eagle who thought that he was a chicken (cos he grew up in the company of chicken). Fortunately at the end, the eagle flies happily ever after.

  8. Ika nga ng Nike slogan; “JUST DO IT!” As good as the book may sound, save your money and just go in the “Comfort Room”, sit down and contemplate on your next adveture. There’ll always be naysayers and jealous folks who’ll say you’re crazy but pag di mo sinubukan, di mo matitikman!
    Our skeptic kababayans will always label you “mayabang” when you say “been there, done that” but who really cares? You’re the one who’s having fun with your life isn’t it? Trust me, I didn’t have much growing up but made do with what I can imagine doing, although I have to be honest that I didn’t have much success on most…but I tried. (I’m beginning to sound like Tim Robbins here!)No guilt in having so much fun in life!

    Check out our adventure to Alaska last year. 8,000 mile round trip from Los Angeles, CA to Alaska via the AlCan Highway through the Yukon territories and beautiful BC.
    http://pg.photos.yahoo.com/ph/ptrlacson/album?.dir=89afscd&.src=ph&store=&prodid=&.done=http%3a//photos.yahoo.com/ph//my_photos

    Thank you,

    The Free Spirit Ilonggo a.k.a. Noypetes/Tiyo Delyo

  9. Hmmm … will you be handing out a copy of this book for Christmas? Put me in the list … hehehe.

    Stepping out of one’s comfort zone is usually what happens when one goes out in the world to “follow his bliss.” But to quote from the man who made this phrase somewhat of a classic mantra, Joseph Campbell:

    “… if you do follow your bliss you put yourself on a kind of track that has been there all the while, waiting for you, and the life that you ought to be living is the one you are living. When you can see that, you begin to meet people who are in your field of bliss, and they open doors to you. I say, follow your bliss and don’t be afraid, and doors will open where you didn’t know they were going to be.”

    I am one of those who subscribe to this man’s thoughts, another is George Lucas. Many of Hollywood’s scriptwriters attend a summer-long workshop designed after Campbell’s “stepping out of one’s comfort zone, thinking out of the box, or following one’s bliss concept.”

    It is, undoubtedly, frightening, but in the end, everything does, in fact, work out.

  10. Sidney – sorry for being anti-climactic and revealing to you the contents of the book hahaha πŸ™‚

  11. Ipanema – interesting when you said that some will change zones. It is very possible when you really don’t have a clue of what is on the other side and when you get there, it perfectly fits the bill for you πŸ™‚

  12. Bing – it is understandable why people don’t want to get out of their comfort zone or security blanket. It is the fear of the future that worries them. It is normal to fear the future but culturally speaking Pinoys have other fears that seem to be unfounded, that often has to do with superstisions. Interestingly, one of the topics of the book is Rule 13 – No Fear, No Surprise, No Hesitation, No Doubt which originated from the the samurai warrior’s rule to successful swordmanship. Life is tough and one must play it like a swordfight and without fear.

  13. Eric – by the time Xmas comes, I would have revealed to you the entire contents of the book ! LOL πŸ™‚ Agree that these scriptwriters must think out of the box and step out of their comfort zones to energize and grow with their innate creative talents. I’ve sort of echoed the same thought with the line in my blog header – ” Change is inevitable, growth a choice “. At the end of the day, one who refuses change will find growth hard to achieve.

  14. No it’s not a Harley!(let’s not go there:-D) I rode a 04 Kawasaki Vulcan 1500, same one i rode to Jasper National Park in July 2005. Are you in the Ontario area? I might swing by there come summer time this year. Moose, Bisons, Deers, Bears(black and brown)they own the highway and there’s not much you can do when they’re out there hanging out but be aware! I think BC is a cruisers paradise. Check out our website http://www.juandelacruisers.net and if you’re ready to step out on a bike journey with us, man we can have so much fun!

  15. i like this post. it’s like everyone’s mentioning stepping out of comfort zone to me. “God, is that you?” honestly, before, i’m afraid to step out of my comfort zone. but now, i am ready to. nakakapagtaka lang coz nawawala na yung pupuntahan ko or gagawin kong kakaiba. kya nalito tuloy ako. but as you said, comfort zones, may be small thigs that you do everyday. siguro ganun yung comfort zone na sinasabi saken. mapag-isipan nga mamayang gabi. siguro nga blind date. pero wala naman. hanapan mo nga ako. bwahahaha.

    wow! magaling ka pala kumanta! sample naman jan. πŸ™‚

  16. But how do we determine our zones, or we can say our contentment zone, where taking a risk of trying something “extraordinary” is an adventure or we call it out of the box or out of comfort zone?

    Most successful people are risk takers. But there are that would not take the risk and just contented or somewhat (survey favorite term) comfortable of the “as is” situation which we call the comfort zone.

    For me, I think I only go halfway out of my comfort zone and come back, maybe the reason why I’m still where I started, still in the comfort soon. Maybe next time, I’ll go all the way…

  17. If I didn’t leave my job at the company where I worked for almost 17 years and become a jobless bum, I mean… go freelance, hehe, I would probably not have the time to update my blog as frequently as I do. πŸ™‚

  18. I can consider myself an adventurous individual that in fact many times before, I have gone thru doing extra-routinary things and have in fact been injured by it, because of over-adventurism. But still, despite of that, I am a person not often willing to get out of my comfort zone. It’s a bit ironic i know for a guy who claims to be adventurous in the first place; but that it is just how I feel.

    I don’t want to say that I lacked that certain amount of bravery but it is just that I am so wary about what is beyond my spheres, the things that might surprise or shock me there.

    But this post of yours bro, remind me again the good thing about going the extra mile, voyaging into the unknown, stepping outside the comfort zone. And thanks for the reminder.

  19. Noypetes – that’s awesome indeed esp when I see you guys packing up jerry cans on the side of the bike for the long journey ! Out there in the wilderness the gas stations on the hiways are tooooo far apart πŸ™‚ Thanks for the invite but the problem been driving motorbikes ad hoc ( back in Pinas) and I don’t have a motorcycle driving license her in Canada πŸ™‚

  20. Vic – i guess this post it is not so much with being a risk taker but simply giving yourself something new everynow and then to test yourself and escape the boredom. It could also be dabbling in things that used to be taboo – like finding out about atheism or taking up the challenge to play the guitar when u think you have stiff fingers πŸ™‚ Small things can mean a lot.

  21. Totally.

    There’s nothing more aging, more depressing than stagnation. It can even take a chunk out of your brain.

    I try to stray away from my comfort zone every now and then. And the times that are really memorable are the times when my comfort zone is a million miles away. Usually doin some extreme activity like rapelling off a bridge, spelunking or riding a rollercoaster. It is so liberating when you finish it and you feel a deep sense of rejuvenation. Of course there are also the smaller mundane out of comfort zone activities.

    One thing I wouldn’t do though is sing in public. It’s not really because it’s a galaxy away from my comfort zone… it’s the realization that I can’t sing. Any attempt, for me, is just delusional. hehehe

  22. This post comes at such an opportune time – for me, that is. I am one of those persons who would rather not “perturb the system” for fear of ruining it. I am the eldest in the family, and believe me, it was hard growing up with everyone around you saying that you will be their “pag-asa ng bayan.” It didn’t leave much room for mistakes, and there was not much choice about leaving “comfort zones” to bring about change, especially when there were a lot of “futures” or lives involved. Anyway, obviously many things have changed since then, but more often than not I still take forever to make decisions because I take a looonnng time calculating the risks of a plan or action. Sigurista eh. πŸ™‚

    But lately I have also realized – hey, I have been running this show for a long time, and so far I’ve not made any serious mistakes. You’re absolutely right – change is inevitable! And things are really different now. So maybe it is high time to start going out of my comfort zone and test my mettle. I am now in the process of putting things into action…hopefully in a few months or so I will know if I have succeeded or not. πŸ™‚

  23. Alternati – i’m sure you’re one person that likes to be challenged all the time. I’m no seer but your blog reflects it πŸ™‚ The amount of info and details you put in your blog is phenomenal πŸ™‚ Re singing skills – don’t you fancy rapping ? It’s much easier hehe πŸ™‚

  24. Kathy – understandable that you are being sigurista because other people have stake in your decision. However, there will come a time in the future when will be worried about oursleves, if we have that strength and skills to survive in the long haul. There will be some sort of a virtual cut off point when you pause and say – wait a minute – what about my own needs and dreams?

  25. buti nalang you did not keep your promise, hehehe. nakatulong sa akin ngayon yan, i ave this major decision na ayaw ko na nga sanang desisyonan kasi ayaw ko na umalis sa comport zone ko, ngayon ko lang nalaman na madali akong tatanda, kaya cge na nga i will take the challenge, maganda itong post mo…

  26. Iskoo – if it is a life changing decision, make sure it is not waaay out of your comfort zone !. OK lang yan bro and the message is we can do it with little things for starters. It counts. πŸ™‚

    Minsan I cringe when I see an officemate go with the group to a Chinese dim sum treat by our office and they just pass up on everything at kakain na lang pag dessert 😦 Some people are so fixated sa food nila like meat and potatoes at ayaw tumikim ng ibang dish πŸ™‚ Maano man lang tumikim lang din ng ibang klaseng pagkain paminsan-minsan πŸ™‚

  27. Golfing in the rain? uhhh….doesn’t the golf club act as a lightning rod? hehe. I’ve also gotten out of my comfort zone recently. The problem was that I was way too much out of my comfort zone and I was in the discomfort (?)zone for a while. Lucky for me I got back. Little steps for me next time. πŸ˜‰ Still I agree with you. Gotta get out of the comfort zone once in a while to test ourselves.

  28. I totally agree! I quit my stable, highly financially-rewarding job before to venture into something else. My plan failed but at least I could claim that once in my life, I made a daring decision – a major one. It made me feel proud. πŸ™‚

  29. Wil – yes, as long as there’s no lightning we keep on playing πŸ™‚ So you were in a discomfort zone for a while eh? Good for you to be able to get back πŸ™‚ Hope the experience taught you something πŸ™‚

  30. Abaniko – same here. I have made life changing decisions, especially work related that I was glad I made πŸ™‚ At one point I spent an hour in the mountains British Columbia thinking of whether to move jobs or not and I did and it turned out to benefit me in the long haul πŸ™‚

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