It's not the first time I've heard that advice. It's also not the first time that I've thought "that's one of the silliest things I've ever heard".
The risk takers of the world, the assertive personalities, those who are fulfilled by constant challenge always see that as the only path to growth.
I don't begrudge them that kind of thinking, that's what works for them. But they're not the whole world, in fact, they aren't even the majority. So, what about the rest of us… we want to grow too.
The addition of just one word to that advice would make it workable for all.
"In order to grow, I must be prepared to TEMPORARILY abandon my comfort zone."
I am up for a little discomfort to find something new and exciting.
When you first learn to scuba dive, the feel and fit of a wetsuit is pretty uncomfortable. The seat of a bicycle is not your friend when you first started to ride long distances. Everybody has more "left thumbs" when learning new skills and tasks, like embroidery.
But those were all temporary situations. With time, instruction, and practice you learn to make each of those both comfortable and fun. In fact, they may now be at the root of some of your biggest accomplishments in life.
The same is true of my adventures in personal growth.
Every time, I have been willing to step out of my comfort zone, I have found one or both of two things to be true.
- My comfort zone was bigger than I had imagined. I was in a new, different and exciting place and in fact, it was quite comfortable.
- There was a path back to my comfort zone. A path that lead to a better, stronger part of that comfort zone.
So, my advice is to reject the premise of permanent discomfort, unless you like that kind of thing.
Use the power of "temporary" to learn and grow without abandoning what is important to you and what you have already earned.
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