How often do you challenge yourself, push the boundaries, or step outside your comfort zone? A comfort zone is a psychological concept referred to as the level at which one functions with ease and familiarity, and feels safe and without stress. This applies to both mental and physical challenges, as well as challenges at your workplace or inside your home. A little bit of healthy stress can actually act as a catalyst for personal growth and optimal performance. Challenging yourself on a regular basis and stepping outside your comfort zone on occasion is the key to success in all areas of your life. Here are 10 great reasons to take a risk and step outside your comfort zone.
1. Challenging yourself can help you reach your peak performance level. You can’t expect to evolve and reach new heights if you only stick to your normal habits and routine lifestyle. Psychologists have actually found that a little anxiety can help us to perform at our peak. In other words, if you challenge yourself in a situation, you may find that you actually rise to an occasion that you never even thought possible.
2. Taking risks will help you grow as an individual. Stepping outside of your comfort zone and stretching beyond your own limits is critical in terms of personal growth. As children, we are natural risk-takers. As we grow older, though, we learn to fear failure, begin hold ourselves back, and attempt fewer new things. The fear of failure is a powerful obstacle to growth, as it dulls personality and minimizes exploration and experimentation. It is important to keep in mind that there is no learning without some difficulty and stumbling along the way. In order to continue learning throughout your life, you must be willing to risk failure. Each and every time you accomplish something you didn’t even know you were capable of, you become that much more knowledgeable and skilled.
3. Trying new things can help harness your creativity. When you try things that you may not necessarily have the skills for, you are forced to find ways to accomplish them. This typically means that you must search within yourself in order to find some creativity. In other words, new and challenging situations require you to find your own creativity in order to reach a solution.
4. Embracing new challenges can help you age better. As mentioned previously, our comfort zones tend to shrink as we grow older. Luckily, if we allow ourselves to take risks and face challenges, we are able to expand our comfort zones and open ourselves up to greater fulfillment throughout the years. A study conducted in 2013 found that learning new and demanding life skills while maintaining a strong social network helps us to stay mentally sharp over the years.
5. Challenging yourself helps you gain awareness, knowledge, and skills. Be curious and stay hungry. Take chances in order to expand your horizons, enrich your experiences, and broaden your perspectives. The more you challenge yourself, the more you learn; and the more you learn, the more aware you become about the world and the things around you.
6. Stepping outside of your comfort zone can make you healthier, both physically and mentally. We can step outside of our comfort zone to physically challenge ourselves to exercise and eat better. At the same time, we are also able to mentally challenge ourselves by participating in competitions, testing our skills, and learning new things. As the saying goes, “a healthy body yields a healthy spirit.”
7. Taking a risk is exhilarating and overcoming challenges is empowering. Have you ever been on a rollercoaster? You know that scary feeling right before it drops? That is the feeling of exhilaration - a rush, some might call it. Well, taking a risk or stepping outside of your comfort zone is very similar to this. When you do this and actually succeed, it provides you with a sense of empowerment.
8. Challenging yourself helps you deal with life’s unexpected hurdles. Believe it or not, we are able to train ourselves to see the value in each and every experience we encounter, whether it is good or bad. When we train ourselves to do this, it helps us when we are faced with more serious challenges and unexpected events, such as the death of a loved one, divorce, or physical trauma.
9. Each challenge you overcome is a lesson and a victory. Every challenge you face, whether it is a victory or not, is a lesson; and every time you pick yourself up after a fall or find your way out of a sticky situation, it is a victory in itself. Stepping out of your comfort zone, learning new lessons, and experiencing new victories will only lead to more success and more happiness throughout your life.
10. Taking risks allows you to have more fun. Although it may seem easy, safe, and stress-free, living the same repetitive lifestyle each and every day can easily become mundane and boring. So why not challenge yourself to try new things and gain new experiences? It could be something as crazy as skydiving, or something as simple as meeting new people. Either way, by taking risks and trying new things, you are allowing yourself to be rewarded with new opportunities and rewards, and that is certainly something everybody should get to experience.
In conclusion, there are many different reasons to challenge yourself, as doing so is the key to success in all areas of your life. While remaining inside your comfort zone can assure you consistent and steady performance, as well as feelings of ease, safety, and relaxation, you may be missing out on many aspects of life by never stepping outside of your comfort zone. So the next time you feel yourself becoming complacent, bored, or stuck, don’t hesitate to take the leap and step outside of your comfort zone. You won’t regret it!