All our lives we’ve been told how important it is to break out of our comfort zone and to welcome new experiences as they arise; but what exactly are the benefits of escaping it? This article explains five direct benefits of getting outside your comfort zone and the impact it can have on your life.
1. Taking Risks Leads To Growth - It's safe to say that taking risks is something we as humans are not the most comfortable with at times. I mean in the end it is a risk, isn't it? But it's through these risks that we are able to personally grow and develop as we become more educated and confident in new experiences. When the fear of taking a risk has been removed the potential for new possibilities and opportunities are endless.
2. Reach Your Optimal Performance - Reaching our optimal performance is no easy task when it comes to high-pressure situations, which can lead to increased anxiety. But this anxiety boost is not necessarily a bad thing. Just outside our comfort zone is a space known as optimal anxiety; a catalyst for human performance and motivation to succeed. A study was released by Robert Yerkes and John Dodson proving that increased anxiety resulted in higher performance but only at a certain level of arousal. Too much or too little anxiety resulted in poor performance.
3. Become More Creative - Getting outside our comfort zone often opens us to the possibility of rejection and failure. But at the same time, it allows us to push ourselves to higher levels of creative achievement. When we push the boundaries, try new experiences, and learn different skills we begin to transform mentally. As a result we become more creative due to increased knowledge and understanding.
4. Embracing New Challenges Can Help You Age Better - As we get older our comfort zone tends shrink and we become complacent with our everyday routine. Getting into a routine is healthy of course, but within that routine there needs to be dedicated time set aside for learning new skills and experiences. A 2013 study discovered that continually learning new skills while maintaining a strong social network can have positive affects on your mental sharpness.
5. Opportunities Can Arise At Anytime - When we step outside our comfort zone we set ourselves up for new opportunities. These opportunities can be both positive and negative depending on the situation, but nonetheless an opportunity to challenge and learn from. Often times opportunities can appear as a burden but over time become a blessing in disguise as we get comfortable outside our comfort zone and understand the full picture.
All-in-all, as humans, we have a deep desire to grow and create a better life for ourselves. There is no better way to do this than getting outside of your comfort zone on a daily basis. In the words of Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, "If your dreams do not scare you, they are not big enough.